336th Fighter Squadron [336th FS]
(Base Code: SJ)
The 336th Fighter Squadron was activated Sept. 12, 1942, and like its sister squadrons, was comprised mainly of American volunteers serving in the Royal Air Force prior to the United States' entry into World War II.
Transitioning from the RAF duty as the 133rd Eagle Squadron, the 336th continued to fly British Spitfires until arrival of P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers in 1943. About a year later the squadron transitioned to perhaps most renowned piston-engine fighter, North American P-51 Mustangs. By the war's end, the 336th destroyed 358 aircraft - 175 in the air and 183 on the ground - with Col. Don Gentile, John Godfrey, James Goodson, Fred Glover, and Carroll McColpin, and 16 others achieving ace status.
On Sep. 9, 1946, the unit was re-activated at Selfridge Field, Mich., then moved to Andrews AFB, Md., in April 1947, with the jet-powered F-80 Shooting Star, earning the name Rocketeers for its early association with the Air Corps transition to the jet age. In 1949, the 336th moved to Langley AFB, Va., with the F-86 Sabrejets, the first swept wing supersonic fighter in the Air Force inventory. By November the Rocketeers were enroute to the Far East to fight the Korean Conflict. The 336th, along with its sister squadrons, earned the reputation of "MiG Killers" for actions along the Yalu River and other areas where combat was joined with Korean, Chinese and Russian pilots.
On Dec. 17, 1950, Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton, 336th commander, shotdown a MiG-15 in the first ever all supersonic aerial combat. The Rocketeers were credited with 116.5 kills during the Korean Conflict, adding four aces to their rolls.
The 336th remained in the Far East until Dec. 3, 1947, when it moved to Seymour Johnson. The unit flew North American F-100 SuperSabres until mid-1959 when it became one of Tactical Air Command's first units to convert to the Mach 2 capable Republic F-105 Thunderchief.
In 1967 the Rocketeers received the McDonnell Douglas F-4D PhantomII. Deploying to Korea in June 1968 they supported military operations associated with the seizure of the Pueblo.
Returning from the Far East, the Rocketeers transitioned to the updated F-4E in July 1970 and were the first operational squadron to use TAC's new modular bare base equipment.
From April to September 1972 and again from March to September 1973, the 336th conducted Constant Guard operations from Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in support of Linebacker Operations in Southeast Asia. On Aug. 15, 1972, a 336th F-4E flown by Captain Fred Sheffler and Mark Massen destroyed a MiG-21 with an AIM-7missile, accomplishing the only air-to-air kill by a 4th Tactical Fighter Wing aircraft during the action in Southeast Asia.
With the 4th's assumption of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's dual-based tasking in October 1977, the 336th was assigned to the 86th TFW, Ramstein AB, West Germany, for any NATO exercise.
In October 1989 the 336th became the first operational F-15E Strike Eagle squadron in the Air Force.
As the first F-15E squadron, the Rocketeers deployed to Southwest Asia on Aug. 9, 1990, in support of Operation Desert Shield. In December 1990, the 336th redeployed to Saudi Arabia in preparation for Operation Desert Storm. On Jan. 16, 1991, the Rocketeers launched 24 aircraft against targets in Iraq to begin Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait. The first night was an unqualified success as the fighting Rocketeers put their bombs on target and returned home safe and sound. By the end of Operation Desert Storm the 336th had flown 1,100 combat sorties, logging 3,200 hours and dropping 6.5 million pounds of ordnance on enemy targets, including a combination of general purpose, cluster and laser-guided bombs.
Since the end of the Gulf War, the 336th has continually participated in exercises such as Maple Flag, Gunsmoke, Combat Hammer, the first night Red Flag, Ocean Venture, Combat Anchor, Quick Force,and numerous in-house exercises to continually hone capabilities.
The Rocketeers rotate to Southwest Asia to enforce the United Nation's "no-fly" zone in Operation Southern Watch.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|