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Frank H Mears


"If we are to look at firsts, the 57th Fighter Group is one, the first American Fighter Group to be used in the role of tactical air operations. With the activation of the 9th Air Force, the 57th F.G. was its first assigned fighter group. In turn it was ordered to join the R.A.F. Desert force in the North African campaign. The 57th was to fight WITH the R.A.F. The R.A.F. pilots taught the U.S. pilots the basics of Desert Air Warfare, and Ground personnel in turn learned about movement. As the U.S. Fighter force grew, the 57th F.G. was to teach the 79th and 324 F.G.'s about tactical air operations at the group level. The German Air Arm was soon taught that to take on the U.S. Fighter pilot in a turning, 50 Cal. armed P-40's was a no future deal. The 57th Fighter Group was asked to do a job, and then left to do it. We were FIRST."

--Frank H. Mears
Col. USAF (Ret.)


Units served with

  • 57th Fighter Group

    57th Fighter Group

    The group was first activated as the 57th Pursuit Group in January 1941, flying P-40 Warhawks as part of the Army Air Corps Northeast Defense Sector (later assigned to the I Fighter Command) at Mitchel Field, New York. It trained in New England and...

Associated Place


Event Location Date
Born Los Angeles, CA, USA 15 December 10
Commander - 57th Fighter Group North Africa 28 June 1942 – 23 December 1942
Died San Diego, CA, USA 4 August 2003
Buried San Diego, CA, USA 9 August 2003

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
San Diego
San Diego County
California, USA


Date Contributor Update
24 August 2020 23:27:46 decwriter Changes to service number and awards

NARA files verified Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and one Air Medal, all awarded under General Orders in 1943.

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2016 00:51:57 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations and media associations