301st Fighter Squadron

Last updated

301st Fighter Squadron
Air Force Reserve Command.png
44th FG Holloman - F-22 - 2011.jpg
301st F-22 Raptor over the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 11-3, March 2011
Active1942–1945; 1947–1949; 1958–1969; 2000 – present
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
BranchFlag of the United States Air Force.svg  United States Air Force
Type Fighter
RoleTraining
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
Tenth Air Force
301st Fighter Wing
44th Fighter Group
Garrison/HQ Tyndall AFB, Florida
Motto(s)First – Tops (1958–1969)
Engagements Mediterranean Theater of Operations
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Commanders
Current
commander
Lt Col Andrew Lyons [1]
Insignia
301st Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 29 June 1945) [2] 301st Fighter Squadron - AETC - Emblem.png
901st Air Refueling Squadron emblem 901st Air Refueling Squadron.PNG

The 301st Fighter Squadron is a United States Air Force Reserve squadron, assigned to the 325th Operations Group, stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. It is an associate unit of the active duty 325th Fighter Wing.

Contents

The squadron was first activated as the 301st Fighter Squadron during World War II as part of the famous Tuskegee Airmen. It saw combat in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions. The squadron was inactivated in 1945, but activated again at Lockbourne Army Air Base, Ohio in 1947. It was inactivated in 1949 after President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 ending segregation in the Armed Forces, and its personnel reassigned to other units.

In 1958 USAF activated the 901st Air Refueling Squadron, flying Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. It performed air refueling and deployed to the Pacific to support operations in Southeast Asia until it was inactivated eleven years later. In 1985 the 301st was consolidated with this unit.

In 1999, the consolidated unit was again designated the 301st Fighter Squadron and activated as a fighter pilot training squadron with General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons at Luke Air Force Base. In 2007 it moved from Luke to Holloman and assumed a combat mission, flying the F-22 Raptor. In 2014, the Squadron moved, along with the rest of Holloman's F-22 fleet, to Tyndall Air Force Base.

History

World War II

The 301st was one of four African-American fighter squadrons to enter combat during World War II.

One of the famous all-black squadrons of the 332d Fighter Group, it was activated on 19 February 1942 at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, but remained largely unmanned until it arrived at Selfridge Field, Michigan late in March 1943. There it received a full complement of personnel and the squadron began operational training with Bell P-39 Airacobra and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft. The unit completed training in December 1943 and prepared to move overseas.

The squadron sailed in early January 1944 aboard the SS William Few and arrived in Italy in early February 1944, becoming part of the Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The 301st flew its first combat mission on 19 February 1944. The squadron became engaged in various missions, including harbor protection, point-to-point patrol, convoy escort, and armed reconnaissance. It also performed air rescue and strafing missions. In May 1944 the 301st was reassigned to the Fifteenth Air Force and thereafter the squadron's primary duty was providing escort for bombers striking enemy oil and industrial targets in central Europe and the Balkans. Although initially equipped with Bell P-39 Airacobra and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, in June 1944 the squadron received P-51 aircraft which they retained throughout the remainder of the war.

In August 1944, the unit attacked enemy positions on the French coast in preparation for the invasion of southern France. They escorted bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force in attacks on the assault beaches on 15 August 1944. After this they returned to escorting heavy bombers to targets in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. They also attacked targets of opportunity, including enemy airdromes, troop concentrations, communications lines, and enemy aircraft when the opportunity arose. The unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance during an escort to Berlin on 23 March 1945. The squadron, along with other squadrons of the 332d group, fought off a large enemy force, including jets, allowing the bomber formation to complete their mission. The 301st flew its last mission in Europe on 30 April 1945. On 30 September 1945, the 301st sailed for the United States aboard the SS Levi Woodbury and arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 17 October 1945. The squadron was inactivated on 19 October 1945.

Cold War

301st Fighter Squadron

The 301st trained with Republic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft between 1947 and 1949 at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio. [3] It participated in firepower demonstrations, gunnery training and operational missions to maintain its combat proficiency. [4] In 1949, the 332d wing participated in the National Gunnery Meet at Las Vegas Air Force Base, Nevada, taking first place in the competition. [5]

In 1948 President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 ending segregation in the Armed Forces. In response, the Air Force inactivated the all black 332d Fighter Wing [4] and its units, including the 301st, [3] on 1 July 1949 and reassigned its personnel to previously all white units. [6] Lockbourne was closed and turned over to the Ohio Air National Guard. Captain Alva Temple of the 301st was one of the two pilots on the team and placed second overall in the fighter pilot individual competition. He scored perfect scores in two of the meet's five events, skip bombing and rocketry. [5]

On 19 September 1985, the Air Force consolidated the 301st Fighter Squadron with the 901st Air Refueling Squadron, but it remained inactive. [3]

901st Air Refueling Squadron

The 901st Air Refueling Squadron was activated at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi on 1 August 1958 as the first operational squadron of the 4228th Strategic Wing, which had been activated the previous month. [7] The 4228th wing had been activated as part of Strategic Air Command (SAC)'s program to disperse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress force, making it less vulnerable to a Soviet Union first strike. [8]

The squadron was equipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The 901st concentrated on becoming combat ready [9] before the wing's 492d Bombardment Squadron moved to Columbus from Carswell Air Force Base, Texas in June 1959. [10] Starting in 1960, one third of the squadron's aircraft were maintained on fifteen-minute alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike. This was increased to half the squadron's aircraft in 1962. [11] The squadron continued to maintain an alert commitment until it was inactivated, with the exception of the periods it deployed to the Pacific.

The 901st provided air refueling to Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses on a worldwide basis, and to other aircraft as required. On 1 February 1963, the 454th Bombardment Wing assumed the aircraft, personnel and equipment of the discontinued 4228th wing. The 4228th was a Strategic Air Command (SAC) Major Command controlled (MAJCON) unit and could not carry a permanent history or lineage. [12] With this change the 901st was reassigned to the newly activated 454th wing. [3]

Between 1965 and the end of 1968, the squadron frequently deployed to the Pacific to support combat operations with refueling over the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea. In July 1969, the 454th wing was inactivated as older model B-52s were removed from the inventory and Columbus was transferred to Air Training Command. [13] The squadron was inactivated along with the wing. In September 1985 the 301st Fighter Squadron was consolidated with the 901st, but the unit remained inactive. [3]

Southeast Asia

KC-135A refueling F-4E Phantom IIs and F-105G Thunderchief Wild Weasels over Thailand in 1972 KC-135A refueling Wild Weasel team Oct 1972.jpg
KC-135A refueling F-4E Phantom IIs and F-105G Thunderchief Wild Weasels over Thailand in 1972

.

On 1 June 1972 SAC expanded its forces at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand by forming a provisional air division and two provisional wings. The Strategic Wing, Provisional, 310th had two operational squadrons, one of which was the Air Refueling Squadron, Provisional, 901st. This squadron was manned and equipped with aircrews and KC-135s deployed from SAC units in the United States. Despite the similarity in its designation, the provisional squadron is not related to the 901st Air Refueling Squadron.

The provisional squadron flew combat operations as part of Operation Young Tiger [14] at the end of the Vietnam War and during expeditionary combat operations over Cambodia and Laos between 1972 and August 1973. It supported United States tactical forces in Thailand from 1973 to 1976 including Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of United States citizens from Phnom Penh, Cambodia in March 1975. On 1 July 1974 the provisional 310th wing was inactivated and the squadron was attached to the 307th Strategic Wing. SAC operations in Thailand continued to be reduced and the 307th was inactivated on 30 September 1975. [15] The provisional 901st was then attached to the 17th Air Division and supported the withdrawal of SAC aircraft from Thailand [14] until it was inactivated on 20 March 1976.

Modern era

F-16 of the 301st Fighter Squadron taking off from Luke AFB 301st Fighter Squadron - F-16.jpg
F-16 of the 301st Fighter Squadron taking off from Luke AFB
301st FS F-22 Raptor Patch 301st Fighter squadron-F-22 Patch.png
301st FS F-22 Raptor Patch

The squadron resumed its name as the 301st Fighter Squadron and was reactivated as an element of Air Force Reserve Command at Luke AFB, Arizona. It became a General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon flying training squadron, part of the 944th Fighter Wing. Sixty-four Air Force Reserve Command pilots integrated with the 56th Operations Group fighter squadrons providing instruction to teach the F-16 pilots for the combat air forces. The 56th Fighter Wing was one of the first units to integrate Reservists into its flying operation in 2000. [16]

As a tenant unit at Luke the 301st's F-16s carried the LR (Luke Reserve) tail code as opposed to the LF of the host 56th Fighter Wing. [17] The squadron operated Block 32 F-16C/D models in the air to ground role until losing its aircraft as a result of 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions. The reserve F-16s were transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Tucson Air National Guard Base, Arizona and Fresno Air National Guard Base, California. The 301st pilots continued to teach active duty student pilots. [18]

During 2007 the Air Force decided that the Tuskegee Airmen heritage should be preserved with a unit flying the new F-22 Raptor. As a result, on 9 March 2010, the 301st Fighter Squadron transferred its mission, personnel and equipment to the 69th Fighter Squadron which simultaneously activated at Luke. The event marked the end of almost a decade of Tuskegee heritage at Luke. [16]

The 301st Fighter Squadron moved to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and was assigned to the reserve 44th Fighter Group on 9 April 2010. [1] Preparation for the move began as early as December 2008, when the first reservists were assigned to Detachment 1, 301st Fighter Squadron at Holloman. [19] The reservists of the 301st were integrated with Regular Air Force members of the 49th Fighter Wing and operated and maintained the same aircraft. [1] [19]

In 2014, the squadron moved again, along with the rest of Holloman's F-22 fleet, to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. As they were at Holloman, the 301st remains part of the 44th Fighter Group, but is now integrated with the 325th Fighter Wing, the tenant Regular Air Force host wing at Tyndall flying the F-22 Raptor.

Lineage

301st Fighter Squadron

Activated on 13 October 1942
Redesignated 301st Fighter Squadron, Single Engine c. 21 August 1944
Inactivated on 19 October 1945
Inactivated on 1 July 1949

901st Air Refueling Squadron

Constituted as the 901st Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 7 April 1958
Activated on 1 August 1958
Inactivated on 2 July 1969
Activated in the Reserve on 1 January 2000 [20]

Assignments

Stations

Aircraft

Awards and campaigns

Award streamerAwardDatesNotes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 24 March 1945 Germany301st Fighter Squadron [2]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 6 October 1959 – 15 July 1960901st Air Refueling Squadron [3]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award1 July 1965 – 31 July 1965
1 December 1965 – 1 March 1966
901st Air Refueling Squadron [3]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award2 March 1966 – 1 April 1966
1 July 1967 – 31 December 1967
901st Air Refueling Squadron [3]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award1 July 1968 – 1 December 1968901st Air Refueling Squadron [3]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1 January 2000] – 5 September 2000301st Fighter Squadron [21]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award1 July 2005 – 30 September 2006301st Fighter Squadron [21]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award1 July 2006 – 30 September 2007301st Fighter Squadron [21]
Campaign StreamerCampaignDatesNotes
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rome-Arno22 January 1944 – 9 September 1944301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Southern France15 August 1944 – 14 September 1944301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png North Apennines10 September 1944 – 4 April 1945301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Po Valley3 April 1945 – 8 May 1945301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Normandy6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Northern France25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rhineland15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Central Europe22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945301st Fighter Squadron [2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Combat, EAME Theater7 December 1941 – 11 May 1945301st Fighter Squadron [2]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Whipple, SRA Martha (4 November 2012). "301st FS salutes new commander". 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 365
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Haulman, Daniel L. (29 January 2015). "Factsheet 301 Fighter Squadron (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  4. 1 2 Ravenstein, Combat Wings, pp. 178–179
  5. 1 2 "332d Fighter Squadron [sic]". Everworld.com. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  6. Gropman, Maj. Alan (1 April 1973). "Abstract, Oral History Interview with E[ugene] M. Zuckert, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  7. See Mueller, pp. 90–95
  8. "Abstract (Unclassified), Vol 1, History of Strategic Air Command, Jan–Jun 1957 (Secret)". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  9. "Abstract, History 4228 Strategic Wing Nov 1958". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  10. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 592–593
  11. "Abstract (Unclassified), History of the Strategic Bomber since 1945 (Top Secret, downgraded to Secret)". Air Force History Index. 1 April 1975. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  12. Ravenstein, Guide to Air Force Lineage, p. 12
  13. Ravenstein, Combat Wings, pp. 249–250
  14. 1 2 "Abstract, End of Tour Report if Col G. A. Dugard". Air Force History Index. 12 January 1976. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  15. Ravenstein, Combat Wings, pp. 153–155
  16. 1 2 Stout, TSG Susan (11 March 2010). "Squadron reactivates as Reserve unit at Luke". Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  17. "Air Force Aircraft Tail Markings" (PDF). Air University (extracted from Airman magazine). April 2003. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  18. Kelly, Charles (26 August 2006). "Reserve cuts to affect Luke units, staff". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  19. 1 2 Salgado, A1C Veronica (18 December 2008). "First 301 FS, Det. 1 Reservists sign up". Alamogordo Daily News. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  20. 1 2 3 4 Lineage, including assignments, stations, and aircraft through 2007 in AFHRA Factsheet
  21. 1 2 3 "Air Force Recognition Programs". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved 8 February 2014.

Bibliography

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

Further reading