13th Fighter Squadron [13th FS]
(Base Code: WW)
The 13th Fighter Squadron "Panthers" based out of Misawa Air Base, Japan, are a combat-ready F-16CJ "Wild Weasel" fighter squadron supporting higher headquarters-directed operations worldwide. It generates and flies sorties in the interdiction, offensive, and defensive counter air, and the suppression of enemy air defense roles.
The squadron was originally activated in May 1966 at Karat Royal Thai AFB, flying the F-105 Thunder chief. They established a brilliant combat record throughout the Vietnam War, transitioning to the F-4D, and flying over 30,000 combat sorties while logging 11 MiG kills, making the squadron the number three MiG killer of the conflict, and producing the war's third and final ace, Captain Jeff Feinstein. In 1970, the squadron adopted an Asian black panther they named "Eldridge", and from then on they were known as the "Panther Pack".
From 1976 until 1982, the Panthers were based at MacDill AFB, where the squadron was briefly deactivated. The 13th was reactivated on July 4th, 1985, flying F-16s at Misawa AB, making it the first permanent USAF fighter unit on mainland Japan since 1972.
Since it's conversion to the F-16CJ in late 1994, the squadron has represented PACAF on the World Champion 1995 GUNSMOKE Team, been awarded the 1995 Outstanding Unit Award from the Association of Old Crows, and represented PACAF on the 1996 WILLIAM TELL Team. The Panthers recently returned from a 171-day deployment to Southwest Asia where it was the first unit from PACAF to participate in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. During the deployment, the squadron flew it's first combat missions since the Mayaguez Incident in 1975, participated in DESERT STRIKE, and was credited with HARM kills on an Iraqi SA-8 and ROLAND radar missile system.
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