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522nd Fighter Squadron [522nd FS]
(Base Code: CC)

The men and women of the 522nd Fighter Squadron operate and support the F-16, one of the Air Force's most sophisticated aircraft. The unit is one of four 27th Fighter Wing flying squadrons at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

The 522nd's primary mission is to maintain the continuous ability to rapidly deploy and support unified commanders worldwide with day or night F-16 combat operations. Additionally, the unit mission includes the ability to decisively employ the F-16 throughout the entire spectrum of offensive and defensive missions including interdiction, close air support, strategic attack, and counter air through the employment of conventional, precision guided, and nuclear weapons.

The squadron was activated Feb. l, 1940, at Barksdale Field, La., as the l6th Bombardment Squadron (Light). Its first aircraft were the B-18 and A-24. The unit was later redesignated the 522nd Fighter Bomber Squadron, and then the 522nd Fighter Squadron. During World War II, the 522nd saw action in the Southwest Pacific, Mediterranean and European theaters. Aircraft used by the unit included the A-24, A-20, A-36, P-40 and P-47. The 522nd was deactivated Nov. 7, 1945 at Camp Shanks, N.Y.

Reactivation of the 522nd occurred on Aug. 20, 1946 at Fritzlar, Germany. The unit was equipped again with P-47s, but was reoutfitted with P-51s in 1947. The unit moved to the United States soon after, operating at bases in Maryland, Nebraska and Texas. After a year of flying P-51s, the 522nd received F-82 aircraft.

In early in 1950, the unit's name was changed to the 522nd Fighter Escort Squadron. It later received F-84 Thunderjets, and in December moved to Taegu, Korea. After several months of combat in the Korean War, the 522nd returned to the United States in 1951. Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, was the 522nd's home for the next eight years. During that time, it was redesignated the 522nd Strategic Fighter Squadron (l953), the 522nd Fighter Bomber Squadron (1957), and the 522nd Tactical Fighter Squadron (l958). The unit's F-84s were replaced by F-101s in 1957.

The 522nd moved to Cannon Air Force Base in 1959 where it was re-equipped with F-100s. The 522nd, along with other 27th Tactical Fighter Wing squadrons, saw several combat deployments to Southeast Asia.

F-100s were the squadron's aircraft until l969, when it received the new F-111E. In 1971, the F-111Es were sent to RAF Upper Heyford, England, and the unit temporarily operated F-111As. The first F-111D came to the 522nd in May l972. By November of that year, the 522nd became the first fully-equipped, combat-ready F- 111D squadron.

In May l977, the 522nd accomplished the first unit deployment of the F-111D, operating from Robins Air Force Base, Ga., for three weeks. In September l978, the 522nd accomplished the first overseas deployment of the F-111D, operating from Gardermoen Air Base, Norway, for three weeks. A joint U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy exercise, COMPUTEX 3-79, was held in August l979. The exercise used the F-111D and crews from the 522nd for pathfinding and sea lane interdiction. In May and June of 1980, the 522nd deployed to Boscombe Down, England, for exercise CORONET HAMMER, the first overseas squadron-sized deployment of the F-111D. In January l983, the squadron deployed to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to participate in BRIM FROST, an arctic exercise. That summer, the unit went to BRIGHT STAR -- U.S. Air Force Central Command's joint exercise in Egypt. The following month, the squadron again deployed eight aircraft -- this time to Boscombe Down, England, for CORONET ARCHER.

During a 12-aircraft deployment from August through September l986, the 522nd Tactical Fighter Squadron accomplished several "firsts" with the F- 111D. The deployment to CORONET COMANCHE, Boscombe Down, England, was the first deployment and redeployment with no ground or air aborts, and the first use of KC-10s for a European deployment. In June 1988, the 522nd accomplished another "first" by being the first operational squadron to employ the GBU-24 low-level laser guided bomb at night during COMBAT HAMMER 88-10. The 522nd Fighter Squadron retired its fleet of F-111Ds for F-111Fs in 1992.

In January 1993 after conversion to the F-111F aircraft, the 522nd deployed to Incirlick Air Base, Turkey, in support of OPERATION PROVIDE COMFORT for a 90 day deployment.

The Fireballs were selected as the 27th Fighter Wing's "Squadron of the Year" for 1994, and their strong commitment to quality earned them Quality New Mexico's "Pion Award" in 1994 and 1996 for organizational excellence and commitment to quality. The Fireballs achieved an "Excellent" rating during the July 1996 HQ ACC Quality Air Force Assessment. It won Top Gun pilot and runner up Top Gun pilot awards for Longshot 1994, a composite force exercise. The Fireballs also earned the highest praise from a Deployed Forces Commander as "best fighter unit seen to date" at RED FLAG 96-4, a simulated wartime exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The F-16 was flown for the first time with two sorties by the 522nd on Sept. 18, 1995. On January 1996, the last 3 F-111s assigned to the 522nd took off for the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. In July 1996, the Fireballs became the first F-16 fighter squadron at Cannon after the retirement of the F-111F, undergoing a tremendous transfer of equipment, personnel, records, and overall mission to become the "World's Premier Fighter Squadron".

The 522nd deployed 117 people and 10 aircraft to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. It was the first time F-16s from Cannon had participated in a Red Flag exercise. Nearly 140 members of "America's Go-To Wing" arrived in Southwest Asia on March 26, 1997, in support of Accurate Test '97. This was the Fireballs first overseas/bare base deployment with the F-16 aircraft. From March through June of 1997, the 522nd deployed 12 jets to four Middle East countries in support of Exercise Accurate Test, Air Expeditionary Force IV and Exercise Initial Link. Exercise Initial Link '97 was a multinational training exercise between the United States Navy, United States Air Force and several Persian Gulf countries.

The squadron emblem features a blue background and cloud formation representing the theater where the mission is performed. The fireball, a dynamic force with striking power, represents crushing attacks directed on the enemy from the skies and wholly expresses the mission of the unit.



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