27th Fighter Squadron [27th FS]
The 27th Fighter Squadron is the oldest fighter squadron in the U.S. Air Force. As one of three fighter squadrons of the 1st Fighter Wing, the 27th is tasked to provide air superiority for United States or allied forces by engaging and destroying enemy forces, equipment, defenses or installations for global deployment. The unit wass equipped with the F-15 Eagle, an advanced air-superiority fighter, until it converted to the F-22A Raptor.
Originally organized as the 21st Aero Squadron June 15, 1917, the 27th was redesignated as the 27th Aero Squadron June 23, 1917, and assigned to the 1st Pursuit Group in early 1918. The 27th entered World War I in the European theater where it served with distinction from March 1918 until the Armistice in November of that year. Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr., known as the "Arizona Balloon Buster," for his daring feats against German observation balloons, was the squadron's most colorful ace. His 18 victories cost him his life, and he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Aircraft flown by the 27th during World War I include the Nieuport 28, Spad XIII and Sopwith F-1 Camel.
In the period between the world wars, the 27th Pursuit Squadron, redesignated Jan. 25, 1923, was stationed primarily at Selfridge Field, Mich., with the 1st Fighter Group. During these years, the unit flew various aircraft, including the Fokker D-7, PW-8, P-12, P-26, P-35, P- 36 and the YP-43.
At the beginning of the United States' involvement in World War II, the 27th Fighter Squadron, redesignated May 15, 1942, briefly served in anti-submarine duty at San Diego Naval Air Station and in air defense duty at Reykjavik, Iceland. From October 1942 until May 1945, the 27th participated in the European and Mediterranean theaters of operation, flying Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. The squadron won three Distinguished Unit Citations in Italy Aug. 25, 1943, and Aug. 30, 1943; and at Ploesti, Romania, May 18, 1944. In April 1992 the 27th FS received the Outstanding Unit Award.
Following World War II, the 27th was stationed at March Field, Calif., flying P-80 Shooting Stars, the United States' first operational jet aircraft. Upon the unit's redesignation as the 27th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, it moved to Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y., flying the F-86, F-89 and F-94 until receiving the F-102 Delta Dagger in 1957. In October 1959, the 27th was transferred to Loring Air Force Base, Maine, where it assumed an air defense role flying F-106 Delta Darts in the Bangor Air Defense Sector.
The redesignated 27th Tactical Fighter Squadron was assigned to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., July 2, 1971, as part of the reorganized 1st Tactical Fighter Wing. While at MacDill, the 27th trained aircrews in the F-4E Phantom II. In June 1975, the 27th Tactical Fighter Squadron was moved to Langley Air Force Base, Va., becoming the first operational squadron to fly the F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter in 1976. The unit was redesignated the 27th Fighter Squadron Sept.1, 1991.
The 27th TFS deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm as part of the first U.S. Air Force contingent in Saudi Arabia. The squadron was integral in establishing allied air superiority during the operation.
The 27th FS has deployed worldwide to support the 1st FW, flying approximately 25 sorties each day to train in air-to-air combat, aerial gunnery and air defense intercept missions.
Beginning on August 27, 2002 the 27th Fighter Squadron deployed to Turkey in support of Operation Northern Watch.
The F-22A Raptor achieved Initial Operational Capability [IOC] on 15 December 2005. In October 2003 the Air Forces announced that the 27th Fighter Squadron would be the first of three squadrons at Langley Air Force Base to transition to the F/A-22 Raptor which would begin arriving in late 2004. One of the reasons involved in choosing the 27th FS is its being the oldest fighter squadron in the Air Force, and that it was the first unit to fly the P-38 Lightening for the Army Air Force in 1941 as well as the first operational unit to fly the F-15 Eagle. Langley's 71st FS and 94th FS will also transition to the F/A-22 at later dates. The squadrons are expected to be equipped with 24 aircraft each. The transition was scheduled to be complete by the end of 2007.
The F-22A Raptor achieved Initial Operational Capability [IOC] on 15 December 2005. The 27th Fighter Squadrton converted to the F-22A in mid-January 2006 and flew its first operational sorties with the aircraft over the United States one week later in support of Operation Noble Eagle Jan. 21 and 22.
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