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357th Fighter Squadron

357th Fighter Squadron

357th Fighter Squadron Patch
Active 12 November 1942 - 20 November 1946
1 November 1952 - 8 March 1960
8 July 1962 - 10 December 1970
15 March 1971 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter Training
Part of Air Combat Command
12th Air Force
355th Fighter Wing
355th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Decorations RVGC w/ Palm




The 357th Fighter Squadron (357 FS) is part of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. It operates A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting close air support missions.

Mission

The 357th conducts all formal course directed aircraft transition, day and night weapons and tactics employment, day and night air refueling, and dissimilar air combat maneuvers. The squadron trains pilots to plan, coordinate, execute, and control day and night close air support, air interdiction and battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance.[1]

History

World War II

Established in late 1942 as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron, trained under III Fighter Command in Florida and in the Middle Atlantic States, reassigned to I Fighter Command for final training in the Philadelphia area. Also performed Air Defense over the Philadelphia area in mid-1943.

Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to the 65th Fighter Wing, VIII Fighter Command, Eighth Air Force . Engaged in low-level sweeps over the low countries and Occupied France, attacking enemy airfields and targets of opportunity such as locomotives, bridges, radio stations, and armoured cars. Later serving primarily as an escort for VIII Bomber Command B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers during missions into Germany.

On 5 April 1944, shortly after converting from P-47's to P-51 Mustangs, the squadron successfully bombed and strafed German airfields during a snow squall. Provided fighter cover for Allied forces landing in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and afterwards hit transportation facilities to cut enemy supply lines. Hit fuel dumps, locomotives, and other targets in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July.

Remained in combat until 25 April 1945. Moved to Occupied Germany as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe for occupation duty at Gablingen, Germany, later moving to AAF Station Schweinfurt. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to Mitchel Field New York on 1 August 1946. It was inactivated on 20 November due to the Air Force's policy of retaining only low-numbered groups on active duty after the war.

Cold War

Reactivated as the 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron under Air Defense Command at Portland International Airport, Oregon in November 1952. The squadron took over the F-86F Sabres of the federalized 123d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard which was returned to state control.

Deployed to Nouasseur AB, French Morocco and assigned to the Strategic Air Command Sixteenth Air Force in May 1953, performing an air defense mission over the SAC REFLEX forward B-47 Stratojet bases in North Africa. Received new F-86D Sabre interceptors in early 1955. Remained in North Africa until 1960 when inactivated as part of the SAC withdrawal from Morocco.

Reactivated in July 1962 at George AFB, California under the TAC 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, equipped with F-105 Thunderchiefs. After a period of organization at George, moved to McConnell AFB, Kansas in mid-1964.

Squadron was deployed to Pacific Air Forces, initially operating from Yokota AB, Japan in the fall of 1964, then being forward deployed to Korat RTAFB, Thailand in early 1965, flying combat missions over South Vietnam in support of the US Advisory forces and friendly South Vietnamese units, returning to McConnell in late 1965. Almost immediately re-deployed to Thailand, this time to Takhli RTAFB in early 1966 as part of the deployment of its parent 355th TFW, becoming permanently assigned to PACAF Thirteenth Air Force.

Remained in Thailand engaged in hazardous combat operations over Indochina until 1970, flying frequent missions over enemy-held territory in South and North Vietnam. Inactivated Takhli on 10 December 1970 as part of the drawdown of US Forces in Southeast Asia in the early 1970s.

Reactivated briefly at McConnell AFB in March 1971, moved to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona later that month and reassigned to the reformed 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, equipped with the new A-7D Corsair II ground support aircraft. It achieved operationally-ready status in 1972. In late 1972, deployed its Corsairs to Korat RTAFB, Thailand and was attached to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (Forward Echelon), which had deployed to Korat from Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina. From Korat, the squadron's aircraft conducted combat operations first in South Vietnam, returning to Davis-Monthan in July 1973.

Modern era

Taken off operational status in 1976, becoming an A-7D Pilot training squadron. Received A-10A Thunderbolt IIs in 1979, the replacement for the A-7Ds, and becoming an A-10 Thunderbolt II Operational Training Unit, the mission the squadron currently performs.

Lineage

  • Constituted 357th Fighter Squadron, and activated, on 12 Nov 1942
Re-designated 357th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 20 Aug 1943
Inactivated on 20 Nov 1946
  • Re-designated 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 11 Sep 1952
Activated on 1 Nov 1952
Discontinued on 8 Mar 1960
  • Re-designated 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 13 Apr 1962
Organized on 8 Jul 1962
Inactivated on 10 Dec 1970
  • Activated on 15 Mar 1971
Re-designated: 357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 1 Jul 1976
Re-designated: 357th Fighter Squadron on 1 Nov 1991.

[2]

Assignments

Attached to Air Defense Division, Provisional, 8 Jun-17 Sep 1953
Probably attached to 41st Air Division, 9 Aug-c. 9 Dec 1964
Probably attached to 6234th Tactical Fighter Wing, 12 Jun-8 Nov 1965
Attached to 23d Tactical Fighter Wing, c. 8 Nov 1965-28 Jan 1966

[2]

Stations

[2]

Aircraft

[2]

Operations

[2]

References

  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Maurer, Maurer. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1982.
  • USAF Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
  • USAF 357th Fighter Squadron History
  • 355th Operations Group Fact Sheet

External links

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