September 1989: Northrop military sales training ends
The Northrop F-5 Foreign Military Sales training program ended after locally producing 1,499 graduates and 200 more using mobile training teams. That training program was somewhat unusual.
The program was designed for third-world nations that could not afford the expensive frontline fighter aircraft of the day like the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
The F-5 program began Dec. 1, 1963, when the 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron organized at Williams Air Force Base in the East Valley. The reason for the location was the F-5 shared a great commonality of maintenance and parts with the Northrop T-38 Talon. But the squadron was assigned to the 4510th Combat Crew Training Wing at Luke AFB. That was because the wing at Williams trained only nonflyers to become pilots. Luke’s wing taught pilots to fly combat aircraft.
The 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron and its wing inactivated on Oct. 15, 1969, with the 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron and 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing activating in their place.
The 405th Tactical Training Wing activated as the second wing at Luke on Aug. 29, 1979, and took over supervision of the squadron. By the time the program ended, Luke organizations had trained pilots to fly and employ the F-5 from Mexico, South Vietnam, Thailand, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Korea, Venezuela and Brazil.
Courtesy of Richard Griset, 56th Fighter Wing History Office