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555th Bombardment Squadron

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555th Bombardment Squadron

555th Fighter Squadron

555th Fighter Squadron Patch
Active 1 December 1942 – 7 November 1945
8 January 1964 – 25 March 1994
1 April 1994 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Fighter
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe
Third Air Force
31st Fighter Wing
31st Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Aviano Air Base
Motto Once Green, Always Green
Colors Green
Engagements Linebacker I
Linebacker II
Decorations RVGC w/ Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
LtCol John Peterson
Notable
commanders
Joseph Kittinger




The 555th Fighter Squadron (555 FS) is part of the 31st Operations Group at Aviano Air Base, Italy. It operates General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting an air superiority mission.

Mission

The 555th Fighter Squadron provides combat airpower on demand to U.S. and NATO Combatant Commanders as well as the National Command Authority in order to meet National Security objectives.

It also performs air and space control and force application roles of counterair, strategic attack and counterland, including interdiction and close-air support, with 21 F-16CMs employing state of the art munitions in support of the joint, NATO, and combined operations.

History

World War II

The squadron's heritage began on 25 November 1942 when the 555th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, was constituted flying the Martin B-26 Marauder. During World War II, the 555th led offensive actions against Axis forces from bases in England, France, and Belgium. For gallantry in action, the squadron was awarded the first of its four Presidential Unit Citations.[3] The squadron was inactivated shortly after the war ended.

Vietnam Era

On 8 January 1964, the 555th re-emerged at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, operating the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The squadron was organized from elements of the 557th, 558th and 559th TFS at MacDill, when the parent 12th Tactical Fighter Wing reduced the number of aircraft from three squadrons of 25 aircraft each to four squadrons of 18 aircraft each.

The conflict in Southeast Asia was escalating and throughout 1965 the wing supported Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Contingency Operations by rotating combat squadrons quarterly to Naha AB in the Ryuku Islands. The 555th TFS began its permanent deployment to the first Air Force expeditionary airfield at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South Vietnam on 6 November 1965. Ultimately, the 559th TFS took the place of the 555th when the squadron was diverted to a second TDY in February 1966 with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, followed by a re-assignment to the 8th TFW at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. At Ubon, the squadron scored their first two MiG victories on 23 April 1966, and became the first "Ace" Squadron in Southeast Asia with six kills one week later.[3]

In June 1966, the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron moved to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base and joined the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing "Wolfpack". There, the squadron led the first strike against MiG airfields in North Vietnam. The 555 TFS launched the first night bombing attacks against North Vietnam on 29 September 1967. While at Ubon, the 555th downed an additional 14 aircraft, including four Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s on 2 January 1967. The unit thus became the only "Quad Ace" Fighter Squadron to that point, with 20 MiGs to its credit.[3]

In 1968, the Nickel participated in the campaign against the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Linebacker campaigns against the North Vietnam heartland in 1972. During Linebacker I and Linebacker II, the 555th returned to its air superiority role and brought its MiG tally to 39 confirmed victories—10 MiG-17s, 3 MiG-19s, and 26 MiG-21s, producing the first and second USAF aces, and earning the motto, "World's Largest Distributor of MiG Parts". From 1966 to 1973, the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron earned three more Presidential Unit Citations, five Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with combat "V" device, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm, and the 1973 Hughes achievement award.[3]

After nine years of combat operations, the 555th returned to the United States. In 1974, the squadron moved to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where it transitioned to the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and became part of the 405th Tactical Training Wing, training pilots transitioning to the F-15 Eagle.

Modern era

On 1 April 1994, the unit was reassigned to NATO and stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, absorbing the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and equipment of the inactivated 526th Fighter Squadron, which had been inactivated at Ramstein AB, Germany when the 86th FW became an airlift wing (86th AW). At Aviano, the squadron returned to its previous mission as an operational combat fighter squadron.[3]

2013 Sequestration

Air Combat Command officials announced a stand down and reallocation of flying hours for the rest of the fiscal year 2013 due to mandatory budget cuts. The across-the board spending cuts, called sequestration, took effect 1 March when Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan. [4]

Squadrons either stood down on a rotating basis or kept combat ready or at a reduced readiness level called “basic mission capable” for part or all of the remaining months in fiscal 2013.[4] This affected the 555th Fighter Squadron with a stand-down grounding from 9 April-30 September 2013.[4]

Operations

[5]

Lineage

  • Constituted 555th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 25 Nov 1942
Activated on 1 Dec 1942
Redesignated: 555th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 9 Oct 1944
Redesignated: 555th Bombardment Squadron, Light, on 23 Jun 1945
Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945
  • Redesignated: 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, activated, and organized, on 8 Jan 1964
Redesignated: 555th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 5 Jul 1974
Redesignated: 555th Fighter Squadron on 1 Nov 1991
Inactivated on 25 Mar 1994
  • Activated on 1 Apr 1994.
Designated as: 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and placed in provisional status when deployed to United States Air Forces Central as part of the Global War on Terrorism after 11 September 2001.

[5]

Assignments

Attached to 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, 12 Dec 1964 – 9 Mar 1965, 11 Dec 1965-21 Feb 1966
Attached to 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, c. 22 Feb – 4 Mar 1966
Attached to 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 4-24 Mar 1966)

[5]

Stations

[5]

Aircraft Operated

[5]

Emblems

References

  • 555th Fighter Squadron History
  • 555th Fighter Squadron Fact Sheet

External links

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