Air Force

February 27, 2014

School is out, 358th FS Inactivates

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Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)
Col. Philip W. Wielhouwer, 355th Operations Group commander, and Lt. Col. Stephen C. Sztan, former 358th Fighter Squadron commander, roll up the 358th FS flag to finalize the squadron’s inactivation during a ceremony at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 21, 2014. The squadron was inactivated due to the total force integration initiative.

The 358th Fighter Squadron officially switched to inactive status Friday, Feb. 21, here.

The squadron is inactivating due to Total Force Integration, an Air Force wide active duty, guard and reserve-initiative designed to maintain the combat effectiveness of our forces, while reducing the operational burden in some areas.

The 358th FS was first activated as part of the 355th Fighter Group at Orlando Army Air Field, Fl., Nov. 12, 1942. The unit was trained and equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts and then transferred to Steeple Morden, England, July 8, 1943. The squadron participated in the Vietnam War until January 1972, when it was inactivated.

“The unit was reactivated here June 1, 1972 as part of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Stzan, 358th Fighter Squadron commander. “It was designated the 358th Tactical Fighter Squadron and was changed from an operational fighter squadron to a training one, Jan. 1, 1976.”

The squadron was one of two formal A-10 training squadrons in the Air Force, which trains initial qualification A-10 pilots, A-10 instructor pilots and re-qualifies pilots in the A-10.

“On average each training squadron graduated 40 pilots a year,” said Stzan.

The mission of the A-10 Thunderbolt will remain the same and pilots will continue to be produced.

“The important take-away from this is that it’s just a transition from an active to a reserve squadron,” said Lt. Col. Terry W. McClain, 47th Fighter Squadron commander.

In Dec. 13, the responsibility of the training, educating and mentoring A-10 Thunderbolt pilots fell into the hands of the 47th FS.

“The same product will come out of the active duty unit and the reserve unit,” said McClain.

Some of the benefits of this transition are continuity and cost effectiveness.

“Active-duty personnel rotate every three years, in the reserves, we show up and we stay,” said McClain. “Also there are less training costs and a smaller footprint.”

Although this transition is a part of a larger Air Force goal, D-M Airmen will only see minor changes.

“The base will see different marking on the planes and difference tail flashes but the mission is still the same,” said McClain.

The 358th finished it’s time at D-M by completing 120,591 flying hours, with more than 60,606 sorties from 2000-2014. Additionally, the squadron trained approximately 750 new pilots and re-qualified nearly 175 pilots.




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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