303d Fighter Squadron

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This article is about the 303d Fighter Squadron designated in 1992. For the 303d Fighter Squadron of World War II, see 139th Airlift Squadron.
303d Fighter Squadron
303d Fighter Squadron.png
303d Fighter Squadron emblem
Active 1 September 1943 – 30 September 1946
27 June 1949 – 12 March 1951
15 June 1952 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
10th Air Force
442nd Fighter Wing
442nd Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Whiteman Air Force Base
Engagements Invasion of Normandy
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
303d Fighter Squadron - A-10 Thunderbolts
303d Tactical Airlift Squadron - Emblem
Douglas C-47A-15-DK Skytrain Serial 42-92879 of the 303d TCS/442nd TCG at Fullbeck in Normandy invasion markings.

The 303d Fighter Squadron (303 FS) is part of the 442d Operations Group at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

Mission[edit]

The 303rd Fighter Squadron is assigned the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting close air support missions.

History[edit]

The 303d Fighter Squadron was constituted on 28 May 1943 and activated on 1 September, as the 303d Troop Carrier Squadron, one of four squadrons assigned to the 442nd Troop Carrier Group at Sedalia Army Air Field, now Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 303d, with its parent unit, was created to provide airlift support of Allied forces in Europe during World War II using cargo aircraft and gliders. Following their state-side training, the squadron arrived at RAF Fulbeck, England on, 23 March 1944, where they made final preparations for the pending invasion of Europe.[1]

On D-Day, 6 June 1944, the 303d participated in the airborne assault of the 82nd Airborne Division four hours in advance of the first seaborne landings at the Normandy beaches. The squadron went on to participate in other major operations in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany throughout the remainder of the war in Europe.[1]

Following VE-Day on 8 May 1945, the squadron remained in Europe as part of the Occupation Forces until it was inactivated in 1946. In 1949 the 303d was reactivated at Fairfax Field, Kansas City, Kansas, with its parent unit, the 442nd Troop Carrier Wing, and assigned to the Air Force Reserve.[1]

Following another active duty tour during the Korean War, the 442nd, with the 303d, eventually relocated to Grandview Airport, Kansas City, Missouri. The airport was renamed Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in 1957 for Lieutenant John F. Richards and Lieutenant Colonel Arthur W. Gebaur, Jr., two Kansas City fliers who died in military combat.[1]

The squadron was recalled to active duty for the Berlin Crisis in 1961 and, from 1966 through 1971, provided support for ongoing activities in Southeast Asia.[1]

The mission of the 303d changed to fighter aircraft in 1982 when the unit received the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the unit was redesignated the 303d Fighter Squadron.[1]

In 1991 the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the closure and inactivation of Richards-Gebaur AFB. It was later announced that the 442nd, with the 303d, would relocate to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri and, on schedule, in June 1994 the unit completed its move to Whiteman AFB.[1]

After its return to its original home at Whiteman, the squadron deployed to Italy to support the No-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina four times for Operations Deny Flight and Decisive Edge. In 1998, the squadron deployed to the Persian Gulf area for 45 days to support Operation Southern Watch, the United Nations' effort to deny Iraqi military access to southern Iraq.[1]

In 2000, the squadron's responsibility shifted from Operation Southern Watch to flying Combat Search and Rescue missions for Operation Northern Watch from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.[1]

303d operations and maintenance members, along with two A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft deployed to Afghanistan from April to July 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In March 2003, squadron members and aircraft were deployed in of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron made Air Force history when it became the first Air Force fighter squadron to forward deploy into Iraq, soon after arriving in the area of responsibility, and based at Tallil Air Base. The squadron made Air Force history again when it became the first Air Force fighter squadron to forward deploy a second time into Iraq, this time to base at Kirkuk Air Base. The 303d returned home from Iraq in November 2003 following an eight-month deployment with no aircraft damage and no combat injuries.[1]

In 2006 the 303d won the A-10 gunnery competition Hawgsmoke.

Operations and Decorations[edit]

  • Campaigns. World War II: Normandy, Rome-Arno; Southern France; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 303d Troop Carrier Squadron on 25 May 1943
Activated on 1 Sep 1943
Inactivated on 30 Sep 1946
  • Re-designated: 303d Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 10 May 1949
Activated in the Reserve on 27 Jun 1949
Ordered to Active Service on 10 Mar 1951
Inactivated on 12 Mar 1951
  • Activated in the Reserve on 15 Jun 1952
Re-designated: 303d Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy on 8 May 1961
Ordered to Active Service on 1 Oct 1961
Relieved from Active Duty on 27 Aug 1962
Re-designated: 303d Air Transport Squadron, Heavy on 1 Dec 1965
Re-designated: 303d Military Airlift Squadron on 1 Jan 1966
Re-designated: 303d Tactical Airlift Squadron on 27 Jun 1971
Re-designated: 303d Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 Oct 1982
Re-designated: 303d Fighter Squadron on 1 Feb 1992.

Assignments[edit]

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]