480th Fighter Squadron

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480th Fighter Squadron
480th Fighter Squadron - Emblem.png
Emblem of the 480th Fighter Squadron
Active 1942-1944, 1951-1956, 1957-1994, 2010-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe
Third Air Force
52d Fighter Wing
52d Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Spangdahlem Air Base
Nickname(s) Warhawks
Lt Col Paul "Dino" Murray

The 480th Fighter Squadron is an active United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 52d Operations Group, stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It was reactivated on 13 August 2010.


Established by III Bomber Command as a B-26 Marauder training squadron.

The 480 TFS was established in 1957 at England Air Force Base, Louisiana, as the 480th Fighter Bomber Squadron, flying North American F-100 Super Sabres. In 1959 it was inactivated again due to budgetary reductions. Three years later it was reactivated again under United States Air Forces in Europe, flying the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak. In 1963 it was re-equipped with F-100s, but withdrawn from France upon request of French government.

Reassigned to Hollomon AFB, New Mexico (USA), it was re-equipped with F-4C Phantom II fighters. The squadron was deployed to Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, in 1966 as part of USAF buildup in Southeast Asia and was engaged in combat operations, primarily over North Vietnam, from 1966 to 1971. In November 1967, a member of the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Capt. Lance Sijan, ejected his disabled aircraft and was badly injured in North Vietnam. Despite his injuries, he evaded enemy forces for more than 40 days and then, when captured, managed to escape briefly. Captain Sijan later died in a prison camp and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.[1]

In 1969 the squadron moved to Phù Cát Air Base (tail code: HK), South Vietnam, scoring nine MiG kills. The continued drawdown of United States forces from Vietnam resulted in the inactivation of 37th TFW at Phù Cát AB on 31 March 1970. The wing assets remained and were re-designated as the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing when the 12 TFW was moved without personnel or equipment from Cam Ranh Bay Air Base on 1 April 1970, to replace the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and its units. On 20 October 1971, the 480th TFS flew its last combat mission, which was also the last combat sortie for 12 TFW. 480 TFS F-4Ds were originally scheduled for redeployment to Holloman AFB, however, instead were distributed to bases throughout Southeast Asia: Clark AB, Philippines; Ubon AB and Udon AB, Thailand; Da Nang AB; and Inspection and Repair as Necessary facilities (IRAN) at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base Taiwan. The 480 TFS was therefore inactivated, again.

The 480th began its service with the 52d Tactical Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, when it moved to the base in 1976, flying F-4D Phantom IIs, then F-4G Advanced Wild Weasels as part of the Wild Weasel mission. In 1987, the 480th started flying F-16C Fighting Falcon and became the USAF's first squadron to be equipped with the Block 50 F-16s in 1993. In 1994 the squadron was inactivated again as part of the post Cold War force reductions.

In April 2010 the 52nd Fighter Wing's strength was reduced by one third when 20 F-16Cs were transferred to other units.[2] As a result of the drawdown of F-16s, the 22d and 23d Fighter Squadrons were inactivated on 13 August 2010 and formed a single "new" squadron, the 480th Fighter Squadron.[1]

In 2011 The 480th flew to Aviano AFB in support of the war in Lybia Operation Odyssey Dawn

In March 2012, the 480th was sent to train with the Turkish Air Force in Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses.[3]


  • Constituted 480th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 9 July 1942
Activated on 15 July 1942
Disbanded on 1 May 1944
  • Reconstituted and consolidated (19 September 1985) with the following units:
480th Air Resupply Squadron
Constituted as 580th Aerial Resupply Squadron on 15 March 1951
Activated on 16 April 1951
Redesignated as 580th Air Resupply Squadron on 5 November 1951
Inactivated on 18 October 1956
Redesignated as 480th Air Resupply Squadron on 31 July 1985
480th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  • Constituted as 480th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 1 September 1957
Activated on 25 September 1957
  • Redesignated as 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1958
Inactivated on 1 April 1959
  • Activated on 8 May 1962
Inactivated on 17 November 1971
  • Activated on 15 November 1976
Redesignated as 480th Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1991
Inactivated on 1 October 1994
  • Activated on 13 August 2010


  • 336th Bombardment Group (Medium), 15 July 1942 – 1 May 1944
  • 580th Air Resupply and Communications (later, 580th Air Resupply) Group, 16 April 1951 – 18 October 1956
  • 366th Fighter Bomber (later Tactical Fighter) Wing, 25 September 1957 – 1 April 1959; 8 May 1962 – 1 February 1966 (not operational, 4 March – 1 April 1959)
  • 6252d Tactical Wing, 1 February-1966-8 April 1966
Attached from 366th Tactical Fighter Wing entire period
52d Operations Group, 1 October 1991 – 1 October 1994, 13 August 2010 - present




 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]