557th Flying Training Squadron

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557th Flying Training Squadron [1]
557th Flying Training Squadron.jpg
557th Flying Training Squadron Patch
Active 1 December 1942 - 12 November 1945
17 April 1962 - 31 March 1970
31 July 1974 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part of Air Education and Training Command
19th Air Force
306th Flying Training Group
Garrison/HQ United States Air Force Academy
Engagements World War II
Decorations U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA w/ V Device
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
Emblem of the World War II 557th Bombardment Squadron
A Diamond T-52A of the 557th TFS at USAFA taxies out for a training flight
A Cirrus T-53A of the 557th TFS taking off

The 557th Flying Training Squadron (557 FTS) is part of the 306th Flying Training Group based at United States Air Force Academy, Colorado.


It conducts powered flight training for Air Force Academy cadets.


The squadron was activated as a B-26 Marauder medium bombardment squadron in late 1942. It trained under the Third Air Force and deployed to European Theater of Operations (ETO) in July 1943, initially being stationed in England and assigned to the IX Bomber Command.

It engaged in tactical bombardment of enemy targets in Occupied Europe initially from stations in England, then after D-Day it was moved to Advanced Landing Grounds in France and Belgium, advancing eastward as Allied ground forces advanced. It supported Eighth Air Force strategic bombardment missions over Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe, striking enemy airfields to obtain maximum interference in Luftwaffe daytime interceptor attacks against heavy bomber formations returning to England. The squadron also participated in the Western Allied Invasion of Germany in March–April 1945, until the German surrender in May 1945.

The squadron became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe and demobilized personnel in 1945. It was reassigned to the United States as a paper unit, inactivated in November 1945.

It was later reactivated in 1962 as one of the initial F-4C Phantom II fighter squadrons when the aircraft was made operational by the Air Force. F-4Cs were not yet in production at that time. In order to get the squadron operational, second-line F-84F Thunderjets were transferred from the Air National Guard. The squadron received Navy F4Hs (later F-4B) for training and then F-4Cs in January 1964. It was deployed to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and flew combat missions, primary over North Vietnam until Cam Ranh Air Base was closed in November 1970.

It has provided basic flight training for Air Force Academy cadets since 31 July 1974.[1]

In addition to providing cadets with some initial flight instruction, the 557th FTS is also home to the USAFA Flying Team, the Air Force Academy's premier flying team, composed of 27 cadets selected for the team.


  • Constituted 557 Bombardment Squadron (Medium), on 25 Nov 1942
Activated on 1 Dec 1942
Redesignated 557 Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 9 Oct 1944
Inactivated on 12 Nov 1945
  • Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the 557 Tactical Fighter Squadron, which was constituted, and activated, on 17 Apr 1962
Organized on 25 Apr 1962
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1970
  • Redesignated 557th Flying Training Squadron on 18 Jun 1974
Activated on 31 Jul 1974[1]


Attached to 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, 9 Mar-9 Jun 1965
Attached to 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, 3 Feb-22 Jul 1968

Bases stationed[edit]

Aircraft Operated[1][edit]

F-4C Serial 63-7542 of the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron. This aircraft survived the war and eventually was retired to AMARC on 12 July 1988



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

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h AFHRA 557 FTS Page
  2. ^ Mattorano, Gino (June 24, 2011). "Airmanship program receives new trainer". Academy Spirit. United States Air Force Academy: 1. 
  3. ^ Reteneller, Chris (April 13, 2012). "New trainers take flight". Academy Spirit. United States Air Force Academy: 1. 
  4. ^ a b c USAFA (August 2009). "557 FTS Aircraft – T-52A" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2010.