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The 303rd Fighter Squadron is assigned to the 442d Operations Group at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and flies the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting close air support missions.

303d Fighter Squadron
Air Force Reserve Command.png
303d Fighter Squadron - A-10 Thunderbolts.jpg
303d Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolts
Active1943–1946; 1949–1951; 1952–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleFighter
Part ofAir Force Reserve Command
Garrison/HQWhiteman Air Force Base
EngagementsMediterranean Theater of Operations
European Theater of Operations[1]
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm[1]
Insignia
303d Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 13 April 1995)[1]303d Fighter Squadron.png

The squadron was first activated during World War II. After training in the United States, it deployed to the European Theater of Operations, whe it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions on D-Day. After V-E Day, the squadron remained in Germany until the fall of 1946 as part of the occupation forces.

The squadron was reactivated in the reserve in 1949. It was mobilized for the Korean War, but was inactivated and its personnel used as fillers for other units. When the reserve began flying operations again in 1952, it was once again activated. The 303d was mobilized again in during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. It continued the airlift mission until 1984, when it converted to operating fighter aircraft.

Contents

HistoryEdit

World War IIEdit

 
Douglas C-47A-15-DK Skytrain Serial 42-92879 of the 303d TCS/442nd TCG at Fullbeck in Normandy invasion markings.

The squadron was constituted on 28 May 1943 and activated on 1 September, as the 303d Troop Carrier Squadron, one of four squadrons assigned to the 442d Troop Carrier Group at Sedalia Army Air Field, now Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 303d, with its parent unit, was created to provide airlift support of Allied forces in Europe during World War II using cargo aircraft and gliders. Following their stateside training, the squadron arrived at RAF Fulbeck, England on, 23 March 1944, where they made final preparations for the pending invasion of Europe.[2]

On D-Day, 6 June 1944, the 303d participated in the airborne assault of the 82nd Airborne Division four hours in advance of the first seaborne landings at the Normandy beaches. The squadron went on to participate in other major operations in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany throughout the remainder of the war in Europe.[2]

Following V-E Day on 8 May 1945, the squadron remained in Europe as part of the occupation forces until it was inactivated in 1946.

Reserves and mobilization for the Korean WarEdit

In 1949 the 303d was reactivated at Fairfax Field, Kansas City, Kansas, with its parent unit, the 442nd Troop Carrier Wing, and assigned to the Air Force reserve.[2]

Return to reserve dutyEdit

Following another active duty tour during the Korean War, the 442nd, with the 303d, eventually relocated to Grandview Air Force Base, Kansas City, Missouri. The airport was renamed Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in 1957 for Lieutenant John Francisco Richards II and Lieutenant Colonel Arthur William Gebaur Jr., two Kansas City fliers who died in military combat.[2]

The squadron was recalled to active duty for the Berlin Crisis in 1961 and, from 1966 through 1971, provided support for ongoing activities in Southeast Asia.[2]

The mission of the 303d changed to fighter aircraft in 1982 when the unit received the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and the unit was redesignated the 303d Fighter Squadron.[2]

In 1991 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended the closure and inactivation of Richards-Gebaur. It was later announced that the 442d, with the 303d, would relocate to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri and, on schedule, in June 1994 the unit completed its move to Whiteman.[2]

After its return to its original home at Whiteman, the squadron deployed to Italy to support the No-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina four times for Operations Deny Flight and Decisive Edge. In 1998, the squadron deployed to the Persian Gulf area for 45 days to support Operation Southern Watch, the United Nations' effort to deny Iraqi military access to southern Iraq.[2]

In 2000, the squadron's responsibility shifted from Operation Southern Watch to flying Combat Search and Rescue missions for Operation Northern Watch from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.[2]

303d operations and maintenance members, along with two A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft deployed to Afghanistan from April to July 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In March 2003, squadron members and aircraft were deployed in of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron made Air Force history when it became the first Air Force fighter squadron to forward deploy into Iraq, soon after arriving in the area of responsibility, and based at Tallil Air Base. The squadron made Air Force history again when it became the first Air Force fighter squadron to forward deploy a second time into Iraq, this time to base at Kirkuk Air Base. The 303d returned home from Iraq in November 2003 following an eight-month deployment with no aircraft damage and no combat injuries.[2]

In 2006 the 303d won the A-10 gunnery competition Hawgsmoke.

Fox News reported that on January 19, 2018, 12 A-10s from the Squadron were deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to provide close-air support, marking the first time in more than three years A-10s had been deployed to Afghanistan.[3]

LineageEdit

  • Constituted as the 303d Troop Carrier Squadron on 25 May 1943
Activated on 1 September 1943
Inactivated on 30 September 1946
  • Redesignated 303d Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium' on 10 May 1949
Activated in the reserve on 27 June 1949
Ordered to active service on 10 March 1951
Inactivated on 12 March 1951
  • Activated in the reserve on 15 June 1952
Redesignated 303d Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy on 8 May 1961
Ordered to active service on 1 October 1961
Relieved from active duty on 27 August 1962
Redesignated 303d Air Transport Squadron, Heavy on 1 December 1965
Redesignated 303d Military Airlift Squadron on 1 January 1966
Redesignated 303d Tactical Airlift Squadron on 27 June 1971
Redesignated 303d Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1982
Redesignated 303d Fighter Squadron on 1 February 1992[1]

AssignmentsEdit

  • 442d Troop Carrier Group, 1 September 1943 – 30 September 1946
  • 442d Troop Carrier Group, 27 June 1949 – 12 March 1951
  • 442d Troop Carrier Group, 15 June 1952
  • 442d Troop Carrier Wing, 14 April 1959
  • 935th Tactical Airlift Group (later 935th Air Transport Group, 935th Military Airlift Group, 935th Tactical Airlift Group), 17 January 1963
  • 442d Tactical Airlift Wing, 1 November 1974
  • 442d Tactical Fighter Group, 1 October 1982
  • 442d Tactical Fighter Wing (later 442d Fighter Wing), 1 February 1984
  • 442d Operations Group, 1 August 1992 – present[1]

StationsEdit

AircraftEdit

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f Endicott, Judy G. (7 December 2007). "Factsheet 303 Fighter Squadron (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "442nd Fighter Wing Fact Sheet: 303rd Fighter Squadron History". 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs. April 2004. Archived from the original on 3 January 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Air Force deploys A-10s to Afghanistan to ramp up Taliban fight". Fox News. 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b Station number in Anderson.
  5. ^ a b c d Station number in Johnson.
  6. ^ Stations in Endicott, Factsheet 303 Fighter Squadron except as noted.

BibliographyEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.