USAF Fighter Gunnery Competition Trophy

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This trophy represents the continuation of the pre-World War II Army Air Corps tradition of aerial gunnery excellence into the newly formed United States Air Force. It commemorates the outstanding achievement of four Air Force units in both the 1949 and 1950 service-wide competitions.

The 1949 competition included both conventional (propeller) and jet fighter aircraft units with winners for each category. The 4th Fighter Group team won the first place award in the jet class. Capt. Vermont Garrison, who recorded 7 1/3 aerial victories in WWII, led the team. Garrison would add 10 MiGs to his victory credit list in the Korean War, becoming a "Double Jet Ace." The 332nd Fighter Group, a segregated African American unit stationed at Lockbourne Air Base, near Columbus, Ohio, won first place in the conventional class. Two months later, the 332nd Fighter Group was inactivated by the Department of Defense as a result of the Presidential Order to integrate the Armed Forces of the United States, and the personnel of the 332nd were reassigned to other units, thus integrating the United States Air Force.

In 1950 the Air Force conducted a second competition but suspended the annual event due to the outbreak of the Korean War. The competition is represented today by both the William Tell and the Gunsmoke competitions.

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