80th Flying Training Wing
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|80th Flying Training Wing|
80th Flying Training Wing emblem
|Active||13 January 1942 – present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Education and Training Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Sheppard Air Force Base|
|Motto||Angels on Our Wings (WW II)|
|Engagements||Burma Campaign 1944-1945|
|Commander||Colonel Lance R. Bunch|
|Vice-Commander||Colonel Jaime M. Schofield|
|Command Chief Master Sergeant||Chief Master Sergeant Doreen L. Losacco|
The 80th FTW mission is to provide combat airpower by producing top quality fighter pilots for the NATO alliance.
The 80th FTW is home of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Program. The ENJJPT, established in the spirit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is the world's only multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for NATO.
80th Operations Group (80 OG)
- The 80th OG provides operational support, flying training, air traffic control and evaluation of 256 student pilots and 110 instructor pilot candidates, as well as Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals for more than 145 trainees annually. The group maintains five squadrons – 80th Operations Support Squadron, 88th Fighter Training Squadron, 89th Flying Training Squadron, 90th Flying Training Squadron and the 97th Flying Training Squadron – that support and train undergraduate pilots from NATO countries.
- 80th Operations Support Squadron (80 OSS)
- 88th Fighter Training Squadron (88 FTS)
- 89th Flying Training Squadron (89 FTS) T-6A Texan II
- 90th Flying Training Squadron (90 FTS) T-38C Talon (Blue/Yellow tail stripe)
- 459th Flying Training Squadron (459 FTS) T-6A Texan II
- 469th Flying Training Squadron (469 FTS) T-38C Talon (Green tail stripe)
- Established as 80 Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 January 1942
- Activated on 9 February 1942
- Redesignated 80 Fighter Group (Single Engine) on 15 May 1942
- Inactivated on 3 November 1945
- Consolidated (31 January 1984) with the 80 Flying Training Wing, which was established on 23 May 1972
- Activated on 1 January 1973 by redesignation of the 3630th Flying Training Wing*
*Redesignated as part of ATC program to replace four-digit MAJCOM wings with two-digit wings with a combat lineage. The 3630th FTW was activated at Shepphard on 10 December 1965 to provide UPT for the West German Air Force.
- 80 Operations: 2 January 1998–present
- 88 Pursuit (later, 88 Fighter; 88 Flying Training) Squadron: 9 February 1942 – 3 November 1945; 1 January 1973-2 January 1998.
- 89 Pursuit (later, 89 Fighter; 89 Flying Training) Squadron: 9 February 1942 – 3 November 1945; 1 January 1973-2 January 1998.
- 90 Pursuit (later, 90 Fighter; 90 Flying Training) Squadron: 9 February 1942 – 3 November 1945; 1 January 1973-2 January 1998.
- 459 Fighter Squadron: 1 September 1943 – 5 November 1945.
Operations in World War II
The 80th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) was constituted on 13 January 1942 and activated on February 1942. It was redesignated as the 80th Fighter Group in May 1942. During World War II, the group was the first USAAF unit to be stationed in Burma after the Allied retreat in 1942. During its two years in combat, this group, which called itself the Burma Banshees, kept the supply lines open to China while clearing the way for Merrill's Marauders to sweep northern Burma clean of the Japanese.
The 80th trained for combat and served as part of the defense force for the northeastern United States from, 1942–1943. It's flying squadrons were the 88th, 89th, and 90th Pursuit (later Fighter) Squadrons. It first trained with the P-47 Thunderbolt and later in the Curtis P-40.
The 80th sailed for India, via Brazil, the Cape of Good Hope, and Ceylon, in May 1943, commencing combat operations in the China-Burma-India theater in September 1943. The group supported Allied ground forces during the battle for northern Burma and the push southward to Rangoon, bombing and strafing troop concentrations, supply dumps, lines of communication, artillery positions, and other objectives.
The 80th was assigned the defense of the Indian terminus of the Hump route, which it carried out by striking Japanese airfields and patrolling Allied air bases to safeguard them from attack. The 80th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for intercepting a formation of Japanese aircraft, preventing the destruction of a large oil refinery in Assam, India, on 27 March 1944. Though its primary mission in Burma was the protection of the "Hump" cargo route, the group also played an important role in reopening the Ledo/Burma Road. Using modified, so-called B-40 fighter bombers (the Curtiss P-40 fitted with a 1,000 pound bomb), the 80th FG attacked Japanese-held bridges, sometimes demolishing their target with a single bomb. By the end of the war, the group had destroyed more than 200 bridges and killed scores of bridge repair crews. Air-to-air and air-to-ground sweeps by the group's pilots claimed 80 enemy planes destroyed in the air or on the ground.
The 80th Fighter Group was withdrawn from combat in May 1945.
USAF Training Wing
Although South Vietnamese Air Force pilot training ceased in September 1974, students from other nations continued to train under the security assistance program through April 1980. It also provided USAF rotary-wing pilots' conversion training to fixed-wing aircraft from June 1977 – November 1981. The wing has conducted pilot training and pilot instructor training under the Euro-NATO Joint Pilot Training Program, since October 1981, with participating nations contributing staff and financial support. In January 1994, the 80th began training Euro-NATO pilots in fighter fundamentals, using AT-38 aircraft.
Notes and References
- Playing Large Part In Burma Fighting Against Japs, The CBI Roundup, Vol. II, No. 32, 20 April 1944
- How to earn a slot flying in the 80th FTW from an Air Force Commission source from WANTSCHECK.com
- 80 FTW Home Page
- The Burma Banshees