The 474th Air Expeditionary Group (474 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command. It may be activated or inactivated at any time.
Currently, the 474 AEG is stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and is deployed to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base Cuba. Its current mission and operational components are undetermined, however it appears to be primarily a Civil Engineering organization.
Its World War II predecessor unit, the 474th Fighter Group, was a Ninth Air Force combat unit which fought in the European Theater. First deployed to England, it provided tactical air support in support of U.S. First Army until V-E Day.
The 474th Fighter Group was constituted on 26 May 1943 and activated on 1 August 1943 at Glendale, California. For the next several months the group trained for combat with P-38's. Moved to England, February–March 1944 where it was assigned to Ninth Air Force.
The grass airfield and sandy soil at RAF Warmwell was considered suitable to support the 80 aircraft of a fighter group without metal tracking support. The personnel of the 474th Fighter Group arrived on 12 March from Oxnard Flight Strip, California flying Lockheed P-38 "Lightnings".
The 474th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command.
Probably because they detrained at Moreton railway station, the group often referred to RAF Warmwell as Moreton. Squadron markings on the vertical tail surfaces were a square for the 428th, a triangle for the 429th and it circle for the 430th. The 474th FG was the only one of the three Ninth Air Force groups equipped with the P-38 in England that had trained with the type in the United States.
The 474th carried out its first mission on 25 April with a sweep along the French coast. The P-38's ability to carry two 1,000 lb bombs with ease, and its heavy nose-mounted armament, made it an excellent ground attack aircraft, although it appeared to be far more vulnerable to light anti-aircraft and small arms fire than the redoubtable P-47. During 15 weeks of operations from Warmwell, 27 P-38s were missing in action, all but five known or suspected lost due to ground fire. Three of these were lost to a 'bounce' by FW 190Ds while escorting B-26s on 7 May.
On the night of 5/6 June, the group flew patrols over the invasion fleet and the two aircraft lost are believed to have collided. On the credit side, during an armed reconnaissance on 18 July, a 474th formation led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Darling surprised a force of bomb-carrying Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and shot down 10 Luftwaffe aircraft with the loss of only one P-38.
The 474th FG was the last of the Ninth Air Force's 18 fighter groups to move to an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in France, departing from Warmwell for St. Lambert, France (ALG A-11) during the first week of August 1944, the main body of aircraft departing on 6 August. The last mission from Warmwell, the group's 108th, was flown on the previous day.
The group continued operations on the continent providing tactical air support in support of U.S. First Army until V-E Day, being stationed at Bad Langensalza, Germany (ALG R-2) at the end of hostilities. The 474th FG returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey during November 1945 and was inactivated on 8 December 1945.
The 474th FBW was reactivated at Misawa AB, Japan, taking over the personnel and Republic F-84G Thunderjets of the Air National Guard 116th Fighter-Bomber Wing in July 1952 when the ANG was returned to state control. The wing was immediately ordered to Kunsan Air Base (K-8). From Kunsan the wing entered combat in August 1952 and bombed and strafed bridges, bunkers, troop concentrations, artillery positions, and a host of other targets.
On 16 March 1953 FEAF put into effect a new concept of a fighter-bomber wing (reinforced) to ease maintenance and support problems. In April 1953, the 49th FBW was relocated to K-8 (Kunsan) – in name only—for two of its squadrons. The 428 Kunsan became the 7th FBS; and the 429th became the 8th FBS. Its 9th FBS was relocated to Misawa Air Base, Japan. The 430th of Kunsan was physically relocated with all personnel, equipment and aircraft to Taegu to replace the 9th.
In the end, the 474th at Taegu had three squadrons, while the 49th at Kunsan had two squadrons. The 474th exchanged aircraft and personnel with the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing. In early summer 1953, these two wings were combined into the 58th Fighter bomber Wing (Reinforced) and the 474th and 49th Wings were placed on inactive status. The 58th FB Wing then relocated to Tageu AB (K-2) South Korea.
For its actions in the Korean War, the 474th Fighter Bomber Group received the Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
Moved to the US, November–December 1954, and became operational training unit for F-100 aircraft for the 312th Fighter-Bobmer Wing at Clovis AFB, New Mexico. It was inactivated in 1958 when the group was elevated to wing status as the 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Discontinued as part of Air Force Tri-Deputate organization.
Activated as 474th Air Expeditionary Group by Air Combat Command at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Mission and units undetermined.Constituted as 474th Fighter Group on 26 May 1943
Activated on 1 August 1943
Inactivated on 8 December 1945
Redesignated 474th Fighter-Bomber Group
Activated in Japan on 10 July 1952
Inactivated on 1 July 1958
Redesignated: 474th Tactical Fighter Group
on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
Redesignated 474th Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status (Date TBD)
IV Fighter Command, 1 August 1943
Attached to: Los Angeles Fighter Wing, 11 October 1943 – 6 February 1944
IX Fighter Command, 12 March 1944
70th Fighter Wing, 1 August 1944
Attached to: IX Tactical Air Command, 1 August 1944 – 21 November 1945
Army Service Forces (for inactivation), 6–8 December 1945
474th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 25 June 1952 – 8 November 1954
Attached to: Far East Air Forces, 1 April 1953
312th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 8 November 1954 – 8 October 1957
Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate at any time, (Date TBD)
Assigned to Twelfth Air Force
428th Fighter (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 1 August 1943-8 December 1945, 10 July 1952-22 November 1954, 13 December 1954 – 1 July 1958
429th Fighter (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 1 August 1943-8 December 1945, 10 July 1952-22 November 1954, 13 December 1954 – 1 July 1958
430th Fighter (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 1 August 1943-8 December 1945, 10 July 1952-22 November 1954, 13 December 1954 – 1 July 1958
478th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 13 December 1954 – 1 July 1958
P-38 Lightning, 1943–1945
F-84 Thunderstreak, 1952–1953
F-86 Sabre, 1953, 1954
F-100 Super Sabre, 1954–1958
This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.