43rd Fighter Squadron [43rd FS]
The mission of the 43rd is to train F/A-22 air dominance pilots and maintainers in support of the combat air forces. An activation ceremony 25 October 2002 brought the 43rd Fighter Squadron to Tyndall, marking another step toward the beddown of the F/A-22 Raptor in 2003. The 43rd Fighter Squadron is the first F/A-22 flying squadron at Tyndall, and the first operational F/A-22 squadron in the world.
The 43rd Fighter Squadron is responsible for providing air dominance training for the world's newest fighter, the F-22 Raptor. The 43rd FS, a subordinate unit of the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the first squadron to receive the F-22. The F-22 arrived at Tyndall with the mission of training pilots on the first fifth generation air dominance platform. The new squadron's arrival, which had been years in the making, will take Tyndall air power directly into a combat role.
The 43rd Fighter Squadron is one of the oldest active squadrons in the Air Force. The unit was originally activated June 13, 1917 as the 43rd Aero Squadron, at Camp Kelly, near San Antonio, Texas. During the 1920's the squadron operated the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field before being deactivated in 1936. The squadron was reactivated in 1940 as the 43rd Pursuit Squadron. Though they never saw combat in either World War, they were in France during the closing days of WWI and tasked with homeland defense in the Panama Canal Zone during World War II, when the threat of an attack on the contiguous 48 states seemed very possible. The unit did see combat during the conflict in Vietnam, flying F-4 Phantoms over South Vietnam. The 43rd FS flew 1,207 combat missions and earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its Southeast Asia service.
From 1970-1994, the 43rd was tasked with air defense once again, this time in the Cold War Theater of Alaska. The unit was deactivated in 1994.
Throughout its history, the 43rd FS has earned two service streamers, one campaign streamer and nine decorations. Ultimately, the unit was the recipient of 11 Distinguished Unit Citations.
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