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52nd Operations Group (52 OG)

The 52nd Operations Group oversees the day to day flight operations and related support for the 52nd Fighter Wing. The 52nd Operations Group consists of 2 flying squadrons, the 480th and 81st Fighter Squadrons, the 606th Air Control Squadron, and the 52nd Operations Support Squadron.

The 52nd Operations Group was established as 52nd Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 November 1940 and was activated on 16 January 1941 at Selfridge Field, Michigan. Between January 1941 and June 1942, trained and participated in maneuvers, moving from Selfridge Field to Norfolk, Virginia in December 1941, then back to Selfridge Field in January 1942. The unit deployed to Florence, South Carolina in February 1942, then to Wilmington, North Carolina in April 1942, and then to Grenier Field, New Hampshire in June 1942. During this period, the unit was redesignated as the 52nd Fighter Group on 15 May 1942

In July 1942, the Group deployed to the United Kingdom to participate in the Second World War. The Group trained with the Royal Air Force as part of Eighth Air Force and flew missions from England to France during August and September 1942.

Group pilots flew Spitfires from Gibraltar to Algeria during the invasion of North Africa on 8 November 1942. The remainder of the Group arrived by ship after the campaign had ended. The Group then operated as part of Twelfth Air Force through April 1944, thereafter part of Fifteenth Air Force, serving in combat in the Mediterranean until the end of the war. In that theater elements of the Group flew escort, patrol, strafing, and reconnaissance missions to help defeat Axis forces in Tunisia. In Sicily, it attacked railroads, highways, bridges, coastal shipping, and other targets to support the Allied operations. Having converted to P-51s between April and May 1944, the group escorted bombers that attacked objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 9 June 1944, when the group protected bombers that struck aircraft factories, communications centers, and supply lines in Germany. The Group also flew one of the first shuttle missions to Russia, between 4 and 6 August 1944, and received a second Distinguished Unit Citation for strafing attacks on a landing field in Romania on 31 August 1944, destroying a large number of enemy fighter and transport planes. On 24 March 1945, the Group's aircraft took part in the longest escort mission ever flown in Europe, a 1,600 mile round-trip to Berlin. The Group was subsequently inactivated on 7 November 1945 at the end of the Second World War.

The unit was redesignated as the 52nd Fighter Group (All Weather) on 18 October 1946 and was reactivated on 9 November 1946 assigned to the 64th Fighter Wing based at Schweinfurt, Germany. There it served as an all-weather fighter group before moving to the US and assuming an air defense role in 1947 first as part of XII Tactical Air Command and then as part of Air Defense Command flying first the P-61 and then the F-82 aircraft. Between 1950 and 1951, the Group converted from the F-82 to the F-94 aircraft. After returning from Germany, the unit was based at Mitchel Field, New York on 25 June 1947, and then at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. During this period, the unit was redesignated as the 52nd Fighter Group, All Weather on 10 May 1948, as the 52nd Fighter-All Weather Group on 20 January 1950, and then as the 52nd Fighter-Interceptor Group on 1 May 1951, before being inactivated on 6 February 1952.

The unit was redesignated as the 52nd Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 June 1955 and activated on 18 August 1955 at Suffolk County Air Force base, New York. There the unit was tasked with air defense and anti-submarine warfare missions flying F-86, F-102, and then F-101 aircraft assigned to various air defense wings, before finally being assinged to the New York Air Defense Sector. The unit was discontinued and inactivated on 1 July 1963. The unit was briefly reactivated at Suffolk County Air Force Base flying the F-4 aircraft from 30 September 1968 to 31 December 1969.

The unit was redesignated as the 52nd Tactical Fighter Group on 17 February 1970 and activated on 1 April 1971 at Erding Air Station, Germany. There it it provided logistical and administrative support to Seventeenth Air Force's deployed and attached elements, but did not have any tactical elements of its own. The Group was inactivated again on 31 July 1972.

The unit was redesignated as the 52nd Operations Group on 1 March 1992 and activated on 31 March 1992 at Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany. The activation was part of the conversion of units to the objective wing structure and the 52nd Operations Group assumed responsibility of the 52nd Fighter Wing's operational squadrons. During the 1990s, the units under the Group's control supported no-fly zone operations over Bosnia and northern Iraq and combat operations against Serbia during Operation Allied Force in 1999.

After the events of the 11 September 2001, the elements assigned to the 52nd Operations Group supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, deploying combat and support elements in support of US and NATO missions.

On 18 June 2013, the 81st Fighter Squadron was inactivated at Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany. The inactivation was the product of fiscal constraints stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011, and reduced defense funding outlined in the 2013 presidential budget, which required the Air Force to develop a strategic vision for future operations. The 52nd Fighter Wing subsequently employed only the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, a multipurpose fighter, as opposed to the A-10s previously operated by the 81st Fighter Squadron, which provided only close-air support to ground forces.

Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group (Det 1, 52 OG)

The mission of Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group is to foster bilateral defense ties, enhance regional security, and increase interoperability among NATO allies through combined training exercises with periodic rotational aircraft. The detachment is located at Lask Air Base, south of the city of Ldz, Poland.

On 13 June 2011, the United States and Poland signed a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a US Air Force aviation detachment in Poland. Aviation Detachment personnel, who began arriving in October 2012, were to be stationed in Poland on a continual basis. Together with a rotational deployment of US military aircraft beginning in 2013, they would form the basis of an enduring partnership. The goal of this increased cooperation between the United States and Polish Air Forces was to strengthen interoperability as NATO Allies through regular combined training exercises and military-to-military engagement. The detachment was initially authorized 10 personnel, with up to 200 visiting airmen to also deploy to conduct quarterly training rotations.

Four annual aircraft rotations would primarily consist of F-16 or C-130 aircraft, which would conduct a minimum of 2 weeks of flying per rotation. Two of the 4 rotations were intended to be with US Air Force F-16 aircraft. As of 8 November 2012, US and Polish officials continued to work on implementing arrangements, which would further detail the cooperation, such as coordinating the objectives for each rotation. The men and women of both the US and Polish Air Forces would benefit from participation in bilateral and multinational training exercises, which would also support meeting NATO requirements and enhance collective security.

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Page last modified: 18-06-2013 17:18:04 ZULU