The 347th Fighter Group (USAAF) fought on Guadalcanal, the Solomons, New Guinea, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines.
The group was constituted on 29 September 1942 and activated on New Caledonia on 3 October 1942. Detachments were quickly sent to Guadalcanal where the battle for the island was in full swing. The detachment acted in support of the US troops on the island, attacked Japanese shipping in nearby waters and provided air defence for the American positions.
In January 1943, as the Japanese prepared to withdraw from Guadalcanal, the group was assigned to the Thirteenth Air Force.
During 1943 the detachment continued to operate from Guadalcanal, taking part in the US campaign to liberate the rest of the Solomon Islands. From there it attacked targets on New Georgia, the Russell Islands and Bougainville. The Russell Islands were taken in February 1943, New Georgia during the summer (Operation Toenails) and Bougainville was invaded on 1 November 1943 (Operation Cherryblossom).
For most of 1943 the group's HQ remained on New Caledonia. It only officially moved to Guadalcanal in December 1943, and in the following month the group moved west to Stirling Island in the Russell Group, to place it nearer to the battleground of Bougainville.
In August 1944 the group moved to New Guinea, where it converted to the P-38 Lightning. The group was one of the first to move into a new base at Sansapor, and at first its men had to camp on the mainland and take a boat to Sansapor Island for operations. From New Guinea it attacked targets in Borneo and the Dutch East Indies, sometimes escorting bombers, sometimes operating as a fighter-bomber unit and sometimes strafing ground targets.
The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a series of raids on targets in the Dutch East Indies on 7, 20 and 22 November 1944. During the raids the group pressed on through heavy flank and fighter defences to hit targets on Makassar in the Celebe Islands.
In February 1945 the group moved to the Philippines. In March 1945 it supported the invasion of Mindanao. In the same month the group moved to Palawan, the western-most province of the Philippines, having earlier taken part in the invasion of the island, hitting Peutro Princesa in February. From there it supported the Australian invasion of Borneo and hit targets on northern Luzon. It also flew a number of bomber escort missions over the Asian mainland. The group was awarded a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its role in the liberation of the Philippines.
In December 1945 the group moved to the United States for the first time, where it was inactivated on 1 January 1946.
1942-Early 1943: Bell P-39 Airacobra and Bell P-400/ Airacobra I
Early 1943-August 1944: Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Bell P-39 Airacobra
August 1944-1945: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
|29 September 1942||Constituted as 347th Fighter Group|
|3 October 1942||Activated in New Caledonia|
|January 1943||Joined Thirteenth Air Force|
|August 1944||To New Guinea|
|February 1945||To the Philippines|
|December 1945||To United States|
|1 January 1946||Inactivated|
Lt Col George M McNeese: 3 Oct 1942
Col Leo F Dusard Jr: Jan 1944
Lt Col Leonard Shapiro: 25 Jun 1945-unkn.
-September 1944-: Lt. Col. Robert Westbrook
New Caledonia: 3 Oct 1942
Guadalcanal: 29 Dec 1943
Stirling, Treasury Islands: 15 Jan 1944
Sansapor, New Guinea: 15 Aug 1944
Middleburg, New Guinea: 19 Sep 1944
San Jose, Mindoro: 22 Feb 1945
Puerto Princesa, Palawan: 6 Mar-Dec 1945
Camp Stoneman, Calif: 30 Dec 1945-1 Jan 1946.
1943 onwards: Thirteenth Air FOrce
1943-45: XIII Fighter Command; Thirteenth Air Force
Took part in the long range raid to kill Yamamoto on 18 April 1943