- 561st Fighter Squadron
The 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron was an
F-4 Phantom II Wild Weaselfighter squadron, stationed at Nellis Air Force Basein Las Vegas, Nevada. It was deactivated in 1996, and was self-styled as "The Last Great Fighter Squadron".
Formation - 1950
The 561st Fighter Squadron was first activated at Gowen Field,
Idahoon December 24, 1942, as the 561st Bombardment Squadron-Heavy, a training squadron for B-17 Flying Fortresscrews destined for Europeduring World War II. The unit was active in the organized reserve from June, 1947to June, 1949, being stationed first at Orchard Place Airport in Park Ridge, Illinois, and later at Gen. Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1951 - 1960
1953, the 561st Fighter-Bomber Squadron started flying F-86 Sabres at Clovis Air Force Basein New Mexico. The entire wing shipped to Europe during November, 1954. Never out of action, the crisis in the Suez Canalarea and the takeover of Hungaryin 1956provided flying time for the crews of the 561st out of Fürstenfeldbruck Air Basein Germany.
After the squadron completed transition training and became combat ready in
F-100 Super Sabres, it was deactivated on December 10, 1957.
Reactivation - 1980
The life of the 561st was resumed when the
23d Tactical Fighter Wingrenumbered its squadrons to the 560th, 561st, 562d, and 563d Tactical Fighter Squadrons. "Wild Weasel" operations became the squadron’s primary mission in mid- 1970, when the squadron exchanged its F-105B/D models for F-105/Gs. In April 1972, the 561st was deployed to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Basein Thailand. Throughout Linebacker Iand Linebacker II, the 561st flew over 1,900 combat sorties accumulating nearly 6,000 combat hours. On July 1, 1973, the 561st moved to George Air Force Baseand joined the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing. The 561st transitioned from the F-105/G when the base received its first shipment of the F-4G Advanced Wild Weasel in 1978.
1981 - 1996
1990, the Wild Weasels deployed to Sheikh Isa Air Basein Bahrainand during Operation Desert Stormflew over 2,400 sorties logging more than 8,000 combat hours. Deactivated at George AFB after the war, and reactivated at Nellis Air Force Baseon February 1, 1993, the 561st soon deployed to Incirlik Air Basein support of Operation Provide Comfortand returned to Southwest Asiaat Dhahran Air Force Base in Saudi Arabia, supporting Operation Southern Watchand Operation Vigilant Warrior. In 1994, the 561st became the largest fighter squadron in the United States Air Force. The 561st's presence over Iraqwas continuous from just after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. However, despite their mission over Iraq, the 561st was also employed as an "Aggressor" squadron during RED FLAG exercises. With the retirement of the F-4G Phantom II from the USAF on March 26, 1996, the 561st deactivated and the SEAD mission was assumed by F-16s in different squadrons.
List of United States Air Force squadrons
List of Wings of the United States Air Force
* [http://www.airwarvietnam.com/561tfs.htm The 561st]
* [http://wildweasels.org/units/ Society of Wild Weasels]
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