The 352nd George Preddy, Top Mustang Ace PDF Group was a unit of the Eighth Air Force that was located in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. The 352nd Fighter Group was constituted on 29 September 1942 and activated on 1 October 1942 with Lt. The unit served in the United States as part of the air defense force while training with P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft.
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The 352nd was stationed at Mitchel Field in New York in October 1942 and then moved to Bradley Field in Connecticut later that month. The 352nd Fighter Group moved to RAF Bodney in Norfolk England on 5 July 1943 and was assigned to Eighth Air Force, VIII Fighter Command. Mason assumed command on 17 May 1943 and held that position for most of the group’s time overseas. The 352nd escorted bombers during the during the Big Week operation of 20 to 25 February 1944. The goal of Big Week was to lure the Luftwaffe into a battle by attacking the German aircraft industry. In April 1944, the group converted from P-47 Thunderbolt to P-51 Mustang aircraft. The 352nd received a Distinguished Unit Citation for performance during an escort mission to Brunswick Germany on 8 May 1944.
The 352nd Fighter Group participated in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 with missions to strafing the beaches and other positions and dive-bomb enemy communications. In July 1944, the group supported the allied breakthrough in the Battle of Saint-Lô and in September 1944 supported Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. Mayden became commanding officer on 17 Nov 1944 and would serve as CO through VE day. During the Battle of the Bulge, a detachment of the 352nd was sent to Asch Airfield in Belgium and placed under the control of the Ninth Air Force. The group received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for actions on 1 January 1945 during the German Operation Bodenplatte.
In February 1945, the remainder of the 352nd moved to Belgium and, with the 361st Fighter Group, became the first fighter groups to move to the European continent. Belgium for operations under the control of Eighth AF. The group returned to RAF Bodney in April 1945 and operated there until V-E Day on May 8. The 352nd Fighter Group returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey in November 1945. The 352nd Fighter Group had 27 fighter aces, including Major George Preddy, Col. Fighter Group: The 352nd « Blue-Nosed Bastards » in World War II. Air Force Combat Units of World War II.
Always Out Front – The Bradley Story ». Military History Encyclopedia on the Web. Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force. The Fight in the Clouds: The Extraordinary Combat Experience of P-51 Mustang Pilots During World War II. Bluenoser Tales: 352nd Fighter Group War Stories. Wikimedia Commons has media related to 352nd Fighter Group.