19th Fighter Squadron [19th FS]
The 19th was originally organized on 14 June 1917 as the 14th Aero Squadron at Camp Kelly, TX. It was redesignated as the 19th Aero Squadron, and was stationed in Texas, Ohio, New York and France for the duration of World War I. Originally established as an Army Flying School Squadron, the 19th was based at what is now known as Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. They subsequently moved to Ohio and New York for short periods before ending up, after a long and arduous trip, at Clermont, France to observe the French company Michelin's airplane manufacture/assembly procedures.
Renamed the 19th Pursuit Squadron on 25 January 1923, the squadron spent the next few years of its existence at various locations in the Hawaiian Islands, flying and training in MB-3A and SE-5A aircraft at first, then moving on to P-26s, P-40s and P-47s. The 19th suffered six casualties as a result of the infamous attack on Oahu by the Japanese on 7 December 1941, but luckily had no fatalities. The 19th had been scheduled to relocate to the Philippines on 1 December, but its orders were changed by higher headquarters to an 8 December departure.
Again redesignated, on 15 May 1942, as the 19th Fighter Squadron and flying P-47D Thunderbolts, the squadron was given its first wartime tasking and moved to Saipan aboard the USS Natoma Bay. Upon arriving, the 19th pilots immediately took to the air on night and day missions, strafing and using general purpose bombs and rockets in support of advancing ground troops. Using home-made napalm bombs made out of napalm, gasoline and oil placed inside fuel tanks, the 19th helped U.S. forces successfully invade and capture Saipan, Tinian and Guam islands in only three months. The mission then changed to long range bomber escort missions with occasional strike missions to nearby Pagan Island and Iwo Jima. The squadron then relocated to Okinawa in November 1945, where the first 19th pilots were awarded their 'ace' rating. The squadron inactivated on 12 January 1946 at Ft Lewis, WA.
Redesignated as the 19th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 11 December 1981, the squadron was reactivated at Shaw AFB, SC, on 1 April 1982, and supplied with General Dynamics F-16s to "prepare for deployment of tactical reconnaissance and fighter forces in response to worldwide taskings." It was redesignated at the 19th Fighter Squadron on 1 November 1991 and inactivated two years later, on 31 December 1993.
Once again, the squadron was reactivated on 1 January 1994, this time at Elmendorf AFB, AK, assigned to the 3rd Wing's OPerations Group.
The 19th FS operates 21 McDonnell Douglas F-15C and D model air superiority fighters.
Though the 19th FS did not play an active role during Operation Desert Storm, it did deploy to the same geographical area for Operation Provide Comfort, flying 160 sorties.
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