414th Fighter Group
|414th Fighter Group|
414th Fighter Group McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle 88-1674
|Active||15 October 1944-Present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Reserve Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina|
|Engagements||Pacific Ocean theater of World War II|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|414th Fighter Group emblem (approved 26 July 1956)1|
|Attack||F-15E Strike Eagle|
The 414th Fighter Group (414 FG) is an Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the 482d Fighter Wing, Tenth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
The group was reactivated as an Air Force Reserve Command associate unit in July 2010. The role of the new group is to help Seymour Johnson AFB, NC produce more qualified F-15E aircrew and provide skilled maintainers to assist in the maintenance of the F-15E aircraft.
Constituted as 414th Fighter Group on 5 October 1944 and activated on 15 October.1 Equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. Most of the pilots had been flying Curtiss P-40s at Harris Neck Army Air Field, Georgia. The group consisted of three squadrons, the 413th, 437th and 456th.1
In November 1944 the group relocated to Selfridge Field, Michigan1 where they transitioned into long-range P-47N Thunderbolts. On 19 March 1945, the Group relocated to Bluethenthal Field, North Carolina1 in preparation for their departure to the Pacific war zone.
An advance echelon went on ahead by ship, in May 1945 and two shipments went on converted aircraft carriers carrying the P-47Ns (109 of them). The first carrier was the USS Cape Esperance, with personnel and 49 planes aboard, which shipped over in early June. The 414th Group was assigned to the Twentieth Air Force VII Fighter Command, 301st Fighter Wing.
The second aircraft carrier, the C.V.E. Casablanca, with 49 planes on the flight deck and 11 on the hangar deck, and personnel, departed 7 July 1945 and arrived at Guam 22 July 1945. The earlier carrier group (BX Shipment), based temporarily on Guam, went on two missions to Truk, one of the Carolines, on 13 and 22 July. They had had reports that the Japanese were hiding planes but there were none seen: one man was lost on one of the missions.
Those already on Iwo Jima began operations in late July with an attack against a radar station on Chichi Jima. Operations during August were directed primarily against enemy airfields in Japan but the group also strafed hangars, barracks, ordinance dumps, trains, marshalling yards and shipping. One such raid, on 1 August, was to Okazaki but due to a heavy overcast the ground was not visible so a secondary target, Nagoya East, was approached. It was barren of both planes and personnel; some of the buildings were strafed. The line of retirement took the group over the primary target, Okazaki, and there were no aircraft visible there either. Specially-assigned B-29 Superfortress navigation "pathfinders" led the Thunderbolts to and from Japan; even so, not every fighter could rendezvous on time for the return journey. It was a daunting prospect for the pilot who had to find his own way back 600 miles to a small island in a vast ocean. On return from another of the Group's first operations over Kyūshū on 8 August, in support of B-29s bombing Yawata, the fuel supplies of several Thunderbolts were exhausted, due to siphoning, and pilots had to bail out in the vicinity of US warships patrolling the mission flight lanes. Lt. Robert Dunnavant, piloting a 437th Fighter Squadron P-47N, spent the astonishing period of 8 hours and 45 minutes in the air. His aircraft's fuel tanks were so depleted when he eventually reached Iwo Jima, that he dared not try to reach his base at North Field, landing instead at a small US Navy airstrip he located on the coast.
On 12 August 1945, the second carrier group took off from Guam for Iwo Jima with B-29s as navigational planes, but they ran into severe weather and had to abort to Tinian and Saipan. One pilot, Roy Abbott, spun out of the weather and crashed to the ocean in flames. Another, George W. Caka, continued on through the weather on his own and wound up over the 3rd Fleet, 300 miles N.E. of Iwo. He bailed out and was picked up out of the ocean unconscious; he too died, and was buried at sea. On 16 August, the second carrier group again departed from Guam, where they had re-gathered, and flew the 720 miles to Iwo. Further missions to the Empire were planned but were called off shortly before their departure times. One final mission was flown over Japan, on 30 August 1945, three days before the 2 September V-J day. The planes, B-29s and P-47s arrived at the same time the first wave was going into the mainland and the treaty was being finalized by MacArthur on the Missouri. As a show of force, a low, aggressive flyby over Tokyo and the surrounding area was undertaken. In total, the Group went on five missions to "the Empire" from Iwo (including this last one) and two to Chichi Jima.
The group was reassigned to 13th Air Force at Clark Field in the Philippines in late December 1945. The relocation from Iwo was made with a brief stopover in Okinawa. The Group flew P-47Ns and P-51s in early 1946, and then a few P-80 Shooting Stars. In mid-1946 the group was inactivated.1
The group was reactivated in 1955 as an Air Defense Command fighter group as part of Project Arrow, which was designed to bring back on the active list the fighter units which had compiled memorable records in the two world wars.2 It assumed the mission, personnel, and equipment of the 533d Air Defense Group, which was simultaneously inactivated. The group became part of Western Air Defense Force, flying F-94 Starfire interceptors. Over the years upgraded to F-89 Scorpions; F-101B Voodoos, and finally the F-106 Delta Darts. Inactivated in 1969 when ADC closed Oxnard AFB and sharply reduced its interceptor force.
Once again reactivated in 20103 as an associate fighter group with the 4th Fighter Wing of Air Combat Command, once again at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. This time to train aircrew and assist in maintaining the F-15E.
- Constituted as 414th Fighter Group, Single Engine on 5 October 1944
- Activated on 15 October 1944
- Inactivated on 30 September 1946
- Redesignated 414th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 June 1955
- Activated on 18 August 1955
- Inactivated on 31 December 1969
- Redesignated 414th Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985 (remained inactive)
- Redesignated 414th Fighter Group on 22 June 2010
- Activated on 15 July 20103
- P-47 Thunderbolt
- F-94C Starfire, 1952–1956
- F-89D/H/J Scorpion, 1956–1960
- F-101B Voodoo, 1960–1968
- F-106 Delta Dart, 1968–1969
- F-15E Strike Eagle, 2010–present3
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 298–299. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Buss, Lydus H.(ed), Sturm, Thomas A., Volan, Denys, and McMullen, Richard F., History of Continental Air Defense Command and Air Defense Command July to December 1955, Directorate of Historical Services, Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, (1956), p. 8
- Robertson, Patsy, AFHRA Factsheet 414 Fighter Group 9/5/2013 (retrieved September 14, 2013)
- Kane, Robert B. AFHRA Factsheet 301 Fighter Wing 9/23/2010 (retrieved September 14, 2013)
- Buss, Lydus H.(ed), Sturm, Thomas A., Volan, Denys, and McMullen, Richard F., History of Continental Air Defense Command and Air Defense Command July to December 1955, Directorate of Historical Services, Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, (1956)
- Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.