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 
CORY GOSSETT

MRA graduates 11,000 strong

Airman 1st ClassCORY GOSSETT Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron mission-ready Airmen perform a preflight check July 21 on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke Air Force Base. The MRA program teaches Airmen F-16 launching, recove...
 
 

In your comfort zone? Get out!

Being promoted means you are ready to take on the next level of roles and responsibilities, but how do you prepare for the next level of responsibilities? One tactic that has worked for me is to step outside my comfort zone. By doing this, I’ve learned more about the Air Force and experienced more situations...
 
 

Service before self, but don’t forget about self

As Airmen, we live and breathe the Air Force core values on a daily basis. However, don’t let our second core value, service before self, distract you from actually taking care of yourself. In my 13 years of active-duty service, there is one regret I hear most from people both in and out of the...
 

 
Senior Airman Jenna Sarvinski

Life, Liberty, pursuit of happiness brings Kenyan student to America

Senior Airman Jenna Sarvinski Senior Airman Robert Cheruiyot, 56th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, greets Gen. Julius Waweru Karangi, chief of the defense forces, Kenya. Karangi and Cheruiyot met in a chance enc...
 
 

News Briefs August 1, 2014

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will conduct an active-shooter exercise Aug. 15. 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 interruptions of customer service operations. Expect to see simulated explosions, smoke, role players depicting...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Staff Sgt. Gregory Scharp 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Phase floor chief Hometown: Sparta, New Jersey Years in service: Six Family: Wife, Maggie Education: Community College of the Air Force aircraft maintenance technology Previous assignments: Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; and Osan Air Base, South Korea Inspirations: Music and my wife Goals: To complete a bachelor’s...
 




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