559th Flying Training Squadron [559th FTS]

The mission of the 559th Flying Training Squadron is to train top quality T-37 instructor pilots for the United States and allied air forces, and to provide support for command taskings.

The 559th FTS traces its roots to the early years of World War II. The 81st Bombardment Squadron was activated on 15 January 1941. One year later, the Department of the Army approved the Billy Goat patch. The 81 BS saw extensive service in World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters of operation. The squadron began flying the B-25 Mitchell bomber but later transitioned to the A-26 Marauder by the end of the war.

Following distinguished service during the war, the 81st Bombardment Squadron was deactivated on 22 January 1946.

On 27 October 1949, it was reactivated as the 559th Fighter Escort Squadron, 12th Fighter Escort Group, and adopted the Billy Goat patch as its own. The 559th FES played a large role in the air war over Korea flying the F-84 Thunderjet. On 20 January 1953, the squadron was redesignated the 559th Strategic Fighter Squadron and on 2 July 1957, to the 559th Fighter Day Squadron.

By early 1958 and with the drawdown of the military, the 559th FDS was eventually deactivated on 8 January 1958.

With the beginning of the Vietnam conflict, the squadron was reactivated on 17 April 1962 as the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron and the Billy Goat patch was reborn. The 559th TFS was based at Cam Ranh AFB, South Vietnam for the duration of the war and flew the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II until 1972.

On 30 April 1972, the 559 TFS was redesignated the 559th Flying Training Squadron and assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph AFB, Texas. The 559th FTS began flying (and continues to fly) the Cessna T-37B "Tweet". The squadron's primary mission is to train T-37 instructor pilots for AETC instructor duties at Columbus AFB MS, Laughlin AFB TX, and Vance AFB OK.

In Spring 2000, the 559th FTS took delivery of its first T-6A Texan II aircraft--the replacement trainer for the T-37B. The first T-6A arrived on Randolph in July 1999. Further aircraft will continue to arrive on station through 2003.

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