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111th Fighter Squadron [111th FS]

The 111th Fighter Squadron began as the 111th Aero Squadron on 14 August 1917 at Kelly Field, TX. The unit, composed of teamsters and laborers, was on special duty at Kelly and was known as the "Post Headquarters Squadron." The squadron deactivated 19 August 1919 but was called to service again on 29 June 1923 in the old Houston Light Guard Armory, as the 111th Observation Squadron, 36th Division, Texas Air National Guard.

The squadron had no airplanes, so the hot summer of 1923 was devoted to close-order drill and classroom sessions. That was remedied, however, in September of that year when the 111th became airborne in the Curtiss JN-6H.

In September 1927 the Curtiss JN-6Hs were retired and the squadron gained PT-1s and several other trainers until June 1928 when new O-2 observation aircraft arrived. These planes were replaced with new O-38 Douglas operation planes in January 1931.

By 1938 the squadron was flying both O-43As and O-47s.

With the onset of World War II, the unit was called into federal service 25 November 1940 and trained with the 36th Division until it was sent to the Mexican border after Pearl Harbor was bombed. The border patrol was short, and on 14 February 1942 the squadron left Texas for Augusta, GA, and became part of the 68th Observation Group.

By November 1942 the squadron was in Europe. During 23 months of continuous combat flying, from June 1943 through May 1945, the 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew 3,840 reconnaissance missions. While keeping Army Headquarters informed of enemy movements, the 111th destroyed 44 enemy aircraft, damaged 29 others and claimed 12 probable kills. The squadron received eight Battle Stars and the Presidential Unit Citation for its World War II accomplishments. The squadron also served during the Korean War, flying mostly close-air support and interdiction missions and destroying two MiG-15 fighter jets.

Between 1952 and 1959 the squadron flew many aircraft, to include the F-80, F-86D and F-86L. In August 1960 the unit became one of the first to transition to the F-102A all-weather fighter interceptor and began a 24-hour alert to guard the Texas Gulf coast. By January 1970 the wing was starting a new mission: training all F-102 pilots in the United States for the Air National Guard.

On 6 May 1971 the unit received F-101F fighter interceptors and became the training center for all Air Guard interceptors. In August 1974, after 14 years of service, the unit's F-102s were retired, but the unit maintained a full fleet of F-101s.

The squadron converted to F-4Cs in 1982 and converted to F-4Ds starting in November 1986.

In September 1989 the 111th converted to the F-16A, and by June 1992 the jets were being converted to F-16 air defense fighters, later converting to F-16Cs beginning in September 1996; a transition completed by February 1997.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:08:47 ZULU