704th Fighter Squadron

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704th Fighter Squadron
924fw-afres-bergstrom.jpg
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon 85-1410 of the 704th Fighter Squadron
Active 1943-1945; 1948-1951; 1955-1996
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Fighter
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Insignia
704th Fighter Squadron Emblem 704th Fighter Squadron - Emblem.png
ETO Fuselage Code Letters[1] FL

The 704th Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 924th Fighter Group, stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. It was inactivated on 27 September 1996.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Training for combat[edit]

Unofficial World War II 704th Bombardment Squadron emblem[1]
446th Bomb Group Liberators on their way to a target[2]

The squadron was first activated on 1 April 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona as the 704th Bombardment Squadron with an initial cadre drawn from the 39th Bombardment Group.[3] It was one of the original squadrons of the 446th Bombardment Group.[4][5] The cadre departed for Orlando AAB, Florida for training with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, where they flew simulated combat missions from Montbrook AAF.[3]

The unit headed for Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico in June 1943, but was diverted to Lowry Field, Colorado, where the squadron was filled out and advanced training was completed. The ground echelon left Lowry on 18 October 1943 for Camp Shanks, New York and embarked on the RMS Queen Mary, sailing on 27 October 1943 and arrived in Greenock on the Firth of Clyde on 2 November 1943. The aircraft left Lowry on 20 October 1943 for staging at Lincoln AAF, Neb. The aircrews ferried their planes under the control of Air Transport Command via the southern route from Florida through Puerto Rico, Brazil, Senegal, and Morocco to England. The 704th was part of the first United States Army Air Forces group to complete the Transatlantic hop from Brazil to Africa without the installation of additional bomb bay fuel tanks.[6]

Engaged in long-range strategic bombardment of enemy targets in Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, attacking transportation, industrial, Oil Industry and other targets as directed. Also engaged in tactical bombardment of enemy forces in France in support of the Operation Overlord landings in Normandy, and the subsequent breakout at St-Lo in July 1944. Changed equipment from B-24 Liberators to B-17 Flying Fortresses in July 1944. Attacked enemy formations and armor during the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945. Continued bombardment of strategic targets until the German Capitulation in May.

Largely demobilized in England during the summer of 1945; small cadre of personnel reassembled at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota in July and prepared for transition training on B-29 Superfortresses. The Japanese Capitulation led to the cancellation of training and the units final inactivation at the end of August.

Cold War[edit]

Reactivated as an Air Force Reserve squadron in April 1948, equipped with B-29 Superfortress aircraft at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. Trained in the active reserve, being activated in May 1951 due to the Korean War. Personnel and aircraft reassigned to active units in Far East Air Force, unit inactivated as a paper unit in June.

Again activated in the Reserve in 1955 as a Troop Carrier squadron at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, being equipped with C-119C/G Flying Boxcars. the 704 TCS transitioned to C-130A Hercules in 1967. Deployed to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War; unit members flew more than 120 combat missions. Relocated to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas in 1975 with the closure of Ellignton Field, where the unit became the first Reserve unit to be assigned there. In the second half of 1976, converted to eight Lockheed C-130Bs.

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II 66-8768 at Bergstrom AFB in 1990.[7]

Realigned in June 1981 as a Tactical Fighter Squadron, being equipped with F-4D Phantom IIs. Upgraded in 1989 to F-4Es. Re-equipped in July 1991 with Blk 15 F-16A/B Falcons, then again to Blk 32 F-16C/D Falcons, in 1994.

As a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission activities, in 1996 the parent 924th Fighter Wing was inactivated due to the closing of Bergstrom. Inactivated on 27 September 1996.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 704th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 March 1943
Activated on 1 April 1943
Redesignated 704th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945
  • Redesignated 704th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 26 September 1947
Activated in the reserve on 26 March 1948
Redesignated 704th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 27 June 1949
Ordered to active service on 1 May 1951
Inactivated on 25 June 1951
  • Redesignated 704th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 11 April 1955
Activated in the reserve on 25 May 1955
Redesignated 704th Tactical Airlift Squadron, on 1 July 1967
Redesignated 704th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1981
Redesignated 704th Fighter Squadron, 1 October 1994
Inactivated on 27 September 1996

Assignments[edit]

  • 446th Bombardment Group: 1 April 1943 – 28 August 1945
  • 446th Bombardment Group: 26 March 1948 – 25 June 1951
  • 446th Troop Carrier Group: 25 May 1955 – 14 April 1959
  • 924th Troop Carrier Group (later Tactical Airlift Group, Tactical Fighter Group, Fighter Group): 17 January 1963
  • 924th Operations Group: 1 August 1992 – 27 September 1996

Stations[edit]

  • Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 1 April 1943
  • Lowry Field, Colorado, 8 June 1943 - c. 24 October 1943
  • RAF Flixton (AAF-125),[8] England, 4 November 1943 – 5 July 1945
  • Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, 15 July 1945 – 28 August 1945
  • Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, 26 March 1948 – 25 June 1951
  • Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, 25 May 1955
  • Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, 1 March 1976 – 27 September 1996

Aircraft[edit]

Awards and Campaigns[edit]

Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Offensive, Europe [4]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Normandy [4]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Northern France [4]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rhineland [4]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Central Europe [4]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Ardennes-Alsace [4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Watkins. pp. 90-91
  2. ^ Identifiable is B-24H Liberator 42-7607.
  3. ^ a b Castens, p. 20
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 709
  5. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 320-321
  6. ^ Castens, pp. 26-30
  7. ^ Aircraft is now on display in front of VFW post in Pastro, TX.
  8. ^ Station number in Anderson
  9. ^ AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Vol II, p. 88

Bibliography[edit]

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

External links[edit]