Established in March 1943 at Norfolk Army Airfield Virginia. Supervised training of fighter units for overseas duty.
Reorganized and deployed to England, became an intermediate-level command and control organization for VIII Fighter Command with responsibility for fighter-escort groups of Eighth Air Force. Assigned groups provided fighter escort to B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bomber groups during combat missions over Occupied Europe July 1943-May 1945. Inactivated in England, 21 November 1945.
Allocated to the Illinois Air National Guard for command and control origination for units in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. Extended federal recognition and activated on 26 November 1946.
At the end of October 1950, the Air National Guard converted to the wing-base Hobson Plan organization. As a result, the wing was withdrawn from the Illinois ANG and was inactivated on 31 October 1950. The 126th Composite Wing was established by the National Guard Bureau, allocated to the state of Illinois, recognized and activated 1 November 1950; assuming the personnel, equipment and mission of the inactivated 66th Fighter Wing.