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A BRIEF HISTORY OF 333RD FIGHTER SQUADRON

The 333rd Fighter Squadron was activated 23 August 1942 becoming the third squadron of the 318th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Command, 7th Air Force. The 318th then consisted of the 19th, the 73rd, and the 333rd Squadrons. These squadrons could trace their history to the old Hawaiian Air Force. The 14th Pursuit Wing of the Hawaiian Air Force formed the basis of the 7th Fighter Command which came into existence 23 January along with the establishment of the 7th Air Force. Components of the 333rd , including many enlisted personal, were survivors of the 7 December attack on Pearl Harbor.

From 11 September 1942 to 28 March 1943, the 333rd was stationed on Canton Island. The 333rd, along with 7th Fighter Command squadrons on Christmas, Midway, and Makin islands provided a Central Pacific air defense shield for Hawaii. On Canton, the squadron flew P-39D airplanes where sun and salt air quickly faded paint and corroded structure. From Canton, the Squadron moved to Hilo, Hawaii thence to Bellows Field located on the southeastern coast of Oahu and until early 1944 flew air defense and trained pilots fresh from stateside flight schools en route to the 5th Air Force in the southeast Pacific.

In early 1944 the Squadron was stabilized with its then compliment of pilots, equipped with P-47D airplanes, and tasked with a heavy training schedule. On 4 July it flew to Ford Island where airplanes were hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier Sargent Bay. In July, 3,800 miles west of Hawaii, the Squadron launched from the carrier, landed on Aslito, a captured Japanese airfield, and joined its 318th sister squadrons in support of the Marianas Campaign.

In mid-March 1945, Squadron pilots returned to Hawaii via Military Air Transport, and ferried new P-47N aircraft back to Siapan via Johnson, Majuro, and Eniwetok. On 13 May, the squadron flew 1,425 miles from Siapan to Ie Shima, to join the Okinawa Campaign and to fly escort and fighter sweep missions over Japan. The Squadron remained on Ie Shima until war's end and saw the Japanese surrender team land on Ie Shima on 19 August 1945.

Some photos from the 333rd
The Bell P-39 Airacobra - This plane was attached to the 333rd
"Razorback" P-47Ds of the 333rd Ftr. Sq. prepare to launch from aircraft carrier Sargent Bay off the Marianas on 18 July 1944
333rd Squadron pilots standing beside a P-47N. Photo was made on Siapan before the squadron flew up to Ie Shima.
A restored P-39

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Aviation Wings and Badges of the World Wars