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319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron

319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron

Emblem of the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
Active 1942–1977
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Engagements
  • World War II
MTO Campaign (1943–1945)



The 319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Aerospace Defense Command's Interceptor Weapons School at Tyndall AFB, Florida. It was inactivated on 30 November 1977.

History

World War II

Established in mid-1942 as a fighter squadron, trained under I Fighter Command primarily in the northeast with P-47 Thunderbolts. Deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in Algeria, taking part in the North African Campaign supporting the United States Fifth Army's advance with tactical air support. Attacked enemy armored columns, troop concentrations, road transport, bridges and other targets of opportunity. Also flew combat missions over Sicily from airfields in Tunisia, supporting the Allied ground forces in the liberation of the island. Moved to Italy in late 1943 and continued tactical operations as part of Twelfth Air Force. Supported Fifth Army as it advanced into central and northern Italy during the Italian Campaign, being re-equipped with P-51D Mustangs in 1944. Continued combat operations until the German Capitulation; demobilizing in northern Italy during the summer of 1945. Inactivated in October.

Air Defense Command

Reactivated in 1947 at Rio Hato Air Base, Panama as part of the air defense forces of the Panama Canal. Initially equipped with P-61 Black Widows at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, then deployed to Panama in September as part of Tactical Air Command later moving to France Field in the Canal Zone and becoming part of Caribbean Air Command. Its war-weary Black Widows were retired in 1948 and replaced with very long range F-82 Twin Mustangs, and the squadron was reassigned to Air Defense Command. However this type of air defense was deemed unnecessary in the Canal Zone and the squadron was returned to the United States and assigned to McChord AFB, Washington in 1949, for air defense of the Pacific Northwest. Moved to Moses Lake AFB in September to provide air defense over the Handford Reservation in Eastern Washington. Was re-equipped with the new F-94C Starfire and also was associated with the SAC 90th Bombardment Wing for fighter-escort duties.

As a result of the Korean War, in December 1951, Fifth Air Force determined a need for additional nighttime all-weather air interceptors in the Seoul area. In response, Air Defense Command provided the 319th FIS, which was reassigned from Moses Lake AFB, Washington, to Suwon Air Base, South Korea in February and early March 1952. Until November 1952, Fifth Air Force restricted the use of the Starfires to local air defense in order to prevent the possible compromise of its airborne intercept radar equipment in a loss over enemy-held territory. From November until the Armistice Agreement of 1953, the 319th used F-94s to maintain fighter screens between the Yalu and Chongchon Rivers in North Korea, helping to protect B-29 Superfortress bombers from enemy interceptors.

The squadron returned to the United States in 1954 to Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana and in March 1956 received F-94Cs. The squadron transitioned into F-89J Scorpions in the fall of 1957 and in February 1960 into F-102A Delta Daggers.

In March 1963 was moved to Homestead AFB, Florida, where it flew F-104A Starfighters. In addition, the squadron received the two-seat, dual-control, combat trainer F-104B. The performance of the F-104B was almost identical to that of the F-104A, but the lower internal fuel capacity reduced its effective range considerably. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, ADC deployed its F-106s to Homestead. It was decided after the crisis to establish permanently assigned interceptors to Homestead to counter any air intrusion by Soviet/Cuban fighters.

These ADC F-104As remained in service for several years. From late 1967, 26 aircraft of the 319th FIS were retrofitted with the more powerful J79-GE-19, rated at 17,900 lb.s.t. with afterburner, which was the same type of engine fitted to the F-104S version developed for Italy. The last USAF squadron to operate the F-104A, the 319th FIS, was disbanded in December 1969, marking the final end of service of the F-104A with active duty squadrons.

In July 1971 the squadron was reactivated at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, replacing the 71st FIS with F-106s. Shortly thereafter on 30 April 1972, the squadron was inactivated. The unit designation was reactivated as 319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida in June 1975. More than two years later the unit was again inactivated on 1 November 1977.

Lineage

  • Constituted 319th Fighter Squadron on 24 June 1942
Activated on 3 August 1942
Inactivated on 28 October 1945.
  • Activated on 1 September 1947
Redesignated: 319th Fighter Squadron (All Weather) on 17 June 1948
Redesignated: 319th Fighter-All Weather Squadron on 20 January 1950
Redesignated: 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 1 May 1951
Inactivated: 1 December 1969
  • Reactivated: 1 July 1971
Inactivated: 30 April 1972
  • Redesignated: 319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron on 1 June 1975 and reactivated
Inactivated: 30 November 1977

Assignments

Equipped from inactivated 414th and 415th Night Fighter Squadrons
Attached to Provisional Composite Group, 1 February 1948
6th Fighter Wing, 1 June 1948
5620th Group, 26 July 1948
5620th Composite Wing, 12 October 1948
Attached to Fifth Air Force, 1 March 1952 – 20 February 1954
Attached to: 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 20 February – 17 August 1954
Attached to: 35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, 17 August – 1 September 1954
Attached to: Fifth Air Force, 1 September 1954 – c. 18 October 1955

Stations

Aircraft

See also

  • USAF Units and Aircraft of the Korean War

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).
  • Northrop P-61 Black Widow—The Complete History and Combat Record, Garry R. Pape, John M. Campbell and Donna Campbell, Motorbooks International, 1991.
  • Futrell, Robert Frank (1983) The United States Air Force In Korea, 1950–1953, Maxwell AFB, Alabama Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-71-4
  • [1] Air Force Historical Research Agency

External links

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