The United States aggregated its fighter squadrons into Pursuit Groups of four squadrons - in theory totaling 72 aircraft and an equal number of pilots. The reality was that it was rare for the number of pilots to equal the number of aircraft or for the aircraft to be fully standardized across an entire group. The first two operational fighter squadrons were the 94th and 95th aero squadrons. They started operating together. To those two squadrons, there were quickly added two more aero squadrons, the 27th and 147th. Together the four were wrapped into the 1st Pursuit Group - as this first fighter group was called. While the groups and squadrons were referred to as pursuit units of different types, the aircraft themselves were called "scouts" or the more familiar (to us now) "fighters." Yet it was this leading letter "P" of the word "Pursuit" which was responsible for naming fighter aircraft P-51 and so on.
The first American combat kills came 30 seconds apart, right over the Toul airfield on April 14, 1918, one year and eight days after the American declaration of war.
Learn more about the United States Air Service's 1st Pursuit Group:
Toul, Touquin, Saints and Mauperthuis and Rembercourt.
1st Observation Group,
1st Pursuit Group,
1st Bombardment Group,
2nd Pursuit Group,
3rd Pursuit Group,
4th Pursuit Group,
5th Pursuit Group and
3rd Air Park.
See the really cool USAS Bases Google Map we've made just for you.
1st Observation Group - 1st aero squadron, 12th aero squadron, 50th aero squadron
1st Pursuit Group - 27th aero squadron, 94th aero squadron, 95th aero squadron, 147th aero squadron, 185th aero squadron
1st Bombardment Group - 96th aero squadron, 11th aero squadron, 20th aero squadron, 166th aero squadron
2nd Pursuit Group - 13th aero squadron, 22nd aero squadron, 49th aero squadron, 139th aero squadron
3rd Pursuit Group - 28th aero squadron, 93rd aero squadron, 103rd aero squadron, 213th aero squadron
4th Pursuit Group - 17th aero squadron, 25th aero squadron, 148th aero squadron, 141st aero squadron
5th Pursuit Group - 41st Aero Squadron, 138th Aero Squadron, 638th Aero Squadron
3rd Air Park - 255th Aero Squadron