The 325th FG was activated under General Order number 50 on 30 July 1942 and set up training operations at Theodore F Greene Field in Providence, Rhode Island. By mid-December 1942 the group was considered ready for combat and the alert for overseas duty arrived on 2 January 1943. The pilots and their P-40s departed on the carrier USS Ranger on 8 January and flew their aircraft off the vessel into Cazes airfield, near Casablanca, on 19 January 1943. After the remainder of the personnel arrived in late February, the group prepared for combat, and finally flew its first mission on 17 April 1943 as part of the Twelfth Air Force. During the next four months it participated in the North African campaign, and operations against enemy-held islands in the Mediterranean Sea. By the end of the Sicilian campaign on 17 August the 325th FG had scored 128 aerial victories, been the first P-40 unit to deliver 1,000-lb bombs against enemy targets and had escorted 1,100 bombers without losing a single one of them to enemy action.