334th and the 4th Fighter Group

American Volunteers who flew with the RAF before the USA entered the war

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334th_Padre
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334th and the 4th Fighter Group

Post by 334th_Padre » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:54 pm

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In September, 1942, the Eagle Squadrons were transferred to the United States Army Air Force.

America had joined the war in December, 1941, and had begun to send forces to Britain in mid-1942. There was pressure to transfer the experienced pilots of the Eagle Squadrons to the American forces, but there were several problems. Many of the pilots had failed the USAAF medical tests before they had volunteered for the RAF. None had ever been award US pilot's wings, either.

The USAAF wanted to split the squadrons up, to spread their experience around, while the pilots wanted to stay in their own squadrons. There were also insufficient aircraft available, until the USAAF acquired Supermarine Spitfires. Finally, many of the pilots were reluctant to leave their adopted force to join the more formal USAAF, despite the guaranteed commissions for the sergeant pilots, promotions for the officers, and higher rates of pay.

Nevertheless, on 29 September, 1942, the Eagle Squadrons joined the 4th Pursuit Group, VIII Fighter Command. Nos.71, 121 and 133 Squadrons, RAF, became 334th, 335th and 336th Squadrons respectively.
XRA and XRV Spits-b.jpg
Image courtesy of IWM Item number: FRE 2333
Caption: Photo Shows:- Pilots of the Eagle Squadron in their new American Army Air Corps uniforms, besides their Spitfires, seen with the new American markings at their operational station in England. AND. Sept. 1942. PN.B.' On reverse: Planet News, US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps]. Spitfires XR-A and XR-V.
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