33 Fighter Group

 Honor Roll
Source for following: http://www.31stfightergroup.com/31stReference/history/31st.html

Previous designations

  • 33rd Pursuit Group (1940 – 1942)

  • The 314th Fighter Squadron shares its heritage with the 315th and the 316th Fighter Squadrons. All three were created by cadres from the 33rd Fighter Group-a cadre from the 58th Fighter Squadron formed the nucleus of the 314th, the 59th Fighter Squadron provided the nucleus of the 315th and the 60th Fighter Squadron formed the nucleus of the 316th.. Earlier, the 33rd Fighter Group had been created in the same fashion by cadres from the 8th Pursuit Group. It's interesting to note that in January 1942 orders concerning the 33rd Group and its squadrons still referred to them as "Pursuit" units. It was not until July 6, 1942 when orders were cut establishing the 324th that the pursuit designation was dropped in favor of "Fighter" units.

  • 33rd Fighter Group (1942 – 1947)

  • 33rd Fighter Wing (1947 – 1950)

  • 33rd Fighter-Interceptor Wing (1950 – 1956)               

  • 33rd Fighter Wing (1956 – 1965)

  • 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing (1965 – 1991)

  • 33rd Fighter Wing (1991 – Present)

Source: http://homepage.mac.com/techase/LRC/33rd%20History/33rd_history.html

Constituted as 33rd Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Began training with P-39's but soon changed to P-40's. Served as part of the defence force for the east coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Redesignated 33rd Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to North Africa, part of the group (including the pilots and their planes) arriving with the invasion force on 8 Nov 1942, and the remainder arriving shortly afterwards. Operated with Twelfth AF in the Mediterranean theatre until Feb 1944. Provided close support for ground forces and flew bombing and strafing missions against personnel concentrations, port installations, fuel dumps, bridges, highways, and rail lines during the campaigns in North Africa. Received a DUC for action on 15 Jan 1943: when enemy aircraft attempted to knock out the group's base in Tunisia, the 33rd drove off the enemy's escort and destroyed most of the bombers. Took part in the reduction of Pantelleria and flew patrol missions while Allied troops landed after the enemy's garrison had surrendered. Participated in the invasion and conquest of Sicily. Supported landings at Salerno, Allied operations in southern Italy, and the beachhead at Anzio


58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Group: The 58th Fighter Squadron has a long and distinguished history that dates back to the aerial battles of World War II. Activated as the 58th Pursuit Squadron (part of the 33rd Pursuit Group) stationed at Mitchel Field, New York, the squadron was charged with the ongoing mission of aerial defense of the United States. When the United States entered World War II, the 58th took an active role in the war effort by participating in several operations during a three year overseas tour. These operations include the invasion of Morocco in November 1942, combat operations in the Mediterranean Theater from November 1942 to February 1944, and operations in the China-Burma, India campaign, April 1944 to August 1945. During the operations in the Mediterranean Theatre, the 58th earned the nickname "Gorillas" for the guerrilla warfare-like techniques it utilized. While operating in the various theatres, the 58th flew the P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-38 Lightning. As a result of its superior performance, the 58th received the Distinguished Unit Citation for combat operations conducted in central Tunisia
59th Squadron, George Dively, historian for the WWII era of the 33rd Fighter Group sends this information "By the way, thisentry (Lyons, John P., O-805180 (on the Honor Roll), killed in a crash 9 Oct 1941, ) is, I'm told, the pilot whose name(Lyons) inspired the 59th "Roaring Lions" squadron insignia and name."
  60th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter:Group: Activated in 1940 at Mitchell Field, New York as the 60th Pursuit Squadron, the unit was attached to the 33rd Pursuit Group on January 15, 1941. Re-designated as the 60th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Crows" on May 15, 1942, the unit was responsible for the continual mission of air defense of the United States until October 1942. In late 1942, the 60th joined the United States effort in World War II by participating in combat operations in the Mediterranean Theater and the China, Burma, India Theater. As a result of superior performance in central Tunisia, the 60th earned the Distinguished Unit Citation for combat operations on January 15, 1944.

Source for Jokers: http://www.33fw.acc.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4387

33d Aerodrome Squadron, which was located in Blythe, California during World War II.

33rd Operations Support Squadron The designation "Joker" was attached to the squadron in honor of a group of 35 lieutenants who under the leadership of Major Phil Cochran, provided "support" to the 33d Fighter Group during World War II.

Located in North Africa between November and December of 1942, the 58th, 59th, and 60th Fighter Squadrons of the 33d Fighter Group were re-supplied with aircraft and pilots through the efforts of the "J" Squadron. The lieutenants of the "J" Squadron were also the first to catapult their P-40 Warhawks from the deck of the British flattop the HMS Archer and recover them in Casablanca. While the idea of catapulting the P-40s may have been a cutting edge idea, the actual execution of the plan would prove to be less than simple. Although the ship was equipped to accommodate aircraft operations, the P-40s were not able to operate off a ship because they were too heavy. After stripping the Warhawks of ammunition, navigation equipment, and excess fuel, Major Cochran (squadron commander) and his deputy flight lead were catapulted from the ship, breaking both the catapults in the process, thus leaving 34 pilots to determine how they were going to launch. Throughout the remainder of the day, all but three aircraft were able to make it to Casablanca; two aircraft went down where the pilots were recovered and one went down without the pilot being recovered.

The invasion was in its early stages, and organization systems were fragile if not nonexistent. Finding no assignments and no place to go, Cochran decided to keep the group together and headed off in the general direction of the war. By inquiring locally as they flew short hops, they eventually found an Army infantry unit at a flat spot in the desert who were more than happy to have their own air cover.
    Cochran immediately set up a training schedule for his recruits, commandeered infantry trucks to find supplies, fuel, and ammunition from wherever they could be borrowed or pilfered, and in a few weeks had a cohesive fighting squadron. Being formed outside of Air Force jurisdiction and having no official number, they dubbed themselves the "Joker Squadron," and adopted bright red scarves are their symbol.

Source: http://homepage.mac.com/techase/LRC/33rd%20History/33rd_history.html

"Twelfth Air Force Story" by Kenn C. Rust Has the following Paragraph about the 33rd Fighter Gp Markings, At first, the Curtiss P-40F's and L's of the 33rd Group carried no group or squadron markings. From April 1943, however, tail markings in a squadron color were prescribed but not necessarily applied. They were: red spinners and tail bands for the 58th Squadron, white tail lines for the 59th, and yellow tail lines for the 60th.

Squadrons. 58th: 1941-1945; 1946-1952; 1955-. 59th: 1941-1945; 1946-1952. 60th: 1941-1945; 1946-1952; 1955-.


P-40Fs in the hanger deck aboard the USS Chenango (CVE-28) October 1942 enroute to North Africa.

Note the early style Star carried on some of the planes




USS Chenango, The first picture is of the 33rd FG taking off from the Chenango as it was off of Casablanca on November 10th, 1942. This is most likely a plane from the 60th FS since they were the first off of the carrier. They landed at Port Lyautey. The take offs were halted due to damaged runways and resumed the next day.


Note this one also has no yellow circle around the Star
 (possibly 41-14502 or 41-14508  pictured above)
P-40,33 Fighter Group Piloted by Daniel B. Rathbun,  takes off from the USS Chenango in the Mediterranean near Casablana, Morocco, 
during the U.S. campaign in North Africa. November 1942.Once again note the American flag painted on the fuselage of the P-40's 
Mr. Daniel B. Rathbun, now lives in Portland, Maine. He studied electrical engineering before World War II, then joined the Air Corps in mid-1941. He was a test pilot for the XP-47-before he went overseas as part of the invasion of North Africa. He flew P-40s in North Africa, then transitioned to the A-36 dive bomber (P-51 with dive brakes). He was CO of the 522nd Squadron in the 27th Group during the invasion of Sicily and later flew P-47s in France and Germany as Commanding Officer of the 314 Squadron, 12th Air Force. He retired from the military as a 28 year-old Lt. Col. having flown 168 combat missions.

After the war he went back to college and earned Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He served in a variety of academic posts, Federal government positions, including a stint in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the 1960s, before retiring as Vice President of the American Petroleum Association. The day after he retired he took his 37-foot sail boat on a solo winter cruise in which he almost froze to death. Undaunted, a few years later, at the age of 69 he sailed across the Atlantic from Annapolis, Maryland to Ireland, Portugal and back. In his 80s he transitioned to a more manageable craft—a Kevlar canoe.

The following is a excerpt from the WW2 experiences of Daniel B. Rathbun as told by his son, Dan Rathbun. It is a personal account of the first Army Air Force P-40 squadron which was transported and launched off the escort carrier USS Chenango and subsequently landed at Port Lyautey. Following the account is a personal history of both Messrs. Rathbun, father & son.

My father, Lt. Col. Daniel B. Rathbun, was a fighter pilot in Army Air Corps in WW II. He left the Army in 1945 and rarely spoke of his experiences in World War II when I was growing up. Shortly before his 86th birthday, however, he finally agreed to write of some of his experiences. Following is the Port Lyautey excerpt and begins in October 1942 with his squadron being loaded aboard an escort carrier

“A little later, in mid-October,1942, in Norfolk, all eighty-seven planes in the group were hoisted aboard the carrier USS Chenango, and along with a total of 800 other ships from various ports on the East Coast, headed east. This carrier had started life as an Esso tanker launched in 1939. Naval leaders were increasingly concerned about Japanese truculence and by scraps of hard evidence that Japan was increasing naval power to levels beyond the limits prescribed by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1926, a development that led them to search for ways of augmenting U.S. naval power.

Tankers offered inviting targets: the hull and propulsion systems, while not up to those of fleet carriers of the day, could support a “jeep carrier” on which the aircraft of that time–e.g. F-4Fs and SBD’s–would be able to operate. And the tanker offered a quick way of augmenting U.S. naval power. Furthermore, authorization for the Navy to take over the tanker and convert it to a carrier had been provided under the guidance of the Navy-oriented president, FDR.

Accordingly, a hanger deck, a flight deck and provisions for additional personnel were grafted onto the tanker, and the Chenango was ready for service in the Pacific. However, before this could occur, Chenango would have to transport our Air Corps planes to a then-secret operation in the Atlantic, after which it would be free to join the Pacific Fleet.

So, with both flight and hanger decks jammed with eighty-seven P-40s, we headed east, surrounded by ships of all kinds as far as our eyes could see in all directions. Various naval vessels would come alongside at times for refuelling. I recall a destroyer in rough weather rolling violently and crashing into the Chenango, damaging both ships. We seemed to be at the center of the armada, a feeling that was consistent with the sight of several large naval carriers in our vicinity. These “fleet carriers” were to support landing operations, including the bombing of runways to weaken aerial opposition by the unknown forces we were to invade.

My plane was on a catapult on the bow where it would be the first plane to be catapulted-off when we arrived at our unknown destination. In the meantime, we “stood watch” in our planes. I remember being chiefly interested in the sharp changes in the rate-of-climb indicator in the plane as the bow of the small carrier went up, up, up, and then down, down, down.


The "Linkage" attached to the tail wheel is called the "holdback" it's sole purpose is hold the aircraft back has the pilot

runs up full power and releases the brakes prior to the catapult firing. 41-14378, Curtiss P-40F-5-CU Warhawk,

Pilot was Bill Day plane eventually named "Dammit" was condemned inventory Jul 8, 1944

To the extent that the limited facilities on the carrier permitted, we were assigned to two-man rooms. I shared my quarters with a good friend, Lt. R.C. Hemphill. Without exception, the naval personnel on the carrier did all they could to make us welcome and comfortable. The captain, a man who had served as a naval attaché in France and North Africa, was especially gracious and attentive to our needs. On November 7, the night before we were to launch to participate in Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French Morocco and Algeria, the captain hosted a farewell dinner in the wardroom. He spoke at some length, wishing us well and apologizing for the crowded living conditions (which were entirely due to the eighty-seven planes and pilots aboard and the non-flying maintenance technicians who took care of the planes’ engines, armaments, etc.). Our Group CO then responded by saying that he “couldn’t wait to get ashore so that we could show the Navy how to fight.” Those under this man’s command were stunned and embarrassed. This man, Lt. Col. Spike Momeyer by name, later moved up to be a four-star general.

The next morning, the “fog of war” descended. We were about 100 miles offshore and ready to go but word had been received that the field in Port Lyautey had not been taken. Our Group CO, doubtless harking back to Tripoli and the war with the Barbary Pirates and to Mobile Bay in the Civil War, assumed a “damn the torpedoes” attitude and ordered, “Shoot Rathbun and his wingman off and we will see what the situation is.” So off we went on a heading of 85? degrees. There was no way of returning to the Chenango since we had no arresting gear and the flight deck was filled with other P-40s.

When we reached Port Lyautey, we could see cruisers, destroyers, amphibious-assault and merchant ships offshore, many sending small landing craft to the beaches. The sight that interested me the most involved several bomb craters on the concrete runway, all made by our Navy planes in an effort to immobilize French aircraft. There were grass fields on both sides of the North--South runway but they had been flooded and pools of water remained on the grass. While the craters were big and the debris field on the north end of the runway covered the entire width of the runway, I decided to try to land just beyond the first crater and then slip past the crater farther down the runway.

Craters aside, the runway was short–approximately 1,800-2,000 feet long–and landing just past the first crater left not more than 1,000 feet of runway. Therefore, I had to land at the lowest possible speed. Alas, the plane stalled just as I reached the first crater, dropping the wheels into the crater and “wiping off” the landing gear.

I came to rest out on the grass on the west side of the runway, shaken but not injured. My wingman, a bright young man by the name of Dowd, saw what happened so he decided to try the grass on the west side of the runway. He made a good landing, but the wheels sank into the muddy ground and he “nosed up,” damaging the propeller and knocking the engine out of line.

After getting out of the plane, I knew that I had to do what I could to stop the other planes. I ran to a destroyer (USS Dallas), tied up to a pier in the river, that formed the northern and eastern edges of the airfield, and asked that the ship send a message to the Chenango that further launches should be canceled. I don’t know how rapidly the message was transmitted; I do know that forty-five minutes later, more planes arrived, led by our group CO.

Before the planes arrived, two events took place. First, I saw an American tank on the field and thought that the tank could help us clear the runway. Having driven Caterpillar tractors for a living, I knew that by locking one track and wheeling, the tank could push debris back into the craters. I ran to the tank and asked the soldier in the turret if he could help me. He agreed and we proceeded to the first crater, where he tried to fill the crater, with very limited success. A good bit of debris was moved into the crater, but the tank had no way of tamping-down the chunks of concrete and dirt, an essential step if the runway were to be made serviceable. So much for runway repair.

While this was going on, an American cruiser offshore was firing twelve-inch shells at a fort east of the airfield. I was surprised and fascinated by the fact that I could both see and hear the shells as they passed over the airfield. I never did learn if the shells hit the target.

When the group CO appeared, he decided to land on the extreme northern end of the runway. Unfortunately for him, there was a sharp drop in terrain off the end of the runway, leaving the northern end of the runway exposed. Also, unfortunately for him, he came in slow and too low, possibly having lost some of his piloting skills in the eighteen days at sea. In any event, he was too low and his wheels hit the exposed end of the runway, wiping out the landing gear and skidding to, what would be to most pilots, an embarrassing stop.

I questioned then (and now) his assumption that he could stop his plane in the less than 1,000 feet before he would reach the first crater. Of course, given his wrecked plane, we will never know. I do know that he was unfazed by his poor judgment and performance, and I do know that approximately twenty of the planes following him proceed to tear themselves apart in the muddy grass east of the concrete runway. Oblivious to the chaos he had helped create by his foolhardy, too early, departure from the carrier, he strode up to me and delivered his obiter dictum: “Rathbun, if you had used your head, you could have prevented all of this.” In subsequent days, this man was to continue to take my breath away on numerous occasions.

That night, cold and without bedding, we raided the parachute room in the hangar, each of us taking a silk parachute which we opened and used as bedding. I recall settling down in the cockpit of an unoccupied P-40 and spending a very uncomfortable night in the seat, wrapped in silk.

On November 10, we moved approximately 80 miles to the south to Casablanca, leaving a score or more of damaged planes for the service group to worry about. Upon arrival in Casablanca, I took stock of my clothing and determined that I needed help if I were to maintain a soldierly bearing--eighteen days at sea plus the wear and tear at Port Lyautey had eliminated all traces of sartorial splendor. Consequently, I took everything to a laundry-cleaning establishment–and that was the last I saw of my wardrobe. Repeated trips to recover my clothing yielded nothing.”



Ferrying P-40s to West Africa

Action on the USS Ranger (CV-4)

Apr 21, 1942 -- (76) Army Warhawks (P-40) are being loaded aboard. (Another source 

USS Ranger loading P-40,  22 Apr 42)






Apr 28, 1942 -- Arrive Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Apr 29, 1942 -- Left Port of Spain 0630. Lecture on mission. Our destination is Accra, Africa (British Gold Coast) where we will launch the P-40s. We are given a 50/50 chance of returning.(P-40 went to 51FG, On the 17 May 42, the 26FS, 51FG, 10AF,  lost its first P-40, Lt. Raymond W Lucia, 41-5634,  cracked it up.  It is salvageable. On the 20 May 42 a pilot (La Cour, Edward J, 41-5628) from the 16th FS (16FS was later attached to 23FG) was in a 26th FS P-40 when it went into a dive and its pilot was killed.  On the 21st, planes began arriving.   These P-40s had taken off the carrier USS Ranger, off the coast of Africa, flown across Africa, the Middle Eastern countries and into Karachi.  The 26th received 4, six more came in the 23rd, 2 more on the 24th and 10 more on the 27th.  All P-40s were in sad condition and personnel were broken into shifts and worked around the clock.   (this accounts for 22 of the approximately 60 P-40 that survived the trip)

The 26th lost its first pilot on the 17 June 42, Lt John M  Bowers, O-431242,  was killed (DNB) on takeoff, aircraft, 41-24964, Curtiss P-40E-1, (ET288) retained by USA caught on fire.

By the 25th of March all 51st FG units were firmly in place.  The 25th Squadron remained at Karachi airport, the 26th relocated to a British Reinforcement Camp outside Karachi and the 26th FS moved to Camp Malir. At Karachi a monstrous black dirigible hangar towered over all it surveyed as it waited for its ship, the R101 that never returned home, having crashed and burned in France years before.  Till the arrival of the 51st the hangar had nothing to fill its great void, and soon the 51st set up shop to assemble the six P40Es which constituted the aircraft strength of the group. And from Colonel Sanders diary, Our odyssey had ended . . .now, it is time for us to get ready and carry out the mission we have set out to accomplish.  We have six P40Es, ferry pilots, and a jeep.  But most of all, we have one hell of a lot of determination.

It was intended that the balance of the twenty-seven crated P-40Es on the USAT Seawitch be sent to India and the 32 assembled P-40Es on the USS Langley to be sent to Java. Repeated requests by the Dutch Government and by ADBA command changed this plan before the convoy sailed
Therefore another 10 P-40E (crated) that had been transferred from the USAT Mariposa in Melbourne to the USAT Holbrook (4), SS Katoomba (3) and SS Duntroon (3), which would then form the initial cadre of P-40Es destined for the 16th PS of the 51st Pursuit Group at Karachi, India.
The revised plan now would consist of 27 P-40Es on the USAT Seawitch, and the 32 assembled P-40E on the USS Langley be sent to Java for re-equipping the hard pressed 17th Pursuit Squadron (Prov) USAAF and the RAF/NEIAF fighter squadrons.
All ten P-40E/E-1s, loaded upon the USAT Holbrook (4), SS Katoomba (3) and SS Duntroon (3), arrived safely:
They served with the 16th Pursuit Squadron, 51st Fighter Group at Karachi Airport India onwards from the 27th March 1942.
There were 7 P-40Es

(41-5558, Curtiss P-40E, (CW-578, 51st FG, 23rd FS) lost Apr 28, 1943 near Takung Valley, Burma
Apr 28, 1943.

41-5570,  Curtiss P-40E, 2nd Lt. Chipman, George A, #11,  16th PS at Karachi 31 Mar 42 There is every likely that it was a pre-war red/White/Blue Cockade, (CW-590, 51st FG, 16th FS).   Dove in to ground at Karachi Mar 31, 1942.

41-5591,  Curtiss P-40E, #12; (51st FG, 23rd FS) w/o Nov 9, 1942 on deferred landing in India

41-5628, Curtiss P-40E, (CW-648) w/o in crash landing with 51st FG, 16th FS May 20, 1942, La Cour, Edward J, fatal accident, based out of Karachi, India  accident occurred at Malir, India  )

41-5634, Curtiss P-40E, (CW-654) w/o in crash landing with 51st FG, 16th FS at Karachi May 17, 1942

41-5635, Curtiss P-40E,  #14, (CW-655) #14 has been destroyed in a takeoff accident 28 March (Lt.  Edward J LaCour not injured)

41-5636, Curtiss P-40E, (CW-656) w/o in taxiing accident with 51st FG, 16th FS Jun 26, 1942, Karachi

and 3 P-40E-1s (

41-24835, Curtiss P-40E-1, SOC Apr 7, 1942

41-24838, Curtiss P-40E-1, SOC Apr 7, 1942

41-24840, Curtiss P-40E-1, in belly landing at Agra, India after engine failure Dec 31, 1942, also incident by Reidy, Robert J, Cat 4 crash landing engine failure,  7 Oct 43, 10AF location Agra, India) )

The 16th FS history reports three P-40s assigned on 27 March 1942:

41-5570, #11;

41-5591, #12;

and 41-5635, #14.

Then on 10 April, 41-5558, #15, arrives from HQ, (CW-578, 51st FG, 23rd FS) lost Apr 28, 1943 near Takung Valley, Burma
Apr 28, 1943. By this time, #14 has been destroyed in a takeoff accident 28 March (Lt. LaCour not injured) and #11 has crashed 31 March (Lt. Chipman KIFA).
Photo of #14 after its crash, clearly shows it with the red center on its fuselage cockade. So I suspect you are correct in assuming that #11 had the same when it crashed three days later. Also, pictures show neither #12 nor #14 had its number painted on the radiator cowling. The same goes for #71, also visible in one shot.
Other P-40E/E-1s and a few P-40K were to come, came via the Atlantic /Accra West Africa, and ferried over the Middle East to India by both RAF and USAAF Pilots from April to July 42
Some of the pilots from the carrier, USS Ranger,

Horace C. Atkins,

Group Commander, Johnny Barr was first to fly off, Col. Barr came down with malaria on the trip and remained in Basra.

Earl C. Bishop, P-40, 41-36391 coded white 54, 26FS, 51FG,

Lyle T. Boley,

Charles H.(Hank) Colwell,

George M. Colarich,

Bill Crooks, former 54FG, pilot

Arthur W. Cruikshank,

Vernon Ellifritz,  John F. Coonan,

Toby Harrington, former 54FG, pilot, "I sat in my brand new P-40K, number 13 in line for takeoff from the USS Ranger. That #13 spot gained me one of the few new P-40K’s in the group. Colonel Johnny Barr was first in line. He was the only pilot in the group with previous carrier takeoff experience in a P-40. And, if my memory serves me correctly, our first several planes had maybe 380 feet of deck to work with. As I recall, 60 of our 68 aircraft eventually arrived in Karachi. One flight of six P-40’s bellied in to the African desert when they got caught in a sandstorm. All 68 of the pilots made it, however.

Robert L Liles, CO 18FS, 51FG

Lts Edward M. Nollmeyer, former 54FG, pilot

John Svennigsen,

John L. Yantis, Jr., former 54FG, pilot





Original photo taken by a Life Magazine photographer in 1942



Original photo taken by a Life Magazine photographer in 1942

May 9, 1942 -- Going through submarine pack. Sub contacts all around. Destroyers dropping depth charges left and right. Black smoke and oil slick observed where charges exploded. The night of May 9. A threat of attack by submarines created a lot of broken dishes as a result of an emergency turn at full speed by the carrier, and it became quite clear the Navy would be very agreeable to our launch if at all possible. We were some 150 miles from Accra, and it was decided that we would go. Weather was lousy, but flyable. Winds were in the 20 to 30 knot range and there I was, waiting for Colonel Barr to start his roll. I went over the checklist one more time.

After shakedown training, Macomb was assigned as escort for the USS Ranger, steaming by way of Trinidad to the Gold Coast of Africa where the carrier’s load of P-40 planes were flown off to land at Accra. All planes landed safely on 10 May 1942 and the group reversed course for Trinidad, British West Indies.

May 10, 1942 -- Approximately 80 miles off coast of Accra, Africa (headquarters of Africa-Middle East Wing). Commenced to launch P-40s at 0800. Last flight at 1715. Takeoffs were fairly good. The USS Ranger took 68 P-40E-1s across the Atlantic and launched them off the deck on May 10, 1942, 150 miles from Accra, where they began difficult ferry flights across Africa through the Middle East to fill up the 51st Fighter Group* in India and the 23rd FG in China. The squadron's mascot was a gaming rooster, and its insignia (designed by comic-strip artist Milton Caniff) was a fighting cock with a chip on its shoulder. As a trained group the squadron was dispatched to North Africa, but without their commander, who was hospitalized in a run-down state of exhaustion. Cochran had so badly overworked himself in shaping his squadron that he had a case of pre-combat combat fatigue!


Ferrying P-40s to West Africa

July 1, 1942 -- Loading up with Army (P-40) Warhawks (for the 57th Fighter Group ). Left Quonset Pt. heading south.

July 2, 1942 -- Reports of PBY (Catalina float plane) dropping depth charges on sub shadowing us.

July 4, 1942 -- USS Corry (DD) picked up 4 men on life raft. US Merchant sunk in West Indies. Rest of men lost.

July 11, 1942 -- A number of sub contacts during day. Depth charges dropped.

July 19, 1942 -- Launched P-40s (from about 100 miles out to Africa-Middle East Wing headquarters in Accra, British Gold Coast). 4 flights (72 planes). The 57th Fighter Group first took the P-40F-1 across the Atlantic on the USS Ranger, flying 72 Warhawks off the deck on July 19, 1942, to Accra and then in stages across Africa to Palestine. Their first mission supporting the British in Egypt was on August 9, 1942, and they fought in the Battle of El Alamein in October.



The P-40Fs on deck are probably 57FG, finished in desert pink (sand), the other groups were mainly 2-colour; some have the 57th's 2-digit numbers on lower cowlings.  The 4 scout planes ( SB2Us ? ) with them are from VS-42, designators are on the fuselage (should have been removed by June 1942 (Midway) ) ; early in the war "Ranger" had Air Groups 41/42 aboard, then later  she had AG9 ( for "Torch"). TBFs were replacing SB2Us on escort carriers from mid-1942; you can check the time-scale as they had 4-position wing insignia from June 1942-Feb. 1943 when top right and lower left were removed. That being stated leaves this open to the 325FG, P-40 except for paint schemes



Ferrying P-40s to Casablanca

1943 -- Anti-Sub, Air Operations, Ferrying

Jan 7, 1943 -- Loading up with P-40s once again plus 4 TBFs. (P-40Fs of the 325th FG share the USS Ranger's flight deck with a few of the flattop's SB2U Vindicators while on their way to North Africa

Jan 12, 1943 -- Rodman (DD) made sub contact. Dropped ash cans (depth charges).

Jan 13, 1943 -- Fitch (DD) made sub contact. Dropped ash cans.

Jan 17, 1943 -- Ellyson (DD) made sub contact in afternoon. Dropped ash cans.

Jan 19, 1943 -- Launching P-40s at 0910 (to Casablanca, Morocco). 6 flights (72 planes). The 325th, whose 72 P-40F-10s came from the Ranger on January 19, 1943. 

The 325th FG (317th, 318th and 319th FS) became available for 
combat during February 1943, the 325th flying off the Ranger - whose crew had now become very adept at handling 
and launching Army fighters. The new P-40Fs arrived at an appropriate time since the Afrika Korps,
 retreating into Tunisia, had met up with fresh German and Italian combat forces and had managed to 
blunt the forward thrust of the British Army



Plane numbered 90 on the lower cowling and named "Janie" was piloted by Robert J Palenscar, O-660187, 60FS, 33FG

flown off the USS Chenango. Just beyond it is 41-14365, Curtiss P-40F-5-CU Warhawk, Plane condemned due to mechanical failure Jun 17, 1944.


Source: http://funsite.unc.edu/hyperwar/AAF/II/AAF-II-4.html  (Page 130)

By the time of the conference, a shortage had also developed in P-40's. The 33d Group had brought with it two months' replacements (Spaatz recommended that all groups committed to an operation such as TORCH carry along at least the first month's replacements),121 but it had donated twenty-five planes to re-equip a French squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille,122 and its losses at Thelepte began to be heavy. Here the Ranger proved invaluable. Admiral King made the carrier available as a result of a plea from Eisenhower to the War Department in December: it ferried the air echelon of the 325th Group--seventy-five P-40's and pilots diverted from the Ninth Air Force--in mid-January, the planes landing at Cazes;123 at the Casablanca conference Arnold asked for its continued good offices, and it brought seventy-five P-40L replacements in February.124 However, out at Thelepte, the 33d Group, short of new pilots and down to thirteen aircraft by the 1st of February, had to be relieved in the midst of intensive operations.125

Feb 13, 1943 -- Loading up with P-40s. (Another source http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/ships/carriers/histories/cv04-ranger/cv04-ranger.html has Casablanca capitulated to the American invaders 11 November 1942 and Ranger departed the Moroccan coast 12 November, returning to Norfolk, Va., on the 23d. Following training in Chesapeake Bay, the carrier underwent overhaul in the Norfolk Navy Yard from 16 December 1942 to 7 February 1943. She next transported 75 P-40-L Army pursuit planes to Africa, arriving Casablanca on 23 February. The Ranger’s next trip brought the 79th Group the same way, arriving in Egypt by November 12. 


Feb 13, 1943 -- Left Norfolk at 1300. Rough sea, rolling and pitching.

Feb 16, 1943 -- Rodman (DD) made sub contact. No good.

Feb 23, 1943 -- Rodman made sub contact. Dropped ash cans. Two tin fish fired at us on our starboard bow. Missed.

Feb 24, 1943 -- Corry (DD) made sub contact and dropped 8 ash cans. Launched P-40s. Fitch made 2 sub contacts, dropped 16 ash cans.


Looking aft on USS Ranger flight deck during daily warming up of P-40s.

1943, 58FG led off the USS Ranger by Major Harold J.Whiteman 25 Feb, 1943,

note there is no yellow surround to the fuselage star




Note the American Flag painted on the fuselage.

The closest plane 42-10506, Curtiss P-40L-5-CU Warhawk, was flown

off the USS Ranger by Smith, Edwin A, 311FS, 58FG,  

it survived and was surveyed Rome AAF, NY Aug 31, 1944, immediately to its right

is Curtiss P-40L-5-CU Warhawk, 42-10578, details below



25 Feb 1943, Curtiss P-40L-5-CU Warhawk, 42-10578 was flown off the USS Ranger by Stewart, Glenn E

O-674421, 311FS, 58FG, 1AF. Pilot went to 59FS, 33FG. Plane to excess inventory list Mar 4, 1943


P-40 fighters, having just taken off from USS Ranger,  seen from 

USS Corry off the Gold Coast, Africa - February 1943.


Feb 25, 1943 -- Contacts during night. Launched all P-40s (to Casablanca).


58Th FG, the group's 75, P-40F's flew off the CV-4 Ranger on the 23 February 1943.  chapter 4 of ( Kupferer, Anthony J. No Glamor...No Glory! Story of the 58th Fighter Group of WWII. Dallas: Taylor, 1989)  "then per paragraph 22, special order number 37, Headquarters, AAB  Langley Field, Virginia, dated 11 February 1943, 74 pilots of the 58th Group were assigned shipment number AFA-219-A and further ordered to Norfolk, Virginia, upon arrival at Norfolk they would be verbally instructed to whom to report, the information being top secret. this was a permanent change of station. the method of transportation to be used was not disclosed in written orders, this too being secret information. the new address assigned to the personnel was APO 3672, c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y. the second part of the shipment, number AFA-219-b, was ordered to accompany the movement to the destination and, upon completion of the movement, to return to their home station. shipment 219-b consisted of three spare pilots, three maintenance officers,30 enlisted ground crewmen and three civilian technicians." the book has all names of the personal involved, even the serial numbers of the Curtis p-40L Warhawk involved in the trans-shipment and flight into North Africa.

The book describes the trip from Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. to Norfolk Naval Air Station where they were loaded aboard CV-4 Ranger and transported to North Africa off Casablanca, Morocco where they launched. They proceeded to Gazes airport, Casablanca, French Morocco.  Major Harold J. Whiteman led this group of seventy-five Curtis P-40F's of the 58th Fighter Group. The planes were transferred to the 33rd Fighter Group and the pilots used as replacement pilots for all  the Fighter Groups in North Africa. Some confusion comes because the 58th Fighter Group was almost immediately re-assigned to the Pacific Theatre.



Photo sent in by Greg Vaut, son of Bert A Vaut, 311FS, 58FG, 1AF, arrow over his head

Bert went to 33FG, 11 Aug 1943 after attending Fighter School N. Africa, possibly to NATC

(North African Training Command) at Mediouna airdrome, French Morocco, (Through March and April 1943,

General John Kenneth Cannon organized an air training command for the Mediterranean Theater and in May

became deputy commanding general of the Allied Tactical Air Force for the Sicilian campaign and the invasion of Italy.)

Twenty seven of the 311FS replacement Pilots on board the USS Ranger Feb 1943, Maj Harold Whiteman center in lighter shirt

and Capt Daly to his left ( viewer right) standing in front of Curtiss P-40L-5-CU Warhawk, 42-10523,

which was flown off the USS Ranger by Hollman, Joseph W, 311FS, 58FG

Following shakedown, Shamrock Bay remained on the west coast into June 1943 qualifying pilots in carrier landings. Then transferred to transport duty in the Atlantic, she carried Army fighter planes and Army and Navy personnel to Casablanca and brought back damaged P-40's for use in training and for salvage and aircraft engines for overhaul and salvage. Passengers on the return voyages were, for the most part, Army Air Corps personnel from the China-Burma-India theater.



Ferrying P-38s to Casablanca

Apr 21, 1944 -- Loading up with crated P-38 Lightnings

Apr 24, 1944 -- Left New York in pouring rain at 1730 with Card (CVE) loaded with P-38s.

May 4, 1944 -- Arrive at Casablanca 1550. Unloading planes. Sand storm on second day.

May 7, 1944 -- Left Casablanca at 1245. A few used planes and 6 German sub prisoners.






HMS Archer loaded with P-40's Note once again the American Flag painted on the fuselage forward of the Star.
During November 1942 33rd Operations Support Squadron 
(Jokers 33rd Operational Support Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Group)

The designation "Joker" was attached to the squadron in honor of a group of 35 lieutenants who under the leadership of Major Phil Cochran, provided "support" to the 33d Fighter Group during World War II. General Joseph K Cannon selected USAAF Major Philip Cochran to take charge of a group of 35 P-40s and their pilots, replacements for various squadrons already in Africa, to cross the Atlantic on a British carrier.

    Reportedly the P-40s were transferred by cranes to some sort of towed barge that had been equipped with launching mechanisms similar to those used on navy ships and, using this catapult system, the P-40s were flung into the air, with pilots who had zero training in this novel method. It was said that, miraculously, only four P-40s were lost to the Mediterranean, and the rest somehow survived the launch to land at an onshore airfield!

HMS Archer's service history includes Atlantic convoy escort from February to November 1942. On the 15 June 1942, a Swordfish from HMS Archer made history, as the first aeroplane to land on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. It was Swordfish V4653, piloted by Lt E Dixon-Child RN, accompanied by Sub Lt P Shaw RN and PO W Townson TAG.  The aircraft was searching for survivors from the torpedoed SS Lyle Park and was endeavouring to drop a message for transmission to the Admiralty. During November 1942, she ferried 30 P-40 Warhawks from USA to Casablanca,  then provided Atlantic convoy escort from December 1942 to October 1943. During this time one of her aircraft, a swordfish from 819 squadron, sank the German Uboat U-752 on 23 May 1943 with rockets in the North Atlantic.
Located in North Africa between November and December of 1942, the 58th, 59th, and 60th Fighter Squadrons of the 33d Fighter Group were re-supplied with aircraft and pilots through the efforts of the "J" Squadron. The lieutenants of the "J" Squadron were also the first to catapult their P-40 Warhawks from the deck of the British flattop the HMS Archer and recover them in Casablanca. Archer had a rather troubled history and the trial period was very extensive. Her engines were a continual source of problems and had to undertake major repairs in 1943. Archer eventually entered service in May 1943, but after just two missions was 'reduced to care and maintenance' (one mission was with Swordfish of 819 Squadron and Martlets (US Wildcats) of 892 Squadron on deck.) as new defects appeared and were deemed too great to be worth repairing. In 1943 she was used as a stores hulk at Gare Loch, then as an accommodation hulk after 16 March 1944. She was repaired again and transferred to Ministry of War Transport on 3 August 1944 as the aircraft ferry Empire Lagan.


TUESDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 1942, NW AFRICA (Twelfth Air Force):72 P-40s of the 33d Fighter Group, 
catapulted from the US auxiliary aircraft carrier USS Chenango (ACV-28), 
land in Port Lyautey. 
American operations in the area greatly increased with Operation TORCH on 8 November 1942.
 A P-40 unit, the 33rd FG, was carried aboard the USS Chenango (Her conversion complete, she was 
recommissioned as ACV-28, 19 September 1942. Carrying Army aircraft, CHENANGO sailed 23 October 
with the assault force bound for North Africa and, on 10 November, flew off her aircraft to newly won Port Lyautey, 
French Morocco. She put to Casablanca 13 November to refuel 21 destroyers before returning to Norfolk 
30 November 1942, battling through a hurricane en route which caused extensive damage.) and launched on the 10th 
and 12th of the month. The short lived fighting was already over but the P-40 ran into 
disaster that had nothing to do with the enemy. As the US Navy had found to their cost, 
most landing areas in the combat zone were treacherous and in poor condition, 
the soil content being porous and very soft. During the two days, 77 P-40s of the 
33rd launched from the Chenango and ran into a thick bank of fog with one P-40 
being immediately lost. No less than 17 more were either destroyed or damaged in ground 
loops or turned over during landing. The decimated group was reinforced by 35 P-40s 
flown off HMS Archer.








Picture source: http://www.ckdeco.com/aircraft/photos.html


The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/ships/carriers/histories/cv04-ranger/cv04-ranger.html) Steaming to Quonset Point, R.I., Ranger loaded 68 Army P-40 planes and men of the Army's (33d Pursuit Squadron, NOT 33PG it should read the 51st Fighter Group* in India and the 23rd FG in China.)  put to sea 22 April, and launched the Army squadron 10 May to land at Accra, on the Gold Coast of Africa. She returned to Quonset Point 28 May 1942, made a patrol to Argentia, then stood out of Newport 1 July with 72 Army P-40 pursuit planes, ( 57th Fighter Group) which she launched off the coast of Africa for Accra the 19th. After calling at Trinidad, she returned to Norfolk for local battle practice until 1 October, then based her training at Bermuda in company with four escort aircraft carriers that had been newly converted from tankers to meet the need for naval air power in the Atlantic.
The only large carrier in the Atlantic Fleet, Ranger led the task force comprising herself and four Sangamon-class escort carriers that provided air superiority during the amphibious invasion of German dominated French Morocco which commenced the morning of 8 November 1942



Mitchel Field, NY, 15 Jan 1941; Philadelphia, Pa, 13 Dec 1941-Oct 1942; 

SUNDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 1942, EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO) Twelfth Air Force: Following a series of command changes between 16 and 27 Sep, Brigadier General Thomas W Blackburn becomes Commanding General XII Fighter Command. The War Department assigns to the XII Air Support Command the units which are to constitute its force for the invasion of N Africa: the 5th Bombardment Wing [47th Bombardment Group (Light) and 68th Observation Group], the 7th Fighter Wing (33d and 81st Fighter Groups), and 10 signal, service, and engineer units of various sizes.


Port Lyautey, French Morocco, 10 Nov 1942; 

The western task force, led by Maj. Gen. George S. Patton and composed of Americans, landed near Casablanca. Meeting stiff resistance, Patton's forces failed initially to capture the crucial airfield at Port Lyautey. But when that objective finally fell on November 10, P-40 aircraft from XII Air Support Command catapulted off the deck of the carrier USS Chenango and rushed to Port Lyautey. When they discovered a heavily damaged main runway that precluded air operations, some airmen got into the fight as assault infantry and others ran convoys of gasoline.

TUESDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 1942, NW AFRICA (Twelfth Air Force):72 P-40s of the 33d Fighter Group, catapulted from the US auxiliary aircraft carrier USS Chenango (ACV-28), land in Port Lyautey; the 91st and 93d Fighter Squadrons, 81st Fighter Group, arrive at Port Lyautey from the US with P-39s.

Casablanca, French Morocco, c. 13 Nov 1942;

FRIDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 1942, NW AFRICA (Twelfth Air Force): In French Morocco, HQ 33d Fighter Group moves from Port Lyautey to Casablanca. 


Telergma, Algeria, 24 Dec 1942; 

THURSDAY, 24 DECEMBER 1942 (CHRISTMAS EVE) WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force): HQ 33d Fighter Group transfers from French Morocco to Telergma, Algeria.

MONDAY, 4 JANUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force):The Luftwaffe sends six Ju 88s with Bf 109 cover to attack the Thelepte, Tunisia airfield; they are intercepted by five P-40s of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group which shoot down one Ju 88 and one Bf 109.

WEDNESDAY, 6 JANUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force): The 60th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group, with P-40s, moves from Telergma to Youks-les-Bains, Algeria.

THURSDAY, 7 JANUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force), An Allied Air Force General Order makes the USAAF Twelfth Air Force responsible for air support of US ground forces in North Africa and the RAF Eastern Air Command responsible for support of the British First Army. However, units are to be placed under operational control of the other as the situation might dictate.


Thelepte, Tunisia, 7 Jan 1943; HQ 33d Fighter Group moves from Telergma, Algeria to Thelepte, Tunisia.

FRIDAY, 8 JANUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force), The 59th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group moves with its P-40s from Casablanca, French Morocco to Thelepte, Tunisia.

SUNDAY, 10 JANUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force), One P-40, flown by Major Philip Cochran, CO of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group, bombs and demolishes the Hotel Splendida, the German HQ in Kairouan.

FRIDAY, 15 JANUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force) Nine Ju 88s escorted by four Mc 202s attack Thelepte Airfield; eight Ju 88s are shot down by P-40s of the 33d Fighter Group; AA gets the ninth Ju 88.

SUNDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force) The 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group with P-40s transfers from Thelepte, Tunisia to Telergma, Algeria.


Youks-les-Bains, Algeria, 8 Feb 1943;

MONDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force), HQ 33d Fighter Group transfers from Thelepte, Tunisia to Youks-les- Bains, Algeria for R&R. The group is short of pilots and has only 13 P-40Fs left after continuous combat since Nov 42. The group's 3 squadrons, the 58th, 59th and 60th Fighter Squadrons, all transfer this week.

WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 1943,WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force) The 59th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group with P-40s transfers from Thelepte, Tunisia to Youks-les-Bains, Algeria.

SATURDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force): The 59th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group with P-40s transfers from Thelepte, Tunisia to Youks-les-Bains, Algeria.


Telergma, Algeria, c. 20 Feb 1943;

WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Twelfth Air Force): The Twelfth Air Force and other organizations of the Allied Air Force are transferred to the North African Air Force (NAAF) which supplants the Allied Air Force. NAAF, in turn, becomes part of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC), a new air command which comes into existence on this date with RAF Air Chief Marshall Arthur Tedder as commander. MAC also includes the RAF Middle East Air Command (later RAF, Middle East) and the RAF Malta Air Command (later RAF, Malta). The Commanding General of NAAF is General Carl Spaatz, USAAF. The two airfields at Thelepte, with 124 operational aircraft on the, are abandoned because of the German advance. Eighteen unflyable aircraft are burned after 60,000 gallons (227,100 liters) of aviation fuel are poured on them, The 60th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group with P-40s transfers from Youks-les-Bains, Algeria to Telergma, Algeria.

(They appear to have changed from the P-40F to the P-40L on or about 18th thru 27th February 1943)

Source: http://homepage.mac.com/techase/LRC/febr43.jpg

SATURDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (North African Air Force) HQ 33d Fighter Group transfers from Youks-les-Bains, Algeria to Telergma, Algeria.


Berteaux, Algeria, c. 2 Mar 1943; 

TUESDAY, 2 MARCH 1943, HQ 33d Fighter Group and it's 58th, 59th and 60th Fighter Squadrons with P-40s transfer from Telergma, Algeria to Berteaux, Algeria.

SATURDAY, 20 MARCH 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), A detachment of the 59th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group based at Berteaux, Algeria with P-40's begins operating from Thelepte, Tunisia.

The 33rd FG, 60th FS flew 2 missions that day in P-40Ls one a fighter sweep the other Bombing and strafing. source http://homepage.mac.com/techase/LRC/april43pt1.jpg

(Rommel's offensive began to lose its thrust, and as he retreated towards Tunis, both units were actively engaged. Only the 31 FG made claims by mid-March: Captain E. G. Johnson damaged a FW-190 on the 3rd; Lieutenant Collinsworth destroyed a FW-190 on the 8th; Lieutenant A. A. Davis downed one FW and damaged another on the 12th, the same day Lieutenant Mosby damaged a FW-190; and Lieutenant Cobb claimed a ME-109 three days later. Surprisingly, Cobb observed the enemy aircraft crash land, and the enemy pilot, wearing khaki shorts, got out and waved. The Spitfire victories were again not without loss, however, as at least five Spits were destroyed, and Lieutenants Thomas and Mitchell were killed. On 20 March, Lieutenant Barber was forced to crash-land because of several ME-109s; however, the tide began to turn in favor of the Allies. The 31 FG's turn came on 21 March when they encountered numerous Ju-87 Stuka dive-bombers with ME-109 escorts. The result was four Stukas shot down and four damaged, and one ME-109 damaged. One Spit flown by Lieutenant Langberg was lost. He bailed out, was captured by Italian troops, but then was released and returned on the 23rd)

Ebba Ksour, Tunisia, c. 12 Apr 1943; 

MONDAY, 12 APRIL 1943,  HQ 33d Fighter Group and it's 59th and 60th Fighter Squadrons with P- 40's transfer from Berteaux, Algeria to Ebba Ksour, Tunisia. The 59th has been operating from Thelepte, Tunisia since 20 Mar.

TUESDAY, 13 APRIL 1943, The 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group with P-40's transfers from Berteaux, Algeria to Ebba Ksour, Tunisia.

Menzel Temime, Tunisia, 20 May 1943; 

THURSDAY, 20 MAY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), HQ 33d Fighter Group and it's 59th Fighter Squadron transfer with P-40's from Ebba Ksour, Tunisia to Menzel Temime, Tunisia.

SATURDAY, 22 MAY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), The 60th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Ebba Ksour, Tunisia to Menzel Termime, Tunisia.

MONDAY, 7 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force) The 99th Fighter Squadron, XII Air Support Command attached to the 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Oued N'ja, French Morocco to Fardjouna, Tunisia


Sousse, Tunisia, 9 Jun 1943; 

THURSDAY, 10 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), The 60th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Menzel Temime, Tunisia to Sousse, Tunisia.


Pantelleria, 19 Jun 1943;

FRIDAY, 18 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), The 59th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Sousse, Tunisia to Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean.

SATURDAY, 19 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), HQ 33d Fighter Group transfers from Sousse, Tunisia to Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean.

MONDAY, 21 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), The 60th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Sousse, Tunisia to Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean.

MONDAY, 28 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), The 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Menzel Temime, Tunisia to Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean.


Licata, Sicily, c. 18 Jul 1943; 

SUNDAY, 18 JULY 1943, HQ 33d Fighter Group transfers from Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean to Licata, Sicily.


Paestum, Italy, 13 Sep 1943; Santa Maria, Italy, 18 Nov 1943; Cercola, Italy, c. 1 Jan-Feb 1944; Karachi, India, c. 20 Feb 1944; Shwangliu, China, c. 18 Apr 1944; Pungchacheng, China, 9 May 1944; Nagaghuli, India, 3 Sep 1944; Sahmaw, Burma, 26 Dec 1944; Piardoba, India, 5 May-c. 15 Nov 1945; Camp Shanks, NY, 7-8 Dec 1945. Neubiberg, Germany, 20 Aug 1946; Bad Kissingen, Germany, Jul-25 Aug 1947; Andrews Field, Md, 25 Aug 1947; Roswell AAFld, NM, 16 Sep 1947; Otis AFB, Mass, 16 Nov 1948-6 Feb 1952. Otis AFB, Mass, 18 Aug 1955-.

59th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Group:

P-40L, 210511, (42-10511, condemned salvage Feb 5, 1944) note the large American Flag this maybe due to the ill feeling harboured by the French in Tunisia against the British for sinking their ships. The plane and pilot where  part of the 58FG, fly-off, of 25 February 1943, piloted by 2nd Lt. Otis B. Thornton. 




41-14378, Curtiss P-40F-5-CU Warhawk

(Numbered 20 on the lower cowl) when flown off the USS Chenango,

condemned inventory Jul 8, 1944
Lt. Bill Day 


Tail Codes do not seem to be present but later where

EG - 58 FS: 58th Fighter Squadron
EG - 59 FS: 59th Fighter Squadron
EG - 60 FS: 60th Fighter Squadron


The book "Twelfth Air Force Story" by Kenn C. Rust Has the following Paragraph about the 33rd Fighter Gp Markings, I quote: At first, the Curtiss P-40F's and L's of the 33rd Group carried no group or squadron markings. From April 1943, however, tail markings in a squadron color were prescribed but not necessarily applied. They were: red spinners and tail bands for the 58th Squadron, white tail lines for the 59th, and yellow tail lines for the 60th.(Although in any photos I have been able to find , no tail bands have been in evident. )

(They appear to have changed from the P-40F to the P-40L on or about 18th thru 27th February 1943)


Jan. 15, 1943: The 33d Fighter Group received the Distinguished Unit Citation for its defense of the Thelepte

airdrome on this date. Nine German JU-88 Stukas, escorted by four MC-202’s, attacked the field. Patrolling aircraft

attacked the formation, driving off the escorts. On the ground, P-40 pilots took off amidst the bombardment

and engaged the enemy. Outnumbered more than two to one, they shot down eight JU-88s, with the remaining

bomber was taken out by anti-aircraft guns. Capt. Carmen B. Boone from the 59th Fighter Squadron recorded four kills in the dogfight.

Source for following: http://homepage.mac.com/techase/LRC/33rd%20History/33rd_history.html

Commanders. Maj Minthorne W Reed, c. Jan 1941; Col Elwood R Quesada, 7 Oct 1941; Col William W Momyer, 29 Jun 1942; Col Loring F Stetson Jr, 17 Oct 1943; Lt Col Oliver G Cellini, 7 Jun 1944; Col David D Terry Jr, 9 Sep 1944; Col Frank L Dunn, 2 Mar 1945-unkn. Col Barton M Russell, 20 Aug 1946; Lt Col Albert A Cory, unkn; Col Gwen G Atkinson, Jan 1948; Lt Col Woodrow W Korges, c. May 1949; Col Charles H MacDonald, c. Aug 1949; Col Harrison R Thyng, 15 Jun 1950; Lt Col Willard W Millikan, c. Aug 1951-6 Feb 1952. Col Fred G Hook Jr, 1955-.

Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; India-Burma; China Defensive; Central Burma.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Central Tunisia, 15 Jan 1943.


99th Fighter Squadron

Tuskegee Airmen, P-40

Command of the 99th went to Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and he and his unit were carefully instructed in the art of P-40 combat by none other than Phil Cochran, COof the 58FS/33FG

Source for following: http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/squadrons_flights_pages/0099fts.asp

99 Flying Training Squadron and the WWII 99th Fighter Squadron Badges

Constituted 99 Pursuit Squadron on 19 Mar 1941. Activated on 22 Mar 1941. Redesignated: 99 Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942; 99 Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 28 Feb 1944. Inactivated on 1 Jul 1949. Redesignated 99 Flying Training Squadron on 29 Apr 1988. Activated on 1 Jul 1988. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1993. Activated on 14 May 1993.
Army Air Corps, 22 Mar 1941; Air Corps Technical Training Command, 26 Mar 1941; Southeast Air Corps (later, Southeast Army Air Forces) Training Center, 5 Nov 1941 (attached to III Fighter Command, 19 Aug 1942-c. 2 Apr 1943); Twelfth Air Force, 24 Apr 1943; XII Air Support (later, XII Tactical Air) Command, 28 May 1943 (attached to 33 Fighter Group, 29 May 1943; 324 Fighter Group, c. 29 Jun 1943; 33 Fighter Group, 19 Jul 1943; 79 Fighter Group, 16 Oct 1943; 324 Fighter Group, 1 Apr-6 Jun 1944); 332 Fighter Group, 1 May 1944 (attached to 86 Fighter Group, 11-30 Jun 1944); 477 Composite Group, 22 Jun 1945; 332 Fighter Group, 1 Jul 1947-1 Jul 1949. 82 Flying Training Wing, 1 Jun 1988; 82 Operations Group, 15 Dec 1991-1 Apr 1993. 12 Operations Group, 14 May 1993-.
Chanute Field, IL, 22 Mar 1941; Maxwell Field, AL, 5 Nov 1941; Tuskegee, AL, 10 Nov 1941-2 Apr 1943; Casablanca, French Morocco, 24 Apr 1943; Qued N'ja, French Morocco, 

29 Apr 1943; Fardjouna, Tunisia, SATURDAY, 24 APRIL 1943, The 99th Fighter Squadron, Twelfth Air Force with P-40's arrives at Casablanca, French Morocco from the U.S. The 99th is the first black USAAF unit to serve overseas.

7 Jun 1943; Licata, WEDNESDAY, 9 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), Fighters, and medium and heavy bombers of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) continue pounding Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean in predawn hours and during the afternoon. The first aerial combat for the 99th took place on the 9th of June, 1943: A flight of 6 P-40s were maintaining top cover for a formation of A-20 Havocs that were on their way to bomb targets in Pantelleria. Four BF 109s were spotted by the Tuskegee Airmen; as the enemy fighters came in to attack the Havoc formation, the 99th’s pilots turned into their attackers. A fierce aerial tumult took place, with exchanges of fire from both sides. However, on this particular occasion, there were no losses to either side. The 99th had had it’s first introduction to combat, successfully repelling enemy attempts to down any medium bombers and surely saving the dozen A-20s from losing any of their number.

MONDAY, 7 JUNE 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force) The 99th Fighter Squadron, XII Air Support Command attached to the 33d Fighter Group transfers with P-40's from Oued N'ja, French Morocco to Fardjouna, Tunisia.

WEDNESDAY, 9 JUNE 1943,WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force) Fighters, and medium and heavy bombers of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) continue pounding Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean in predawn hours and during the afternoon.

Sicily, 28 Jul 1943; 

WEDNESDAY, 28 JULY 1943, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN (Northwest African Air Force), The 99th Fighter Squadron, XII Air Support Command, transfers from Fardjouna, Tunisia to Licata, Sicily with P-40's.

Termini, Sicily, 4 Sep 1943; 

Barcellona, Sicily, 17 Sep 1943; 

Foggia, Italy, 17 Oct 1943; 

Madna, Italy, 22 Nov 1943; 

Capodichino, Italy, 16 Jan 1944; Cercola, Italy, 2 Apr 1944; Pignataro, Italy, 10 May 1944; Ciampino, Italy, 11 Jun 1944; Orbetello, Italy, 17 Jun 1944; Ramitelli, Italy, 6 Jul 1944; Cattolica, Italy, c. 5 May-Jun 1945; Godman Field, KY, 22 Jun 1945; Lockbourne AAB (later, AFB), OH, 13 Mar 1946-1 Jul 1949. Williams AFB, AZ, 1 Jun 1988-1 Apr 1993. Randolph AFB, TX, 14 May 1993-.


Capt Harold R. Maddux, 22 Mar 1941; 2 Lt Clyde H. Bynum, 10 Nov 1941; Capt Alonzo S. Ward, 6 Dec 1941; 1 Lt George S. Roberts, 1 Jun 1942; Lt Col Benjamin O. Davis Jr., 22 Aug 1942; Maj George S. Roberts, 2 Sep 1943; Capt Erwin B. Lawrence Jr., 13 Apr 1944; Maj George S. Roberts, 1 Sep 1944; Capt Alfonso W. Davis, 20 Oct 1944; Maj William A. Campbell, 29 Oct 1944; Unknown, Jun-22 Jun 1945; Capt Wendell M. Lucas, 22 Jun 1945; Maj William A. Campbell, 3 Jul 1945; Capt Melvin T. Jackson, Jul 1947; Capt Marion R. Rodgers, Apr 1948-1 Jul 1949. Lt Col Johnny Jarnagin, 1 Jul 1988; Lt Col Stephen T. Fenton, 5 Jun 1990; Lt Col James M. Bower, 17 Jul 1992-1 Apr 1993. Lt Col Michael K. Davis, 14 May 1993; Lt Col Scott E. Wuestoff, 14 Jul 1995; Lt Col Joseph F. Barron, 19 Jul 1996; Lt Col Steven C. Waters, 26 Jun 1998; Lt Col James B. Kotowski, 24 Apr 2000; Lt Col Donald R. Simpson, 30 Apr 2001; Lt Col Randall W. Gibb, 10 Dec 2002; Lt Col James A. Garrett, 14 Jun 2004-.

The 33rd Fighter Group, also known as the "The Fighting Nomads." However, because of the tactics they were forced adopt to deal with superior Luftwaffe forces, parts of the unit became known as the "Red Scarf Guerillas." The group gained notoriety also for being led for a time by Phil Cochran, who served as the prototype hero for the "Terry and the Pirates" comic strip. Cochran dubbed Levi Chase his "One-Man Wave of Terror" for his aggressive and relentless pursuit and attack of enemy targets.


P-40, 1943-1944; P-39, 1944; P-51, 1944-1945; P-47, 1944, 1945-1949. T-38, 1988-1993; 1993-; T-1, 1993-.


Organized as the first African-American flying unit in the Air Corps. Earned three Distinguished Unit Citations in World War II. Combat in Mediterranean and European theaters of operation (MTO and ETO), 2 Jun 1943-30 Apr 1945. Undergraduate pilot training, 1988-1993; 1993-.

Service Streamers. World War II American Theater

Campaign Streamers. World War II: Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley; Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe; Air Combat, EAME Theater.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Sicily, [Jun-Jul] 1943; Cassino, 12-14 May 1944; Germany, 24 Mar 1945. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Apr 1991-31 Mar 1993; 14 May-30 Jun 1993; 1 Jul 1993-30 Jun 1994; 1 Jul 1995-30 Jun 1996; 1 Jul 1996-30 Jun 1998; 1 Jul 1998-30 Jun 2000; 1 Jul 2002-30 Jun 2004.