Valor in Combat

This site is dedicated to the men of the 354th Fighter Group during World War II. The group was assigned to IX Fighter Command under the command of Brigadier General Elwood R. "Pete" Quesada. The 354th Fighter Group was the first unit to take the Rolls-Royce Merlin P-51B Mustang into combat. The Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group, as they were famously known, was instrumental in the development of the P-51 for use in long-range missions to escort Eighth Air Force heavy bombers on strategic bombing raids deep into enemy territory at a very critical time. This unit achieved the highest record of 701 enemy aircraft destroyed in air-to-air engagements.

There are literally hundreds of recorded pages meticulously written by group and squadron historians detailing day to day operations from its activation in November 1942 to the end of hostitlies in May 1945. Presented here is only a concise narrative, this is their story.

354th HQ

353rd FS

355th FS

356th FS

Items of Interest

Croix de Guerre with Palm Citation Update!

The family of the late Walter “Wally” A. Boruch, 355th FS medical officer donated some of their father's momentos. Among them a 354th Fighter Group Association 40th Anniversary Reunion packet showing a certified copy of the French Croix de Guerre with Palm Citation.

New Book Listing

Paul M. Sailer's new book
I HAD A COMRADE are stories about the bravery, comrade-
ship, and commitment of individual participants in the Second World War.
Foreword by Colonel Richard E. Cole, famous as Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot when the pair launched from the USS Hornet bound for Japan in April 1942.


If you are interested in submitting a tribute or photos for any member of the 354th Pioneer Mustang Group please refer to these guidelines.


This site has more than 230 images from personal collections and national archives. 355th's Ace Clayton K. Gross has written a eulogy to fallen brothers in Dedications. New names continue to be added to the Unit Roster. There are currently five videos showing at the Pioneer Cinema. Read wartime articles that were featured in Popular Science and True magazines and in the Stars & Stripes U.S. Armed Forces newspaper under Media.

17 Jul - Update: Unit Roster 'D', added Kenneth L. Dorsey, Arcadia, NE.
12 Jun - Corrected hometown: Robert E. Davis, Unit Roster 'D', St. Albans, NY.
25 May - Update Group Decorations: Croix de Guerre with Palm citation (certified copy).
09 May - Update: Unit Roster 'R', added James S. Rauh, Submitted by Melissa Acosta.
09 May - Added colorized photos: Col. Robert B. Curlee, Tribute page.
27 Feb - Added photos: Col. Robert B. Curlee, Tribute page.
26 Feb - Corrected homewtowns: Bradford N. Ashcraft, Jack T. Bradley, and Felix M. Rogers.
14 Jan - Update: Unit Roster 'C', added Kermit Coleman, 356th FS, pilot.
19 Jul - New book listing (Loden Books): I HAD A COMRADE by Paul M. Sailer.
25 Feb - Corrected spelling: Urquhart, Edwin D., Edgewood, RI. Unit Roster S-XYZ.
17 Feb - Added: Capt. Charles C. Johnson, III Tribute. First Commanding Officer, 356th FS.
16 Feb - Added photo: Capt. Charles C. Johnson, III , 356th FS page.
15 Feb - Added: 353rd FS Pilot Roster Board photo. Submitted by Janice Bradley Garrett.
13 Feb - Update: Unit Roster 'G', added Nathan H. Glick, combat artist.
10 Dec - Replaced info@ address with
07 Dec - Update: Unit Roster 'W', added 59 names to roster.
18 Oct - New Visitor Submitted Photo Gallery has been added.