Air Force

March 15, 2013

56th Fighter Wing has boast-worthy history

RICHARD GRISET
56th Fighter Wing historian

The 56th Fighter Wing, one of the most highly decorated aviation units in history, traces its heritage to the 56th Pursuit Group which first activated on Jan. 15, 1941, at Savannah Air Base, Ga. The unit was redesignated a fighter group and equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt when it was reassigned to England. The 56th flew its first combat missions of World War II on April 13, 1943. During its two-year involvement in the air war in Europe, the group damaged or destroyed just short of 1,600 enemy aircraft. What seems incredible is the 56th posted that record while losing only 25 fighters in aerial combat. The group also produced 40 fighter aces.

After World War II, the 56th Fighter Group was assigned at Selfridge Field, Mich. The 56th Fighter Wing was activated with the 56th Fighter Group as a subordinate unit Aug. 15, 1947. The wing’s mission was air defense.

The unit wrote another chapter in aviation history when its F-80 Shooting Stars made the first-ever west-to-east Atlantic crossing by military jets July 14, 1948. The flight was a month after the Soviets set up their blockade of Berlin and put them on notice that this nation had the capability to deploy a large package of military aircraft across the Atlantic in minimum time. The wing was inactivated Jan. 1, 1964.

The 56th activated as the 56th Air Commando Wing in Southeast Asia March 16, 1967, and redesignated as the 56th Special Operations Wing Aug. 1, 1968. While there, the 56th supported and conducted combat operations against opposing armed enemy forces.

Renamed the 56th Tactical Fighter Wing, the wing was reassigned to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. June 1, 1975, and conducted combat aircrew training in the F-4 and later fighter training in the F-16.

When the military downsized in the early 1990s, one step removed the fighter aircraft from MacDill. However, the renamed 56th Fighter Wing would remain part of the active fighter force and was reassigned to Luke AFB April 1, 1994.

Today, the 56th Fighter Wing, a unit which has had some of the world’s greatest fighter pilots, continues the mission that has been identified with Luke since 1941: “Training the world’s greatest F-16 fighter pilots and maintainers while deploying mission-ready warfighters.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-3

Honorary commanders bid farewell

Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, speaks to the outgoing honorary commanders Sept. 17 at Club Five Six. The Honorary Commander Program fosters relationships between local civic and business leaders and base p...
 
 

News Briefs September 26, 2014

CPTS closed The finance office is closed Monday and Thursday. It will be open regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information, call 1st Lt. William Liaw at 623-856-6035. Comprehensive Airman Fitness Comprehensive Airman Fitness Training is Oct. 14 through 16. It is a three-day course for Airmen...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Senior Airman Jordan Provencher-Olaes 56th Communications Squadron Network infrastructure technician   Hometown: Chandler, Arizona Years in service: Two Family: Parents, Bridget and Rustico Olaes; brothers, Devon and Ethan Provencher Inspirations: My parents gave me the strength and courage to strive in all areas of life; CS leaders’ mentorship has inspired me to be the very...
 

 
Airman 1st Class Cory Gossett

POW/MIA day commemorated at Luke

Airman 1st Class Cory Gossett Members of the 56th Fighter Wing Honor Guard perform the folding of the flag at the conclusion of the POW/MIA retreat ceremony Sept. 19 at Luke Air Force Base. A warm, breezy late summer afternoon ...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Luke Air Force Base held a ceremony to honor America’s prisoners of war and missing in action Sept. 19. There are 83,189 personnel still unaccounted for from conflicts dating back to WWII, according to the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office. These numbers represent countless American families who grieve because they do not...
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

TAP changes to better prepare Airmen for civilian life

Senior Airman Grace Lee Dawn Reynolds, American Veterans representative, speaks to a Transition Assistance Program class. The Luke Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center Transition Assistance Program has recently und...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin