36th Fighter Squadron

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36th Fighter Squadron
36th Fighter Squadron.jpg
36th Fighter Squadron Patch
Active 12 June 1917 – 7 April 1919
2 October 1930 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter
Part of Pacific Air Forces
7th Air Force
51st Fighter Wing
51st Operations Group
Engagements World War I
World War II
Korean War
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg PUC
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
Quentin Roosevelt
Ennis Whitehead
36th FS F-16C Block 40D 88-0538 landing at Osan AB, 2008
F-86F-30-NA Sabre 52-4408 Itazuke Air Base, Japan. 1954
Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star 49-689, Suwon Air Base, South Korea, 1950

The 36th Fighter Squadron (36 FS) is part of the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base, South Korea. It operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.


Conduct air interdiction, close air support and counter-air missions in both day and night conditions.[1]


During its 90-year history, the 36 FS has flown 21 different types of aircraft, received 22 unit citations and accumulated 24 service and campaign streamers.[1]

The unit came into existence when a group of aviation pioneers, eager to prove the value of air power in World War I, formed the 36th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, in June 1917. First Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt, the son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was one of the squadron's first commanders, assuming command later that year. While the new squadron did not see combat as a unit when it moved to France, several of its members did while flying for other squadrons.[1]

After World War I, the 36th was inactivated, only to be resurrected in October 1930 at Selfridge Field, Michigan, to train pilots and develop new air tactics. In 1932, the 36th relocated to Langley Field, Virginia, as part of the 8th Pursuit Group. While assigned to the 8th, the 36th flew airmail for the U.S. Postal Service, flying in all types of weather without instruments. During World War II, the squadron flew P-40 Warhawk, P-39 Airacobra, P-47 Thunderbolt, and P-38 Lightning fighters in a number of Pacific Theater campaigns. These included the defense of New Guinea and the battle for the Philippines. They moved to Fukuska, Japan at the end of the war.[1]

When the communist forces attacked the Republic of Korea in June 1950, the 36th found itself in the fight from the beginning of the conflict. Flying F-80 Shooting Stars, the squadron attacked advancing North Korean tanks, trucks, artillery, and troops. The unit later converted back to the piston-engined F-51 Mustang, considered more suitable for operations in Korea. The 36th ended the war equipped with F-86 Sabres, flying bombing and strafing missions against enemy air fields. The 36th returned to Japan after the Korean War, operating out of Itazuke Air Base for the next 10 years.[1]

During the Vietnam War, the 36th flew combat missions into Southeast Asia from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. 36th pilots flew F-105 Thunderchiefs, escorting rescue aircraft and suppressing anti-aircraft fire. The squadron was re-equipped with F-4 Phantom II fighters in December 1967 and stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan, with regular deployments to Kunsan Air Base beginning in March 1971. The 36th moved to Kunsan in May 1971, establishing a forward operating location at Osan Air Base. The squadron permanently moved to Osan and was assigned to the 51st Composite Wing (Tactical) in September 1974.[1]

The 36th ushered in the era of the "Viper" on 10 August 1988, when squadron commander Lieutenant Colonel Al Spitzer landed the first F-16 Fighting Falcon at Osan. The squadron's combat capabilities were transformed in 1990 when the squadron converted to the Block 40 Low Altitude Navigational and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) F-16C/D. The addition of LANTIRN gave the Fiends the current ability to fly at low levels and deliver precision guided munitions during nighttime conditions. Upgrades to the Block 40 in recent years have included GBU-31 JDAM capability for all weather precision engagement.[1]


  • Organized as 36th Aero Squadron on 12 Jun 1917
Demobilized on 7 Apr 1919
  • Reconstituted, and redesignated 36th Pursuit Squadron, on 24 Mar 1923
Activated on 2 Oct 1930
Re-designated: 36th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) on 6 Dec 1939
Re-designated: 36th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 12 Mar 1941
Re-designated: 36th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Re-designated: 36th Fighter Squadron, Two Engine, on 19 Feb 1944
Re-designated: 36th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 1 Apr 1946
Re-designated: 36th Fighter Squadron, Jet, on 1 Jan 1950
Re-designated: 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 Jan 1950
Re-designated: 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 Jul 1958
Re-designated: 36th Fighter Squadron on 7 Feb 1992.



  • Unknown, 12 Jun-Sep 1917
  • Third Aviation Instructor Center, Sep 1917
  • French Aerial Gunnery School, Feb 1918
  • American Aerial Gunnery School, Nov 1918-Feb 1919
  • Unknown, Feb-7 Apr 1919
  • 2d Bombardment Wing
Attached to 1st Pursuit Group, 2 Oct 1930
Attached to 1st Pursuit Group, 1 Apr 1931
Attached to 1st Pursuit Group, 30 Jun 1931
Attached to 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 1 Feb – 30 Sep 1957
Attached to 4th Air Division, 13 May – 17 Jun 1964
Attached to 2d Air Division, 9 Aug – 5 Oct 1964 and 6 Mar – 4 May 1965
  • 6441st Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 Apr 1965
Attached to 2d Air Division, 26 Aug – 28 Oct 1965








See also[edit]


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

External links[edit]