308th Fighter Squadron

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308th Fighter Squadron
308th Fighter Squadron.jpg
308th Fighter Squadron Patch
Active 30 January 1942 – 7 November 1945
20 August 1946 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter Training
Part of Air Education and Training Command
19th Air Force
56th Fighter Wing
56th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Luke Air Force Base
Nickname Emerald Knights
Colors Green & White (checkerboard) Tailband
Engagements Operation Torch
Operation Husky
Operation Dragoon
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat V device
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm

The 308th Fighter Squadron (308 FS) is part of the 56th Operations Group at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

Mission[edit]

The 308th FS ("Emerald Knights", Tailband: Green & White (checkerboard)), fly Block 42 F-16C/Ds conducting F-16 Fighting Falcon crew training for active duty USAF pilots.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Initially established under Third Air Force in early 1942 as a fighter squadron at Baer Field, Indiana, flying some antisubmarine patrols in the Gulf of Mexico.

Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) in June 1942 without aircraft as its P-40s and P-39s were deemed unsuitable for use against German aircraft in long range bomber escort duties. Was re-equipped with RAF Spitfire Vs and its pilots and technicians spent a two-month period undergoing intensive training in flying and fighting with RAF pilots in the British aircraft from airfields in southeast England. The squadron flew its first combat mission on 18 August 1942, when it attacked enemy positions in occupied France.

Assigned to the new Twelfth Air Force and deployed to Gibraltar in November 1942 as part of the Operation Torch invasion forces, initially operating from former Vichy French airfields in Algeria. Advanced east across Algeria and Tunisia during the North African Campaign, supporting the Fifth United States Army which halted Field Marshal Rommel's advance on allied positions.

308th FS, May 1944, P-51D-5-NA Mustang 44-13524 in foreground

Spitfires from the squadron provided support for Allied Forces as the Invasion of Italy began with the capture of Sicily, and later the landings by Allied forces in Fascist Italy, moving north supporting the Fifth Army during the Italian Campaign. As Allied bomber forces operating from Italy began the strategic bombing of Axis petroleum and communications facilities in central Europe and the Balkans, the squadron was re-equipped with the North American P-51 Mustang to replace the shorter-ranged Spitfire. In August 1944, the P-51's were involved in the invasion of Southern France. In December 1944, the first destruction of a German jet fighter by a 308th P-51 occurred, eventually operating from the Po Valley in Northern Italy at the end of the European War in May 1945.

By war's end, the squadron had earned two Distinguished Unit Citations and was involved in eight campaigns The squadron was largely demobilized during the summer of 1945 in Europe, a skeleton force returned to Drew Field, Florida in August, inactivating largely as an administrative unit in November.[1]

Reactivated from elements of several inactivating organizations in Germany in August 1946, Performed occupation duty and operating early-model P-80A Shooting Star jets from former Luftwaffe jet-capable airfields at Giebelstadt and Kitzingen. Returned to the United States in June 1947 without personnel or equipment which remained in Germany.

Cold War[edit]

North American F-100D-25-NA Super Sabre Serial 55-3642 of the 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
F-100D s/n 56-3397 in a revetment, Tuy Hoa AB, Vietnam, with a munitions jammer loading a M117 bomb

Assigned to Strategic Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia as a fighter-escort squadron, equipped with straight-winged F-84E Thunderjets. Assigned to Turner AFB, Georgia with mission of long-range escort of B-29 Superfortress bombers, later B-50 and B-36 Peacemakers as newer aircraft came into operation by SAC.

Relieved from assignment to SAC and made non-operational in 1957 with phaseout of B-36 and end of SAC escort fighter concept. On 1 April 1957 the parent 31 SFW was transferred back to Tactical Air Command and moved to George AFB, California. Trained in tactical air support of ground forces, deploying to NATO bases for operational exercises. Reassigned to Homestead AFB, Florida after the Cuban Missile Crisis, late 1962 to provide air defense of South Florida. On 8 February 1964 the 308th Fighter Squadron flew a non-stop mission from Homestead AFB, Florida, to Cigli Air Base, Turkey. The 6,600 mile trip required eight in-flight refuelings and set a new record for the longest mass flight of jet aircraft to cross the Atlantic. The flight also led to the wing receiving the Tactical Air Command Outstanding Fighter Wing Award for 1964, the second consecutive year it won that prestigious award.

Was deployed to Southeast Asia, 1964 as part of advisory forces operating against North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front forces in South Vietnam. For its efforts in Southeast Asia from 16 December 1966 to 15 October 1970, the 308th was awarded the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. The 308th Fighter Squadron also won the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with combat "V" device.[1]

Reassigned back to TAC at Homestead AFB in 1970, as part of re-establishment of 31st TFW upon its return from duty in Southeast Asia. Equipped with F-4Es. Was deployed to Thailand, July 1972, engaging North Vietnamese forces in northern South Vietnam in response to the communist spring offensive. Returned to the United States in the late fall, 1972. For the next 20 years, performed routine training and tactical deployments from Homestead AFB. At the end of 1986 the squadron and wing changed tail codes from ZF to HS which better matched the squadrons location in Homestead. Upgraded to the F-16A Fighting Falcon in 1988, upgrading to receive Shaw AFB block 25s in August 1990. With the Gulf War build up and the 363rd TFW at Shaw AFB deploying to Saudi Arabia meant no more block 25s were available. With some F-16A/B block 15s still in service for the 308th TFS, it continued to operate both types.

Modern era[edit]

308th FS F-16D Block 42 88-0175
General Dynamics F-16A Block 15Q Fighting Falcon AF Serial No. 83-1080 of the 308th FS, about 1988.

When Desert Storm ended it was decided to convert the 31st TFW to block 40 F-16s instead. Up to this point about ten block 25s had reached the 308th FS and had been pained in 'Emerald Knight' markings. They were all sent to other units. Neither of the 31st TFWs other sister squadrons flew the block 25. In March 1991 the 308th began conversion to the block 40 version of the F-16. On 1 October 1991 the word 'Tactical' was dropped and unit became the 308th Fighter Squadron. By early 1992 the conversion to block 40 F-16s with the general purpose role was complete.

Moved to Moody AFB, Georgia in late August 1992 when Hurricane Andrew threatened South Florida. It was to be a temporary move to Moody, but Homestead was so heavily damaged it was never re-opened for any of the 31st FW squadrons After destruction of Homestead AFB, was reassigned permanently to the 347th Operations Group at Moody. At this point the 'HS' tail code began to be replaced with a 'MY' tail code. In fact some block 40 F-16s were delivered right from the factory to the 308th Fighter Squadron's new home base. It deployed to Saudi Arabia from, March–June 1995 in support of Operation Southern Watch.

On 1 April 1994 the unit reassigned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona where it became a training unit. Training by the 308th FS is not a typical syllabus as the 308th FS is the main training hub for turning out instructor pilots. The 'Emerald Knights' mission is to ' Train . . . F-16 pilots and deploy combat ready airmen...'[citation needed] The role of training instructor pilots is not exclusive and the 308th FS still has classes of crew which are new to the Viper.

The 308th ranks tenth as the most highly decorated unit in Air Force history among the 152 fighter squadrons that were ever active.[1] With a long and distinguish service record dating from 1942, it has service around the world from Southeast Asia to Europe.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as 308th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 21 January 1942
Activated on 30 January 1942.
Re-designated: 308th Fighter Squadron on 25 May 1942
Re-designated: 308th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 7 November 1945
  • Activated on 20 August 1946
Re-designated: 308th Fighter Squadron, Jet, on 15 June 1948
Re-designated: 308th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 January 1950
Re-designated: 308th Fighter-Escort Squadron on 16 July 1950
Re-designated: 308th Strategic Fighter Squadron on 20 January 1953
Re-designated: 308th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 1 April 1957
Re-designated: 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1958
Re-designated: 308th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 9 October 1980
Re-designated: 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1986
Re-designated: 308th Fighter Squadron on 1 November 1991.

[2]

Assignments[edit]

Attached to 31st Fighter-Escort Wing, 27 July 1951 – 15 June 1952
Attached to: Alaskan Air Command, 5 December 1956 – 7 January 1957
Attached to: Unknown, 15–21 August 1958, 22 August 1958 – 19 January 1959, 11 July-c. Dec 1959, 7 March-c. 19 July 1961
Attached to: 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, 13 March – 30 April 1963
Attached to: Unknown, 1 May – 3 July 1963
Attached to: 7231 Combat Support Group, 9 February – 5 May 1964 and 9 March – 8 July 1965
Attached to: 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 November – 25 December 1966
Attached to 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 28 April – 29 July 1972
Attached to: 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 11 December 1972 – 11 June 1973
Attached to: 347th Operations Group, c. 11 September – 19 November 1992

[2]

Stations[edit]

[2]

Aircraft[edit]

[2]

Operations[edit]

[2]

Emblems[edit]

References[edit]

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

  1. ^ a b c 56 OG Fact Sheet
  2. ^ a b c d e AFHRA 308 FS Page
  3. ^ 308 TFS (4403 Ftr Wg [sic])

See also[edit]