419th Flight Test Squadron
|419th Flight Test Squadron|
|Active||3 February 1942 - Present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Materiel Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Edwards Air Force Base, California|
|419th Flight Test Squadron emblem|
The 419th Flight Test Squadron (419 FTS) is a United States Air Force squadron. It is assigned to the 412th Operations Group, Air Force Materiel Command, stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
During World War II, the 419th Bombardment Squadron was a B-17 Flying Fortress squadron, assigned to the 301st Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force. It earned Two Distinguished Unit Citations.
World War II
Established as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment squadron in early 1942; trained under Second Air Force. Flew antisubmarine patrols off the California coast from, late May–early June 1942, then over the Mid-Atlantic coast during June–July 1942.
Deployed to European Theater of Operations (ETO) in August 1942, being assigned to VIII Bomber Command, one of the first B-17 heavy bomb squadrons assigned to England. Engaged in strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe attacking enemy military and industrial targets. Reassigned to Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) as part of Operation Torch invasion of North Africa. Operated from desert airfields in Algeria and Tunisia during North African and Tunisian campaign. Assigned to Northwest African Strategic Air Force during Invasion of Sicily and later Italy in 1943. Allocated to Fifteenth Air Force for strategic bombing of Nazi Germany and occupied Europe. Attacked enemy targets primarily in the Balkans; Southern France; Southern Germany and Austria from southern Italy; engaged in shuttle bombing missions to airfields in the Soviet Union during the summer of 1944.
Personnel largely demobilized after German capitulation in May 1945; squadron reassigned to the United States and was programmed for conversion to B-29 Superfortess operations and deployment to Pacific Theater, plans canceled after Japanese capitulation in August 1945. Aircraft sent to storage and unit inactivated largely as a paper unit in October 1945.
The squadron was activated in 1959 as a result of Strategic Air Command phasing out the B-47 Stratojet, and additional squadrons were activated as part of the consolation of Stratojet wings, and the replacement of the B-47 by B-52 Stratofortresses. In March 1961, President John F. Kennedy directed that the phaseout of the B-47 be accelerated. and the squadron was inactivated on 1 January 1962 as part of the drawdown of the USAF B-47 force, with the aircraft were sent to AMARC storage at Davis-Monthan.
Flight Test Squadron
Reactivated as a flight test squadron at Edwards AFB in 1989 taking over the Air Force Flight Test Center Strategic Systems Division (B-52G/H Stratofortress). Also operated UAV test program (MQ-1 Predator) 1994-2000 when the UAV program was realigned. Gained B-1 Lancer program from the 410th Flight Test Squadron in 1991 when the 410th was moved to Palmdale and took over the F-117 Program. Gained B-2 Spirit program from the inactivating 420th Flight Test Squadron on 30 December 1997.
- Constituted 29th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
- Activated on 3 Feb 1942
- Re-designated: 419th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr 1942
- Re-designated: 419th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, c. 6 Mar 1944
- Re-designated: 419th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 5 Aug 1945
- Inactivated on 15 Oct 1945
- Re-designated 419th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 20 Aug 1958
- Activated on 1 Dec 1958
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 Jan 1962
- Consolidated (1 Oct 1992) with the 6519th Test Squadron, which was designated, and activated, on 10 Mar 1989.
- Re-designated: 419th Test Squadron on 2 Oct 1992
- Re-designated: 419th Flight Test Squadron on 1 Mar 1994.
- 301st Bombardment Group, 3 Feb 1942-15 Oct 1945
- 301st Bombardment Wing, 1 Dec 1958-1 Jan 1962
- 6510th (later, 412th) Test Wing, 10 Mar 1989
- 412th Operations Group, 1 Oct 1993–Present
- List of United States Air Force test squadrons
- Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Millet, Jeffrey R. The Fifteenth Air Force Story: A History 1943–1985. Fifteenth Air Force Association, 1986.
- Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
- B-29 Superfortress, John Pimlott, Gallery Books, 1980.
- The Boeing B-47, Peter Bowers, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1968.
- Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
- USAF 419th Flight Test Squadron History