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It was inactivated on 1 February It claimed air-to-air and air-to-ground aircraft destroyed. It flew its last mission on 13 April It initially trained for combat with Ps and served as part of the west coast air defense organization.
The group lost its Ps, and most of its pilots, in February when they were assigned to the Twelfth Air Force for service in the North African campaign. The group was reassigned to Duxford airfield in April and reequipped with Republic P Thunderbolts.
From Duxford, the 78th flew many missions to escort Boeing B Flying Fortress and Consolidated B Liberator bombers that attacked industries, submarine yards and docks, V-weapon sites, and other targets on the Continent.
In addition to other operations, the 78th participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week , 20—25 February and helped to prepare the way for the invasion of France. It also supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March. The 78th Fighter Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation DUC for activities connected with the Operation Market-Garden combined ground and airborne attack through on the Netherlands in September when the group covered troop carrier and bombardment operations and carried out strafing and dive-bombing missions.
The group was reactivated due to the Air Force's policy of retaining only low-numbered groups on active duty after the war. The group was manned with a small cadre of personnel,  being equipped with a few PD Mustangs. At that time the 78th Fighter Wing was established under Hobson Plan , and the 78th Fighter Group became the operational component of the wing, controlling its flying resources. On 1 March , the 78th Fighter Group received the first of the new production F Thunderjets ,  with these aircraft going to the 82d, 83d and 84th Fighter Squadrons.
The Fs became problematic with cracks appearing in wing spars or skin beginning in September. The group lost four jets in accidents by the end of the year. The group lost many personnel which were reassigned to Far East Air Force units engaging in combat with deployed units. The personnel losses were replaced with less-experienced federalized Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard personnel. Throughout this period, the Fs remained problematic with wing integrity, the group having only 50 of its authorized 70 aircraft operational, as a third of its aircraft had been sent to Republic Aircraft or Air Materiel Command depots for repairs.
This led to excess hours being put on the remaining aircraft, reducing their designed operational life. By the first quarter of , the number of operational aircraft on station was reduced to 44, with only 34 actually being combat ready.
The manpower shortage was worse, with only seven of the forty combat-rated pilots being available, the remainder being assigned Europe or combat duty in Korea. The Scorpions were assigned to the 83d and 84th FIS, while the 82d FIS retained the best of the groups remaining Fs, while the remainder were either shipped as replacement aircraft to South Korea or sent to Republic for refurbishing.
By the end of , the 82d FIS stood alert during daylight hours while the other two squadrons rotated night and foul weather duties. The Fs, however, were rushed into service too rapidly. There were not enough trained pilots and radar operators, and there were not enough maintenance personnel who knew the intricacies of the complex and troublesome Hughes E-1 fire control system.
The in-service rate of the FB was appallingly low, and crashes were all too frequently. The 78th Fighter-Interceptor Group was inactivated along with the wing on 6 February along with its parent wing as part of a major ADC [note 5] reorganization, which replaced fighter wings organized under the Hobson Plan with regional defense wings.
Only the 84th remained at Hamilton AFB. On 18 October , the 78th Fighter Wing was once again activated and the group transferred its maintenance and support functions to the wing. The group flew numerous interceptors for West Coast air defense until its inactivation on 1 February when group components were assigned directly to the 78th Fighter Wing as the 78th converted to the dual deputy organization.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For additional history, see 78th Air Base Wing. Buss, et al. Air Force History Index. Retrieved 11 May This source also claims the group had the first triple ace, but does not identify the pilot.
Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 10 May Bong Richards-Gebaur Robins K. Fighter 1st 4th 23d 32d 33d 50th 52d 56th 78th 81st th th th Detection and Control 71st 73d st d Air Defense 46th th st d th th th th d th d d th th th th th th th th th st d th th.
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Aces of the 78th Fighter Group
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78th Fighter Group
In May , the unit was expanded and trained in California, composed of the 82nd, 83rd and 84th Fighter Squadrons and equipped with twin-engined Lockheed P Lightnings. From late January, the 78th began to be equipped with Republic P Thunderbolts, single-engined fighter-bombers that became one of the main American fighters in the European Theatre of Operations. In late March, men from the 78th began to arrive and by early April the whole group had completed its move. Duxford, established by the Royal Flying Corps in , had been an operational Royal Air Force fighter base since and had the distinction of being the home of the first squadron No. From the outset, the luxuries of Duxford quickly became apparent to the Americans, especially when compared with their basic and barely habitable accommodations at Goxhill. At Goxhill, the site was spread out such that the cold and dingy barracks were two miles away from the aircraft hangars, and worse, a mile away from the toilets and any running water.