59th Fighter Group (USAAF)

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The 59th Fighter Group went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as an observation group and then as a training group.

The group was constituted for the first time as the 59th Observation Group on 21 August 1941 and activated on 1 September 1941. It joined the First Air Force, and before US entry into the Second World War war took part in a series of manoeuvres. After Pearl Harbor the group was used to patrol the US East Coast, before being inactivated on 18 October 1942.

The group was reactivated on 1 March 1943 and joined the Third Air Force, in the US South-East. It became the 59th Reconnaissance Group in April 1943 and the 59th Fighter Group in August 1943. It was used as a pilot training group, originally with just the P-39 Airacobra, but from April 1944 with the P-40 as well. This was short-lived as the group was disbanded on 1 May 1944, as were all four of its fighter squadrons at that period.




1941-1942: BC-1A (North American T-6 Texan), L-59, Douglas O-46, North American O-47, Stinson O-49 Vigilant (later L-1) , Curtiss O-52 Owl
1943-1944: Bell P-39 Airacobra
1944: P-39 and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk


21 August 1941 Constituted as 59th Observation Group
1 September 1941 Activated
18 October 1942 Inactivated
1 March 1943 Activated
April 1943 Redesignated 59th Reconnaissance Group
August 1943 Redesignated 59th Fighter Group
1 May 1944 Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

L . Col Victor Dallin: 1941
Lt Col Chester A Charles: Jan 1942- unkn
Maj Leland S McGowan: c. 24 Mar 1943
Lt Col William R Clingerman Jr: 14 Apr 1943
Col James B League Jr: Oct 1943
Lt Col James Van G Wilson: 11 Mar-c. 1 May 1944.

Main Bases

Newark, NJ: 1 Sep 1941
Pope Field, NC: c. Oct 1941
Ft Dix, NJ: Dec 1941-18 Oct 1942
Ft Myers, Fla: 1 Mar 1943
Thomasville AAFld, Ga: c. 30 Mar 1943-1 May 1944

Component Units

34th (formerly 126th): 1941-1942, 1943
103rd: 1941-1942
447th: 1943-1944
488th (formerly 9th): 1942, 1943-1944
489th (formerly 104th): 1941-1942; 1943-1944
490th (formerly 119th): 1942, 1943-1944

Assigned To

September 1941-October 1942: First Air Force
March 1943-May 1944: Third Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 June 2018), 59th Fighter Group (USAAF) , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/59th_Fighter_Group.html

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