Thursday, November 24, 2011

Unit Citation

HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH AIR FORCE
Office of the Commanding General
APO 634
June 19, 1945
200.6

SUBJECT: Unit Citation
TO: Commanding General, 1st Air Division, APO 557.

1. The Unit Citation of the 359th Fighter Group for action against the enemy on 11 September 1944, as published in General Orders No. 436, Headquarters 1st Air Division, dated 2 June 1945, is approved.
2. Subject General Orders have been forwarded to the Adjutant General, Washington, D.C., through channels, requesting confirmation in War Department General Order.
3. You are hereby authorized to advise the 359th Fighter Group that it is entitled to a citation streamer and that all personnel assigned or attached thereto, as defined in paragraph 4a, (1) and (2), Section IV, Circular 333, War Department, dated 22 December 1943, are entitled to wear the Distinguished Unit Badge.

BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL KEPNER:
/s/&/t/ FRANCIS H. GRISWOLD,
Brigadier General, USA,
Chief of Staff.

A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY:
L.M. STACKLER,
Captain, Air Corps,
Intelligence Officer.
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HEADQUARTERS 1ST AIR DIVISION
Office of the Commanding General
APO 557
2 June 1945

GENERAL ORDERS: NUMBER 436 ) Citation

THE 359TH FIGHTER GROUP is cited for extraordinary heroism, determination, and esprit de corps in action against the enemy on 11 September 1944. On this date the 359th Fighter Group was assigned the task of providing penetration, target and withdrawal support to bombardment forces attacking objectives in Germany. At 0921 hours a total of 49 P-51 airplanes took off from home base in England and proceeded to rendezvous points and assumed escort positions. At 1115 hours in the vicinity of Giessen, Germany, 50 Me 109s and FW 190s were sighted at 32,000 feet preparing to attack the trailing bombardment formation. Pilots of the 359th Fighter Group immediately dispersed and rove the hostile fighters to the deck destroying one and damaging two.

Constantly on the alert for possible interception this unit observed a number of enemy aircraft taking off from an airfield near Gothe, Germany, at 1130 hours and aggressively dived to attack.

Exhibiting the highest degree of courage pilots outmaneuvered and destroyed five (5) Me 109s in the air and then in the face of anti-aircraft fire strafed and destroyed four (4) Ju 88s and Me 210 and damaged four (4) others. Shortly thereafter an estimated thirty (30) Me 109s and FW 190s were sighted heading east at 30,000 feet on the bomber track. Although outnumbered an element of the 359th Fighter Group determinedly attacked the enemy and in close combat destroyed (2) and damaged another. At 1150 hours over 100 hostile fighters were seen at 30,000 feet, north of the bomber formation, and pilots of this unit immediately proceeded towards the enemy. Opening fire with vigor and determination they destroyed four (4), probably destroyed (2) and damaged one (1) and then in individual dogfights destroyed an additional four (4) of the enemy.

Meanwhile other pilots of the group descended to a grass landing ground in the vicinity of Kolleda, Germany, and in diving offensive tactics destroyed four (4) and damaged (9) parked aircraft. At 1205 hours in the vicinity of Eisleben, after the target had been bombed, 15 Fw 190's executed vicious attacks on the bomber formation. The 359th Fighter Group aggressively moved to the scene of this action and in daring offensive tactics destroyed six (6) of the enemy aircraft, probably destroyed an additional two (2) and damaged one (1) other. On the return to home base this unit destroyed seven (7) locomotives. The conspicuous intrepidity, aggressive tactics and esprit de corps displayed by pilots of this unit on this occasion accounted for the destruction for thirty-five (enemy aircraft and contributed to the safe escort of the attacking bombardment formation. The actions of this unit reflect the highest credit upon the 359th Fighter Group and the Armed Forces of the United States.

BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL TURNER:
/s/&/t/ BARTLETT BEAMAN,
Brigadier General, U.S. Army,
Chief of Staff

OFFICIAL:
/s/&/t/ HARRY T. HANGE,
Major, A.D. G.,
Adjutant General.

A TRUE COPY: L.M. STACKLER,
Capt., Air Corps, S-2

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These documents were transcribed and archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association, from records at HQ USAF Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

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