53rd Test and Evaluation Group
|53d Test and Evaluation Group|
Group F-35A Lightning II]][note 1]
|Active||1942–1947, 1955–1960, 1988–present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Test and evaluation|
|Part of||Air Combat Command|
|Engagements||Mediterranean Theater of Operations World War II Army of Occupation|
|Decorations||Distinguished Unit Citation|
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
|53d Wing Emblem[note 2]|
|79th Fighter Group emblem[note 3]|
|Bomber||B-1, B-2, B-52|
|Fighter||F-15C & E, F-16, F-22|
|Reconnaissance||MQ-1, RQ-4, U-2|
The Group was originally activated in 1942 as the 79th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), becoming the 79th Fighter Group (Single Engine) a few months later. Later that year it moved overseas to Egypt, where it was assigned to Ninth Air Force and participated in combat in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Italy until April 1945. After the end of World War II, it became part of the Army of Occupation until it was inactivated in 1947.
The group was activated again in 1955 as the 79th Fighter Group (Air Defense) as part of a program of Air Defense Command (ADC) to replace its air defense groups with fighter units with distinguished records in World War II. It provided air defense of the Great Lakes region until it was inactivated in 1960.
In 1988, Tactical Air Command activated the 4443d Test and Evaluation Group as an operational test unit at Eglin AFB, an Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) base that was home to AFSC's Armament Center. In December 1991, as the USAF eliminated its Major Command controlled (MAJCON) four-digit units, the 79th was consolidated with the 4443d, and the combined unit was designated the 79th Test and Evaluation Group. In 1998, as a result of USAF policy that subordinate groups carry the same number as their parent wing, the 79th TEG was inactivated and replaced by the newly constituted 53d Test and Evaluation Group. In 1999, the unit moved from Eglin AFB to Nellis AFB, Less than two years later, USAF consolidated the 79th and 53d TEGs to provide one continuous history to its weapons test and evaluation group.
The unit consists of seven squadrons, two detachments, and a named flight. Its mission is to manage the flying activities of the 53d wing at Barksdale, Beale, Creech, Dyess, Edwards, Eglin, Nellis, and Whiteman Air Force bases.
The group consists of seven squadrons, two direct detachments, and a named flight. These units perform tactical development, operational tests, and evaluations for Air Combat Command. In addition, the group assists the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center with testing and operating the YAL-1 Airborne Laser, MQ-9, and F-35A.
- 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 72d Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 422d Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron
The group includes three detachments which are not part of the regular squadron structure:
- Detachment 1 – Based at Edwards AFB, Detachment 1 performs operational test.
- Detachment 2 – Based at Beale AFB, Detachment 2 performs evaluations of the Lockheed U-2 and RQ-4 Global Hawk and train personnel in the operation of the equipment.
- Detachment 3 – Based at Nellis AFB, Detachment 3 trains and evaluates aircrews in the use of Foreign Materiel Exploitations for the Air Force Materiel Command.
The group includes one named flight:
- Combat Search and Rescue Combined Test Force – Based at Nellis AFB, the CSAR Combined Test Force currently operates the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and Guardian Angel Weapons System in an attempt to consolidate all combat search and rescue operation efforts.
World War II
The group was constituted as 79th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 January 1942 and activated at Dale Mabry Field, Florida on 9 February 1942, drawing its personnel from the 56th and 81st Fighter Groups. its original squadrons were the 85th, 86th, and 87th Pursuit Squadrons. The group was redesignated the 79th Fighter Group (Single Engine) in May 1942. The group trained in the United States, then moved to Egypt by sea via Brazil in October–November 1942, where it became part of Ninth Air Force.
The group trained with P-40 Warhawks's while moving westward in the wake of the British drive across Egypt and Libya to Tunisia. Although many of the group's pilots flew combat missions with other organizations, the 79th group itself did not begin combat operations until March 1943. By escorting bombers, attacking enemy shipping, and supporting ground forces, the 79th took part in the Allied operations that defeated Axis forces in North Africa, captured Pantelleria, and conquered Sicily. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for its support of British Eighth Army during that period, March–August 1943.
The group was assigned to Twelfth Air Force in August 1943 and continued to support the British Eighth Army by attacking troop concentrations, gun positions, bridges, roads, and rail lines in southern Italy. It operated in the area of the Anzio beachhead, from January to March 1944. The group participated in the drive on Rome, from March to June 1944, and converted to P-47 Thunderbolts during that time. It flew escort and strafing missions in southern France during August and September 1944, and afterward returned to Italy and engaged in interdictory and close support operations in northern Italy. The group received a second DUC for numerous missions flown at minimum altitude in intense flak to help pierce the enemy line at the Santerno River in Italy in April 1945.
79th Ftr Gp
|85th Fighter Squadron||28|||
|86th Fighter Squadron||26||[note 5]|
|87th Fighter Squadron||41.5|||
The group remained overseas as part of United States Air Forces in Europe after the war as part of the occupation force. It was transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in June 1947 and inactivated on 15 July 1947.
Air Defense Command
The group was redesignated the 79th Fighter Group (Air Defense), assigned to ADC and activated on 18 August 1955 at Youngstown MAP, Ohio as part of ADC's 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. At Youngstown, the group assumed the personnel and equipment of the 502d Air Defense Group, which was simultaneously inactivated. The group provided air defense over eastern Ohio as part of 30th Air Division of ADC's Central Air Defense Force and acted as the host unit for the Air Force portion of Youngstown MAP. The 79th was assigned several support organizations to fulfill this responsibility. One of the group's original components, the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS), flying radar equipped and rocket armed North American F-86D Sabres was already stationed at Youngstown and transferred from the 502d.
In September 1957 the 86th FIS traded its Sabres for Convair F-102 Delta Dagger aircraft equipped with data link for interception control through the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment system. The Air Force transferred command of Youngstown MAP from ADC to Continental Air Command on 1 March 1960 and the 79th Fighter Group and its components inactivated that date.
79th Test and Evaluation Group
- Constituted as 79th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 January 1942
- Activated on 9 February 1942
- Redesignated 79th Fighter Group (Single Engine) in May 1942
- Inactivated on 15 July 1947
- Redesignated as 79th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 June 1955
- Activated on 18 August 1955
- Inactivated on 1 March 1960
- Redesignated 79th Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985 (remained inactive)
- Redesignated 79th Test and Evaluation Group on 1 December 1991
- Consolidated with 4443d Test and Evaluation Group on 15 December 1991
- Inactivated on 20 November 1998
- Consolidated on 25 June 2000 with 53d Test and Evaluation Group as 53d Test and Evaluation Group
4443d Test and Evaluation Group
- Designated as 4443d Test and Evaluation Group and activated on 1 July 1988
- Consolidated with 79th Test and Evaluation Group on 15 December 1991 as 79th Test and Evaluation Group
53d Test and Evaluation Group
- Constituted as 53d Test and Evaluation Group and activated on 20 November 1998
- Consolidated on 25 June 2000 with 79th Test and Evaluation Group
- Third Air Force, 9 February 1942
- I Fighter Command, 22 June 1942
- Boston Fighter Wing, 1 August 1942 – 28 September 1942
- Ninth Air Force, 18 November 1942 (attached to No. 7 Wing, South African Air Force (SAAF) from 21 February 1943)
- IX Fighter Command, 24 February 1943 (remained attached to No. 7 Wing, SAAF until ca. 2 June 1943, attached to XII Air Support Command to 14 June 1943, No. 7 Wing SAAF)
- Twelfth Air Force, 21 August 1943 (attached to Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NWATAF))
- XII Air Support Command, 1 September 1943 (remained attached to NWATAF)
- 57th Bombardment Wing, 1 November 1943 – 1 January 1944 (remained attached to NWATAF until 17 January 1944, attached to 64th Fighter Wing 18 January 1944 – 10 February 1944 and 27 February 1944 – 20 April 1944, 87th Fighter Wing 11 June 1944 – 19 September 1944)
- XII Fighter Command, 20 September 1944 (attached to 64th Fighter Wing 20 September 1944 – 30 September 1944
- Twelfth Air Force, 1 October 1944 (attached to Desert Air Force 1 October 1944 – 9 May 1945, XXII Tactical Air Command, 12 May 1945 – 7 June 1945
- 70th Fighter Wing, 31 July 1945
- Tactical Air Command, 25 June 1947 – 15 July 1947
- 4708th Air Defense Wing, 18 August 1955
- 30th Air Division, 8 July 1956
- Detroit Air Defense Sector, 1 April 1959 – 1 March 1960
- USAF Tactical Air Warfare Center (later USAF Air Warfare Center, 53d Wing), 1 July 1988 – 20 November 1998, 20 November 1998 – present
- 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, 15 April 1993 – present
- Edwards Air Force Base, California
- Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana
- Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri
- 422d Test and Evaluation Squadron, 1 August 1997 – present
- Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
- HH-60G Combined Test Force (later Combat Rescue Combined Test Force), 1 October 2002 – present
Awards and Campaigns
|Distinguished Unit Citation||March 1943-17 August 1943||79th Fighter Group, North Africa and Sicily|
|Distinguished Unit Citation||16 April 1945–20 April 1945||79th Fighter Group, Italy|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 April 1989-31 March 1991||4443d Test & Evaluation Group (later 79th Test & Evaluation Group)|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 June 1994-31 May 1996||79th Test & Evaluation Group|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 June 1998-31 May 2000||79th Test & Evaluation Group (later 53d Test & Evaluation Group)|
|Air Force Organizational Excellence Award||1 January 1992-31 December 1993||79th Test and Evaluation Group|
|Air Combat, EAME Theater||79th Fighter Group|
|Egypt-Libya||79th Fighter Group|
|Tunisia||79th Fighter Group|
|Sicily||79th Fighter Group|
|Naples-Foggia||79th Fighter Group|
|Anzio||79th Fighter Group|
|Rome-Arno||79th Fighter Group|
|Southern France||79th Fighter Group|
|Northern Apennines||79th Fighter Group|
|Po Valley||79th Fighter Group|
|World War II Army of Occupation||2 May 1945 – 25 June 1947||79th Fighter Group|
- Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, 1942
- Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, 1942–1945
- North American F-86D Sabre, 1955
- Convair F-102A Delta Dagger, 1955–1960
- Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
- Rockwell B-1 Lancer
- Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
- McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle C & E
- General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
- Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
- Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
- General Atomics MQ-1 Predator
- 53d Wing
- List of United States Air Force Groups
- United States Air Force
- Aerospace Defense Command Fighter Squadrons
- Explanatory notes
- Aircraft is Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, serial 09-5005, taken at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
- The group uses this emblem with the group designation on the scroll when assigned to the 53d Wing Bailey, Factsheet 53 Test & Evaluation Group.
- Apparently, never officially approved. Maurer, Combat Units, p. 145. The blue stripe at top represent the sky, the hieroglyphic numbers display the group's number and the falcon headed Egyptian god, Horus is the central figure. Lind, Frontispiece.
- This remains the group emblem, but is not used while assigned to the 53d Wing. Bailey, Factsheet 53 Test 7 Evaluation Group.
- Newton & Senning gives figure as 25.99 due to one victory shared by three pilots credited as .33 to each
- Located at Alexandria by 1 January 1943 Abstract, History of 79th Ftr Gp CY 1943. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Part of the group remained behind at Madna.
- The group history identifies this field as "Bron Airdrome".
- Watkins, pp. 30–31
- USAF. "Eglin AFB 53d Test and Evaluation Group Fact Sheet" (PDF). Eglin AFB, Florida: 53d Wing, USAF. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
- Abstract, History of 79th Ftr Gp, activation-Aug 43. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 295
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 297–298
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 299–300
- Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 144–145
- Newton & Senning, p. 572
- Newton & Senning, p. 578
- Newton & Senning, pp. 578–579
- Newton & Senning, p. 579
- Buss, et al., p.6
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 81
- Kane, Robert B. (24 February 2010). "Factsheet 79 Medical Wing (AFDW)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 137
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 145
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 120
- Abstract, History of 79th Ftr Gp, Jan–Mar 1960. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 648q, 31 July 1985, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Organizations
- Maurer, Combat Units, p. 425
- "Factsheet 323 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10 May 2007. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- Bailey, Carl E. (29 March 2010). "Factsheet 53 Test and Evaluation Group (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Factsheet 57 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 73
- Robertson, Patsy (20 February 2015). "Factsheet 85 Test and Evaluation Squadron". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- Robertson, Patsy (20 February 2015). "Factsheet 87 Flying Training Squadron (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- Robertson, Patsy (20 February 2015). "Factsheet 99 Flying Training Squadron (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 385
- See Abstract, History of 79th Air Base Squadron 1958–1959. Retrieved 14 May 2012
- Kane, Robert B. (15 January 2010). "Factsheet 49 Test and Evaluation Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- Warnock, A. Timothy (2 December 2007). "Factsheet 72 Test and Evaluation Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- Abstract, History of 79th Ftr Gp, Jan 1944. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Abstract,, History of 79th Ftr Gp, Jun 1944. Retrieved 13 May 2012 The group moved by ship.
- Airfield Identification Numbers from Johnson
- Abstract,, History of 79th Ftr Gp, Sep 1944. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Abstract, History of 79th Ftr Gp, Mar 1945. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Abstract, History of Hoershing AB, Nov 1946. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- Abstract, History of 79th Ftr Gp, Jul 1945. Retrieved 13 May 2012
- 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 (PDF). Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center.
- Johnson, 1st Lt. David C. (1988). U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO) D-Day to V-E Day (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2015.
- Lind, Capt. Ragnar G., ed. (1946). The Falcon: Combat History of the 79th Fighter Group, United States Army Air Forces, 1943–1945. Munich, Germany: F. Bruckmann. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (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 (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Newton, Wesely P., Jr.; Senning, Calvin F. (1963). "USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, USAF Historical Study No. 85" (PDF). Research Studies Institute, USAF Historical Division, Air University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- Watkins, Robert A. (2009). Insignia and Aircraft Markings of the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II. Volume IV, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations. Atglen,PA: Shiffer Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7643-3401-6.
- Coles, Harry C., (1945) Ninth Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign to 23 January 1943, USAF Historical Study No. 30
- Coles, Harry C., (1945) Participation by the Ninth and Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign, USAF Historical Study No. 37
- Leonard, Barry (2009). History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense (PDF). Vol II, 1955–1972. Fort McNair, DC: Center for Military History. ISBN 978-1-43792-131-1.
- Woerpel, Don. The 79th Fighter Group: Over Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0-7643-1322-3.