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.


 
 

 
Staff Sgt. 
STACI MILLER

CMS aircraft fuel systems provides push for pilot

Staff Sgt.STACI MILLER Airman 1st Class Gary Esposito, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems apprentice, prepares to inspect a 370-gallon external fuel tank on Luke Air Force Base. Esposito inspected the tan...
 
 
Senior Airman 
GRACE LEE

Latest F-35 has fastest induction to ALIS

Senior AirmanGRACE LEE The 14th F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter to arrive at Luke Air Force Base is shown Dec. 5 on the flightline. Airmen at the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit worked quickly to get the aircraft ready to...
 
 

Gratitude cultivates exceptional leadership

Several months ago I was inspired by the phrase “cultivate an attitude of gratitude.” The topic was presented in a religious context; however, I found these words significant and profound when considered as a tenent of exceptional leadership. Cultivate is an action verb. The word brings to mind images of an experienced gardener patiently tending...
 

 

Leadership vs. management

Have you ever had a boss or someone that made you want to come to work every day, someone you would do anything for without question? Then you were probably working beside a leader, not a manager. The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate people who work for or follow...
 
 

Decking the halls …

Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer Andrea Mathis, 56th Force Support Squadron Fighter Country Inn accounting clerk, decorates a Christmas tree Dec. 4 in the lobby at the Fighter Country Inn at Luke Air Force Base. Base lodging is available to active-duty service members, retirees and dependents on a space-available basis. For more information, call 623-856-3941.
 
 

Safety begins with asking ‘What could go wrong?’

I’m sure most of us have been told to “be safe” at some point either by a commander, supervisor or even a co-worker. This holiday season will probably not be any different. Someone will use this simple phrase in the next few weeks, and it will feel like a cliché to you, but what does...
 




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