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20th Operations Group
20 Operations Gp.jpg
Emblem of the 20th Operations Group
Active 1930–1945; 1946–1955; 1992–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

General Dynamics F-16CJ Block 50D (91-0380) of the 55th Fighter Squadron returns to the parking ramp after another local training mission

F-16CJ Block 50C (91-0347) from the 77th Fighter Squadron

The 20th Operations Group (20 OG) is a component of the 20th Fighter Wing, assigned to the United States Air Force Air Combat Command. It is stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.

The 20th Operations Group is a successor organization of the 20th Pursuit Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the US Army before World War II.

During World War II the 20th Fighter Group was an Eighth Air Force fighter unit stationed in England. Assigned to RAF Kings Cliffe in 1943. It was the oldest USAAF group to be assigned to the Eighth Air Force for an extended period, flying 312 combat missions. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a sweep over Germany on 8 April 1944.

Overview[]

The 20th Operations Group is the flying component of the 20th Fighter Wing. The unit employs approximately 80 F-16CJ fighter aircraft in a mission-ready, multi-role capability to mobilize, deploy and tactically employ forces worldwide for any contingency in support of US national objectives. It is responsible for providing the people and resources necessary for conventional air-to-surface, air superiority, suppression of enemy air defenses, destruction of enemy air defenses and maritime operations.

Assigned units[]

The 20th OG flies the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon. Its tail code is "SW", and consists of the following squadrons:

Organized on 9 August 1917. The "Fighting Fifty-fifth" has been awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, World War I Theater of Operations and World War II American Service Streamers, Air Combat European, Africa, Middle Eastern, Air Offensive Europe, and the Liberation and Defense of Kuwait Campaign Streamers.
Organized on 20 February 1918. In February 2003, the squadron deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
First activated in February 1918. In June 1999, the 79th deployed F-16CJs in support of Operation Allied Force to a bare base in Southwest Asia.
  • 20th Operations Support Squadron, “Mustangs”
First organized on 25 January 1943, as the 20th Airdrome Squadron. The squadron is responsible for all airfield activities and associated support of the 20th Fighter Group's fighter missions.

History[]

For additional history and lineage, see 20th Fighter Wing

A P-12B of the 55th Pursuit Squadron. The squadron insignia at the time was a medium blue circle with a yellow surround, on which was superimposed a yellow swastika. This was the squadron insignia until 4 May 1932.

Origins[]

P-26As of the 20th Pursuit Group, 13 May 1938

20th Pursuit Group P-36s at Moffett Field, California, 1939

P-38 Lightnings from the 20th Fighter Group in formation over France, 29 June 1944

The 20th Balloon Group was authorized as an inactive element of the Department of the Army Air Arm on 18 October 1917. It was redesignated as the 20th Pursuit Group in 1929 and activated on 15 November 1930 at Mather Field, California and consisted of the 71st Service Squadron (the administrative and support element of the group) and initially two flying squadrons:

The 20th flew Boeing P-12 single-seat, biplane fighters which featured two .30 caliber machine guns, an open cockpit, a 500 horsepower (370 kW) Pratt and Whitney engine, and a top speed of 180 miles per hour.

Upon activation, the group welcomed the arrival of the first of many famous airmen to grace its ranks. Major Clarence L. Tinker, its first commander, led the group until 13 October 1932. Major Tinker, part Osage Indian, gained fame as Major General Tinker, World War II Commander of the Seventh Air Force in the Pacific Theater. Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, was named in his honor a year after his death during the Battle of Midway in 1942.

On 15 May 1931 the 20th PG made a cross-country trip while going on maneuvers. These maneuvers were part of the first of its kind for the Air Corps. “The Great Air Armada” put on shows in Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Washington, DC. The maneuvers consisted of all Air Corps aircraft with the exception of basic trainers, around 640 aircraft.

The Group remained at Mather Field for a little less than two years until 15 October 1932. On that date an advance party of more than 200 officers, enlisted men, and their dependents, under the command of Captain Thomas Boland, sailed from San Francisco aboard the USAT U. S. Grant. They traveled through the Panama Canal and debarked at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 30 October 1932. On the following day, they arrived at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Just prior to its transfer to Barksdale, the group was assigned, along with the 3rd Attack Group, to the 3rd Attack Wing in June 1932. The 3rd Attack Wing and Group operated out of Fort Crockett, Texas.

By February 1933 when Barksdale Field was formally dedicated, the group's training program was in full operation. Its aerial training mission focused on the development of procedures and techniques for engaging enemy aircraft and provided for the protection of vital industrial centers, airdromes, and bombardment aircraft.

In October 1934, the group (by then four flying squadrons strong), made its first aircraft transition—from the P-12 to the Boeing P-26 Peashooter. This open cockpit monoplane had a 600 horsepower (450 kW) engine and a top speed of 253 miles per hour. Like the P-12, it possessed two .30 caliber machine guns. Unlike its predecessor, it also featured wing-mounted bomb racks. The 20th Pursuit Group acquired its first aircraft with a closed cockpit, the Curbs P-36 Mohawk, in September 1938. The P-36 had a 1,050 horsepower (780 kW) engine, and a top speed of 303 miles per hour. It could carry up to 400 pounds of bombs under-slung. During this time, the 20th began training, participating in maneuvers and tactical exercises, and conducting aerial reviews and aircraft demonstrations.

On 15 November 1939 the 20th moved to Moffett Field, California; it stayed there less than one year, and moved again on 9 September 1940 to Hamilton Field, also in California. At Hamilton the group changed aircraft once again, this time to the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. This was the top of the line pre-World War II pursuit fighter. It had a range of 750 miles (1,210 km), a top speed of 343 miles per hour, two .50 caliber machine guns in the nose, and four more in the wings.

Several events in 1941 marked the group's assignment at Hamilton Field. Deployed flights spent the first part of 1941 at Muroc Lake, California, and Esler Field, Louisiana, conducting maneuvers. In October 1941, the group split into its component squadrons and deployed to various locations on the east coast, with group headquarters temporarily established at Morris Field, North Carolina. In December 1941, the 20th reassembled at Hamilton Field, California.

World War II[]

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