22d Fighter Squadron

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22d Fighter Squadron
22d Fighter Squadron - General Dynamics F-16C Block 50B Fighting Falcon - 90-0829.jpg
22d FS F-16CJ Block 50B Fighting Falcon - 90-0829
Active 1 February 1940 – 31 March 1946
15 October 1946 – 13 August 2010
Country  United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter
Engagements
WW II American Campaign (Antisubmarine) Streamer.jpg
Antisubmarine, American Theater
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Streamer.jpg
Air Offensive, Europe
Battle of Normandy
Northern France Campaign
Rhineland Campaign
Ardennes-Alsace Campaign
Central Europe Campaign
Decorations
Commanders
Notable
commanders
William R. Looney III
Insignia
22d Fighter Squadron emblem 22 FS.jpg

The 22d Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 52d Operations Group and stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It was inactivated on 13 August 2010.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Antilles Air Command[edit]

The 22d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) was constituted on 22 December 1939, at Langley Field, Virginia. Flying the P-36 Hawk, The squadron was one of several deployed to the Caribbean (later Antilles Air Command) and being stationed on bases established as part of the 1940 Destroyers for Bases Agreement with Great Britain. The squadron left from Norfolk, Virginia on 1 February 1940 with several others bound for Puerto Rico aboard the USAT Chateau Thierry from Norfolk for what turned into 29 months of overseas service, taking station at Ponce (later Losey Field) on 6 January 1941.

After its arrival at Ponce, the Squadron converted from the P-36A to P-40 Warhawk. After the Pearl Harbor Attack on 7 December 1941, the Squadron was placed on 24 hour alert status and, the Squadron's P-40E's were flown to Howard Field, in the Panama Canal Zone to reinforce the defense units of the Panama Canal. The squadron returned to Ponce without aircraft, and upon their return, the squadron received some Bell P-39D Aircobras which were flown to Puerto Rico from the United States which joined the single example which had been on hand since at least June 1941. On 13 December, the unit Headquarters moved from Ponce to Vega Baja Field, 18°28′58″N 066°25′58″W / 18.48278°N 66.43278°W / 18.48278; -66.43278 an auxiliary aerodrome in Puetro Rico, to provide better interception coverage for the island.

Operations during most of the remainder of 1942 are vague, but involved very extensive over-water flying and many scrambles in response to reported U-Boat sightings, the vast majority of which turned up negative. A detachment of three P-39Ds was operating at Beane Field, St. Lucia by 28 February 1942 while the detachment at Waller Field. The unit was redesignated as the 22d Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942. On 2 September 1942, a detachment of the 32d Fighter Squadron which had been stationed at Curacao and Aruba was transferred outright to the 22d Fighter Squadron, but continued on at their stations on detached assignment. The detachment at Aruba was further attached to the 12th Bombardment Squadron and the detachment at Curacao was attached to the 59th Bombardment Squadron. The larger 22d Fighter Squadron detachment in Trinidad engaged in extensive anti-submarine activities.

With the Navy taking over the antisubmarine mission, the Squadron was redeployed back to the United States, moving to Morrison Field, Florida by 27 May 1943.

Ninth Air Force[edit]

Block 28 Republic P-47Ds of the 22d Fighter Squadron at Le Culot, Belgium, fall 1944. Serials 44-20211 and 44-19864 identifiable. Aircraft 864 was lost to ground fire on Christmas Eve of that year with Lt Charles J. Loring, Jr. at the controls, and he became a POW. During the Korean War, Loring was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Transferred to III Fighter Command in June 1943, began training for deployment to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber squadron. Deployed to England in April 1944 as part of IX Fighter Command. Initial missions included strafing and dive-bombing armored vehicles, trains, bridges, buildings, factories, troop concentrations, gun emplacements, airfields, and other targets in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. The squadron also flew some escort missions with Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator strategic bombers.

On D-Day the squadron patrolled the air over the landing zones and by flying close-support and interdiction missions. Moved to its Advanced Landing Ground at Brucheville Field, France (A-16) in July, then eastward as ground forces advanced on the continent. Operations supported the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July and the thrust of U.S. Third Army toward Germany in August and September as part of the 303d Fighter Wing, XIX Tactical Air Command. In October, the squadron moved into Belgium to support U.S. Ninth Army.

Participated in the Battle of the Bulge during December 1944 and January 1945 by flying armed reconnaissance and close-support missions. Aided U.S. First Army's push across the Roer River in February 1945. Supported operations at the Remagen bridgehead and during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March.

By V-E Day, the squadron was based at Kassel/Rothwesten airfield, Germany (ALG R-12), where it remained until February 1946 as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe Army of Occupation. In February, the unit was transferred, without personnel or equipment to Bolling Field, Washington, D.C where it was inactivated as a paper unit. [2]

Bitburg Air Base[edit]

22d FS Lockheed P-80B-1-LO Shooting Star - 45-8634 at Furstenfeldbruck AB, Germany, Summer 1948. Aircraft markings appear to be those of Caribbean Air Command, no "Buzz Number" on fuselage nose.
22d FBS F-84E-10-RE Thunderjet - 49-2223. Note blue diagonal stripes were the markings of the 36th FBG, the red nose and tip tanks being colored red, the squadron markings
22d FDS F-86F-25-NH Sabre - 51-13421
22d TFS F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief - 60-0438

Re-activated in October 1946 under Caribbean Air Command in the Canal Zone, returning to its prewar mission of the defense of the Panama Canal. The squadron conducted air defense training missions for the next two years initially with P-47's. The squadron upgraded to jet aircraft in December 1947 with the arrival of the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star.

22d TFS F-4D-31-MC Phantom - 66-7768
22d FS F-15C-25-MC Eagle - 79-0049

As a result of the Berlin Blockade and other Cold War tensions in Europe, the squadron was deployed to Germany and was reassigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe during August 1948, becoming part of the third F-80 jet group assigned to USAFE. At Fürstenfeldbruck AB tactical operations included air defense, tactical exercises, maneuvers, and photographic reconnaissance. Upgraded to new F-84E Thunderjets in 1950.

Remained at Fürstenfeldbruck until 1952 when it was reassigned to the new Bitburg Air Base, west of the Rhine River near the French border in the Eifel mountains. In August 1953, the North American F-86F Sabre was introduced to the squadron, replacing the F-84s. In 1956, the squadron received the North American F-100 Super Sabre, marking the first time a wing in USAFE flew supersonic jets. On 15 May 1958, the squadron was redesignated as a Tactical Fighter Squadron because its missions had now grown to include delivery of tactical nuclear weapons.

In May 1961, received the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and continued to carry on its Cold War mission of tactical nuclear weapons delivery. Twice in the early 1960s when Cold War tensions were elevated due to the 1961 Berlin Wall crisis and 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the squadron rose to a high level of alert. Was upgraded to the F-4 Phantom II in 1966.

The squadron was upgraded to the McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle in April 1976 In 1980 more advanced F-15Cs and F-15Ds would replace the original F-15As. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the squadron conducted routine training missions however the outbreak of the 1990–91 Gulf War put the F-15s of Bitburg into the heart of the conflict. The squadron's pilots and aircraft engaged in combat operations during Operation Desert Storm. Not a single F-15 aircraft was lost in combat during the war. On 13 March 1991, the deployed squadron returned to Bitburg AB. [2]

Spangdahlem Air Base[edit]

As part of the drawdown at Bitburg Air Base, the unit's F-15s were sent to RAF Lakenheath, England, in the spring of 1994. The squadron was transferred to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on 1 April 1994, to become the new standard of the former 480th Fighter Squadron. The squadron currently flies the Block 50 F-16CJ, the Air Force's latest version of the Fighting Falcon. In 1998, the 22d transitioned from a primary general-purpose air interdiction squadron to its new primary mission as a "Wild Weasel" unit performing suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD). The squadron's most current version of the F-16, outfitted with the high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM), GPS guided-inertial aided munitions, and the HARM targeting system (HTS) pod, is a lethal platform against enemy air defense systems.[2]

Peacekeeping operations[edit]

The 22d was quickly put into combat with its new capability when it deployed to Operation Northern Watch in January 1999, and engaged Iraqi radars with 12 HARMs while protecting coalition assets during heightened tensions with Iraq. After three months flying Operations Northern Watch missions, the squadron was retasked and returned to Spangdahlem Air Base where they flew combat missions into northern Yugoslavia protecting F-117s and B-2s striking key military targets in and around Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in support of Operation Allied Force. The pilots of the 22d flew combat missions over Yugoslavia and fired 202 HARMs at Serbian radars. In addition, the squadron performed its secondary and tertiary missions, employing 16 MK-84s on key military targets while providing air superiority.[2]

In December 2000 to March 2001, the squadron was assigned to Air Expeditionary Force 9. It regularly flew combat missions in support of Operations Northern and Southern Watch.[2]

Operation Enduring Freedom[edit]

In response to U.S. presidential directives, following the 11 September attacks 22d provided fighter escort to C-17 aircraft over Afghanistan during humanitarian relief missions, within 100 hours of notification, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. This effort served as the template for USAFE's Euro Lightning operations concept.[2]

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit]

In January 2003, the squadron forward deployed as the 22d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Southwest Asia in support of U.S. Central Command and flew combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron played a key role during the 27-day air war by fulfilling its "Wild Weasel" mission of suppressing enemy air defenses and destroying Iraqi radar sites.[2]

Actor Nick Lachey in squadron gear in 2008

In April 2010 20 F-16Cs were flown from Spangdahlem to the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, one F-16 was transferred to Edwards Air Force Base, California. All aircraft were from the 22d Fighter Squadron.[3] As a result of the drawdown of F-16s, the 22d and 23rd Fighter Squadrons were inactivated on 13 August 2010 and formed the a single "new" squadron, the 480th Fighter Squadron.[4]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as 22d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 22 December 1939
Activated on 1 February 1940
Re-designated: 22d Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Re-designated: 22d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 31 March 1946
  • Activated on 15 October 1946
Re-designated: 22d Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled, on 27 October 1947
Re-designated: 22d Fighter Squadron, Jet, on 17 June 1948
Re-designated: 22d Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 January 1950
Re-designated: 22d Fighter-Day Squadron on 9 August 1954
Re-designated: 22d Tactical Fighter Squadron on 8 July 1958
Re-designated: 22d Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1991.
Inactivated on 13 August 2010[1]

Assignments[edit]

Attached to 36th Fighter-Day Wing, 1 October 1956 – 7 December 1957

[1]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]