he 78th's first combat was during WWII. The 78th was present during the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and was one of the last squadrons over Japan on VJ Day. While airmen in other theaters of combat displayed no less bravery or dedication than the 78th Squadron, their tours of duties were generally defined in months and number of missions. For many men of the 78th Fighter Squadron -- those who survived -- their tour was generally accounted for in years.
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During the course of the war the 78th was to claim 32.5 enemy planes shot down and 11 probables or damaged. Two aces were present in the 78th. Major James B. Tapp with 8 victories and Major Robert W. Moore with 5 victories with the 78th, and an additional 7 victories with the 45th.