944th Fighter Wing [944th FW]
The 944th Fighter Wing was originally activated at Luke AFB on July 1, 1987 as the 944th Tactical Fighter Group (Air Force Reserve). The unit received new F-16C's (Block 32 models) direct from General Dynamics, Ft. Worth, TX.
In July 1988, the 944th was selected by Tactical Air Command to be the test unit in the Air Force Reserve to implement Combat Oriented Supply Organization (COSO).
In February 1989, the 944th deployed on its first overseas deployment to Operation Cope North, Japan. While there, the unit accomplished a first by deploying to Tsuiki AF, Japan, thus becoming the first U.S. Air Force unit to deploy and work with the Japanese self-defense forces there since WW-II.
In 1989, after being in existence for less than two years, the 944th was selected to represent the Air Force Reserve at Gunsmoke '89, the air-to-ground Air Force Fighter competition at Nellis AFB, NV. The unit amassed a total of 8901 out of a possible 9000 points.
From 24 April-2 May 1990, the 944th underwent its first Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). The unit's overall performance was superior.
In September 1990, over 353 personnel from the 944th and 41st Aeromedical Patient Staging Squadron (APSS) were called to active duty in support of Operational Desert Shield/Storm. Personnel from the 944th Medical Squadron, 944th Combat Support Squadron/Transportation Section, and Firefighters from the 944th Civil Engineering Squadron were called to active duty.
In October 1991, the 944th was chosen for the second time to represent the Air Force Reserve at the USAF Worldwide Gunnery Meet, Gunsmoke '91. The unit took overall second place out of 14 worldwide Air Force Fighter units.
In May 1992, the 944th received a Unit Effectiveness Inspection (UEI).
In November 1992, the 944th was the first Air Force Reserve unit to fly operational missions with the coalition task force over Northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort II. The unit deployed six F-16C fighter aircraft, maintenance and support personnel, to a base of operations at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Over the course of the 7-week deployment period (27 Nov 92 to 19 Jan 93), the 944th deployed approximately 325 personnel. The unit flew, 1090 hours or 308 sorties with only 1 sorties lost due to maintenance. 944th F-16's were the first reserve fighter aircraft to ever have flown with the operational AIM-120A advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air (radar guided) Missile (AMRAAM). While in Turkey the reserve unit successfully integrated with active Air Force and coalition forces flying regular missions with British Jaguar, French F-1 Mirage, Turkish F-4, and U.S. Air Force fighter, tanks and AWAC aircraft.
From 1 January-5 February 1994, the 944th Fighter Group deployed over 400 personnel and six F-16C aircraft on its second major operational deployment in less than a year with a coalition task force. The deployment was in support of "Operation Deny Flight" (a UN resolution designed to ban military flights in airspace over Bosnia-Herzegovina). Utilizing 12 F-16C aircraft (6 from Carswell AFB, and 6 from the 944th), 944th pilots flew 371 sorties, 1043.6 hours, with only eight cancellations due to weather or operations.
The 944th Fighter Group became the 944th Fighter Wing effective 1 October 1994.
In November 1994, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed to Patriot Mirage at Nellis AFB, NV.
From 24 April-3 May 1995 the 944th Fighter Wing under went its second ORI, receiving several superior ratings with an overall exceptional performance.
From 13-27 August 1995, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed with six aircraft to Patriot Angler in Elmendorf, AK.
From 2 January-4 February 1996, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed over 380 personnel and six F-16c aircraft on its third real world contingency deployment in four years with a United Nations Protection Force. The deployment was in support of Operation "Decisive Edge" (a UN resolution designed to ban military flights in airspace over Bosnia-Herzegovina). Utilizing 12 F-16C aircraft (6 from Carswell and 6 from the 944th), the 944th Fighter Wing pilots flew 643 hours or 253 sorties.
From 23 May-23 June 1996, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed 400 personnel and eight F-16C aircraft to Karup Denmark for participation in Exercise Coronet Harbor, a NATO sponsored exercise involving units from stateside bases, plus a number of countries within the NATO alliance such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. The significance of the exercise was the opportunity to train in virtually every possible mission the F-16 can perform. This was also the first US Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard unit to duel with the MiG 29.
From 29 June-27 July 1996, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed 150 personnel and eight F-16C aircraft to Elmendorf AFB, AK in support of Patriot Angler/Cope Thunder.
From 21-26 October 1996, the 944th Fighter Wing participated in "William Tell", the U.S. Air Force's premier air-to-air weapons competition held bi-annually at Tyndall Air Force Base, FL.
From 5-11 December 1996, the unit under went its first Quality Air Force Assessment (QAFA). The overall performance for the wing was exceptional.
From 8-12 January 1997, the 944th Fighter Wing Operations Group completed the 12th Air Force Standardization Evaluation with a near-perfect performance. They did not receive any discrepancies on flight or emergency evaluations.
From 1-28 June 1997, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed eight aircraft and over 300 reservist to Patriot Pacific at Hickam AFB, HI. While there, the wing had the opportunity to exercise with the Navy, Army, and Hawaii Air National Guard.
From 3 May-8 June 1998, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed over 200 personnel and six F-16C aircraft on its fourth major operational deployment in five years in support of Operation Northern Watch at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Utilizing 12 F-16C aircraft (6 from Homestead ARB, and 6 from the 944th), 944th pilots flew 107 sorties, for a total of 364.1 hours.
From 8-22 August 1998, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed 320 personnel and six F-16C aircraft to Elmendorf AFB, AK, in support of Patriot Angler II.
From 5 May-4 June 1999, the 944th Fighter Wing return to Incirlik Air Base Turkey for the fifth time in six years in support of Operation Northern Watch.
From 7-21 August 1999, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed 424 personnel and 10 F-16C aircraft to Elmendorf AFB, AK, in support of Patriot Angler III.
From 2-16 October 1999, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed 91 personnel and eight F-16C aircraft to Key West, NAS Florida, in support of Patriot Snapper I.
On 3 March 2000, the 301st FS was activated as a Reserve associate unit to Luke's 56th FW, and Air Education and Training Command unit. Reserve instructor pilots from the re-activated 301st FS fly 56th FW F-16's to train active-duty student pilots for their multi-role mission. The Reserve instructor pilot associate program is a joint Air Force Reserve Command and AETC initiative, designed to help with the Air Force's current active-duty pilot retention problem. It gives the total force the option of capturing experienced fighter pilots who leave active duty but who still want to be a part of the Air Force Reserve. The 944th FW will have administrative control of its pilots through the 301st FS commander and the 10th Air Force commander, while operational control will reside with the active duty 56th FW.
From 6-20 May 2000, the 944th Fighter Wing deployed 130 personnel and eight Fth16C aircraft to Key West, NAS Florida in support of Patriot Snapper II.
From 5-31 August 2000, the 944th Fighter Wing return to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, for the sixth time in seven years in support of Operation Northern Watch. The month-long mission was threefold: to show a strong military presence, monitor Iraqi military movements and hardware and prevent Iraqi military flights into an area north of the 36th parallel. During the deployment, the 302nd Fighter Squadron dropped live munitions in combat for the first time since 1945. On several occasions Iraq antiaircraft artillery gunners or surface-to-air missile batteries engaged the 302nd FS pilots. They retaliated with GBU-12s, a 500-pound laser guided bomb.
Elements of the 944th Fighter Wing deployed in October 2001 to the Middle East as part of a regularly scheduled aerospace expeditionary force rotation to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. While there, the reservists also began flying combat missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan. Throughout the 90-day deployment, the reservists flew between nine and 15 hours a day. The mission of the 944th FW is to train f-16 pilots and provide combat ready warriors for the Expeditionary Air Force.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to distribute the 944th Fighter Wing's F-16s to the 144th Fighter Wing at Fresno (11 aircraft) as part of a larger realignment of Luke AFB and Fort Smith MAP, AGS, AR.
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