4th Fighter Squadron [4th FS]
The 4th Fighter Squadron is one of three fighter squadrons assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The unit operates and maintains Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, F-16s.
As part of the world's largest LANTIRN F-16 wing, the 4th FS conducts flying operations and equipment maintenance to maintain combat readiness of an 18-aircraft F-16C LANTIRN squadron. It prepares to deploy worldwide to conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground operations for daylight and nighttime missions.
The 4th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) was activated at Selfridge Field, Mich., Jan. 15, 1941 and moved to several U.S. bases before relocating to Northern Ireland in 1942. For the next three years, until its inactivation in November 1945, the 4th PS traveled between 13 bases in Europe and North Africa. During World War II, the squadron flew P-39 Air Cobras, P-40 Warhawks, British Spitfires and P-51 Mustangs. The 4th destroyed 109 enemy aircraft in aerial combat and produced three aces during World War II.
The 4th PS was reactivated at Yontan Air Base, Japan, flying the P-61 Black Widows in February 1947. The unit was assigned to Naha Air Base, Japan, in 1948 when it was redesignated as the 4th Fighter Squadron (All Weather). It was there that the squadron adopted the Fuujin, the Okinawan god of wind, as its emblem after half of its combat aircraft were destroyed by a freak windstorm. The Fuujins remained in Okinawa flying the F-82 Twin Mustang from 1950 to 1952 and F-94 Starfire from 1951 to 1954. There they provided air defense of the Ryukyu Islands during the Korean War. While in Okinawa, the squadron had two name changes: the 4th Fighter All-Weather Squadron and the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron.
The 4th FIS moved to Misawa Air Base, Japan, where squadron members flew F-86 Sabres and F-102 Delta Daggers until 1965. During that period, the unit participated in air defense of Japan; trained pilots of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, the Republic of Korea and the Royal Thai Air Force; and flew combat missions over Korea and Vietnam.
In June 1965, the 4th FIS moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and was renamed the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, becoming the fourth Air Force fighter squadron trained in the F-4 Phantom IIs. During July 1967, squadron aircraft, crews and maintenance troops deployed to Udom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, where they were designated as the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron and immediately began combat operations. The 4th began reconstitution at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. In April 1969, the Fightin' Fuujins deployed to Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam and flew escort missions as part of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing. Transferring to Udom Royal Thai Air Base, in mid-1972, squadron aircrews flew air superiority missions over Vietnam. The squadron attained the U.S. Air Force's last Southeast Asia aerial victory, downing a MiG-21, Jan. 8, 1973. The 4th TFS downed four enemy aircraft in combat over Vietnam.
For the next two years, the Fuujins remained at Udom Royal Thai Air Base, flying cover for evacuations of Phnom Pehn, Cambodia and Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. The squadron performed strike missions in support of a recovery operation for the U.S.S. Mayaguez, a merchant freighter captured by Cambodian Khmer Rouge guerillas in May 1975.
In December 1975, the 4th TFS moved to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and formed the initial cadre of the relocation of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing flying the F-4D Phantom IIs.
In March 1980, the Fuujins began conversion to the F-16A Fighting Falcon as the Air Force's first operational F-16 tactical fighter squadron. The squadron upgraded to the F-16C Block 40 in January 1990.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the 4th found themselves facing armed opponents for the first time since Vietnam as they deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield. Their deployment took 16 hours non-stop with 10 aerial refuelings (five at night). This set a record as the longest distance flown non-stop in the F-16. Once Operation Desert Storm began, the Fightin' Fuujins raised a dust storm of their own. Pilots dropped more than 2,000 tons of conventional munitions on strategic and tactical targets in Iraq and Kuwait during more than 1,000 daytime combat sorties while only two of their aircraft were damaged by enemy fire and none lost in combat.
In October 1991, the squadron was redesignated the 4th Fighter Squadron as part of a command-level realignment.
Approximately 300 people are assigned to the squadron. Equipment includes 18 LANTIRN capable F-16s, worth about $21 million each.
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