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Air Group 20 History
While Air Group 20's tour with Enterprise CV-6 was brief - lasting just three months, from August 16 to November 23, 1944 - they inflicted a disproportionate amount of damage on the enemy. Beginning in the Bonin Islands and ending in the Philippines, AG-20 sank 33 ships, damaged 79 more, and, together with the ship's gunners, downed or destroyed on the ground 345 enemy planes. In the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf - by most measures the largest naval battle in history - Air Group 20 was the only air group to engage all three of the enemy's attacking forces. Air Group 20 took its losses too: in five and a half months of action (AG-20 transferred to Lexington CV-16 from the Big E) 71 air group personnel lost their lives, 41 during their deployment with Enterprise.
The squadron histories below appeared in "Air Group 20: An Unofficial Portrayal of Carrier Air Group Twenty", compiled by Chauncey Stillman on the occasion of the Air Group's 1949 reunion. However, these accounts were originally composed not long after the events they portray and are, in Stillman's words, "the crude ore of history with the roughness and color of the immediate."
"Loose Gear" was the Air Group's introduction to Lexington's Air Department, who no doubt wondered just what they were in for.