434th Fighter Training Squadron
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|434th Flying Training Squadron |
434th Flying Training Squadron Patch
|Active||15 October 1943 – 1 December 1945
1 December 1952 – 3 May 1991
19 July 2007 - Present
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Education and Training Command
19th Air Force
47th Flying Training Wing
47th Operations Group
|Garrison/HQ||Laughlin Air Force Base|
|Engagements||World War II|
FCdG w/ Palm
RVGC w/ Palm
|Lt Col Matthew Vollkommer|
World War II
Activated on 15 October 1943 at Grand Central Air Terminal, near Long Beach, California. Equipped with the Lockheed P-38F Lightning, trained for combat and served as an air defense organization for the west coast as part of IV Fighter Command.
Even though the defense of the US west coast initially took priority, it was decided to deploy Lightning squadrons to Britain for heavy bomber escort duty. The squadron was reassigned to RAF Wattisham, England, April–May 1944, and assigned to VIII Fighter Command, Eighth Air Force.
From England, the squadron escorted heavy bombers during operations against targets on the Continent, strafed targets of opportunity, and flew fighter-bomber, counter-air, and area-patrol missions. Engaged primarily in B-17/B-24 escort activities and fighter sweeps until the Normandy invasion in June 1944.
Patrolled the beachhead during the invasion. Strafed and dive-bombed troops, bridges, locomotives, railway cars, barges, vehicles, airfields, gun emplacements, flak towers, ammunition dumps, power stations, and radar sites while on escort or fighter-bomber missions as the Allies drove across France during the summer and fall of 1944. The unit flew area patrols to support the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July and the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September. The unit continued escort and fighter-bomber activities from October to mid-December 1944. It converted to P-51s between 10 September and 1 October, using both types on missions until conversion was completed.
Participated in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) by escorting bombers to and from targets in the battle area and by strafing transportation targets while on escort duty. From February to April 1945 it continued to fly escort missions, but also provided area patrols to support the airborne attack across the Rhine in March.
The squadron trained as fighter-day, and later, tactical fighter squadron from, 1952-1962. It was not manned from, 3 January 1962-October 1966. In 1966, began training F-4 Phantom II crews for assignment in Southeast Asia. In August 1972, the squadron deployed to Thailand, where it served under operational control of 49th Tactical Fighter Wing. It engaged in combat over North and South Vietnam. It redeployed to the U.S. in October 1972. By 1975, the 434th provided combat aircrew training for U.S. and Allied pilots. From 1977-1991, the squadron trained pilots, weapon systems officers, and forward air controllers.
- Constituted 434th Fighter Squadron on 12 Oct 1943
- Activated on 15 Oct 1943
- Inactivated on 1 Dec 1945
- Re-designated 434th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 15 Oct 1952
- Activated on 1 Dec 1952
- Re-designated: 434th Fighter-Day Squadron on 15 Feb 1954
- Re-designated: 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 Jul 1958
- Re-designated: 434th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 1 Oct 1975
- Inactivated on 3 May 1991
- Re-designated: 434th Fighter Training Squadron on 21 Jun 2007
- Activated on 19 Jul 2007.
- 479th Fighter Group, 15 Oct 1943 – 1 Dec 1945
- 479th Fighter-Bomber (later, 479th Fighter-Day) Group, 1 Dec 1952
- 479th Fighter-Day (later, 479th Tactical Fighter) Wing, 8 Oct 1957
- 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 Oct 1971
- Attached to 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, 12 Aug-6 Oct 1972
- P-38 Lightning (1943–1944)
- F-51 Mustang (1944–1945, 1952–1953)
- P-47 Thunderbolt (1945)
- F-86 Sabre (1953–1955)
- F-100 Super Sabre (1954–1959)
- F-104 Starfighter (1959–1962)
- F-4 Phantom II (1966–1976)
- T-38 Talon (1977–1991, 2007–2012)
- T-6 Texan II (2012 – present)
- 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.
- 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.