5th Flying Training Squadron [5th FTS]
The 5th Flying Training Squadron was established on 1 April 1997.
When activated from the 5th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) to the 5th Fighter Squadron on 15 January 1941, the squadron was based at Selfridge Field, NY. The Squadron Commander, 1Lt Alan Bennett, prepared and trained the squadron in P-39 and P-40 aircraft maneuvers in preparation for combat operations in North Africa. As part of the Twelfth Air Force and part of Fifteenth Air Force, the squadron served in combat in the Mediterranean Theater until the end of the war. Flew escort, patrol, strafing, and reconnaissance missions to help defeat Axis forces in Tunisia. The 5th took part in the conquest of Sicily. They attacked railroads, highways, bridges, coastal shipping and other targets to support allied operations throughout the theater of operations.
Converted to P-51s during April 1944 and afterwards engaged primarily in escorting bombers that attacked objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania and Yugoslavia.
During a combat mission on 9 June 1944, the unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation for protecting bombers that struck aircraft factories, communication centers, and supply lines in Germany. In addition to escorting bombers of Fifteenth Air Force, the squadron made strafing attacks on important targets in Italy, France, central Europe, and the Balkans. The squadron received a second Distinguished Unit Citation for a strafing raid in which the group destroyed a great number of fighter and transport planes on a runway in Rumania on 31 August 1944. Returned to the U.S. in August 1945 and inactivated on 7 November 1945.
The unit was reactivated in Germany on 9 November 1946 and assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe and organized as an all-weather fighter squadron. The unit transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the U.S. in June 1947 and provided air defense of the eastern United States from 1947 to 1959. It then moved to Minot AFB, ND, on 1 February 1960 and continued to provide air defense, trained, and participated in air defense exercised until the squadron deactivated on 1 July 1988.
It was re-designated to the 5th Flying Training Squadron, and activated at Vance AFB, OK, on 16 February 1990. It was deactivated 15 December 1991 and reactivated as the 5th Flying Training Flight on 1 April 1997. The unit was officially designated an Air Force Reserve Command associate unit at Vance on that same date. Less than one month later, the 5th conducted its first T-38 student-training sorties. This was the first of its type mission conducted in the history of the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve.
One year later the 5th conducted the first T-1 student sortie in command history. On April 1, 1998, the 5th Flying Training Flight was re-designated a squadron. The unit flies Air Force T-38A "Talon", T-37 "Tweet", and T-1 "Jayhawk" aircraft, helping the 71st Flying Training Wing in its mission to train pilots. The 5th Flying Training Squadron has three full-time and one part-time enlisted with 90 part-time and 18 full-time officers participating as AETC Instructor Pilots.
The squadron reports directly to the 340th Flying Training Group (AFRC) and supports Air Education and Training Command's Undergraduate Pilot Training requirements. The unit is the first Reserve Associate program in the history of Air Education and Training Command.
The mission of the 5th Flying Training Squadron is to train and provide a reserve of experienced instructor pilots to augment the Air Education and Training Command's (AETC) instructor cadre in the event of wartime mobilization. During wartime, or in the event of hostilities, the unit is mobilized to offset the anticipated loss of experienced active duty pilot inputs into AETC's Pilot Instructor Training pipeline.
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