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49th Operations Group
Lockheed Martin F-22A Block 30 Raptor 05-4084 of the 7th Fighter Squadron
Active 1941–1957; 1991–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Group
Role Combat Operations
Motto(s) Tutor et Ultor - "I Protect and Avenge"
Engagements Asiatic-Pacific Streamer.png
World War II (Asia-Pacific Theater)
Korean War Streamer.png
Korean War
Kosovo Campaign Streamer.jpg
Kosovo Campaign
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Streamer.jpg
GLobal War on Terrorism
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG
Distinguished Unit Citation (5x)
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.jpg
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (3x)
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Streamer.png
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Streamer.png
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (2x)
49th Operations Group emblem 49th Operations Group - Emblem.png

The 49th Operations Group (49 OG) is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 49th Wing. It is stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and is a part of Air Combat Command (ACC).

During World War II, the unit's predecessor unit, the 49th Fighter Group, operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as part of the Fifth Air Force. The group earned three Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) for engaging the enemy in frequent and intense aerial combat in numerous campaigns between 1942 and 1945. During the Korean War, the unit initially covered the evacuation of civilian personnel from Kimpo and Suwon in 1950, later flying missions in support of UN ground forces, hitting gun positions, troop concentrations, and other objectives until the 1953 Armistice, remaining in South Korea for a time afterward.

During the modern era, 49th Operations group F-117A Stealth fighters were engaged in combat during Operation Allied Force in 1997, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.


The 49th Operations Group (Tail Code: "HO") supports national security objectives, as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by utilizing the Air Force's F-22A Raptor Stealth Fighter aircraft and in training U.S. Air Force and allied aircrews in F-22A and T-38 transition, instructor and fighter weapons instructor. The group also conducts training using the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper [1]

Units of the 49th Operations Group are:[1]

  • 49th Operations Support Squadron
The 49th Operations Support Squadron is made up of seven flights including Weather, Aircrew Flight Equipment, Airfield Operations, White Sands Radar, Intelligence, Current Operations and Weapons and Tactics. These flights support the wing, tenant units and Army's White Sands Missile Range. The Weather Flight provides operational observing, forecasting and staff weather support. They provide 26 specific types of weather warnings and advisories to 60 base agencies to ensure resource protection and flight safety of base assets worth over $7 billion.[1]
The 6th RS is the USAF's Formal Training Unit for crews learning to operate the MQ-1 Predator. On 23 October 2009, the 6th was reactivated as the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron at Holloman AFB, and assumed its mission of providing Initial Qualification Training for pilots and sensor operators learning to operate the MQ-1 Predator remotely-piloted aircraft.
The 7th Fighter Squadron "Screamin' Demons" is equipped with the F-22A Raptor and is able to deploy worldwide. Members of the 7th Fighter Squadron participated in the first 49th Fighter Group's air engagement, downing five enemy aircraft on 12 March 1942.[1]
With the retirement of the F-117A, the 9th Fighter Squadron ceased active operations; however, the squadron was never officially inactivated. It became a "paper unit" with no personnel or equipment assigned to it. This continued until Oct. 4, 2012, when the 9th Fighter Squadron was redesignated and activated as the 9th Attack Squadron which will train new pilots and sensor operators for the MQ-9 Reaper.[2]
  • 16th Training Squadron (MQ-1) (MQ-9)
Provides academic and simulator instruction to pilots and sensor operators learning to fly the MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, using the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System.[3]
It is the one and only MQ-9 Reaper FTU (Formal Training Unit) in the United States Air Force. The unit replaced the 432d Operations Group, Detachment 1 and is under the auspices of the 432d Wing at Creech AFB, Nevada.


For additional lineage and history, see 49th Fighter Wing

World War II[]

The 49th Operations Group traces its origins to the formation of the 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) at Selfridge Field, Michigan on 20 November 1940. The group trained with Seversky P-35s and consisted of three operational squadrons (7th, 8th, and 9th).[4]

P-40E of the 7th Fighter Squadron – 49th Fighter Group – Australia – March 1942

With the advent of World War II, the group moved to Australia and became part of Fifth Air Force in January 1942. It was re-designated as the 49th Fighter Group in May 1942. The unit received Curtiss P-40 Warhawks in Australia and, after training for a short time, provided air defense for the Northern Territory, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for engaging the enemy in frequent and intense aerial combat while operating with limited materiel and facilities for the period March–August 1942.[4]

The group moved to New Guinea in October 1942 to help stall the Japanese drive southward from Buna to Port Moresby. Engaged primarily in air defense of Port Moresby; also escorted bombers and transports, and attacked enemy installations, supply lines, and troop concentrations in support of Allied ground forces.[4]

The 49th participated in the Allied offensive that pushed the Japanese back along the Kokoda Track, took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943, fought for control of the approaches to Huon Gulf, and supported ground forces during the campaign in which the Allies eventually recovered New Guinea. It covered the landings on Noemfoor and had a part in. the conquest of Biak.[4]

After having used Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, the 49th was equipped completely in September 1944 with P-38's, which were used to fly long-range escort and attack missions to Mindanao, Halmahera, Seram, and Borneo. The unit arrived in the Philippines in October 1944, shortly after the assault landings on Leyte and engaged enemy fighters, attacked shipping in Ormoc Bay, supported ground forces, and covered the Allied invasion of Luzon. For or intensive operations against the Japanese on Leyte, the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.[4]

Other missions from the Philippines included strikes against industry and transportation on Formosa and against shipping along the China coast. By the war's end, the group's pilots destroyed 668 enemy aircraft (there may be some disagreement here as the 49th group site lists 678 but most sources agree at 668),[5][6] a record surpassing that of any other fighter group in the Pacific Theater. The group's World War II activities merited two Philippines Republic Presidential Unit Citations, three U.S. Distinguished Unit Citations, and 10 battle honors. Among the unit's 43 aces were Lt. Colonel Boyd D. "Buzz" Wagner, the first World War II ace in the Pacific Theater, and Major Richard I. Bong, whose 40 kills made him America's number one ace (a record that still stands). The 49th soon became endeared to the American people through the nickname, "Fighting 49ers."[4]

Cold War[]

8th Fighter Squadron F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter 86-0840 landing at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, 2000.

The 49th moved to Okinawa in August 1945 and to Japan in September. As part of the Army of occupation in Japan, the 49th Fighter Group trained, took part in maneuvers, and flew surveillance patrols, as part of Far East Air Forces. The group was equipped with North American P-51 Mustangs in 1946, with Lockheed F-80 Shooting Stars being added in 1948.[4]

On 10 August 1948, with the adoption of the Hobson Plan, the United States Air Force 49th Fighter Wing was activated, with the 49th Fighter Group being assigned as its combat group. From this point, the history of the 49th Fighter Group is indistinguishable from that of the 49th Fighter Wing. Significant changes to the organization were:

  • On 1 February 1950, the group was re-designated as the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group
  • On 10 December 1957, the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group was inactivated when the wing adopted the Dual Deputy Organization and assigned all combat squadrons directly to the wing; the combat group commander becoming the wing Deputy Commander for Operations (DCO). The honors and history of the Group were temporarily bestowed to the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing upon inactivation of the Group.
  • On 31 July 1985, while inactive, the group was re-designated as the 49th Tactical Fighter Group[4]

Modern era[]

On 1 November 1991, the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing adopted the Air Force Objective Organization plan and the 49th Tactical Fighter Group was re-designated as the 49th Operations Group and re-activated. The operational squadrons of the wing came under the control of the Operations Group. The 49th Operations Group was transferred the lineage, honors and history of the 49th Fighter Group.[4]


Emblem of the 49th Fighter Group

  • Established as 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Re-designated: 49th Fighter Group on 15 May 1942
Re-designated: 49th Fighter Group, Single Engine, on 20 August 1943
Re-designated: 49th Fighter Group on 6 November 1944
Re-designated: 49th Fighter-Bomber Group on 1 February 1950
Inactivated on 10 December 1957
  • Re-designated: 49th Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985 (Remained Inactive)
  • Re-designated: 49th Operations Group on 1 November 1991
Activated on 15 November 1991.[7]


Attached to III Interceptor Command, 9 August-1 October 1941
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 1 February 1944–
Remained attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing until 1 May 1944
Attached to: 86th Fighter Wing, 1 May 1944–
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time

Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing until 9 January 1945
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 9 January – 29 May
Attached to: 309th Bombardment Wing, 29 May-25 September 1945
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 25 September-10 November 1945
Attached to: 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 7 August-30 September 1950
Attached to: 6149th Tactical Support Wing, 1 October-30 November 1950
Attached to: 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 16–31 March 1953
Attached to: Japan Air Defense Force, 2 November 1953 – 31 August 1954
Attached to: Fifth Air Force, 1 September 1954 – 15 April 1957



  • Selfridge Field, Michigan, 15 January 1941
  • Morrison Field, Florida, c. 23 May 1941 – 5 January 1942
  • Camp Darley (near Melbourne), Australia, 2 February 1942
  • Bankstown Airfield, Australia, 16 February 1942
  • Archerfield Airport, Australia, 7 April 1942
  • RAAF Base Darwin, Australia, 17 April 1942
  • Port Moresby Airfield Complex, New Guinea, 9 October 1942
  • Dobodura Airfield Complex, New Guinea, March 1943
  • Gusap Airfield, New Guinea, 20 November 1943
  • Finschhafen Airfield, New Guinea, 19 April 1944
  • Hollandia Airfield Complex, Netherlands East Indies, c. 17 May 1944
  • Mokmer Airfield, Biak, Netherlands East Indies, 5 June 1944
  • Tacloban Airfield, Leyte, Philippines, 24 October 1944
  • McGuire Field, San Jose, Mindoro, Philippines, c. 30 December 1944


See also[]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • Ferguson, Steve W. and William K. Pascalis. Protect & Avenge: The 49th Fighter Group in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 1995. ISBN 0-88740-750-1.
  • Hess, William N. 49th Fighter Group: Aces of the Pacific. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2004. ISBN 1-84176-785-9.
  • McAuliffe, Jerome J. US Air Force in France 1950–1967. San Diego, California: Milspec Press, Chapter 11, Etain-Rouvres Air Base, 2005. ISBN 0-9770371-1-8.
  • McDowell, Ernest R. 49th Fighter Group. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal, Inc., 1989. ISBN 0-89747-221-7.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Thompson, Warren. F-84 Thunderjet Units Over Korea. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. 2000. ISBN 1-84176-022-6.
  • Thompson, Warren. F-80 Shooting Star Units over Korea. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-225-3.

See also[]

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