459th Flying Training Squadron

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459th Flying Training Squadron
Air Education and Training Command.png
EM DSC 4124 (3011003239).jpg
Active 1943–1945; 2009–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role flying training
Part of Air Education and Training Command
Garrison/HQ Sheppard Air Force Base
Nickname(s) Twin Dragons
Engagements China-Burma-India Theater
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
459th Flying Training Sq emblem (approved 13 April 2009)[1] 459 Flying Training Sq emblem.png
459th Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 28 November 1944)[2] 459 Fighter Squadron emblem.png

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[edit]

Repairs to P-38 by 459th Fighter Squadron at Chittagong, India – January 1945

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.[3]

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.[3] The 459th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for destroying 119 enemy aircraft between 11 March and 19 May 1944.[1]

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.[4] 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.[1]

Flying training[edit]

The squadron was activated again at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas in April 2009 as the 459th Flying Training Squadron.[1] 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.[5]

The 459th conducts undergraduate flying training for Euro-NATO joint jet pilot candidates.[1] Its instructor pilots come from seven countries.[note 1] In 2010, it was named top operations squadron in Air Education and Training Command.[6]


  • 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[1]


  • 80th Fighter Group, 1 September 1943
  • 33d Fighter Group, 12 May – 5 November 1945
  • 80th Operations Group, 17 April 2009 – present[1]



  • Lockheed P-38 Lightning, 1943–1945
  • Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, 2009–present[1]

Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 11 March–19 May 1944 India-Burma 459th Fighter Squadron[1]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 27 March 1944 Assam 459th Fighter Squadron[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 2010–30 June 2012 459th Flying Training Squadron[7]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer APC.PNG India-Burma 1 September 1943 – 28 January 1945 459th Fighter Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG Central Burma 29 January 1945 – 15 July 1945 459th Fighter Squadron[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The countries are the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Turkey and Spain. Johnson.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Kane, Robert (16 March 2010). "Factsheet 459 Flying Training Squadron (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  2. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 566
  3. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 145–146
  4. ^ Newton & Senning, p. 650
  5. ^ Miller, A1C Candy (21 April 2009). "80th FTW welcomes 459th FTS". 80th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  6. ^ Johnson, Stacy. "Soaring aptitude". Times Record News. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved 10 November 2016. (search)


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

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.

External links[edit]