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18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

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Title: 18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron  
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Subject: Grand Forks Air Force Base, Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Alaskan Air Command, 11th Air Division, 24th Air Division, 28th Air Division, 29th Air Division, 30th Air Division, 31st Air Division
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18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

18th Aggressor Squadron

18th AGRS Insignia
Active 1939–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Aggressor
Part of Pacific Air Forces
354th Fighter Wing
Garrison/HQ Eielson Air Force Base
Engagements World War II



The 18th Aggressor Squadron is a subordinate unit of the 354th Fighter Wing based at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, and flies the Block 30 General Dynamics F-16C/D aircraft.

History

Activated in 1940 as a Southwest Air District pursuit squadron, equipped with a variety of 1930s-era pursuit aircraft. Re-equipped with P-38 Lightning fighters and deployed to Alaska, engaged in combat during the Aleutian Campaign, 1942-1943. Remained in Alaska as part of the air defense forces until inactivated in August 1946.

Air Defense Command

Reactivated in 1952 as part of Air Defense Command as an air defense squadron, initially equipped with F-86A Sabre day fighters, initially being assigned to Minneapolis Airport, Minnesota with a mission for the air defense of the Upper Great Lakes region. Re-equipped in 1954 with F-89D Scorpions and moved to Ladd AFB, Alaska for interceptor duty in the Fairbanks area as part of Alaskan Air Command. Returned to the CONUS in 1957 and upgraded to F-102 Delta Dagger interceptors at the new Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan.

Reassigned to Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota in 1960 and received the new McDonnell F-101B Voodoo supersonic interceptor, and the F-101F operational and conversion trainer. The two-seat trainer version was equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable. Inactivated in April 1971 as part of the drawdown of ADC interceptor bases, the aircraft being passed along to the Air National Guard.

Modern era

In 1997, elements of the 18th FS deployed to Singapore and Malaysia to take part in dissimilar air combat tactic training as part of exercise COMMANDO SLING and COPE TAUFAN, respectively. The COPE TAUFAN deployment marked the first time Pacific Air Forces' F-16s had flown against MiG-29s.

The unit deployed to Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, October–December 1998 to support Operation Southern Watch.

Later, the squadron deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, September–December 2000, in support of Operation Northern Watch. For this deployment, the squadron employed 5 F-16 aircraft and 110 personnel, conducting the first ever Combat Search and Rescue support tasking for an F-16 squadron.

After the 11 September 2001 attacks, the 18th FS was called to generate eight aircraft for Alaska NORAD air defense during Operation NOBLE EAGLE, though the aircraft never had to launch.

The squadron's next deployment was to Al Jaber AB, Kuwait, December 2001 – March 2002 to support simultaneous combat operations for Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM. They flew more than 3,200 hours in only 3 months, an amazing feat for the 142 Blue Foxes who deployed with only 10 aircraft. During that time, the 18th FS flew missions in support of Operation ANACONDA, including one in the Shah-I-Kot valley on 2 March when U.S. forces, engaged in a firefight with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, called for aerial assistance. A number of Blue Foxes responded, dropping bombs with pinpoint accuracy on the opposing forces. Capt Jim Sears and Capt Andy Lipina, 18 FS pilots, received Distinguished Flying Crosses for their efforts. Lt. Col. Burt Bartley, the 18 FS commander at the time, received the Silver Star for strafing and dropping 500 lbs Laser Guided Bombs on what would later be known as "The Battle for Roberts Ridge."

The squadron deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE during March 2003. The unit also participated in COMMANDO SLING, in October 2003.

Red Flag – Alaska

As part of the change from COPE THUNDER to Red Flag-Alaska, the 18th FS will be converting to the 18th Aggressor Squadron. This squadron will train in the same manner as the aggressors at Nellis AFB, learning the flying styles and abilities of foreign air forces to train USAF pilots. Aircraft changes entail sending all 18 of its Block 40 F-16 Fighting Falcons to Kunsan Air Base, Korea, and receiving 18 Block 30 F-16s from Kunsan. At a time unspecified, the 18th will achieve a full complement of 24 F-16 fighters.

Lineage

  • Constituted 18th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 22 December 1939
Activated on 1 February 1940
Redesignated: 18th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Redesignated: 18th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, 20 August 1943
Redesignated: 18th Fighter Squadron, Two Engine, on 6 March 1945
Inactivated on 15 August 1946
  • Redesignated 18th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 10 October 1952
Activated on 1 December 1952
Inactivated on 15 April 1971
  • Redesignated 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 19 September 1977
Activated on 1 October 1977
Redesignated: 18th Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1991
Redesignated: 18th Aggressor Squadron on 24 August 2007

Assignments

Stations

Aircraft

Operations

  • Combat in Northern Pacific, and defense of Alaska, during World War II
  • Air Defense of US, 1952–1971 and 1977–1982
  • Close air support for Alaskan/PACAF areas of responsibility, since 1982

Decorations

  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 June 1962 – 31 May 1964; 7 June 1966 – 8 June 1968; 1 January – 31 December 1978; 1 January 1983 – 30 June 1984; 1 July 1985 – 30 June 1987; 1 January 1988 – 31 December 1989; 1 July 1990 – 30 June 1992.

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.
  • 18th Fighter Squadron USAFHRA Orgazational Records Branch
  • 18th Aggressor Squadron, Eielson AFB

External links

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