Cold War Samurai – The 14th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1987 – 1991

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14TFS Samurai Heritage

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The lineage of the 14TFS goes back to World War II, when it started in 1942 as a Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron in the Lockheed F-4 Photo Lightning.

Emb;em of the 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, adapted by its successor, the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Courtesy Togetherweserved.com)

Emblem of the 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, Bugs Bunny flying a stylized, lightning bolt powered, F-4 Photo Lightning.  It was adopted by its successor, the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Courtesy Togetherweserved.com)

The unit moved overseas in 1943 to fly combat photo recon missions with the Lockheed F-5 Photo Lightning, as well as the Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. XI, in the European Theater of Operations as part of Eighth Air Force. Late in the war, the squadron also flew the North American P-51D Mustang as a recon escort against the Me-262 jet fighter threat.

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. XI as flown by the 14PRS from England in World War II. (Courtesy Deviantart.net)

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk. XI as flown by the 14PRS from England in World War II. (Courtesy Deviantart.net)

After brief postwar periods as a photo recon squadron, and later as a troop carrier squadron in the reserve component, the unit was activated in the Vietnam War as a McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II outfit. Based in Thailand during that war, the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and was heavily involved in the air war over Southeast Asia.

AN RF-4C of the 432d Tactical Recon Wing's 14th Tactical Recon Squadron takes off from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam War. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

AN RF-4C of the 432d Tactical Recon Wing’s 14th Tactical Recon Squadron takes off from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam War. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The 14TRS was inactivated after that war in 1975, and remained so until it was redesignated as a Tactical Fighter Squadron on 5 June 1984. This was the same date of the redesignations of the 432d Tactical Fighter Wing and 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Once the 14TFS was activated at Misawa Air Base, Japan, on 1 January 1987, it built up combat capability with personnel and equipment in the first half of that year. The first General Dynamics F-16C Block 30s started arriving in the squadron in the spring of 1987, fresh from the factory at Ft. Worth, Texas. The squadron was commanded by Lt Col David Hamilton – more on this outstanding combat-proven leader later.

General Dynamic F-16C Block 30, s/n 85-1544 wearing 14TFS black and yellow checks at Luke AFB, AZ in the spring of 1987, enroute to the Pacific.  Note the ubiquitous USAF green mobility bag on the ramp beneath the wing.  (Courtesy Deviantart.com)

General Dynamic F-16C Block 30, s/n 85-1544 wearing 14TFS black and yellow checks at Luke AFB, AZ in the spring of 1987, enroute to the Pacific. Note the ubiquitous USAF green mobility bag on the ramp beneath the wing. (Courtesy Deviantart.com)

Following the Gulf War of 1991, as part of an AF-wide reorganization the unit was redesignated as the 14th Fighter Squadron on 31 May 1991, a designation which remains in effect. The “T” word was now verboten! A full lineage and honors statement of the squadron can be found in a Fact Sheet on the Air Force Historical Research Agency Website at:
http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet_print.asp?fsID=9807
References

Thole, Dave, “Flying Lightning: The History of the 14th Fighter Squadron,” Writers Club Press, Lincoln, NE, 2001

14PRS emblem at: http://airforcephotos.togetherweserved.com/286918.jpg

Spitfire PR Mk. XI artwork at: http://th04.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/f/2010/102/8/2/828b8c2d0c1b6b35c8d34477cdf2599f.jpg

14TRS RF-4C Image at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rf-4c-14trs-udon.jpg

F-16C at Luke image at: http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/artists/213286957?view_mode=2

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