358th Fighter Squadron
|358th Fighter Squadron|
358th Fighter Squadron Patch
|Active||12 November 1942 – 20 November 1946
21 February 1951 – 15 January 1972
1 June 1972 – present
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Combat Command
12th Air Force
355th Fighter Wing
355th Operations Group
|Garrison/HQ||Davis-Monthan Air Force Base|
The 358th Fighter Squadron was inactivated in February of 2014. Some of the squadron memorabilia was auctioned.
The 358th conducted all formal course directed aircraft transition, day and night weapons and tactics employment, day and night air refueling, and dissimilar air combat maneuvers. The squadron trained pilots to plan, coordinate, execute, and control day and night close air support, air interdiction and battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance.
Activated in late 1942 as a P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter Squadron; trained under First Air Force initially in Florida, them being reassigned for second and third stage training in Virginia and lastly Pennsylvania. While in training served in an air defense role over large cities and military installations in the eastern United States.
Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) in July 1943, being assigned to VIII Fighter Command in England. The squadron's primary mission was to escort B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers to and on the return flights over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. Engaged in numerous air battles on an almost daily basis with Luftwaffe day interceptor aircraft escorting the heavy bombers. Upgraded to long-range P-51D Mustangs in mid-1944, with the USAAF gaining air superiority with the P-51 and by 1945, almost complete air supremacy over the skies of Nazi Germany. In addition, the squadron conducted fighter sweeps over enemy airfields, destroying Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground as well as attacking enemy targets of opportunity over Germany and Occupied Europe. Remained in combat until the German Capitulation in May 1945, moving from England to various Occupation airfields in Germany as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe army of occupation until April 1946 when the squadron returned to the United States and demobilized and inactivated.
Reactivated in 1951 as the 56th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron in Japan during the Korean War. Replaced the 512th Reconnaissance Squadron, assuming its personnel and aircraft. Flew WB-29 Superfortress weather reconnaissance aircraft over North Korea in highly hazardous, almost daily strategic weather reconnaissance missions over the combat zone. Through the end of the conflict, the squadron conducted shipping surveillance and flew two reconnaissance tracks to observe and report weather conditions in the area east of the Asian land mass, between Formosa and USSR's Kamchatka Peninsula. Remained in Japan after the 1953 armistice and continued weather flights, which were sometimes ruses for strategic reconnaissance missions along the Northeast Asia coastline of the Soviet Union and along the border of Communist China. Upgraded to WB-50 Superfortress in 1956, continued operations from Japan, and later Guam with the RB-50s until 1962.
Beginning in 1963 was re-equipped with new high-altitude reconnaissance RB-57F Canberra aircraft modified for high altitude, long range intelligence gathering, assigned to the meteorological role. Part of their duties involved high-altitude atmospheric sampling and radiation detection work in support of nuclear test monitoring. Over the next decade the RB-57Fs were flown on a worldwide basis at very high altitudes at high speeds. Stress cracks began appearing in the wing spars and ribs of the RB-57Fs after a few years of service. Some were sent to General Dynamics for repairs. By 1971 the aircraft were basically worn out and they were flown to Davis-Monthan for storage. Squadron was then inactivated in early 1972.
Returned to the United States and was re-united with its World War II parent organization, and designation; its mission being a Tactical Air Command tactical fighter squadron. Re-equipped with new A-7D Corsair II ground attack aircraft. After training and becoming operationally ready, was deployed to Thailand after the end of United States combat in Indochina. Mission was the defense of Thai airspace, and to intervene in Indochina if the terms of the 1973 Paris Peace Treaty were broken. Remained in Thailand until early 1974 when returned to the United States. Engaged in TAC training, exercises and deployments, being upgraded to the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in 1979. Has flown the A-10 for the past 30 years as part of Tactical Air Command and later Air Combat Command, engaging in combat with the aircraft as part of the Global War on Terrorism since 2001.
The 358th FS was inactivated in a ceremony held at Davis-Monthan AFB on Friday, 21 February 2014 as part of the USAF's Total Force Initiative (TFI) policy. The squadron facilities and aircraft will be assumed by the Air Force Reserve's 47th Fighter Squadron, which had inactivated in late 2013 at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and relocated to Davis-Monthan in order to be reactivated as an AFRC A-10 Formal Training Unit (FTU) once again, beginning in March 2014.
- Constituted 358th Fighter Squadron, and activated, on 12 November 1942
- Redesignated: 358th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 20 August 1943
- Redesignated: 56th Reconnaissance Squadron, Weather Scouting, on 3 December 1945
- Inactivated on 20 November 1946
- Redesignated 56th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium, Weather, on 22 January 1951
- Activated on 21 February 1951
- Redesignated 56th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on 15 February 1954
- Inactivated on 15 January 1972
- Redesignated 358th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 18 May 1972
- Activated on 1 June 1972
- Redesignated: 358th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 1 January 1976
- Redesignated: 358th Fighter Squadron on 1 November 1991.
- 355th Fighter Group, 12 November 1942 – 20 November 1946
- Attached to: Orlando Fighter Wing, 12 November 1942 – 17 February 1943
- Attached to: Norfolk Fighter Wing, 17 Feb – 4 March 1943
- Attached to: Philadelphia Fighter Wing, 4 Mar – 16 June 1943
- 2143d Air Weather Wing, 21 February 1951
- 1st Weather Wing, 8 February 1954
- 9th Weather (later, 9th Weather Reconnaissance) Group, 1 February 1960
- 9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing, 1 July 1965 – 15 January 1972
- 355th Tactical Fighter (later, 355th Tactical Training; 355th Fighter) Wing, 1 June 1972
- Attached to 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (Deployed), c. 29 December 1973-c. 14 May 1974
- 355th Operations Group, 1 May 1992 – present
- P-47 Thunderbolt (1943–1944)
- P-51 Mustang (1944–1945)
- WB-29 Superfortress (1951–1957)
- WB-50 Superfortress (1956–1965)
- RB-57F Canberra (1962–1964, 1966–1972)
- C-130 Hercules (1962–1964)
- WB-47 Stratojet (1963–1966)
- WC-135 Constant Phoenix (1964–1972)
- A-7 Corsair II (1972–1979)
- A-10 Thunderbolt II (1979 – present)