Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Named in honor of lieutenants Samuel H. Davis and Oscar Monthan, two Tucsonans and World War I era pilots who died in separate military aircraft accidents. Davis, who died in a Florida aircraft accident in 1921, attended the University of Arizona prior to enlisting in the Army in 1917. Monthan enlisted in the Army as a private in 1917, was commissioned as a ground officer in 1918 and later became a pilot. He was killed in a crash of a Martin bomber in Hawaii in 1924.
Air Combat Command
The base is home to the 355th Wing, responsible for training and deploying A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots. It is also home to the 12th Air Force, 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, 55th Electronic Combat Group, 25th Weather Squadron and other mission partners. D-M’s aircraft inventory includes A-10Cs, EC-130H Compass Calls, HC-130J Combat Kings, HH-60G Pavehawks, a contingent of F-16 Fighting Falcons and numerous assorted aircraft in the AMARG.
Col. Michael Drowley, commander
Col. Victor Pereira, vice commander
Chief Master Sgt. James Lyda, command chief
12th Air Force
Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, commander
Col. Craig Baker, vice commander
Chief Master Sgt. John Storms, command chief
Mission: First, deploy, employ, support and sustain attack airpower, and Airmen in support of combatant commanders anywhere in the world. Second, train the finest attack pilots for the Combat Air Forces. Third, provide every member of the Desert Lightning Team with responsive, tailored and mission-focused base support.
History: The 355th Fighter Group, the wing’s forbear, was activated on Nov. 12 1942, at Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, flying P-40 Warhawks. However, instead of going to war in the P-40s, they were scheduled to operate the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Pilots and crews carried out training with the new aircraft during the group’s move up the East Coast, which commenced on Feb. 17 and ended June 16, 1943, when the group departed for England.
The 355th flew its last mission in World War II on April 25, 1945. In all, 355th FG pilots were credited with 365.5 aerial kills and 502.5 ground kills, for 868 aircraft destroyed, the third highest overall and the top in air-to-ground kills within the 8th Air Force.
The 355th FG was inactivated in 1946 and reactivated in August 1955 due to increased tensions between the Soviet Union and the U.S. at McGhee-Tyson Airport, Tennessee, under Aerospace Defense Command. The new mission included defending strategic targets from attack by Russian intercontinental bombers. The 355th flew the F-86L Sabre but never fired a shot. The unit was once again inactivated on Jan. 8, 1958.
The group reactivated April 13, 1962, at George Air Force Base, California, and became the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and moved two years later to McConnell AFB, Kansas, where they supported the conflict in Vietnam by temporarily deploying squadrons on combat rotations. With an increase in the bombing campaign against North Vietnam, Air Force leaders decided to relocate the wing to Takhli Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, on Nov. 8, 1965. Following five years of uninterrupted combat over Vietnam, the wing deactivated in December 1970.
The 355th Tactical Fighter Wing reactivated on July 1, 1971, at Davis-Monthan AFB with the Vought A-7D Corsair II as the primary weapon system. In early 1975, the 355th TFW prepared for conversion to the Fairchild Republic A-10, later to be known as the Thunderbolt II.
In October 1975, the 355th Tactical Training Squadron activated to conduct A-10 academic training. The wing received the first A-10 on March 2, 1976, and D-M was officially transferred from the Strategic Air Command to Tactical Air Command on Sept. 30 1976. The 355th TFW became D-M’s host wing. On Sept. 1, 1979, the 355 TFW was redesignated the 355th Tactical Training Wing.
In the 1990s, the 355 TTW continued to train A-10 crews for assignments to units in the United States, United Kingdom and Korea. During this period, the A-10 saw combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 1,000 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces. Additionally, A-10s shot down two Iraqi helicopters with the GAU-8 Avenger Gatling gun. During the war, seven A-10s were shot down, far fewer than military planners expected. During this time, A-10s had a mission capable rate of 95.7%, flew 8,100 sorties, and launched 90% of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired in the conflict.
The Wing’s next contingency, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, began on Aug. 27, 1992, in an effort to enforce restrictions placed on Iraq following Operation DESERT STORM. The 355th supported this operation with five deployments to Southwest Asia in 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001. All deployments were to enforce the 33rd parallel southern no-fly zone.
On May 1, 1992, the 41st and 43rd Electronic Control Squadrons and the EC-130E Compass Call aircraft were assigned to the 355th FW. These actions resulted in the 355th FW becoming the 355th Wing.
355th Comptroller Squadron
Secure resources to enable the full effects of combat power while providing superior financial services to the Davis-Monthan Desert Lightning Team — anytime, anywhere.
Description: The 355th Comptroller Squadron is responsible for preparing, defending and executing the 355th Wing’s annual budget. The Comptroller is the wing’s chief financial officer and principle financial advisor to the wing’s senior leadership. CPTS manages timely and accurate pay and travel services to military, civilian and retired Davis-Monthan customers annually. Being the only squadron that works directly for the wing commander, the 355th Comptroller Squadron directs the administrative duties for 18 wing staff agencies. Furthermore, the squadron is responsible for oversight of the Wing’s Non-Appropriated Funds, Air Force Audit program, Report of Survey Program and is the Wing Banking and Credit Union Liaison.