33d Operations Group

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33d Operations Group
33d Fighter Wing.png
Active 1940–1955; 1991—present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Part of 33d Fighter Wing
Garrison/HQ Eglin Air Force Base
Motto Fire From the Clouds
Engagements

World War II

Mediterranean Theater of Operations
China Burma India Theater
Vietnam War
  • Expeditionary Service
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Commanders
Notable
commanders
General Elwood R. Quesada
General William W. Momyer
Five 60th Fighter Squadron F-15Cs, from the 33d Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., soar over the mountains ranges of Alaska during their overseas deployment to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to participate in Red Flag Alaska 07-1.

The 33d Operations Group (33 OG) is the flying component of the 33d Fighter Wing, assigned to the United States Air Force Air Combat Command. The group is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Overview[edit]

From its activation in December 1991, as part of the 33d Fighter Wing, the 33d Operations Group has deployed aircraft and personnel to Saudi Arabia, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Jamaica, Iceland, Italy, and Puerto Rico and participated in operations SOUTHERN WATCH, CORONET MACAW; RESTORE HOPE, SUPPORT JUSTICE IV; UPHOLD DEMOCRACY.

These included combat as well as deployments to assist in the US drug war. The 33 OG lost 13 members in the bombing of Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia on 25 June 1996.

Assigned Units[edit]

The 33 OG (Tail Code: EG) commands two flying squadrons and one support squadron

The 58th Fighter Squadron has a history that dates back to the aerial battles of World War II. Activated as the 58th Pursuit Squadron (part of the 33d Pursuit Group) stationed at Mitchel Field, New York, the squadron was charged with the ongoing mission of aerial defense of the United States. When the United States entered World War II, the 58th took an active role in the war effort by participating in several operations during a three year overseas tour.
Activated in 1940 at Mitchell Field, New York as the 60th Pursuit Squadron, the unit was attached to the 33d Pursuit Group on 15 January 1941. Re-designated as the 60th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942, the unit was responsible for the continual mission of air defense of the United States until October 1942.
  • 33d Operations Support Squadron
Responsible for all facets of airfield operations, or ops, air traffic control, weather, aircrew life support and training, intelligence analysis and support, weapons and tactics training, 33 FW battle staff operations, airspace scheduling, range ops and wing flying hour program.


History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Emblem of the 33d Fighter Group

The 33d Fighter Group was activated early in 1941 as the 33d Pursuit Group with the 58th,[1] 59th,[2] and 60th Pursuit Squadrons[3] assigned.[4] It trained with Bell P-39 Airacobras in 1941, but soon changed to Curtiss P-40s and served as part of the United States defense force for the east coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.[4] Its 58th and 59th squadrons were based on the West Coast in May and June 1942 to provide additional air defense there.[1][2]

The group was requested as air support for the Western Task Force of Operation Torch and assigned on 19 September 1942. Its 77 P-40Es moved from Hampton Roads, Virginia, to North Africa on the deck of the USS Chenango as part of the invasion force on 8 November 1942.[4] Pilots had been given brief training at Philadelphia in carrier launches but the Navy had serious misgivings about the aircraft's ability to withstand the strain and the pilot's ability to launch by catapult from the escort carrier.[5] With securing of the Port Lyautey airfield on 10 November the launch from Chenango began and was successful but the airfield's runways were so damaged that the launch was discontinued and not completed until two days later.[5] Two of the 77 aircraft were lost to a crash and vanishing in a fog with 17 damaged in landing with none getting into action..[5] The 35 planes of the group following on D+5 aboard the British carier HMS Archer also were launched to land at the Port Lyautey airfield and suffered four loses on landing due to pilot inexperience.[5]

The unit operated with Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean theater until February 1944, providing close air support for ground forces, and bombing and strafing personnel concentrations, port installations, fuel dumps, bridges, highways, and rail lines.[4] The 33d received a Distinguished Unit Citation for action on 15 January 1943 when nine German Ju 88 bombers escorted by four Italian MC.202 fighters attempted to knock out the group's base at Thelepte, Tunisia. The group drove off the escort and destroyed eight of the attackers.[4] In May 1943 the 99th Fighter Squadron, the first AAF unit to enter combat with black personnel, was attached to the group, and again from August to October 1943.[6] It took part in the reduction of Pantelleria and flew patrol missions while Allied troops landed after surrender of the enemy's garrison.[4] It also participated in the invasion and conquest of Sicily by supporting landings at Salerno.[4] The group supported additional landings in southern Italy, and the beachhead at Anzio.[4]

After moving to India in February 1944, the group trained with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts. It then moved to China where it continued training and flew patrol and intercept missions.[4] Upon returning to India in September 1944, it flew dive bombing and strafing missions in Burma until the Allied campaigns in that area had been completed.[4]

33d Ftr Gp

Aerial Victories Number Note
Group Hq 11 [7][8]
58th Fighter Squadron 48.5 [9]
59th Fighter Squadron 35 [10]
60th Fighter Squadron 28 [10]
Group Total 122.5

Cold War[edit]

Republic P-84C-2-RE Thunderjet 47-1994, 59th Fighter Squadron
North American F-86A-5-NA Sabres at Otis AFB.

From August 1946, the 33d Fighter Group served as part of the US occupation force in Germany, being assigned to United States Air Forces Europe airfields at Neubiberg and Bad Kissingen, initially operating P-51 Mustangs.[4] The group returned as a paper unit to United States in August 1947, and was reassigned to Strategic Air Command. Stationed nominally at Andrews Field, Maryland, it then was organized as an operational unit at Roswell Army Airfield, New Mexico on 16 August 1947 as part of Eighth Air Force. At Roswell, the group became part of what was called the Hobson Plan, which was intended to unify control at air bases under a single wing.[11] As A result, the group was assigned to the 33d Fighter Wing. The test proved successful, and the wing-base plan was adopted by the Air Force.[12]

Consisting of the 58th, 59th, and 60th Fighter Squadrons, the group was initially equipped at Roswell with P-51D Mustangs. In June 1948, it transitioned to the first-generation F-84C Thunderjet, receiving enough to equip the 58th FS.[citation needed] before the wing and group moved to Otis AFB, Massachusetts and the 33d Fighter Wing was reassigned to the 26th Air Division of Air Defense Command (ADC) in late 1948.[4]

There it trained to maintain tactical proficiency and participated in exercises and aerial demonstrations. In February 1949, the group transitioned to F-86A Sabres with the F-84s being sent to Republic Aircraft for refurbishment and reassignment to Air National Guard units.[citation needed] By December the group had completed its transition to Sabres and assumed an air defense mission, providing air defense in the northeastern US.[13] Toward the end of 1949, ADC was inactivated and the group and its parent wing became elements of Continental Air Command. In December 1950 ADC was reactivated, and the group, which since spring had been designated as the 33d Fighter-Interceptor Group rejoined the command. Because of ADC's need to expand its coverage, the group dispersed the 60th FIS to Westover AFB in August 1950.[14] It was inactivated in February 1952 along with the 33d Fighter Wing in a major reorganization of ADC responding to ADC's difficulty under the existing wing base organizational structure in deploying fighter squadrons to best advantage.[15] Fighter-interceptor groups and wings were replaced by regionally organized air defense wings.[16]

The 564th Air Base Group was activated on 1 February 1952 to replace the support elements of the 33d Fighter-Interceptor Wing. The group became the 564th Air Defense Group in 1953 when it assumed control of fighter-interceptor squadrons at Otis on that date. The unit was replaced by the reactivated 33d Fighter Group (Air Defense) as part of ADC's "Project Arrow", which reactivated fighter units that had achieved distinction in the two world wars.[17]

The 33d Fighter Group was assigned to ADC's 4707th Air Defense Wing, and in 1956 reunited with the 33d Fighter Wing (Air Defense). Again, it provided air defense in northeastern US flying F-89C Scorpions. It was also the host organization for USAF units until 1956, when the 33d Fighter Wing was activated and the group assigned to it once again, and was assigned several support organizations to fulfil this function.[18][19][20][21][22] It was inactivated on 18 August 1957 and replaced by 4735th Air Defense Group when the 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing assumed host responsibilities for Otis from the 33d Fighter-Interceptor Wing.[23]

Vietnam War[edit]

Emblem of the 33d Tactical Group

On 8 July 1963 the 33d Tactical Group and activated in Viet Nam. It was equipped primarily with cargo aircraft. Its mission was to maintain and operate base support facilities at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, supporting the 2d Air Division and subordinate units by performing reconnaissance of Vietnam from various detachments flying RB-26 Invaders, RB-57 Canberras, and RF-101 Voodoo aircraft.[13]

The 33d Tactical Group performed administrative and maintenance tasks and set up detachments at smaller, outlying airfields, the 33d assuming responsibility for Can Tho and Nha Trang Air Bases. The group inactivated in July 1965, and its aircraft, personnel and equipment were transferred to the 6250th Combat Support Group.[24] While the 33d Tactical Group was inactive, it was consolidated with the 33d Fighter Group as the 33d Tactical Fighter Group.[13]

Modern era[edit]

On 1 December 1991, the Group was activated as the 33d Operations Group (OG) as a result of the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing implementing the USAF objective wing organization. The 33d OG was assigned the 58th and 60th Fighter Squadrons upon activation, all equipped with the F-15C/D Eagle. From 1992–2002 the group deployed aircraft and personnel to Saudi Arabia, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Jamaica, Iceland, Italy, and Puerto Rico and participated in various operations.[13] The 33 OG lost 13 members in the bombing of Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia on 25 June 1996.[13]

The group is currently engaged in Air Expeditionary operations in various combat areas as part of the Global War on Terrorism

Lineage[edit]

33d Operations Group

  • Constituted as the 33d Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 33d Fighter Group on 15 May 1942
Inactivated on 8 December 1945
  • Activated on 20 August 1946
Redesignated 33d Fighter-Interceptor Group on 20 January 1950
Inactivated on 6 February 1952
  • Redesignated 33d Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 June 1955
Activated on 18 August 1955
Inactivated on 18 August 1957
  • Consolidated with the 33d Tactical Group as the 33d Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985 (remained inactive)
  • Redesignated 33d Operations Group and activated, on 1 December 1991.

33d Tactical Group

  • Constituted as the 33d Tactical Group and activated on 19 June 1963
Organized on 8 July 1963
Discontinued, and inactivated on 8 July 1965
  • Consolidated with the 33d Fighter Group (Air Defense) as the 33d Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985

Assignments[edit]

Components[edit]

Tactical Squadrons

  • 58th Pursuit (later, 58th Fighter, 58th Fighter-Interceptor, 58th Fighter) Squadron: 15 January 1941 – 8 December 1945; 20 August 1946 – 6 February 1952; 18 August 1955 – 18 August 1957; 1 December 1991 – present[25]
  • 59th Pursuit (later, 59th Fighter, 59th Fighter-Interceptor, 59th Fighter) Squadron: 15 January 1941 – 8 December 1945; 20 August 1946 – 6 February 1952; 1 December 1991 – 15 April 1999[26]
  • 60th Pursuit (later, 60th Fighter, 60th Fighter-Interceptor, 60th Fighter) Squadron: 15 January 1941 – 8 December 1945; 20 August 1946 – 6 February 1952; 18 August 1955 – 18 August 1957; 1 December 1991 – present[27]
  • 99th Fighter Squadron (attached), 29 May 1943 - ca. 29 June 1943; 19 July 1943 – 16 October 1943.

Support Units

Stations[edit]

Awards[edit]

Streamer PUC Army.PNG

Central Tunisia, 15 January 1943

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg

2 December 1991 – 31 March 1992
1 June 1996 – 31 May 1998
1 June 1998 – 31 May 1999
India-Burma
Central Burma
China Defensive
Vietnam Advisory
Vietnam Defensive
  • Expeditionary Service

Aircraft assigned[edit]

Notes and References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 230–231. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. 
  2. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 233-234
  3. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons. pp, 235-236
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 86–87. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. 
  5. ^ a b c d Craven, Wesley Frank; Cate, James Lea (1983). Europe, Torch to Pointblank, August 1942 to December 1943. The Army Air Forces In World War II 2. Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History. pp. 58, 77. ISBN 091279903X. LCCN 83017288. 
  6. ^ Factsheet, 99th Flying Training Squadron. Retrieved 30 April 2012
  7. ^ Newton, Wesley P., Jr. and Senning, Calvin F., (1963) USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, USAF Historical Study No. 85, p. 541
  8. ^ 8 of the 11 victories by the Group Hq were credited to the commander, Lt Col. William W. Momyer
  9. ^ Newton & Senning, pp. 555-556
  10. ^ a b Newton & Senning, pp. 556
  11. ^ Goss, William A (1955). "The Organization and its Responsibilities, Chapter 2 The AAF". In Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L. The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. 59 (note). LCCN 48-3657. 
  12. ^ Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 10. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Factsheet, 33d Operations Group. Retrieved 27 April 2012
  14. ^ Factsheet, 60th Fighter Squadron. Retrieved 27 April 2012
  15. ^ Grant, C.L., The Development of Continental Air Defense to 1 September 1954, (1961), USAF Historical Study No. 126
  16. ^ Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. 
  17. ^ 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. 6
  18. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p. 132
  19. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p. 136
  20. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p. 151
  21. ^ a b See Abstract, History 33d USAF Hospital Jul-Dec 1955. Retrieved 7 November 2012
  22. ^ a b c d e f AFOMO Letter 660j, 20 June 1955, Subject: Activation of Headquarters, 1st Fighter Group (Air Defense); Inactivation, Activation and Reorganization of Certain Other USAF Units
  23. ^ Abstract, History of 26th Air Div,Jul-Dec 1957. Retrieved 30 April 2012
  24. ^ Abstract, History of 6250th Cbt Spt Gp, Jul-Dec 1965. Retrieved 30 April 2012
  25. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 58th Fighter Squadron. Retrieved 27 April 2012
  26. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 59th Test & Evaluation Squadron. Retrieved 27 April 2012
  27. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 60th Fighter Squadron. Retrieved 27 April 2012
  28. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 33d Maintenance Squadron. Retrieved 7 November 2012

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]