474th Air Expeditionary Group

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474th Air Expeditionary Group
474th Air Expeditionary Group.PNG
474th Air Expeditionary Group emblem
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Colonel John S. Loisel
Technical Sgt. Chris Pratt puts the finishing touches on a sun shade outside the Expeditionary Legal Complex 16 January 2007 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Sergeant Pratt and members of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo's 474th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron structures team completed several construction projects around Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. JTF Guantanamo conducts safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detained enemy combatants, including those convicted by military commission and those ordered released

The 474th Air Expeditionary Group (474 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command. It may be activated or inactivated at any time.

Currently, it is believed that the 474 AEG is stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and is deployed to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base Cuba. Its current mission and operational components are undetermined, however it appears to be primarily a Civil Engineering organization.

Its World War II predecessor unit, the 474th Fighter Group, was a Ninth Air Force combat unit which fought in the European Theater. First deployed to England, it provided tactical air support in support of U.S. First Army until V-E Day.

History[edit]

The 474th Fighter Group was activated on 1 August 1943 at Glendale, California on 26 May 1943. For the next several months the group trained for combat with P-38's. Moved to England, February–March 1944 where it was assigned to Ninth Air Force.

The grass airfield and sandy soil at RAF Warmwell was considered suitable to support the 80 aircraft of a fighter group without metal tracking support. The personnel of the 474th Fighter Group arrived on 12 March from Oxnard Flight Strip, California flying Lockheed P-38 "Lightnings".

The 474th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command.

Probably because they detrained at Moreton railway station, the group often referred to RAF Warmwell as Moreton. Squadron markings on the vertical tail surfaces were a square for the 428th, a triangle for the 429th and it circle for the 430th. The 474th FG was the only one of the three Ninth Air Force groups equipped with the P-38 in England that had trained with the type in the United States.

The 474th carried out its first mission on 25 April with a sweep along the French coast. The P-38's ability to carry two 1,000 lb bombs with ease, and its heavy nose-mounted armament, made it an excellent ground attack aircraft, although it appeared to he far more vulnerable to light anti-aircraft and small arms fire than the redoubtable P-47. During 15 weeks of operations from Warmwell, 27 P-38s were missing in action, all but five known or suspected lost due to ground fire. Three of these were lost to a 'bounce' by FW 190Ds while escorting B-26s on 7 May.

On the night of 5/6 June, the group flew patrols over the invasion fleet and the two aircraft lost are believed to have collided. On the credit side, during an armed reconnaissance on 18 July, a 474th formation led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Darling surprised a force of bomb-carrying Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and shot down 10 Luftwaffe aircraft with the loss of only one P-38.

The 474th FG was the last of the Ninth Air Force's 18 fighter groups to move to an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in France, departing from Warmwell for St. Lambert, France (ALG A-11) during the first week of August 1944, the main body of aircraft departing on 6 August. The last mission from Warmwell, the group's 108th, was flown on the previous day.

The group continued operations on the continent providing tactical air support in support of U.S. First Army until V-E Day, being stationed at Bad Langensalza, Germany (ALG R-2) at the end of hostilities. The 474th FG returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey during November 1945 and was inactivated on 8 December 1945.

Cold War[edit]

The 474th FBW was reactivated at Misawa AB, Japan, taking over the personnel and Republic F-84G Thunderjets of the Air National Guard 116th Fighter-Bomber Wing in July 1952 when the ANG was returned to state control. The wing was immediately ordered to Kunsan Air Base (K-8). From Kunsan the wing entered combat in August 1952 and bombed and strafed bridges, bunkers, troop concentrations, artillery positions, and a host of other targets.

On 16 March 1953 FEAF put into effect a new concept of a fighter-bomber wing (reinforced) to ease maintenance and support problems. In April 1953, the 49th FBW was relocated to K-8 (Kunsan) – in name only—for two of its squadrons. The 428 Kunsan became the 7th FBS; and the 429th became the 8th FBS. Its 9th FBS was relocated to Misawa Air Base, Japan. The 430th of Kunsan was physically relocated with all personnel, equipment and aircraft to Taegu to replace the 9th.

In the end, the 474th at Taegu had three squadrons, while the 49th at Kunsan had two squadrons. The 474th exchanged aircraft and personnel with the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing. In early summer 1953, these two wings were combined into the 58th Fighter bomber Wing (Reinforced) and the 474th and 49th Wings were placed on inactive status. The 58th FB Wing then relocated to Tageu AB (K-2) South Korea.

For its actions in the Korean War, the 474th Fighter Bomber Group received the Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Moved to the US, November–December 1954, and became operational training unit for F-100 aircraft for the 312th Fighter-Bobmer Wing at Clovis AFB, New Mexico. It was inactivated in 1958 when the group was elevated to wing status as the 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Discontinued as part of Air Force Tri-Deputate organization.

Post Cold War[edit]

Activated as 474th Air Expeditionary Group by Air Combat Command at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Mission and units undetermined.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as 474th Fighter Group on 26 May 1943
Activated on 1 August 1943
Inactivated on 8 December 1945
  • Redesignated 474th Fighter-Bomber Group
Activated in Japan on 10 July 1952
Inactivated on 1 July 1958
Redesignated: 474th Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated 474th Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status (Date TBD)

Assignments[edit]

Attached to: Los Angeles Fighter Wing, 11 October 1943 – 6 February 1944
Attached to: IX Tactical Air Command, 1 August 1944 – 21 November 1945
Attached to: Far East Air Forces, 1 April 1953
Further Attached to: Fifth Air Force
Attached to: United States Southern Command Air Forces (AFSOUTH)
Further attached to: Joint Task Force Guantanamo

Stations[edit]

Components[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

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

References[edit]

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.