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.


 
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Fitness center gets Xtreme makeover

Courtesy graphic Above is an architectural rendering of the changes to the outside of the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Renovations also include a remodel of most of the interior. The project will take place over t...
 
 

People — Air Force’s greatest asset

As I reflect on almost 25 years of military service, I find it easy to remember my assignments, the multiple jobs I’ve had and duties I have performed. I have served on four continents and for four presidents. Within that same time period, our nation has been in numerous campaigns ranging from operations Desert Storm...
 
 

Character, good or bad, will be passed on

Your character is who you are when no one is watching. At the same time, your character is who you are when everyone is watching. Your character is the sum of your morals and values and the quality of your character is of the utmost importance when leading others. In addition to your own values...
 

 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

History gets paint job

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY James Bridges and Hayden Yager, civilian contractors, prepare the F-104C Starfighter static display for painting Aug. 12 in the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The static displays in the airpark will be ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2015

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will begin an active-shooter exercise between 8 and 10 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to continue throughout the day. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruption of...
 
 
Tech. Sgt. 
BARBARA PLANTE

944th Airmen live life as military couple

Tech. Sgt.BARBARA PLANTE Staff Sgt. Adam Jenkins and Senior Airman Cassandra Jenkins, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron, are a dual-military couple and work together as maintainers in the refueling vehicle maintenance shop. St...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>