35th Fighter Squadron

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35th Fighter Squadron
35th Fighter Squadron - General Dynamics F-16C Block 40F Fighting Falcon - 89-2064.jpg
F-16C block 40 #89-2064 from the 35th FS lands at Kunsan AB on 16 March 2010.
Active 12 June 1917 – 19 March 1919
25 June 1932 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter
Part of Pacific Air Forces
7th Air Force
8th Fighter Wing
8th Operations Group
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines).svg PPUC
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea).svg ROK PUC
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
Lt. Col. Matthew Higgins
Insignia
35th Fighter Squadron emblem 35 FS.jpg

The 35th Fighter Squadron (35 FS) is a United States Air Force unit, assigned to the 8th Operations Group, stationed at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. The squadron operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.

Overview[edit]

The 35th FS is one of two squadrons of Block 40 F-16C/Ds of the 8th Fighter wing at Kunsan, flying the Fighting Falcon since 1981. The 35th is one of the oldest squadrons in the United States Air Force, its history dating to 12 June 1917, when the unit was activated as the 35th Aero Squadron.[1]

History[edit]

World War I[edit]

The 35th Fighter Squadron heritage dates back to 12 June 1917, when the unit activated as the 35th Aero Squadron. Originally an aircraft maintenance squadron, the unit served in France from September 1917 to February 1919. Upon the unit's return to the United States after the armistice, it demobilized during the American disarmament.[2]

Inter-war years[edit]

Recognizing the need for a strong air arm, American defense officials reconstituted the squadron in June 1932 and redesignated it the 35th Pursuit Squadron. For the next few years, the 35th flew P-12, PB-2, A-17, and P-36 aircraft out of Langley Field, Virginia. In 1939, the unit was redesignated the 35th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) and moved to Mitchel Field, New York, to fly the P-40 Warhawk.[2]

World War II[edit]

The 35th Fighter Squadron along with the 8th Fighter Group left New York Harbor, heading for Australia at the end of January 1942 on an old cattle boat called the USS Maui. The squadron has never been stationed in the United States since. They arrived in Brisbane, Queensland on 6 March 1942. After arrival, it moved to Amberly Airfield, west of Brisbane, where it was equipped with P-39D Aircobras that were originally intended to go to the Philippines but the convoy was diverted to Brisbane.

They then moved to Woodstock outside of Townsville in Northern Queensland on 26 April 1942 on their way to Port Moresby, New Guinea where they arrived on 30 April 1942. There, the squadron operated from a gravel fighter strip constructed by the Australians in the 1930s called Kila Kila Airfield (3 Mile Drome). After two months in combat, the squadron rotated back to Australia, returning to Woodstock on 29 June 1942 for various rest and re-equipment tasks. They relocated to Garbutt airfield in Townsville on 27 July 1942 and then moved to Milne Bay in New Guinea on 18 September 1942 after the airfield was secured from the Japanese. It again engaged in combat operations against Japanese forces with its P-39s until rotated back to Queensland, being sent to Mareeba Airfield in February 1943 as its Aircobras were basically worn-out. At Mareeba, the squadron was re-equipped with P-40N Warhawks before leaving Australia for good in May and heading back to Port Moresby.

In New Guinea, the squadron covered landings and supported offensive ground operations in New Britain, New Guinea, and Hollandia, with the group moving forward to different bases as territory was captured from the Japanese. At Cape Gloucester, the P-40s were replaced by P-38F Lightnings that were ferried up from Australia. It was with the P-38 that the 8th Fighter Group became truly effective against both the Japanese Zero in air to air battles, as well as providing ground support to MacArthur's ground forces. Its twin engines offered an additional safety factory when operating over long stretches of water and jungle. The Lightnings proved to be extremely rugged and could take a lot of battle damage and still keep flying. Missions lasting 9, 10, or even 12 hours became routine, and many wounded Lightnings were able to limp home on only one engine.

In 1944, the 35th supported operations in the Philippines, earning a second Distinguished Unit Citation when, armed only with machine guns, the Lightnings of the 8th Fighter Group strafed a Japanese naval task force for three hours, halting the ships until B-25 medium bombers from more distant bases could attack the task force with low-level bomb runs Despite the fact that the group did not have time to load bombs on its fighters and used only .50 caliber bullets on the mission, the 8th managed to sink one of the Japanese ships.

After moving to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in the Philippines in December 1944, the 35th spent the next several months conducting offensive operations against Formosa and the Asian mainland, as well as flying escort missions in the area. Moving to a base in Ie Shima in August 1945, the 8th flew several missions against the Japanese island of Kyushu before the war ended.

On 14 August 1945, the day of the Japanese surrender, the 35th Fighter Squadron shot down the last enemy plane of the war. During its involvement in World War II, the 35th participated in nine campaigns.

Korean War[edit]

When the Korean War began, the redesignated 35th Fighter Bomber Squadron entered combat. Once on the offensive, the 35th moved from base to base in Korea, flying the F-80 Shooting Star and later the F-86 Sabre. At one time, the 35th was stationed at Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea.[2]

Pacific Air Forces service[edit]

When the Korean War ended, the squadron started flying F-100 Super Sabres at its new location at Itazuke Air Base, Japan. In 1963, the squadron received F-105 Thunderchiefs to replace the F-100s and moved to Yokota Air Base, Japan.[2]

In 1964, the 35th deployed to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as one of the first units to fight in Southeast Asia. It later moved to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. During this deployment, the squadron's new home became Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.[2]

On 15 March 1972, the 35th moved to Kunsan Air Base to fly the F-4 Phantom II. In September 1981, the 35th and its sister squadron, the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron, became the first overseas units to convert to the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The squadrons and wing dropped the "tactical" designation from their titles during an Air Force-wide reorganization on 31 January 1992.[2]

On 17 November 2000, the 35th Fighter Squadron received its first Block 40 F-16s. The new aircraft carry Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, pods. The combination of LANTIRN and night-vision goggles allows the squadron to take the fight into the night. The 35th completed the conversion in February 2001.[2]

Lineage[edit]

35th TFS F-4D Phantom - 66-8709, at Korat RTAFB, Thailand, 1973
A 35th FBS F-86F in Korea, 1953.
F-80C 49-696 Near Mt Fuji Japan 1950. Aircraft now in National Museum of the Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton Ohio
  • Organized as 35th Aero Squadron on 12 Jun 1917
Demobilized on 19 Mar 1919
  • Reconstituted, and redesignated 35th Pursuit Squadron, on 24 Mar 1923
Activated on 25 Jun 1932
Re-designated: 35th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) on 6 Dec 1939
Re-designated: 35th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 12 Mar 1941
Re-designated: 35th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Re-designated: 35th Fighter Squadron, Two Engine, on 19 Feb 1944
Re-designated: 35th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 8 Jan 1946
Re-designated: 35th Fighter Squadron, Jet, on 1 Jan 1950
Re-designated: 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 Jan 1950
Re-designated: 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 Jul 1958
Re-designated: 35th Fighter Squadron on 3 Feb 1992.

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Assignments[edit]

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Stations[edit]

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Aircraft[edit]

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Operations[edit]

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See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]