The 361stFighter Group was constituted on January 28, 1943 and activated on February 10, 1943. The group joined the Eighth Air Force in England in November 1943. It entered combat with P-47 aircraft on January 21, 1944 and converted to P-51s in May. It operated from England during 1944 but sent a detachment to France for operations in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945).
The group moved to Belgium in February 1945, and returned to England in April 1945. It served primarily as an escort organization, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of bomber formations that the Army Air Forces sent against targets on the Continent. The group also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. It attacked such targets as airdromes, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways.
During its operations, the group participated in the assault against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, February 20-25, 1944; the Normandy invasion, June 1944; the Saint-Lo breakthrough, July 1944; the airborne attack on Holland, September 1944; and the airborne assault across the Rhine, March 1945. The group flew its last combat mission on April 20, 1945. It returned to the United States in November and was inactivated on November 10, 1945.
Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.