459th Flying Training Squadron
|459th Flying Training Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Education and Training Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Sheppard Air Force Base|
Distinguished Unit Citation|
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
|459th Flying Training Sq emblem (approved 13 April 2009)|
|459th Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 28 November 1944)|
The 459th Flying Training Squadron is a United States Air Force squadron tasked with providing undergraduate flying training for Euro-NATO joint jet pilot candidates. Based at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, the unit draws its lineage from a fighter squadron that served in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II, where it saw service against the Japanese. The squadron currently consists of instructors from seven different NATO countries.
World War II
The squadron was activated in August 1943 with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and joined the 80th Fighter Group, whose three squadrons of Curtiss P-40 Warhawks had arrived in India in June. The group completed the China-Burma-India Theater training and entered combat in September.
It supported Allied forces during the battles for northern Burma and the advance toward Rangoon bombing and strafing troop concentrations, supply dumps and lines of communications. The squadron helped protect bases in India from which cargo aircraft of Air Transport Command flew missions over the Hump to supply forces in China. It patrolled allied airfields and attacked Japanese airfields from which enemy interceptors operated. The 459th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for destroying 119 enemy aircraft between 11 March and 19 May 1944.
The 459th Received a second DUC for intercepting a large formation of enemy aircraft while defending an allied oil refinery in Assam, India on 27 March 1944. The squadron was credited with 66 aerial victory credits between 1 December 1943 and 13 January 1945. The first victory was earned by Capt. Hampton Boggs, who went on to become one of the squadron's aces. The unit continued in combat until about 6 May 1945. Shortly thereafter, it was transferred to the 33d Fighter Group, returning with the 33d to the United States, where it was inactivated at the New York Port of Embarkation on 5 November 1945.
The squadron was activated again at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas in April 2009 as the 459th Flying Training Squadron. The 89th Flying Training Squadron, which was conducting training with the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II at Sheppard and had grown to over twice the size of a normal training squadron, was split to form the 459th.
The 459th conducts undergraduate flying training for Euro-NATO joint jet pilot candidates. Its instructor pilots come from seven countries.[note 1] In 2010, it was named top operations squadron in Air Education and Training Command.
- Constituted as the 459 Fighter Squadron (Two Engine) on 2 August 1943
- Activated on 1 September 1943
- Inactivated on 5 November 1945
- Redesignated 459 Flying Training Squadron on 25 Feb 2009
- Activated on 17 April 2009
- 80th Fighter Group, 1 September 1943
- 33d Fighter Group, 12 May – 5 November 1945
- 80th Operations Group, 17 April 2009 – present
- Karachi, India (now Pakistan), 1 September 1943
- Kurmitola Airfield, India (now Bangladesh), 5 November 1943
- Chittagong Airport, India (now Bangladesh), 4 March 1944
- Rumkhapalong, India, 1 February 1945
- Dudhkundi Airfield, India, 11 May – 8 October 1945
- Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, 3 – 5 November 1945
- Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, 17 Apr 2009 – present
- Lockheed P-38 Lightning, 1943–1945
- Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, 2009–present
Awards and campaigns
|Distinguished Unit Citation||11 March–19 May 1944 India-Burma||459th Fighter Squadron|
|Distinguished Unit Citation||27 March 1944 Assam||459th Fighter Squadron|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 July 2010–30 June 2012||459th Flying Training Squadron|
|India-Burma||1 September 1943 – 28 January 1945||459th Fighter Squadron|
|Central Burma||29 January 1945 – 15 July 1945||459th Fighter Squadron|
- The countries are the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Turkey and Spain. Johnson.
- Kane, Robert (16 March 2010). "Factsheet 459 Flying Training Squadron (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 566
- Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 145–146
- Newton & Senning, p. 650
- Miller, A1C Candy (21 April 2009). "80th FTW welcomes 459th FTS". 80th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Johnson, Stacy. "Soaring aptitude". Times Record News. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved 10 November 2016. (search)
- 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.
- Newton, Wesely P., Jr.; Senning, Calvin F. (1963). "USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, USAF Historical Study No. 85" (PDF). Research Studies Institute, USAF Historical Division, Air University. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- Further reading
- Fielder, James M. (1970). A History of the 459th Fighter Squadron The Twin Dragons CBI 1943–1945. ASIN B00JJ3BY6I.
- Kozlovsky, J. (2014). Twin Dragons: P-38 Lightnings Over Burma. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1503237100.
- "T-6 Texan 459th Flying Training Squadron, 80th Flying Training Wing". Squadron Graphics. April 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2016. (artwork featuring squadron aircraft)
- "Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT)". 80th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Marek, Ed (1 June 2008). "The 459th Twin Dragon Fighter Squadron, Burma Banshees". Talking Proud. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "The Burma Banshees: 459th Fighter Squadron". The Burma Banshees. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "The U.S. Air Corps' 459th Fighter Squadron, the "Twin Dragon" Squadron in India-Burma (the C.B.I. Theater) during WWII". Pinterest. Retrieved 10 November 2016. (requires sign up to view all pages)
- "P-38 four-pack, 459th Fighter Squadron". Ubisoft forums. Retrieved 10 November 2016. (images of P-38 in squadron colors)
- Rickard, J. (30 May 2007). "Lockheed P-38 Lightning in China, Burma and India (CBI)". History of War.org. Retrieved 10 November 2016.