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.


 
 

 
Airman 1st Class James Hensley

Luke cuts ribbon on F-35 Academic Training Center

Airman 1st Class James Hensley Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, cuts the ceremonial ribbon Oct. 9 marking the completion of the academic training center building at Luke Air Force Base. The buildin...
 
 
Forino_J

U.S., Singapore partnership standout

Lt. Col. John Forino Aug. 9 marked the 49th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. The 425th Fighter Squadron is an operational squadron comprised of elite U.S. Air Force and Republic of Singapore air force personnel design...
 
 
shirts-graphicbw

‘Guts’ required to enforce standards

A few years ago, a fellow senior NCO requested I talk to her subordinate about her appearance, specifically pertaining to her hair. Naturally, I asked about what the issue was and why she couldn’t have a discussion with her o...
 

 
141008-F-HT977-008

Airmen get new ‘Community Commons’

Renovations on Bldg. 700, which houses the Health and Wellness Center, will take place April 2015 through spring 2016 at Luke Air Force Base. Subway and the barbershop will remain open during construction. Other amenities, such...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

Keep good mental health Calling all Airmen! Sleep disturbances such as insomnia and nightmares can affect people personally and professionally. Reaching out to a medical provider is a step in the right direction to good health. Courtesy of the 56th Medical Group Haunted house The 56th Mission Support Group is featuring Operation: Haunted Block House...
 
 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Jessica Behrens 56th Medical Support Squadron Pharmacist Hometown: Seneca, Missouri Years in service: Three Family: Husband, Chris; daughter, Katelyn, 2; son, Levi, 5 months Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Arkansas and doctor of pharmacy from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska Previous assignments: Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida; Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Spring...
 




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