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69 Squadron - The Hammers

The 69 squadron, known as The Hammers was formed in 1948 and saw its first action on July 15, 1948 when Israeli fighters bombed targets in Cairo, Egypt. For its first twenty years of operation, the 69 squadron was composed of former US Air Force B-17 aircraft, beginning with three B-17s in 1948 and receiving two additional B-17s in 1956.

The B-17 bombers from the 69 squadron were included in squadron 103 in 1954 and were placed in storage for several months in 1956. In October 1956, squadron 69 was reactivated for the Sinai Campaign, but was disbanded at the end of that conflict.

Thirteen years later in 1969, the 69 squadron was reformed as a second F-4E Phantom group of fighters. The 1970 War of Attrition cost squadron 69 and squadron 201 the loss of nine aircraft, but Israel received eight addition F-4E Phantoms in July 1970.

In 1971, the Israeli Air Force retasked several F-4E fighters into reconnaissance roles, changing their designation to RF-4E. However, after several years of service the reconnaissance planes returned to their combat roles. During the Yom Kippur war of 1973, Israel lost a number of F-4E Phantoms while conducting attacks against Egyptian SAM sites.

In the late 1990s, the 69 squadron was restructured once again to include Israel's new F-15Is, removing the F-4E Phantoms from the squadron. As of August 2006, it was unclear whether the 69 squadron was based at Hatzerim or at Tel Nof.

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