21st Fighter Group (USAAF)

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The 21st Fighter Group (USAAF) served as part of the Seventh Air Force on Hawaii during 1944, before moving to Iwo Jima early in 1945.

The group was activated in Hawaii in April 1944 and formed part of the local defence force. At first it used the P-39 Airacobra, but during 1944 these were replaced with the P-38 Lightening, and in January 1945 they converted to the P-51 Mustang.

In February-March 1945 the group moved to Iwo Jima, where the battle for the island was still going on. The group was greeted with a Japanese attack on their camp on the night of 26/27 March 1945, but were still able to make their combat debut on 27 March - an attack on a Japanese airfield on Haha Jima.

The first mission over Japan came on 7 April, and the group would win a Distinguished Unit Citation for this mission, escorting B-29s to the Nakajima factory near Tokyo. The group flew a mix of activities for the rest of the war. It escorted B-29s in the campaign against Japanese cities and carried out attacks on airfields, shipping and Japanese army positions on the Home Islands. It was also used to attack Japanese airfields that were believed to be used as bases for the kamikaze attacks.

After the end of the war the group formed part of the defence force for Iwo Jima, Saipan and Guam, before being inactivated on 10 October 1946.




1944: Bell P-39 Airacobra
1944: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
1945: North American P-51 Mustang


31 March 1944 Constituted as 21st Fighter Group
21 April 1944 Activated in Hawaii and assigned to Seventh Air Force
Feb-Mar 1945 To Iwo Jima
27 Mar 1945 Combat debut
Summer 1945 To Twentieth Air Force
10 October 1946 Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col Kenneth R Powell: 21 Apr 1944
Col Charles E Taylor: 14 Jun 1945
Lt Col Charles E Parsons: 15 Oct 1945
Col William Eades: 25 Nov 1945
Col Lester S Harris: Feb-10 Oct 1946.

Main Bases

Wheeler Field, TH: 21 Apr 1944
Mokuleia Field, TH: 13 Oct 1944-9 Feb 1945
Central Field, Iwo Jima: 26 Mar 1945
South Field, Iwo Jima: 16 Jul 1945
Isley Field, Saipan: Dec 1945
Northwest Field, Guam: 17 Apr-10 Oct 1946

Component Units

46th Fighter Squadron: 1944-1946
72nd Fighter Squadron: 1944-1946
531st Fighter Squadron: 1944-1946

Assigned To

1944: 7th Fighter Wing; Seventh Air Force
Late 1944-1946: VII Fighter Command; Seventh Air Force
Summer 1945: To Twentieth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 September 2014), 21st Fighter Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/21st_Fighter_Group.html

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