Personal Stories
Commanding Officers of the 57th FG:
Colonel 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.)

COLONEL FRANK H MEARS was in the initial staffing of the 57th, held various Group and Squadron staff assignments, survived the ill fated cross country flight of October, 1941, and led the remnants back to Windsor Locks. He was Squadron 64 C.O. on August 19, 1941, made Group C.O. on June 28, 1942, told to pick his personnel and be ready in 48 hours to depart the U.S. for war. He led the combat echelon (72 P-40s) by aircraft carrier, first to take off — all successfully, across Africa, through orientation, and into combat supporting General Montgomery until promoted up to Wing.