319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron

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319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron
319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron F-106 58-0788 at Malmstrom AFB in[1]
Active 1942–1945; 1947-1969; 1971-1972; 1975-1977
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Fighter Interceptor Training
Motto We Get Ours at Night
  • 150px
    World War II EAME Theatre
  • Korean Service Medal - Streamer.png
    Korean War
  • Streamer PUC Army.PNG
    Distinguished Unit Citation (2x)
  • Streamer KPUC.PNG
    Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Emblem of the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron emblem (approved 28 May 1957)[2] 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron - Emblem.jpg

The 319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Aerospace Defense Command's Interceptor Weapons School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, where it was inactivated on 30 November 1977.


World War II

It was established in mid-1942 as a fighter squadron, and trained under I Fighter Command primarily in the northeast with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts. It was deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in Algeria, and took part in the North African Campaign supporting the United States Fifth Army's advance with tactical air support. It attacked enemy armored columns, troop concentrations, road transport, bridges and other targets of opportunity. It also flew combat missions over Sicily from airfields in Tunisia, supporting the Allied ground forces in the liberation of the island. The squadron was moved to Italy in late 1943 and continued tactical operations as part of Twelfth Air Force. It supported the Fifth Army as it advanced into central and northern Italy during the Italian Campaign. It was re-equipped with North American P-51D Mustangs in 1944. It continued combat operations until the German capitulation, and demobilized in northern Italy during the summer of 1945. It was inactivated in October.

Air Defense Operations

Panama and early West Coast

File:319th FAWS North American F-82F Twin Mustang 46-485.jpg
319th Fighter Squadron (All Weather) North American F-82F Twin Mustang 46-485 at Moses Lake AFB, Washington, October 1949

It was reactivated in 1947 at Rio Hato Air Base, Panama as part of the air defense forces of the Panama Canal. It was equipped with Northrop P-61 Black Widows at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, then deployed to Panama in September. It later moved to France Field in the Canal Zone and became part of Caribbean Air Command. It was equipped from inactivating 414th and 415th Night Fighter Squadrons. Its war-weary Black Widows were retired in 1948 and replaced with very long range North American F-82 Twin Mustangs. However this type of air defense was deemed unnecessary in the Canal Zone and the squadron was returned to the United States and assigned to McChord Air Force Base, Washington in 1949, for air defense of the Pacific Northwest. It was moved to Moses Lake Air Force Base in September to provide air defense over the Hanford Reservation in Eastern Washington. It was re-equipped with the new Lockheed F-94 Starfire.

Korean War

File:F-94B 319th FIS over Korea c1952.jpg
A 319th FIS F-94B over Korea, 1952

As a result of the Korean War, in December 1951 Fifth Air Force determined a need for additional nighttime all-weather air interceptors in the Seoul area. In response, Air Defense Command provided the 319th FIS, which was reassigned from Moses Lake AFB, Washington, to Suwon Air Base, South Korea in February and early March 1952. Until November 1952, Fifth Air Force restricted the use of the Starfires to local air defense in order to prevent the possible compromise of its airborne intercept radar equipment in a loss over enemy-held territory. From November until the Armistice Agreement of 1953, the 319th used F-94s to maintain fighter screens between the Yalu and Chongchon Rivers in North Korea, helping to protect Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers from enemy interceptors.

Return to the United States

The squadron returned to the United States in 1954 to Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana and in March 1956 received F-94Cs. The squadron transitioned into F-89J Scorpions in the fall of 1957 and in February 1960 into Convair F-106 Delta Darts. On 22 October 1962, before President John F. Kennedy told Americans that missiles were in place in Cuba, the squadron dispersed one third of its force, equipped with nuclear tipped missiles to Hulman Field at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis.[3][4] These planes returned to Bunker Hill after the crisis. However, ADC continued to maintain deployed fighters from other squadrons on alert in Florida.[5]

File:319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron-F-104A-56-0808.jpg
Lockheed F-104A-20-LO Starfighter 56-0808, Patrick AFB, Florida 15 May 1965

ADC decided to make its deployed fighter unit at Homestead Air Force Base permanent and equip it with Lockheed F-104A Starfighters because of the F-104's superior fighter on fighter performance.[6] ADC had released all its F-104s to the Air National Guard in 1960 because its fire control system was not sophisticated enough to make it an all weather interceptor.[7] However, the lack of all weather capability was not a factor in south Florida because Cuba lacked a bomber force. The Air Force withdrew F-104s from the 159th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at McEntire Air National Guard Base to equip the Homestead squadron.[6]

In March 1963 the 319th was moved on paper to Homestead, and on 15 April, assumed an alert posture with F-104As.[8] These planes replaced a detachment of F-102s from the 325th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron that had been at Homestead since the Cuban missile crisis.[9] In addition, the squadron received the two-seat, dual-control, combat trainer F-104B. The performance of the F-104B was almost identical to that of the F-104A, but the lower internal fuel capacity reduced its effective range considerably. The F-104A was armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles only. In 1964, to improve its capability against the expected threat, the 319th's F-104s began to be equipped with M-61 Vulcan cannons. During the period when the squadron's planes were being modified, the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed F-104Cs, which were already armed with the M-61, to augment the alert force at Homestead.[10]

These ADC F-104As remained in service for several years. From late 1967, 26 aircraft of the 319th FIS were retrofitted with the more powerful J79-GE-19, rated at 17,900 lb. static thrust with afterburner, which was the same type of engine fitted to the F-104S version developed for Italy. The last active duty USAF squadron to operate the F-104A, the 319th was inactivated in December 1969.

In July 1971 the squadron was reactivated at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, replacing the 71st FIS with F-106s. Shortly thereafter on 30 April 1972, the squadron was inactivated.

Training with the Air Defense Weapons Center

The unit designation was reactivated as 319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida in June 1975. More than two years later the unit was again inactivated on 1 November 1977.


  • Constituted as the 319th Fighter Squadron on 24 June 1942
  • Activated on 3 August 1942
  • Inactivated on 28 October 1945
  • Activated on 1 September 1947
Redesignated 319th Fighter Squadron (All Weather) on 17 June 1948
Redesignated 319th Fighter-All Weather Squadron on 20 January 1950
Redesignated 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 1 May 1951
  • Inactivated on 1 December 1969
  • Activated on 1 July 1971
  • Inactivated on 30 April 1972
Redesignated 319th Fighter Interceptor Training Squadron on 6 June 1975
  • Activated on 30 June 1975
  • Inactivated on 30 November 1977




See also



  1. The plane carries the tail markings of the 71st FIS, from which it was transferred in July 1971 with the 319th FIS squadron emblem overlaid on top,
  2. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  3. McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000), pp. 10-12
  4. NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO , 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996). p. 16
  5. McMullen p. 12
  6. 6.0 6.1 McMullen, p. 17
  7. McMullen, p. 6
  8. McMullen, p. 18
  9. NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, p. 32
  10. McMullen, p. 19


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Cornett, Lloyd H.; Johnson, Mildred W. (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980 (PDF). Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Futrell, Robert F. (1983). The United States Air Forces in Korea 1950-1953. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-71-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000)
  • Pape, Garry R.; Campbell, John M.; Campbell, Donna (1991). Northrop P-61 Black Widow: The Complete History and Combat Record. Minneapolis, MN: Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-0-879385-09-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996)
  • "ADCOM's Fighter Interceptor Squadrons". The Interceptor (January 1979) Aerospace Defense Command, (Volume 21, Number 1)

External links

  • [1] Air Force Historical Research Agency