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8th Flying Training Squadron [8th FTS]

The mission of the 8th Flying Training Squadron is to provide primary flying training in the T-37 aircraft to produce the highest quality military pilots, officers, and leaders.

The squadron conducts Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (JSUPT). JSUPT is a USAF training program which takes young Air Force, Navy, and Marine officers through a rigorous flight training program to make them rated military aviators to fly their respective service's fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. While both the Air Force and the naval services conduct their own separate flying training programs, JSUPT is part of a joint-service effort to train pilots together by utilizing trainer aircraft, facilities, installations, and instructors from both services.

The 8th Flying Training Squadron was originally constituted as the 8th Photographic Squadron on 19 January 1942. It activated on 1 February 1942 at March Field, CA, under IV Air Support Command. Reassigned to Fifth Air Force, on 29 March 1942 (though attached to Allied Air Forces, April-September 1942), the squadron was redesignated as the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 9 June 1942.

The 425th was then reassigned to V Bomber Command, on 5 September 1942, and redesignated as the 8th Photographic Squadron (Light) on 6 February 1943. On 13 November 1943, the 8th was redesignated as the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, coinciding with the unit's reassignment to the 6th Photographic (later, 6th Reconnaissance) Group (though it was attached to V Bomber Command after c. 10 Dec 1945). During that period, the 8th saw Combat in the Southwest Pacific and Western Pacific, from 16 April 1942-25 August 1945, operating the P-38/F-4 (1942-1944), P-38/F-5 (1943-1946) and B-17 (1942-1943) and the B-26 (1943-1944) and flying from bases in Australia, New Guinea, Luzon, Leyte and Japan.

Having relocated to Irumagawa, Japan, on 25 January 1946, the squadron was reassigned to the V Bomber Command, on 27 April 1946; to the 314th Composite Wing, on 31 May 1946; and to the 71st Reconnaissance (later, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance) Group, on 28 February 1947 (attached to the 314th Composite Wing to November 1947). It was redesignated as the 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic, on 10 August 1948.

The 8th moved to Yokota AB, Japan, on 25 March 1949 (though a detachment operated from Itazuke AB, Japan, from 29 June 1950) and was reassigned to Fifth Air Force on 1 April 1949. The squadron changed designation to the 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-Jet, on 1 August 1949. It moved to Itazuke AB, Japan, on 9 July 1950 and was reassigned to the 543rd Tactical Support Group, on 26 September 1950. It relocated to Taegu AB, South Korea on 2 October 1950, and to Komaki AB, Japan ( though it operated from Taegu AB, South Korea) on 26 January 1951. It inactivated there on 25 February 1951. Aircraft operated by the squadron were the F-6 (1946); P-51 and P-61 (1946); F-15 (later, RF-61) (1947-1949); and the RF-80 (1949-1951).

Redesignated as the 8th Flying Training Squadron on 14 April 1972, the 8th FTS reactivated on 1 November 1972 at Vance AFB, OK, as a unit of the 71st Flying Training Wing. Flying the T-37, the squadron was tasked with conducting undergraduate pilot training for USAF, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and selected foreign allies.

The 8th FTS was reassigned to the 71st Operations Group on 15 December 1991.



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