- 525th Fighter Squadron
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 525th Fighter Squadron
caption= 525th Fighter Squadron Patch
10 February 1942- 31 March 1946
20 August 1946- 1 April 1992
29 October 2007- Present
United States Air Force
Pacific Air Forces
11th Air Force
3d Operations Group
Elmendorf Air Force Base
Battle of Monte Cassino
The 525th Fighter Squadron (525 FS) is part of the
3d Wingat Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. It operates the F-22 Raptoraircraft conducting air superiority missions.
World War II
The 525th Fighter Squadron originally activated as the 309th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on
10 February 1942, to support Allied Forces in the European Theater of Operations. The squadron began training for operations at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, and was assigned to the 86th Bombardment Group. [http://www.elmendorf.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=10433 525 FS Fact Sheet] ]
In August 1942, the squadron transferred to
Key Field, Mississippi, to start flight training in the A-20 Havoc. A month later, the squadron was redesignated the 309th Bombardment Squadron (Dive). By year's end, the squadron started the transition to two new combat aircraft, the A-31 Vengeanceand the A-36 Mustang. The A-36, which the 525th Fighter Squadron flew extensively in the war, was a bomber version of the P-51 Mustang. The squadron achieved combat ready status on 19 March 1943.
Ready to support the war effort, the 309th Bombardment Squadron boarded the SS John Erickson in April 1943. Twelve days after their departure from the United States, the squadron landed at La Senia,
Algeria. The 309th moved to Mediouna, French Morocco, on 15 May1943; Marnia, French Morocco, on 3 June1943; and to Tafaraoui, Algeria on 11 June1943. This is where the squadron acquired their first combat experience on 6 July1943. On the squadron's first day of combat, it struck enemy entrenchments in Sicily, softening enemy resistance for General George S. Patton's invading 7th Army. Following the invasion, the 309th Bombardment Squadron set up its operations in Gela, Sicily, on 20 July1943, and to Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Sicily, on 27 July1943, to support the Allied campaign, known as Naples- Foggia, against the West Coast of Italy.
The 309th Bombardment Squadron was redesignated as the 525th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on
23 August1943. While in Italy, the 525th moved several more times while participating in the Rome-Arno campaign. Bases for the 525th included Italian airfields at Sele, Serretella, and Pomiglianoin 1943. During 1944, the squadron operated from Marcianise, Ciampino, Orbetello, Grosseto, Italy and Poretta, Corsica. Two of the more famous battles during the Italian campaigns were Salerno and Cassino. The 525th Fighter-Bomber Squadron figured prominently in these battles, providing air support to Allied ground forces.
In 1944, the 525th transitioned to the
P-47 Thunderbolt. Along with the new aircraft the 525th was redesignated the 525th Fighter Squadron on 30 May1944. In February 1945, the squadron moved to Tantonville, France, to fly missions against Germany. Two months later, it moved into Germany establishing its headquarters at Braunschardt on 18 April 1945, and Schweinfurton 23 October1945. The 525th flew its last combat mission on 8 May1945.
The 525 FS left Europe for
Bolling Field, Washington D.C., on 23 October1945. This was as an administrative move as the squadron awaited the realignment of U.S. Forces under the Status of Forces Agreements at the end of World War II. The 525th FS was temporarily inactivated on 31 March 1946.
It was reactivated on
20 August1946, at Nordholz, Germany, again flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. The squadron made three more moves in Germany to Lechfeld on 13 November1946, Bad Kissingenon 5 March 1947, and then to Neubiberg Air Baseon 12 June1947, where the squadron was the closest operational Air Force unit to the Iron Curtain. On 20 January 1950, the 525th Fighter Squadron was redesignated the 525th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. In October 1950, the squadron transitioned to its first jet aircraft, the F-84E Thunderjetand operated under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. As a part of MDAP, the 525th trained pilots and ground crews of many European and Middle Eastern countries.
The 525th FBS moved to Landstuhl, Germany (later called
Ramstein Air Base), on 20 November 1952, where it transitioned to the F-86 Sabre. The F-86 was Europe's first all-weather fighter-interceptor, and the 86th Fighter Group was the first to fly it in Europe. The 525th first flew the F-86F Sabre on 14 April 1953. Flying the F-86 in the air defense role, the 525th was redesignated as the 525th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 9 August 1954.
In 1957, the squadrons of the 86th Group were dispersed throughout Europe to provide better air defense coverage and reduce vulnerability to attack. On
12 February1957, the squadron moved to Bitburg Air Base, Germany. The 525th was the only squadron at Bitburg to maintain air defense alert for the next 20 years.
The 525th received its first
F-102 Delta Daggerin February 1959 and was selected to represent the U.S. Air Forces in Europe(USAFE) at the 1959 William Tell competition. Although new to their aircraft, the 525th took the lead in the competition and held it until the last event when they were nosed out by a few points.
In 1965, 1967, and 1971 the 525th was chosen as the Sector III representative to the
NATOAir Superiority Competitions. In each competition, the squadron made an outstanding showing, winning the Guynemeyer Trophy for the best sector performance in 1971. The 525th officially became part of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wingon 1 November 1968. On 1 October 1969, the squadron was redesignated the 525th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Still maintaining two aircraft on 24-hour air defense alert status, the 525th's new mission now included close air supportand limited nuclear air-to-ground delivery. Additionally, on 16 November1969, the 525th became the first squadron in Germany to fly the F-4E Phantom II. The 525th was subsequently nominated by USAFE for the Hughes Trophy in 1969.
In 1970 and 1971, the 525th was awarded the Allied Forces Central Europe Scroll of Honor. This prestigious award for "outstanding operational achievement" was given for twice consecutively earning the coveted rating of "1" on tactical evaluations by the Allied Air Forces Central Europe. In 1974, the 525th was nominated by USAFE again for the Hughes trophy, and received a commendable citation in a close finals competition. That year the squadron established Dissimilar Air Combat Tactics (DACT) training with the F-5 aggressor squadron at
RAF Alconbury, England. Later, the squadron was the first in USAFE to establish DACT programs with non-aggressor and non-USAF adversaries. The 525th was chosen to be the first squadron in Europe to fly the F-15 Eagle. 525th pilots flew the first 23 F-15 Eagles to Europe on 27 April 1977during a historic, non-stop deployment from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, to Bitburg Air Base, Germany. Operation Ready Eagle became a success when, 18 hours after arrival at Bitburg, the squadron's pilots were sitting five-minute alert status with two of those F-15s. After less than one month on station, the Bulldogs were declared Europe's first operationally ready F-15 squadron on 26 May1977.
In 1978, the 525th was featured as part of the
McDonnell-Douglasfilm, "Eagles in Defense of Europe." In October 1979, the 525th flew the first training missions at the new Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation range at DecimomannuAir Base, Sardinia, Italy. In 1984, the squadron participated in an exchange with the French Air Force, sending six F-15s to Orange-Caritat Air Base, France, in exchange for four Mirage F-1aircraft. The French pilots flew for several weeks with the 525th and operated out of 525 TFS operations facilities at Bitburg. In 1986, and again in 1987, the 525th deployed to Morocco and set up bare base operations at Sidi Sliminc. The 525th lived and functioned for four weeks out of tents and flew their missions with F-1 and F-5 aircraft from Morocco. In November 1988, the 525th won USAFE's Excalibur air-to-air weapons competition. In April 1989, the squadron set a wing record for the most sorties in one month, flying 678 sorties, with 14 aircraft, while deployed to Decimomannu Air Base, Italy.
In August 1990,
Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, attacked and occupied the nation of Kuwait. The United States, along with the United Nations, condemned this action and called for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait by 15 January 1991. Iraq did not comply. The 525 TFS deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in December 1990. When the squadron arrived at Incirlik they joined American F-16's from Spain, F-111's from England, Wild Weasels from Germany, KC-135 Stratotankers from Texas, and E-3 AWACSand other electronic combat support aircraft from around the world. These units, deployed to Incirlik Air Base, formed the 7440th Combat Wing (Provisional) - the U.S. Air Force's first composite wing.
On the night of
17 January1991, the squadron flew its first strike against Iraq. On 19 January1991, two 525th pilots used AIM-7 Sparrowradar missiles to destroy two Iraqi Mirage F-1's. During the next six weeks, until the cease-fire, the 525th flew around the clock, protecting two strikes per day and one strike each night. These strikes targeted military airfields, nuclear and chemical facilities, communications centers, power plants, and oil refineries and storage facilities in northern Iraq. By the middle of February, the 525th was attacking Baghdad. In addition to protecting strikers, the 525th was frequently tasked to man barrier caps in eastern Iraq to destroy Iraqi fighters attempting to flee to Iran. These missions, often lasting in excess of five hours, required the squadron to operate more than 150 miles behind enemy lines without any support assets.
The squadron flew 1,329 combat sorties for a total of 3,550 combat hours during combat operations against Iraq. The squadron shot down six enemy aircraft without losing any of its own aircraft. On
13 March1991, the 525th returned to Bitburg. The squadron deployed back to Incirlik AB on 5 April1991 to support Operation Provide Comfort.
Following the war against Iraq, numerous Kurdish
refugees fled northward from the remaining forces of Saddam Hussein. The United States initiated a vast airlift operation, named Operation Provide Comfort, to drop food and supplies to these refugees concentrated in Iraq along the Turkish border. Because tensions between the Iraqi and Allied forces in the area remained quite high, the 525th was called back to Turkey in April 1991 to protect the vulnerable Allied cargo aircraft. In addition, the 525th was tasked, as part of the operation, to fly at low altitude over Iraq and provide intelligence updates of Iraqi troop and equipment locations.
The 525th deployed to
Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, during October 1991. In December 1991, the Bulldogs deployed to RAF Bentwaters, England, to train on the new North SeaAir Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation range. The final weapons training deployment for the 525th TFS was at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands from, 16 - 27 March 1992.
The 525 TFS inactivated at Bitburg AB on
1 April1992. After 15 years of inactivation, Pacific Air Forcesredesignated and activated the 525th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, on 29 October 2007. The 525th Fighter Squadron is now armed with the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor.
World War II
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Provide Comfort
*309th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (1942 - 1943)
*525th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (1943 - 1944)
*525th Fighter Squadron (1944 - 1950)
*525th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (1950 - 1954)
*525th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1954 - 1969)
*525th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1969 - 2007)
*525th Fighter Squadron (2007 - Present)
86th Bombardment Group(1942 - 1946)
86th Tactical Fighter Wing(1946 - 1968)
36th Tactical Fighter Wing(1968 - 1992)
3d Wing(2007 - Present)
Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma(1942)
Key Field, Mississippi(1942 - 1943)
*Marnia, French Morocco (1943)
Tafaraoui, Algeria (1943)
Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Sicily (1943)
*Serretella, Italy (1943)
Pomigliano, Italy (1943 - 1944)
Marcianise, Italy (1944)
Ciampino, Italy (1944)
Orbetello, Italy (1944)
Grosseto, Italy (1944)
Corsica(1944 - 1945)
Schweinfurt, Germany (1945)
Bolling Field, Washington D.C.(1945 - 1946)
Nordholz, Germany (1946 - 1947)
Bad Kissingen, Germany (1947)
Neubiberg Air Base, Germany (1947 - 1952)
Ramstein Air Base, Germany (1952 - 1957)
Bitburg Air Base, Germany (1957 - 1992)
Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska(2007 - Present)
A-31 Vengeance(1942 - 1944)
*A-36 Mustang (1942 - 1944)
P-47 Thunderbolt(1944 - 1950)
F-84E Thunderjet(1950 - 1952)
F-86 Sabre(1952 - 1959)
F-102 Delta Dagger(1959 - 1969)
F-4E Phantom II(1969 - 1977)
F-15 Eagle(1977 - 1992)
F-22 Raptor(2007 - Present)
* [http://www.elmendorf.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=10433 252th Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet]
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