43rd Fighter Squadron

The 43d Fighter Squadron is part of the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. It conducts advanced fighter training for F-22 Raptor pilots.

The squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, its origins dating to 13 June 1917, when it was organized at Kelly Field, Texas as the 43d Aero Squadron. The squadron deployed to England as part of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. The squadron saw combat during World War II, served in the Vietnam War and later became part of the Alaskan Air Command (AAC) during the Cold War.

43d Fighter Squadron
43d Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor 00-4013
43d Fighter Squadron F-22A Raptor[note 1]
Active1917–1919; 1922–1936; 1940–1946; 1964–1994; 2002–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleFighter Training
Part ofAir Combat Command
Garrison/HQTyndall Air Force Base
Motto(s)Vespa Maculata
EngagementsWorld War I
Vietnam War[1]
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
43d Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 22 May 1924)[1]
43 FS


The 43d Fighter Squadron is responsible for providing air dominance training for the F-22 Raptor.[2]


World War I

The 43d Fighter Squadron traces its lineage to the 43d Aero Squadron, first activated 13 June 1917, at Camp Kelly, Texas. In March 1918, the squadron moved to England, where it trained until reassigned to France where it landed on 25 October, reaching on the same day the Air Service Replacement Concentration Barracks at St. Maixent. Ordered to 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, the squadron arrived at the Issoudun Aerodrome on 1 November. The Armistice signed on 11 November made it redondant, and it stayed at Issoudun until early 1919, when it moved to the harbor of Bordeaux, France, leaving France on 18 March, bound for the United States[3][2]

Inter-war years

The 43d was reactivated on 22 July 1922, at Kelly Field, Texas, and was redesignated the 43d School Squadron in January 1923. The squadron flew various aircraft, including the DH-4, Spad XIII, SE-5, MB-7, AT-4, AT-5, PW-9, P-1, and P-12. The 43d became known as the "Hornets" as depicted by their emblem, a poised Vespa Maculata, or American "Yellow Jacket," the most formidable of the wasp family, surrounded by an ovate cloud. The emblem was approved in 1924 and the Hornet signifies the speed, agility and hard-hitting capabilities of the squadron while the cloud represents their domain - the skies.[2] In March 1935, the 43d was redesignated the 43d Pursuit Squadron, flying as part of the 3d Wing Advanced Flying School until it was inactivated in September 1936.

World War II

43d Fighter Squadron P-40N Warhawk May 1944
43d Fighter Squadron P-40N Warhawk, Howard Field, Canal Zone, May 1944

Re-established in 1939 as the 43d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) and activated on 1 February 1940 at Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone. This unit was part of the build-up of the Canal Zone's defenses as war approached. Assigned to the 16th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), and equipped with Curtis P-36A Hawks. In July 1941, the Squadron began to convert from P-36A's to new Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and, upon completion of this conversion, "A" Flight was transferred to the Top Secret "Project X" on 18 August. This, of course, was the reinforcement of Trinidad. Another flight later moved on to Zandery Field, Surinam, by January 1942.

After the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, the unit moved to La Joya #1 (Pacora) Airfield in Panama in January 1942. In Panama, the squadron was assigned to the Panama Interceptor Com¬mand (PIC). Re-designated as the 43d Fighter Squadron on 13 June 1942. On 20 August, the squadron began re-equipping with the new Bell P-39 Airacobra, while the Zandery Field and Trinidad detachments remained. active with P-40Cs On 1 September the detachments aircraft were reassigned to the XXXVI Fighter Command, Antilles Air Task Force, although its personnel returned home to the main body of the Squadron.

Operating air defense patrols throughout 1943 from La Joya, pn 9 February 1944, the Squadron finally moved to Howard Field, having been deployed to an auxiliary base longer than any other Squadron in Sixth Air Force. In March, the Squadron was selected to serve as a "model" squadron for the Brazilian 1st Fighter Squadron, which was in training with the 30th Fighter Squadron at Aguadulce Field. During this operational observation, four Brazilian officers and 36 enlisted men were briefly attached to the Squadron. Moved back to Howard Field in August 1943. One more move was made to France Field on 10 January 1945, replacing the 32d Fighter Squadron.

Unit activities ran down with the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. The squadron ceased all flying activities in June. By October 1945, the squadron was reduced to a non-operational administrative organization. Inactivated on 15 October 1946.

Vietnam War

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-35-MC Phantom II, AF Serial No. 67-0305 of the 43d TFS.

The squadron lay dormant nearly two decades before it was awakened as the 43d Tactical Fighter Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in January 1964 flying the F-84 Thunderstreak. The Hornets converted from the F-84 to the F-4 Phantom II, and in August 1965, deployed to Clark Air Base, Philippines, where they were in reserve support to the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron who were flying combat missions over Southeast Asia from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand.[2]

In November 1965, the Hornets became the first fighter squadron assigned to Cam Ranh Air Base, South Vietnam, with an advance party arriving on 28 October. During its time in Southeast Asia, the squadron flew 1,207 combat missions and earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its service. In January 1966, the 43rd TFS returned to MacDill AFB, to serve as an F-4 replacement-training unit until March 1970.[2]

Alaskan Service

43rd F-4 flying near Mt. McKinley about 1977.
F-15 and F-22
An F-22 observes as an F-15 Eagle banks left. The F-22 is slated to replace the F-15C/D.

In June 1970, the 43 TFS was moved to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, under the 21st Tactical Fighter Wing. The squadron was one of two units assigned to Alaskan Air Command. Flying the F-4E Phantom II, the 43d inherited a dual mission of Alaskan air defense and close air support for U.S. Army forces. In addition to flying out of Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, the squadron also sat air defense alert at King Salmon, Galena, and Eielson AFB forward operating bases.

The squadron assumed North American Aerospace Defense Command air defense alert in October 1970 and between 1970 and 1982, the squadron's pilots intercepted more than 100 Soviet aircraft in Alaskan air space.[2] In 1976 the 43rd TFS won the Hughes Trophy for the best air-to-air squadron in the United States Air Force.

In 1982, the 43d became the first squadron to convert to the F-15 Eagle. Without help from a combat ready unit, the squadron developed its own F-15 training program and completed the first ever F-15 low runway condition reading tests. The squadron continued to provide air defense for North America until 1 January 1994, when it was inactivated.[2]

Return to fighter training

On 25 October 2002, The 43d Fighter Squadron was reactivated with a new mission and a new aircraft. Assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, the 43 FS is the first squadron to provide training for Air Force pilots in the F-22 Raptor.[2] The squadron transitioned to Air Combat Command when the 325th Fighter Wing assumed an operational mission, however the 43 FS continued to train Raptor pilots.


43d Aero Squadron
  • Organized as the 43d Provisional Squadron on 13 June 1917
Redesignated 43d Aero Squadron on 26 June 1917
Demobilized on 17 April 1919
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 43d School Squadron on 8 April 1924[1][4]
43d Pursuit Squadron
  • Authorized as the 43d School Squadron on 10 June 1922
Organized as the 43d Squadron (School) on 7 July 1922
Redesignated 43d School Squadron on 25 January 1923
Consolidated with the 43d Aero Squadron on 8 April 1924[4]
Redesignated 43d Pursuit Squadron on 1 March 1935
Inactivated on 1 September 1936
Disbanded on 1 January 1938
  • Consolidated with the 43d Tactical Fighter Squadron on 27 March 1964 effective 22 December 1939[1]
43d Fighter Squadron
  • Constituted as the 43d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 22 December 1939
Activated on 1 February 1940
Redesignated: 43d Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Redesignated: 43d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 12 April 1944
Redesignated: 43d Fighter Squadron, Two Engine on 13 January 1945
Redesignated: 43d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 8 January 1946
Inactivated on 15 October 1946
  • Redesignated 43d Tactical Fighter Squadron, activated and organized on 8 January 1964
  • Consoldated with the 43d Pursuit Squadron on 27 March 1964 effective 22 December 1939
Redesignated 43d Fighter Squadron on 26 September 1991
Inactivated on 1 January 1994
  • Activated on 1 October 2002[1]


  • Unknown, 13 June – 24 August 1917
  • Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot, 25 August 1917
  • Unknown, 18 December 1917 – 24 October 1918
  • Air Service Replacement Concentration Barracks, 25 October 1918
  • 3d Aviation Instruction Center, 1 November–c. 5 January 1919
  • Commanding General, Services of Supply, January–17 April 1919
  • 10th Group (School) (later 10th School Group), 7 July 1922
  • Air Corps Advanced Flying School, 16 July 1931
  • 3d Wing (attached to Air Corps Advanced Flying School), 1 March 1935 – 1 September 1936
  • 16th Pursuit Group (later 16th Fighter Group), 1 February 1940
  • XXVI Fighter Command, 1 November 1943


Deployed at Clark Air Base, Philippines, c. 20 August – 31 October 1965
Deployed at Cam Ranh Air Base, South Vietnam, 1 November 1965 - c. 4 January 1966


See also



Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Aircraft is Lockheed Martin Block 10 F-22A Raptor 00-4013. The aircraft crashed near Tyndall AFB on 15 November 2012. The pilot ejected safely.
  2. ^ Detachments at Hooton Park, Grantham, and Beaulieu, after 14 August 1918.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bailey, Carl E. (December 18, 2007). "Factsheet 43 Fighter Squadron (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Tyndall AFB Library: Factsheet 43rd Fighter Squadron". 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs. September 1, 2015. Archived from the original on November 18, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Maurer,
  4. ^ a b Clay, p. 1407


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links

325th Operations Group

The 325th Operations Group is the flying component of the 325th Fighter Wing, assigned to Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force . The group is stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. It conducts training on the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and commands one operational Raptor squadron. It directs the flying and support operations of two F-22 squadrons, a fighter training squadron, an operations support squadron and a training support squadron.

The group was first activated in August 1942 as the 325th Fighter Group at Mitchel Field, New York. After training at Hillsgrove Army Air Field, Rhode Island, the group moved to North Africa in 1943, where it flew combat missions with the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation for actions over Sardinia for engaging a superior force of enemy aircraft and destroying more than half of them. The group was withdrawn from combat in the fall of 1943 and re-equipped with the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. After moving to Italy, the group re-entered combat, earning a second Distinguished Unit Citation in January 1944. The group continued in combat until VE Day, returning to the United States in the fall for inactivation.

The 325th was again activated in 1947 as an all-weather fighter unit, moving late in the year to Hamilton Air Force Base. California. It assumed responsibility for air defense of the northern Pacific coast after moving to Moses Lake Air Force Base, Washington . With the beginning of the Korean War, a number of Air National Guard units were activated, one of which was attached to the group. In December 1951, the group dispatched one of its squadrons to Korea to provide all-weather air defense for the Seoul region. However, Air Defense Command (ADC) was finding that the single group and wing organization did not fit its model of dispersed fighter squadrons. Accordingly, it replaced its fighter wings and groups with regionally oriented defense wings and inactivated the group in February 1952.

In 1955, ADC implemented Project Arrow, which replaced its Air Defense Groups organized in the early 1950s with fighter groups that had been active during World War II. The 325th was activated once again at McChord Air Force Base, Washington to replace the 567th Air Defense Group, whose personnel, equipment and mission it assumed. The following year, the 325th Fighter Wing was again activated, and until 1957 the group was a paper organization, used to staff various wing offices. It was inactivated in 1960, with its sole remaining squadron assigned directly to the 325th Wing.

The 325th remained in inactive status until 1991 when it was again activated as the 325th Operations Group.

3rd Operations Group

The 3rd Operations Group is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 3rd Wing. It is stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and is assigned to Pacific Air Forces' Eleventh Air Force.

The group is a composite organization that provides air superiority and defense for Alaska flying F-22A Raptor stealth aircraft. In addition, the group supports Pacific Air Forces in the Pacific Command area of responsibility flying C-17 Globemaster III transports and E-3B sentry airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft.

The group is a direct successor organization of the 3rd Attack Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II. It is the oldest active group in the USAF, and the first created after the establishment of the U.S. Air Service. Based in Texas after World War I, the group patrolled the Mexican Border from Brownsville, Texas, to Nogales, Arizona. The group pioneered dive bombing, skip-bombing, and parafrag attacks in the 1920s—the earliest forms of precision guided attack from aircraft—and put this work to good use in World War II.

The World War II 3rd Bombardment Group moved to Australia early in 1942 and served primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a light bombardment group assigned to Fifth Air Force. The group participated in numerous campaigns during the war, engaging in combat over Japan; Netherlands East Indies; New Guinea; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon and the Southern Philippines. On 2 November 1943, the group encountered heavy opposition from Japanese forces at Simpson Harbor, New Britain. In that attack Major Raymond H. Wilkins, commander of the 8th Bombardment Squadron, sank two ships before he was shot down as he deliberately drew the fire of a destroyer so that other planes of his squadron could withdraw safely-an action for which Maj Wilkins was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The 3rd again served in combat during the Korean War, using B-26 Invader light bombers. Captain John S. Walmsley, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions a night mission. Capt Walmsley discovered and attacked an enemy supply train, and after exhausting his ammunition he flew at low altitude to direct other aircraft to the same objective; the train was destroyed but Walmsley’s plane crashed in the target area.

Notable alumni include General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, General Jimmy Doolittle, General Lewis Brereton, General Richard Ellis, General John Henebry, Major Paul I. "Pappy" Gunn, and General Nathan Twining.

43rd Flying Training Squadron

The 43d Flying Training Squadron is part of the 340th Flying Training Group and is the reserve associate to the 14th Flying Training Wing based at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. It operates Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk, Beechcraft T-6 Texan II and Northrop T-38 Talon aircraft conducting flight training.

Jeffrey L. Harrigian

Jeffrey Lee Harrigian (born 1962) is a lieutenant general in the United States Air Force, who serves as the deputy commanding general of United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (has been nominated to become the commander), having previously served as United States Air Forces Central Command. Raised in Sparks, Nevada, he graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in International Affairs and was commissioned in 1985. In March 2019, Harrigian was nominated for promotion to general and assignment as commander of United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa and director of the Joint Air Power Competence Center.

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but also has ground attack, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence capabilities. The prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, built most of the F-22's airframe and weapons systems and conducted final assembly, while Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.

The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 before it formally entered service in December 2005 as the F-22A. After a protracted development and despite operational issues, the USAF considered the F-22 critical to its tactical air power. When the aircraft was introduced, the USAF stated that it was unmatched by any known or projected fighter. The F-22's combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air combat capabilities.The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile F-35 led to the end of F-22 production. A final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009, and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.

Air Forces

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