426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron
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|426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron|
Patch of the 426th TFTS
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Type||Night Fighter Operations
The 426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force fighter squadron. Its last assignment was with the 405th Tactical Training Wing, being inactivated at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, on 19 November 1990.
During World War II, the 426th Night Fighter Squadron was a night fighter squadron assigned to Tenth Air Force in India, and Fourteenth Air Force in China. It was reactivated in 1970 as a tactical fighter Replacement Training Unit (RTU) At Luke AFB.
World War II
The 426th Night Fighter Squadron was formed at Hammer Field, California, where they trained. The squadron also flew training missions in the Bakersfield area. With their training as a unit completed, the 426th NFS packed their bags and left California's sunny San Joaquin Valley in mid-June 1944.
Their first stop was Newport News, Virginia, where they boarded the USS General A. E. Anderson for India. Arriving on 8 August, they boarded a train that took them to their next stop, Calcutta. Their destination, for a while at least, was Camp Kanchapara, about forty miles from Calcutta. They would have quite a bit of time on their hands, because it wasn't until late September that their P-61 Black Widows arrived by ship in Calcutta.
During this period, some of the ground echelon was sent to Sylhet (now part of Bangladesh), on temporary duty with a combat cargo unit. When P-61s were unloaded on the Calcutta docks, these partially disassembled craft were transported to Barrackpore where they were reassembled by the Air Service Command. Once checked out, the 426th NFS took possession of the planes and flew them to Madhaiganj Air Base. During the next couple of weeks, the planes would be rotated to Ondal, where Air Service Command modified them (one of the modifications being additional radio equipment).
5 October marked the start of the 426th's combat deployment; four aircraft were sent to Chengtu, China, Upon their arrival the mission of the 426th NFS was night defense for the Twentieth Air Force B-29 Superfortresses based in the Chengtu area. By the end of October 1944 the 426th NFS was at full strength at Chengtu, China. On 27 October, a detachment of the 426th initiated operations out of Kunming, China, where Fourteenth Air Force was headquartered.
Bomber escort missions continued until February 1945, when Japanese night fighter flying against the B-29s nearly ceased. More and more, the squadron flew night intruder missions. The 426th started staging out of Ankang, Liangshan, and Sian (now known as Xi'an), China, from which they attacked communication, motor transport and railway lines until the end of the war.
In September 1945, the 426th returned to India, where some of the squadron left from Karachi (now part of Pakistan) and others from Calcutta, India for their return voyage home. The squadron was inactivated on 8 November 1945.
In 1970, the 426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron was assigned to the 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona from 18 January 1970 until being reassigned to the 405th Tactical Training Wing on 1 January 1981. Squadron carried tail code "LA".
The squadron was initially equipped with the F-100D Super Sabres that it inherited from the provisional 4515th Combat Crew Training Squadron. It received McDonnell F-4C Phantom IIs in August 1971, with aircraft carrying a blue fin cap. In 1981 received F-15A/B Eagles, mission was changed to train interceptor pilots for Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC) with the F-15, which was beginning to replace the F-106 Delta Dart in the air defense mission of the United States. F-15s carried red tail stripes by 1983 and added a yellow centered delta shape. Flew some F-15D models in 1989, was inactivated in 1990 when the air defense training on the F-15 was moved the phased transfer to Tyndall AFB, Florida and to First Air Force.
- Constituted as: 426th Night Fighter Squadron on 8 December 1943
- Activated on: 1 January 1944
- Inactivated: 5 November 1945
- Redesignated: 426th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 18 January 1970
- Activated 18 January 1970 assuming the assets of the 4515th Combat Crew Training Squadron (Provisional)
- Inactivated: 29 November 1990
- IV Fighter Command, 1 January 1944
- 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group, 7 February 1944 – 18 June 1944
- Tenth Air Force, 11 June 1944
- Army Air Force, India-Burma Sector, 22 August 1944
- Fourteenth Air Force. November 1944 – 5 November 1945
- Attached to 312th Fighter Wing, February–5 November 1945
- 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, 18 January 1970 – 1 January 1981
- 405th Tactical Training Wing, 1 January 1981 – 19 November 1990
- Hammer AAF, California, 1 January 1944
- Delano Airport, California, 31 March – 15 June 1944
- Dum Dum Airport, India 29 June 1944
- Madhaiganj Airfield, India, 9 August 1944
- Chengtu Airfield, China, 5 October 1944 – 15 March 1945
- Detachment: Kunming Airport, China, 27 October – 25 December 1944
- Detachment: Hsian Airfield, China, 27 November 1944 – 17 October 1945
- Detachment: Guskhara Airfield, India, January–August 1945
- Detachment: Liangshan Airfield, China, April – 19 August 1945
- Detachment: Ankang Airfield, China, April – 21 August 1945
- Unit began relocating to Shwangliu Airfield, China on 17 August 1945
- India (undetermined location), September–October 1945
- Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, 3 November–5, 1945.
- Luke AFB, Arizona, 18 January 1970 – 19 November 1990
- Northrop P-61 Black Widow—The Complete History and Combat Record, Garry R. Pape, John M. Campbell and Donna Campbell, Motorbooks International, 1991.
- Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0-89201-097-5
- Unofficial History of the 426th Night Fighter Squadron, USAFHRA Microfilm 01043983
- Martin, Patrick. Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Publishing, 1994. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
- Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. (Luke AFB), USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
- Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.