The 495th Fighter Training Group provided forward training on tactics and operations for the European Theater, primarily flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, but also flying a small number of P-38s. Based at Royal Air Force Atcham, England, the group exercised command over the 551st and 552nd Fighter Training Squadrons. Preparing pilots for action with 8th and 9th Air Forces, the 495 FTG trained many of the pilots for the 4th Fighter Group and other P-47 units during World War II. It moved to RAF Whitchurch, England, in February of 1945 and was disbanded April 15, 1945, due to the end of fighting in the European theater. It received the World War II European, African, and Middle Eastern Theater service streamers.
In 2008, Air Force leadership recognized that the changing force structure demanded creative ways to generate experienced fighter pilots. The solution was to capitalize on the experience and assets of the Guard and Reserve. This Total Force Integration initiative became Active Association, whereby Regular Air Force personnel work side-by-side with host Air Reserve Component units in a mutually beneficial relationship.
The 495th Fighter Group was reactivated March 8, 2013, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, as an active association between active-duty pilots and their guard and reserve counterparts. The activation at Shaw marked an historical moment in the Air Force’s ongoing initiative to integrate active-duty Airmen, Air Reserve Component and Air National Guard units to streamline training, spending and resource use. These integrated units are called “active associate” units.
The 495th Fighter Group consists of more than 600 Airmen across seven geographically separated fighter squadrons collocated with Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve host bases. They are:
- 315th Fighter Squadron, Burlington International Airport, Vermont
- 316th Fighter Squadron, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina
- 355th Fighter Squadron, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas
- 358th Fighter Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri
- 367th Fighter Squadron, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.
- 377th Fighter Squadron, Montgomery Regional Airport, Alabama
- 378th Fighter Squadron, Truax Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin
Total Force Integration is a vital enterprise aimed at maximizing the combined contributions of the Active and Reserve components, while ensuring “right-sizing” of component mix. The 495th leads the implementation of critical TFI initiatives to achieve a more balanced mix of roles, responsibilities, and assets across the Total Force, in order to enhance the ability to provide dominant combat airpower for America.
Established as the 495h Fighter Training Group October 9, 1943.
Activated October 26, 1943.
Disbanded on April 15, 1945.
VIII Fighter Command, October 26, 1943
VIII Air Force Composite Command, February 14, 1944
VIII Fighter Command, October 1, 1944
1 Bomb Division, November 29, 1944 to April 15, 1945
551st Fighter Training: October 26, 1943 to April 15, 1945
552nd Fighter Training: October 26, 1943 to April 15, 1945
RAF Atcham, England, October 26, 1943
RAF Whitchurch, England, February 3, 1945 to April 15, 1945
World War II: European, African, Middle Eastern Theater
(Current as of May 2017)