414th Combat Training Squadron

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414th Combat Training Squadron
414th Composite Training Squadron - Four aircraft formation
Active 1943-1947; 1969-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Combat Training Unit
Role Red Flag Coordination
Garrison/HQ Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
  • 150px
    World War II EAME Theater
Emblem of the 414th Combat Training Squadron 125px

The 414th Combat Training Squadron (CTS) is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The 414 CTS is a non-flying organization charged with hosting Red Flag - NELLIS (RF-N) exercises, Air Combat Command's premier and largest Large Force Exercise (LFE).

The unit was originally formed as the 414th Night Fighter Squadron in 1943. After training, it was deployed to Twelfth Air Force during the North African Campaign to provide air defense interceptor protection against Luftwaffe night air raids. It later operated in Sardinia, Corsica, Italy, plus a detachment in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. It returned to the United States and was inactivated in 1947.

It was reactivated as a combat training squadron at Nellis AFB in 1969. In 2005, it was designated as a non-flying squadron managing Red Flag exercises.


Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies. It is conducted on the vast bombing and gunnery ranges at Nellis AFB, Nev. It is one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the Air Warfare Center and Nellis.[1]

The 414 CTS coordinates the F-16 Fighting Falcons flown by the 64th Aggressor Squadron and F-15 Eagles flown by the 65th Aggressor Squadron and the ground based air defenses operated by the 507th Air Defense Aggressor Squadron.[1]


World War II

File:414th Night Fighter Squadron Bristol Beaufighter.jpg
414th Night Fighter Squadron Bristol Beaufighter at a base in Tunisia, 1943

Established as a Night Fighter Squadron in January 1943, trained in Florida with a specialized version of the A-20 Havoc modified for night combat.[2]

Deployed to Twelfth Air Force in Algeria, May 1943. Equipped with British Bristol Beaufighter, carried out defensive night patrols over Allied held territory during the North African campaign, also conducted night interdiction raids on German positions in Algeria and Tunisia. After German collapse in North Africa, continued defensive patrols and offensive night attacks on Axis positions on Sardinia, Corsica, and in Italy. Detachment operated with Ninth Air Force in Belgium in late 1944-1945 during the Battle of the Bulge. Re-equipped with modified Lockheed P-38L Lightning (designated P-38M) for night operations fitted with an AN/APS-6 radar in an external radome underneath the nose, relocated radio equipment and anti-flash gun muzzles in early 1945.[2]

Squadron stood down after the end of the European War, May 1945. Designated as not operational, June 1945 – August 1946. Reassigned administratively to Shaw AAF, South Carolina, 15 Aug 1946 and equipped with returned P-61 Black Widow Night Fighters. Never activated, squadron was inactivated 16 Mar 1947, with aircraft being reassigned to the 319th Fighter Squadron (All Weather) and flown to Howard Field, Canal Zone, 1947 for defense of Panama Canal under Air Defense Command.[2]

Cold War

Re-designated as the 414th Fighter Weapons Squadron on 22 August 1969, the squadron reactivated on 15 October 1969 at Nellis AFB, NV, replacing the 4538th Combat Crew Training Squadron. Assigned to the 57th Fighter Weapons (later, 57th Tactical Training; 57th Fighter Weapons) Wing, the 414th was tasked with combat crew training, using the F-4C Phantom II aircraft.[3] Aircraft initially tail coded "WD", wing tail code "WA" was adopted in October 1971. upgrading to the F-4D and lastly F-4E, tail coded "WA" with black/yellow check tail stripe.[4]

The 414 CTS assumed the duties of the 4440th Tactical Fighter Training Group (Red Flag) on 1 March 1976, performing combat fighter weapons training with the F-4 until the end of 1981, when inactivated and squadron was reassigned to the USAF Fighter Weapons School, being re-designated as "F-4 Division".[3]

Modern era

File:414th Combat Training Squadron - General Dynamics F-16C Block 32D Fighting Falcon 86-0281.jpg
Former aircraft parking area for the 414th Combat Training Squadron. F-16C Block 32D 86-0281 prominent in photo

The squadron was redesignated as the 414th Composite Training Squadron, and activated, on November 1, 1991 at Nellis AFB. Assigned to the 57th Wing's Operations Group, and flying the F-16, the squadron was tasked with conducting Red Flag exercises. In 1993, the unit was renamed the 414th Training Squadron, and in 1994, the 414th Combat Training Squadron. Performed aggressor training with F-16C Fighting Falcons until 2005 when assets were reassigned to the 65th Aggressor Squadron, 57th Adversary Tactics Group.[3]

Now a non-flying organization, the 414th, unlike most USAF squadrons, which are typically commanded by lieutenant colonels, the present scope of responsibility of the 414 CTS within the United States Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) is such that it is now commanded by a full colonel.[3]

While the 414 CTS remains technically subordinate to the 57th Operations Group, it is now more analogous to group level-equivalent organization, for administration of the 57 TAG.[3]


File:414th Night Fighter Squadron - emblem.png
414th Night Fighter Squadron emblem
  • Constituted as 414th Night Fighter Squadron on January 21, 1943
Activated on January 26, 1943
Inactivated on September 1, 1947
  • Re-designated: 414th Fighter Weapons Squadron on August 22, 1969
Reactivated on: October 15, 1969
Inactivated on : December 30, 1983
  • Re-designated: 414th Composite Training Squadron and reactivated on November 1, 1991
Re-designated: 414th Training Squadron on January 15, 1993
Re-designated: 414th Combat Training Squadron on July 1, 1994[5]




See also


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

  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Northrop P-61 Black Widow—The Complete History and Combat Record, Garry R. Pape, John M. Campbell and Donna Campbell, Motorbooks International, 1991.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 414th combat Training Squadron at Globalsecurity.org
  4. Martin, Patrick. Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History, 1994. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 AFHRA 414th Combat Training Squadron Lineage and History

External links