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33rd Service Group and Other Units Stationed at Debden
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The 4th Fighter Group 1942-1945
It ended with little fanfare. Their job done, the remnants of the 4th Fighter Group were going home, lumped in with five other 8th Air Force Fighter Groups on the RMS Queen Mary, as reported in The Stars and Stripes (left) on 3 November 1945. The news of the 4th's departure, part of a small column buried back on Page 8, contrasted greatly with the pomp and circumstance which heralded the 4th's "arrival" at RAF Debden back on 29 September 1942.
Back on that rainy day in the autumn of '42, there was brass everywhere: Air Chief Marshall Sir Sholto Douglas (head of RAF Fighter Command), Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles Portal, Major General Carl Spaatz and Brigadier General Frank "Monk" Hunter were all part of the ceremony which officially transferred the three RAF Eagle Squadrons into the United States Army Air Force. Within the time it took for a few short speeches and a brief parade, VIII Fighter Command had an experienced, combat-ready fighter group in the ETO.
In between 29 September 1942 and 2 November 1945, the 4th - flying well over 400 combat missions in Spitfires, Thunderbolts and Mustangs - compiled an impressive record of accomplishments and topped all 8th Air Force fighter groups with1,016 enemy aircraft destroyed. Their success did not come cheaply however; one hundred twenty-eight 4th Fighter Group pilots would not join their comrades in arms on the return trip home.
In the mid sixties, a few 4th vets began to compile names and addresses of former Debdenites with the goal of creating an organization that would perpetuate the history of the group for future generations. In 1968, the Association of the 4th Fighter Group was created, and has been active ever since. Today, though the number of Debdenites is shrinking, the Association's mission remains unaltered. It is the goal of this site - the Association's official site - to help sustain the memory of the contributions made by all who served with the 4th Fighter Group and its associated service units from 1942 to 1945.
Like the Association itself, this site is starting out small. Ultimately we hope this site becomes your "one-stop shop" out in cyberspace for all 4th Fighter Group information, but that day is a ways down the road. Until then, we hope you enjoy what we do have on the site and stop in regularly to check for updates. Keep in mind the Association is still actively involved in research, and is constantly updating its records. If you don't see something for which you are looking on the site, be sure to drop us a line because odds are we just may have it handy.
Finally, we want this site to be a conduit between the 4th Fighter Group and all interested parties out there - veterans, researchers, family members, friends, modelers, artists, writers, any one at all who has an interest in learning about or contributing to the history of the highest scoring fighter group in U.S. Air Force history.
Thank you for stopping by.