Military


47th Fighter Squadron

The 47th Fighter Squadron was activated Dec. 1, 1940, as the 47th Pursuit Squadron, one of three squadrons assigned to the 15th Pursuit Group, Wheeler Field, Territory of Hawaii. The squadron also flew missions from Hawaiian stations of Bellows, Haleiwa and Mokuleia Fields, as well as Barking Sands.

The 47th Pursuit Squadron participated in numerous campaigns from 1940 to 1945, flying P-10, P-26, P-36, P-47 and P-51 aircraft. The squadron was credited with shooting down eight Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941, before being inactivated Oct. 15, 1946, at Wheeler Field.

On Dec. 1, 1952, the 47th was re-designated the 47th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and was activated at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport, N.Y. Assigned to the 4708th Defense Wing under Air Defense Command, the squadron flew F-47 aircraft. In February 1953 the 47th was reassigned to the 518th Air Defense Group, flying F-86 Thunderstreak jet aircraft. By May 1958, the F-86 fleet had gradually phased out and was replaced by F-102 Delta Daggers. On July 1, 1960, the 47th was deactivated.

The summer of 1962 brought two significant changes to the 47th: The squadron was reactivated as the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron and was returned to Tactical Air Command. Assigned to the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., the 47th flew F-84 and F-4 Phantom aircraft.

In July 1965, the 47th deployed to Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, and compiled 1,743 combat missions over Southeast Asia. The squadron returned to MacDill Nov. 27, 1965, and converted from a training mission to a combat training mission before being deactivated July 2, 1971.

Oct. 1, 1973 saw the reactivation of the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron, under the 917th Tactical Fighter Group at Barksdale AFB, La. The 47th flew A-37 Dragonfly aircraft until Oct. 1, 1980, when A-37s were phased out and replaced with the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Since its arrival at Barksdale, the 47th Fighter Squadron has had pivotal roles in the defense of the United States and its allies. In December 1993, the squadron deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy, to support the United Nations' no-fly rule over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dubbed Operation Deny Flight, the 47th returned to Aviano AB in August 1994 and May 1995 to uphold the U.N. ban on military flights in the airspace over Bosnia-Herzegovina. In May 1996 the squadron deployed for the fourth and final time to Aviano, this time under the auspices of Operation Decisive Edge. The end result was a total of 501 sorties flown by the 47th from 1993 to 1996 as part of the NATO peacekeeping effort.

On Oct. 7, 1996, the 47th's mission officially changed from combat to A-10 pilot training. The school currently graduates about 40 active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve students per year.




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