- 23rd Fighter Squadron
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 23d Fighter Squadron
caption= 23d Fighter Squadron Patch
1 February 1940- 31 March 1946
15 October 1946- Present
United States Air Force
United States Air Forces in Europe
3d Air Force
52d Fighter Wing
52d Operations Group
Spangdahlem Air Base
Battle of Normandy
Battle of the Buldge
The 23d Fighter Squadron (23 FS) is part of the
52d Fighter Wingat Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It operates the F-16 Fighting Falconaircraft conducting air superiority missions.
The 23d Fighter Squadron, the "Fighting Hawks," was constituted on
22 December 1939, at Langley Field, Virginia, as the 23d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) flying P-36 Hawkaircraft. The unit moved to Kelly Field, Texas, in January 1940, and was equipped with the YP-37. In January 1941, the squadron again moved to Ponce, Puerto Rico, for training on the P-39 Aircobraand P-40 Warhawk. [http://www.spangdahlem.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=7911 23 FS Fact Sheet] ]
7 December 1941, the 23d patrolled the islands of the Caribbeanfor enemy aircraft and submarines. The squadron was renamed the 23d Fighter Squadron in 1942, and converted to the P-47 Thunderboltin June 1943. In March 1944, the 23 FS deployed to RAF Kingsnorth, England, and 9th Air Force's 36th Fighter Group. The squadron earned the Distinguished Unit Citationin September 1944for missions flown from England and forward bases in Francesupporting the D-Dayinvasion and the Battle of the Bulge.
1944and January 1945, while operating from airfields in Belgium, the squadron earned two citations in the Belgian ArmyOrder of the Day as well as the Belgium Fourragère. The unit was awarded a second Distinguished Unit Citation for action in Germanyduring April 1945.
Inactivated in March
1946, the squadron was reactivated in October 1946 at Howard Field, Panama Canal Zone, Panama, flying the P-47 and P-80 Shooting Star. In July 1948, the squadron returned to Germany at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base. Here, the 23 FS helped form the Skyblazers -- an aerial demonstration team and forerunner to today's Thunderbirds.In November 1952, the squadron moved to Bitburg Air Base, Germany, as part of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing. In September 1954, the squadron converted to the F-84 Thunderjetand was redesignated the 23d Day Fighter Squadron. It was the first squadron in Europeto fly the F-86 Sabre( 1956), the F-100 Super Sabre(1956), the F-105 Thunderchief( 1961), and the F-4 Phantom II( 1966). During this period, the squadron received two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards.
The 23d Tactical Fighter Squadron was assigned to
Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and in January 1972became part of the 52d Tactical Fighter Wing. The 23d converted to F-4E and F-4G Wild Weasels in 1982and began flying defense suppression missions. In July 1987, the F-16 Fighting Falconreplaced the F-4E.
1991, at the outbreak of the Gulf War, the 23 FS deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. During Operation Proven Force, squadron F-16Cs and F-4Gs flew nearly 1,000 defense suppression, combat air patroland interdiction missions over Iraqwithout a single loss. The squadron earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor for its part in driving the Iraqi armyfrom Kuwait.
In September 1991, the squadron's remaining F-4Gs were replaced by F-16Cs. In July
1993, the 23d was the first U.S. unit to enforce the no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovinafor Operation Deny Flight. In January 1994, the squadron received the first F-16CJ Block 50 aircraft.
The squadron completed conversion to the latest version of the F-16CJ in January
1995and became U.S. Air Forces in Europe's only defense suppression squadron. In September of that same year, members of the 23d took part in Operation Deliberate Forge -- the largest air assault in NATOhistory. The unit flew 224 sorties during the air campaign against Bosnian Serbforces.
Pilots from the 23 FS were the first to employ high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM) in combat. The squadron's efforts contributed to the peace process and the resulting
Dayton Agreement, which ended more than four years of bloody conflict in the Balkans.
For their outstanding contributions to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe's mission, the 23d was selected in May
1996to receive the Commander's Trophy as the "Best Fighter Squadron in the Command," their third time to win this distinction.
February to June
1999, the 23 FS deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy, where it was assigned to the 31st Air Expeditionary Wing for Operation Allied Force. The squadron supported the NATO mission to degrade and damage the military and security structure that the President of Yugoslaviaused to destroy the Albanian majority in Kosovo. During Allied Force the 23d flew over 1000 combat sorties and fired 191 HARM shots to silence the over 100 surface to air missilesites in Kosovo and Yugoslavia. The squadron was repeatedly noted for bravery in the face of danger while flying these combat operations in Allied Force.
2000to March 2001the 23d deployed in support of Operation Southern Watchto patrol the southern no-fly zone over Iraq. During the deployment the squadron provided suppression of enemy air defenses in both air-to-ground and air-to-air roles. In March of 2001, the 23d provided SEAD for the largest strike in Iraq since Operation Desert Fox. During the strike to take out command and controlfacilities in Iraq, the 23d ensured the safety of all allied strikers.
The squadron deployed again from April to July
2002to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, for Operation Northern Watchto patrol the northern no-fly zone. During the deployment the squadron was called on to provide SEAD for strikes against ground targets located in northern Iraq. Squadron pilots came under fire numerous times while providing SEAD for coalition aircraft, once firing two HARM shots suppressing an Iraqi surface radar site that targeted friendly aircraft.
2003, elements of the squadron forward deployed to Southwest Asiain support of U.S. Central Commandand flew combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron played a key role during the 27-day air war by fulfilling it's mission of suppressing enemy air defenses and destroying Iraqi radar sites.
=Operations [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/squadrons_flights_pages/0023fs.html AFHRA 23 FS Page] ] =
World War II
Operation Desert Storm
*Operation Proven Force
Operation Northern Watch
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Deny Flight
*Operation Deliberate Forge
Operation Allied Force
Operation Iraqi Freedom
*23d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) (1939 - 1942)
*23d Fighter Squadron (1942 - 1943)
*23d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine (1943 - 1947)
*23d Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled (1947 - 1948)
*23d Fighter Squadron, Jet (1948 - 1950)
*23d Fighter-Bomber Squadron (1950 - 1954)
*23d Fighter-Day Squadron (1954 - 1958)
*23d Tactical Fighter Squadron (1958 - 1991)
*23d Fighter Squadron (1991 - Present)
Kelly Field, Texas(1940)
*Brooks Field, Texas (1940)
Langley Field, Virginia(1940 - 1941)
Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands(1941)
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico (1941 - 1943)
*Mitchel Field, New York (1943)
*Galveston Army Air Field, Texas (1943)
Dalhart Army Air Field, Texas (1943)
Bruning Army Air Field, Nebraska(1943 - 1944)
RAF Kingsnorth, England(1944)
Le Mans, France (1944)
*Athis, France (1944)
Juvincourt-et-Damary, France (1944)
Belgium(1944 - 1945)
*Niedermennig, Germany (1945)
*Kassel/Rothwesten, Germany (1945 - 1946)
Bolling Field, Washington, D.C.(1946)
Howard Air Force Base, Panama Canal Zone(1946 - 1948)
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany (1948 - 1952)
Bitburg Air Base, Germany (1952 - 1994)
Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany (1971 - Present)
Incirlik Air Base, Turkey(17 January - 15 March 1991)
P-36 Hawk(1940 - 1942)
P-39 Airacobra(1941 - 1943)
*P-40 Warhawk (1941 - 1943)
P-47 Thunderbolt(1943 - 1946)
F-80 Shooting Star(1947 - 1950)
F-84 Thunderjet(1950 - 1953)
F-86 Sabre(1953 - 1956)
F-100 Super Sabre(1956 - 1961)
F-105 Thunderchief(1961 - 1966)
F-4 Phantom II(1966 - 1991)
F-16 Fighting Falcon(1987 - Present)
* [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/squadrons_flights_pages/0023fs.html 23d Fighter Squadron History]
* [http://www.spangdahlem.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=7911 23d Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet]
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