357th Fighter Squadron

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357th Fighter Squadron
357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron - Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II - 76-0532.jpg
357th Fighter Squadron Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II 76-0532 at Davis-Monthan AFB, 1991
Active 1942-1946; 1952-1960; 1962-1970; 1971-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Fighter Training
Part of Air Combat Command
12th Air Force
355th Fighter Wing
355th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Nickname Dragons[1]
Engagements European Theater of Operations Vietnam War
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/ V Device
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Palm
Insignia
357th Fighter Squadron Emblem (approved 24 June 1943)[2] 357th Fighter Squadron.jpg

The 357th Fighter Squadron (357 FS) is part of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. It operates Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft training pilots for close air support missions.

The squadron was first activated during World War II as a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron. After training in the United States the unit deployed to the European Theater of Operations. The unit entered combat operations in the summer of 1943, continuing in combat until April 1945. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for carrying out a difficult attack in April 1944. The squadron moved to Germany, where it was briefly part of the occupation forces before returning to the United States where it was inactivated in November 1945.

Mission[edit]

The 357th conducts all formal course directed aircraft transition, day and night weapons and tactics employment, day and night air refueling, and dissimilar air combat maneuvers. The squadron trains pilots to plan, coordinate, execute, and control day and night close air support, air interdiction and battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance.[1]

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

357th Fighter Squadron P-47D Thunderbolt 42-22784

The 355th Fighter Squadron was first activated in late 1942 at Orlando Army Air Base, Florida[2] as one of the original three squadrons of the 355th Fighter Group,[3] flying Republic P-47 Thunderbolts. The squadron trained under III Fighter Command in Florida and in the Middle Atlantic States, then was reassigned as part of I Fighter Command for final training at Philadelphia Municipal Airport, Pennsylvania. The unit also performed air defense in the Philadelphia area in mid-1943.

The 357th deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), where it became part of the 65th Fighter Wing of VIII Fighter Command, Eighth Air Force. The squadron engaged in low-level sweeps over the low countries and Occupied France, attacking enemy airfields and targets of opportunity such as locomotives, bridges, radio stations, and armored cars. Later the squadron served primarily as an escort for Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers of VIII Bomber Command during missions into Germany.

357th Fighter Squadron P-51D Mustang 44-73294 "Ole VIII" with occupation markings, summer 1945

On 5 April 1944, shortly after converting from P-47's to North American P-51 Mustangs, the squadron successfully bombed and strafed German airfields during a snow squall, for which it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation.[2] It provided fighter cover for Allied forces landing in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and afterwards hit transportation facilities to cut enemy supply lines. The unit hit fuel dumps, locomotives, and other targets in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July.

The squadron remained in combat until 25 April 1945. It moved to Occupied Germany as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe for occupation duty at AAF Station Gablingen, Germany, later moving to AAF Station Schweinfurt. The squadron transferred, without personnel and equipment, to Mitchel Field New York on 1 August 1946. It was inactivated on 20 November at Mitchel.

Cold War Air Defense[edit]

357th FIS F-86D Sabres 51-8378 in foreground.

The squadron was reactivated as the 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron under Air Defense Command ADC at Portland International Airport, Oregon in November 1952. The squadron took over the personnel, mission and F-86F Sabres of the federalized 123d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard which was returned to state control.[2][4] A little more than three months later, ADC formed Air Defense Groups at its dispersed fighter bases and the squadron became the operational element of the new 503d Air Defense Group.[2] However, the 503d soon converted to Lockheed F-94 Starfires with the activation of the 497th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron[5] and the 357th deployed to Nouasseur Air Base, French Morocco and assigned to the 316th Air Division of United States Air Forces Europe in May, where it provided air defense mission for Strategic Air Command forward bases used by Boeing B-47 Stratojet aircraft on Reflex deployment to Morocco. Th unit received new HVAR rocket armed and airborne intercept radar equipped F-86D Sabre interceptors in early 1955. The unit remained in North Africa until 1960 when it was inactivated[2] as SAC withdrew from its Morocco bases.

Viet Nam War[edit]

357th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-105D 61-0176, 1969

The 357th was reactivated in July 1962 at George Air Force Base, California as the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron under the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and equipped with Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs. After a period of organization at George, the unit moved to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas in mid-1964.[6]

The squadron deployed for operations under the control of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), initially operating temporarily from Yokota Air Base, Japan in the fall of 1964, then from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand in early 1965, flying combat missions over South Vietnam in support of the US Advisory forces and friendly South Vietnamese units, returning to McConnell in late 1965. The unit almost immediately re-deployed to Thailand, this time to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in early 1966 as part of the deployment of its parent wing, which became permanently assigned to PACAF's Thirteenth Air Force.[6]

The squadron remained in Thailand engaged in combat operations over Indochina until 1970, flying frequent missions over enemy-held territory in South and North Vietnam. Its combat actions earned it a Presidential Unit Citation and three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat V.[6] It was inactivated at Takhli on 10 December 1970 as part of the drawdown of US Forces in Southeast Asia in the early 1970s.[6]

357th TFS A-7D 72-0233 in 1973

The squadron activated briefly at McConnell AFB in March 1971, but moved to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona later that month and was reassigned to the reformed 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and equipped with the new A-7D Corsair II ground support aircraft.[6] It achieved operationally-ready status in 1972. In late 1972, the unit deployed its Corsairs to Korat RTAFB and was attached to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (Forward Echelon), which had deployed to Korat from Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina. From Korat, the squadron's aircraft conducted combat operations in South Vietnam, returning to Davis-Monthan in July 1973.

Post war era[edit]

The squadron was redesignated the 357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron and taken off operational status in 1976, becoming an A-7D Pilot training squadron. It received Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt IIs in 1979, the replacement for the A-7Ds, and became an A-10 Thunderbolt II Operational Training Unit, the mission the squadron currently performs. In 2000, the squadron added the mission of training instructor pilots in the A-10.[6]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 357th Fighter Squadron and activated on 12 November 1942
Redesignated 357th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 20 November 1946
  • Redesignated 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 11 September 1952
Activated on 1 November 1952
Discontinued on 8 March 1960
  • Redesignated 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 13 April 1962
Organized on 8 July 1962
Inactivated on 10 December 1970
  • Activated on 15 March 1971
Redesignated: 357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 1 July 1976
Redesignated: 357th Fighter Squadron on 1 November 1991.

[6]

Assignments[edit]

[6]

Stations[edit]

[6]

Aircraft[edit]

[6]

Awards and Campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 5 April 1944 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 11 June 1965-21 November 1965 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 29 January 1966-10 October 1955 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 11 August 1967-12 August 1967
24 October 1967-28 October 1967
357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 12 April 1968-30 April 1969 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Combat "V" Device 12 October 1966-11 April 1967 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Combat "V" Device 12 April 1967-11 April 1968 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Combat "V" Device 1 July 1969-24 November 1970 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1971-1 June 1973 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 1976-30 May 1978 357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1991-31 December 1992 357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (later 357th Fighter Squadron)[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 1995-31 May 1997 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 1998-31 May 2000 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 2002-31 May 2004 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 2004-31 May 2006 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 2007-31 May 2009 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
VGCP Streamer.jpg Republic of Viet Nam Gallantry Cross w/Palm 1 April 1966-10 December 1970 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Air Offensive, Europe 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Normandy 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Northern France 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Rhineland 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Ardennes-Alsace 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Central Europe 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Air Combat, EAME Theater 357th Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Defensive 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air/Ground 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Tet 1969 Counteroffensive 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Sanctuary Counteroffensive 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]
Streamer VS.PNG Southwest Monsoon 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Davis-Monthan AFB 355th Operations Group Fact Sheet 5/22/2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 445. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. 
  3. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. 
  4. ^ Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 122. 
  5. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 130
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at Robertson, Patsy, AFHRA Factsheet 357 Fighter Squadron 12/4/2012
  7. ^ Station number in Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II. Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Station number in Johnson, 1st Lt. David C. (1988). U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO) D-Day to V-E Day. Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. 

Bibliography[edit]

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

External links[edit]