397th Fighter Squadron
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|397th Fighter Squadron|
397th Fighter Squadron - Emblem
|Branch||United States Air Force|
Established in mid-1943 as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron, trained under I Fighter Command on Long Island and Massachusetts. Moved to England, arriving in January 1944. Began operations with IX Fighter Command on 14 March and flew a fighter sweep over the English Channel coast of France. Made strafing and bombing attacks on airfields, rail and highway bridges, trains, vehicles, flak positions, and V-weapon sites to help prepare for the invasion of France.
Supported the landings in Normandy early in June 1944 and began operations from the Continent later the same month. Aided in the taking of Cherbourg, participated in the air operations that prepared the way for the Allied breakthrough at St Lo on 25 July, and supported ground forces during their drive across France.
Continued to support ground forces, participated in the assault against the Siegfried Line, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) by attacking rail lines and trains, marshalling yards, roads and vehicles, armored columns, and gun positions. Operated with the Allied forces that pushed across the Rhine and into Germany.
After V-E Day, served with the army of occupation, being assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Inactivated in Germany on 20 August 1946
Operations and Decorations
- Combat Operations: Combat in ETO, 14 Mar 1944 - 9 May 1945.
- Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe. Normandy. Northern France. Rhineland. Ardennes-Alsace. Central Europe. Air Combat, EAME Theater.
- Decorations: Distinguished Unit Citation: Mons, France, 3 sep 1944. Cited in the Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 6 Jun - 30 Sep 1944. Cited in the Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 16 Dec 1944 - 25 Jan 1945. Belgian Fourragere.
- Constituted 397th Fighter Squadron on 24 May 1943.
- Activated on 1 Jun 1943
- Inactivated on 20 Aug 1946
- 368th Fighter Group, 1 Jun 1943 - 20 Aug 1946.
- P-47 Thunderbolt, 1943-1946
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.