31st Fighter Group

31fg.org is a project of the Army Air Corps Library and Museum. Volunteers are transcribing servicemen names and their awards from General Orders that we are publishing on this website for enthusiasts, families and researchers of genealogy and World War II history. The names on this honor roll of men assigned to the 31st Fighter Group is not a complete list of all who served with the 31st, however, we are attempting to locate as many documents that have survived as possible. Sources of material include the US National Archives, Air Force Historical Research Agency and the records donated by individual servicemen and their families. We hope you will find this information useful and enjoyable. We are accepting volunteers help in this very large World War II project as we preserve this history and honor service.

Redesignated 31st Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to England, May-June 1942. Assigned to Eighth Air Force and equipped with Spitfires. Entered combat in August 1942. Supported a raid made by Canadian, British, American, and French forces at Dieppe on 19 August. Escorted bombers and flew patrol and diversionary missions until Oct. Assigned to Twelfth Air Force for the invasion of North Africa, the pilots of the group flying Spitfires from Gibraltar to Algeria on 8 November 1942 and the ground echelon landing at Arzeu beach the same day. Attacked motor transports, gun positions, and troop concentrations during the three-day campaign for Algeria and French Morocco.

Helped to defeat Axis forces in Tunisia by supporting ground troops and providing cover for bomber and fighter aircraft. During May and June 1943, provided escort for bombers on raids to Pantelleria and cover for naval convoys in the Mediterranean. Supported the landings on Sicily in July and took part in the conquest of that island. Covered the landings at Salerno early in Sep 1943 and at Anzio in Jan 1944. Also operated in close support of Allied ground forces in Italy and flew patrol and escort missions.

Assigned to 15th A.F. in Apr 1944, converted to P-51's, and thereafter engaged primarily in escort work. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission on 21 Apr 1944 when the group, despite the severe weather that was encountered, provided cover for a force of heavy bombers during a raid on production centers in Rumania. On numerous other occasions escorted bombers that attacked objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

Provided escort for reconnaissance aircraft and for C-47's engaged in the airborne operation connected with the invasion of Southern France. Also flew strafing missions against airdromes and communications targets. Took part in an operation in which a task force from Fifteenth AF attacked targets in Rumania while flying to Russia on 22 July 1944 and while returning to Italy on 26 July after escorting B-17's from a base in Ukraine for a raid on an airdrome in Poland, the 31st group made attacks on a convoy of German trucks and on a force of German fighter-bombers, being awarded a DUC for its performance.

Strafed rail and highway traffic in northern Italy in Apr 1945 when Allied forces were engaged in their final offensive in that area. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

WW2 Commanders

Col John R Hawkins, 1 Jul 1941
Col Fred M Dean, 5 Dec 1942
Lt Col Frank A Hill, c. Jul 1943
Col Charles M McCorkle, c. Sep 1943
Col Yancey S Tarrant, 4 Jul 1944
Col William A Daniel, Dec 1944

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