22d Fighter Squadron
|22d Fighter Squadron|
22d FS F-16CJ Block 50B Fighting Falcon - 90-0829
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Red Hot Fighters|
|William R. Looney III; James F. Knight|
|22d Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 27 June 1945)|
The 22d Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 52d Operations Group and stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It was inactivated on 13 August 2010.
- 1 History
- 2 References
- 3 External links
World War II
Antilles Air Command
The 22d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) was constituted on 22 December 1939, and activated in February 1940 at Langley Field, Virginia. Flying the Curtiss P-36 Hawk, the squadron was one of several deployed to the Caribbean (later Antilles Air Command) and being stationed on bases established as part of the 1940 Destroyers for Bases Agreement with Great Britain. The squadron left from Norfolk, Virginia on 1 February 1940 with several others bound for Puerto Rico aboard the USAT Chateau Thierry from Norfolk for what turned into 29 months of overseas service, taking station at Ponce (later Losey Field) on 6 January 1941.
After its arrival at Ponce, the Squadron converted from the P-36A to Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. After the Pearl Harbor Attack on 7 December 1941, the Squadron was placed on 24-hour alert status and, the Squadron's P-40E's were flown to Howard Field, in the Panama Canal Zone to reinforce the defense units of the Panama Canal. The squadron returned to Ponce without aircraft, and upon their return, the squadron received some Bell P-39D Airacobras which were flown to Puerto Rico from the United States which joined the single example which had been on hand since at least June 1941. On 13 December, the unit Headquarters moved from Ponce to Vega Baja Airfield, an auxiliary aerodrome in Puerto Rico, to provide better interception coverage for the island.
Operations during most of the remainder of 1942 are vague, but involved very extensive over-water flying and many scrambles in response to reported U-Boat sightings, the vast majority of which turned up negative. A detachment of three P-39Ds was operating at Beane Field, St. Lucia by 28 February 1942 while the detachment at Waller Field. The unit was redesignated as the 22d Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942. On 2 September 1942, a detachment of the 32d Fighter Squadron which had been stationed at Curacao and Aruba was transferred outright to the 22d Fighter Squadron, but continued on at their stations on detached assignment. The detachment at Aruba was further attached to the 12th Bombardment Squadron and the detachment at Curacao was attached to the 59th Bombardment Squadron. The larger 22d Fighter Squadron detachment in Trinidad engaged in extensive antisubmarine activities.
With the Navy taking over the antisubmarine mission, the squadron was redeployed back to the United States, moving to Morrison Field, Florida by 27 May 1943.
Ninth Air Force
Transferred to III Fighter Command in June 1943, began training for deployment to the European Theater of Operations as a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber squadron. Deployed to England in April 1944 as part of IX Fighter Command. Initial missions included strafing and dive-bombing armored vehicles, trains, bridges, buildings, factories, troop concentrations, gun emplacements, airfields, and other targets in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. The squadron also flew some escort missions with Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator strategic bombers.
On D-Day the squadron patrolled the air over the landing zones and by flying close-support and interdiction missions. Moved to its Advanced Landing Ground at Brucheville Airfield, France in July, then eastward as ground forces advanced on the continent. Operations supported the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July and the thrust of United States Third Army toward Germany in August and September as part of the 303d Fighter Wing, XIX Tactical Air Command. In October, the squadron moved into Belgium to support Ninth United States Army.
Participated in the Battle of the Bulge during December 1944 and January 1945 by flying armed reconnaissance and close-support missions. Aided First United States Army's push across the Roer River in February 1945. Supported operations at the Remagen bridgehead and during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March.
By V-E Day, the squadron was based at Kassel-Rothwestern Airfield, Germany, where it remained until February 1946 as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe Army of Occupation. In February, the unit was transferred, without personnel or equipment to Bolling Field, Washington, D.C where it was inactivated as a paper unit.
Bitburg Air Base
Reactivated in October 1946 under Caribbean Air Command in the Canal Zone, returning to its prewar mission of the defense of the Panama Canal. The squadron conducted air defense training missions for the next two years initially with P-47's. The squadron upgraded to jet aircraft in December 1947 with the arrival of the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star.
As a result of the Berlin Blockade and other Cold War tensions in Europe, the squadron was deployed to Germany and was reassigned to United States Air Forces in Europe during August 1948, becoming part of the third F-80 jet group assigned to USAFE. At Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base tactical operations included air defense, tactical exercises, maneuvers, and photographic reconnaissance. Upgraded to new Republic F-84E Thunderjets in 1950.
Note blue diagonal stripes were the markings of the 36th FBG, the red nose and tip tanks being colored red, the squadron markings.</ref>]] Remained at Fürstenfeldbruck until 1952 when it was reassigned to the new Bitburg Air Base, west of the Rhine River near the French border in the Eifel mountains. In August 1953, the North American F-86F Sabre was introduced to the squadron, replacing the F-84s. In 1956, the squadron received the North American F-100 Super Sabre, marking the first time a wing in USAFE flew supersonic jets. On 15 May 1958, the squadron was redesignated as the 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron because its missions had now grown to include delivery of tactical nuclear weapons.
In May 1961, received the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and continued to carry on its Cold War mission of tactical nuclear weapons delivery. Twice in the early 1960s when Cold War tensions were elevated due to the 1961 Berlin Wall crisis and 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the squadron rose to a high level of alert. Was upgraded to the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II in 1966.
The squadron was upgraded to the McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle in April 1976 In 1980 more advanced F-15Cs and F-15Ds would replace the original F-15As. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the squadron conducted routine training missions however the outbreak of the 1990–91 Gulf War put the F-15s of Bitburg into the heart of the conflict. The squadron's pilots and aircraft engaged in combat operations during Operation Desert Storm. Not a single F-15 aircraft was lost in combat during the war. On 13 March 1991, the deployed squadron returned to Bitburg AB.
Spangdahlem Air Base
As part of the drawdown at Bitburg Air Base, the unit's F-15s were sent to RAF Lakenheath, England, in the spring of 1994. The squadron moved to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on 1 April 1994, where it assumed the mission, personnel and equipment of the inactivating 480th Fighter Squadron. The squadron flew the Block 50 F-16CJ, the Air Force's latest version of the Fighting Falcon. In 1998, the 22d transitioned from a primary general-purpose air interdiction squadron to its new primary mission as a Wild Weasel unit performing suppression of enemy air defenses. The squadron's most current version of the F-16 was outfitted with the high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM), GPS guided-inertial aided munitions, and the HARM targeting system.
The 22d was quickly put into combat with its new capability when it deployed to Operation Northern Watch in January 1999, and engaged Iraqi radars with 12 HARMs while protecting coalition assets during heightened tensions with Iraq. After three months flying Operations Northern Watch missions, the squadron was retasked and returned to Spangdahlem Air Base where they flew combat missions into northern Yugoslavia protecting Lockheed F-117 Nighthawks and B-2 Spirits striking key military targets in and around Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in support of Operation Allied Force. The pilots of the 22d flew combat missions over Yugoslavia and fired 202 HARMs at Serbian radars. In addition, the squadron performed its secondary and tertiary missions, employing 16 Mk-84s on key military targets while providing air superiority.
Operation Enduring Freedom
In response to U.S. presidential directives, following the 11 September attacks 22d provided fighter escort to Boeing C-17 Globemaster III over Afghanistan during humanitarian relief missions, within 100 hours of notification, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. This effort served as the template for USAFE's Euro Lightning operations concept.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
In January 2003, the squadron forward deployed as the 22d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Southwest Asia in support of U.S. Central Command and flew combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron played a key role during the 27-day air war by fulfilling its "Wild Weasel" mission of suppressing enemy air defenses and destroying Iraqi radar sites.
In April 2010 20 F-16Cs were flown from Spangdahlem to the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard, one F-16 was transferred to Edwards Air Force Base, California. All aircraft were from the 22d Fighter Squadron. As a result of the drawdown of F-16s, the 22d and 23rd Fighter Squadrons were inactivated on 13 August 2010 and formed the a single "new" squadron, the 480th Fighter Squadron.
- Constituted as the 22d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 22 December 1939
- Activated on 1 February 1940
- Redesignated 22d Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
- Redesignated 22d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 20 August 1943
- Inactivated on 31 March 1946
- Activated on 15 October 1946
- Redesignated 22d Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled on 27 October 1947
- Redesignated 22d Fighter Squadron, Jet on 17 June 1948
- Redesignated 22d Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 January 1950
- Redesignated 22d Fighter-Day Squadron on 9 August 1954
- Redesignated 22d Tactical Fighter Squadron on 8 July 1958
- Redesignated 22d Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1991
- Inactivated on 13 August 2010
- 36th Pursuit Group (later 36th Fighter Group), 1 February 1940 – 31 March 1946
- 36th Fighter Group (later 36th Fighter-Bomber Group 36th Fighter-Day Group), 15 October 1946 (attached to 36th Fighter-Day Wing after 1 October 1956)
- 36th Fighter-Day Wing (later 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, 36th Fighter Wing), 8 December 1957
- 36th Operations Group, 31 March 1992
- 52d Operations Group, 1 April 1994 – 13 August 2010
- Aircraft are Republic P-47D-28-RE Thunderbolts, serials 44-20211 and 44-19864 are identifiable. Aircraft 864 was lost to ground fire on Christmas Eve of that year with Lt Charles J. Loring, Jr. at the controls. He became a POW. During the Korean War, Loring was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
- Aircraft is Lockheed P-80B-1-LO Shooting Star serial 45-8634 Taken in summer 1948. Aircraft markings appear to be those of Caribbean Air Command, no Buzz Number on fuselage.
- Aircraft is Republic F-84E-10-RE Thunderjet serial 49-2223.
- Aircraft is North American F-86F-25-NH Sabre serial 51-13421.
- Aircraft is Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief serial 60-438.
- Aircraft is McDonnell F-4D-31-MC Phantom serial 66-7768.
- Aircraft is McDonnell Douglas F-15C-25-MC Eagle serial 79-49.
- Dollman, TSG David (May 15, 2017). "Factsheet 22 Fighter Squadron (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- 22 FS Fact Sheet
- Gradishar, SRA Kali L. (April 26, 2010). "F-16 drawdown to begin". 52d Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- Polesnak, 1 Lt Kathleen (August 24, 2010). "480th activated as Spangdahlem's newest F-16 squadron". 52d Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- Station number in Anderson.
- Station number in Johnson.
- 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 (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Johnson, 1st Lt. David C. (1988). U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO) D-Day to V-E Day (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. Retrieved December 17, 2016.