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

This site's the panther's roar! Photo of 549 courtesy of Mr. Akira Watanabe of nabe3saviation.web.fc2.com

14TFS Organization

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During the late Cold War period, the 14TFS was composed of approximately 50 personnel, mostly pilots. The squadron did not have any maintenance personnel assigned. The Air Force periodically reorganizes and either adds or takes away about 200 maintainers in a fighter squadron.

But in 1987, the squadron did not include the maintainers and was thus relatively small. It changed after the Cold War in 1992 with the USAF introduction of the “objective wing” when the maintainers were once again assigned to flying squadrons. I think a lot of people objected, but got reorganized anyway.

As it was organized from 1987-1991, the squadron was composed in the following manner:
Commander, an F-16 pilot, A-prefix AFSC 1115Q, Lt Col/O-5 rank, and managed one desk on the ground and led from one in the sky. Also had to attend many wing staff meetings, a painful necessity in the modern day and age, even in the age before Powerpoint.

Operations Officer, an F-16 pilot, supervised the day-to-day operations of the squadron, ensuring the pilots assigned to the squadron’s four lettered flights, A, B, C and D Flights, got the mission done. Taskmaster, as required, to do so. Usually had an Assistant Ops Officer or two as well.

Flight Commanders, F-16 pilots, of the four lettered flights, A Flight, B Flight, C Flight and D Flight, with at least a half-dozen pilots in each flight.

Executive Officer, ground echelon type (AFSC 7016?), made sure squadron administration was in order.

Flight Safety Officer, one F-16 pilot assigned this duty.

Maintenance Liaison Officer, one F-16 pilot assigned this duty.

Ops/Admin, the Duty Desk, nerve center of the squadron’s current operations, run by around eight Enlisted Operations Specialists (271X0) led by an NCO.

Life Support, about a half-dozen Enlisted Life Support Specialists (922X0) led by an NCO who kept in order all the gear that kept the pilots going in the aircraft, helmet, oxygen mask, g-suit, etc.

Scheduling, F-16 pilots, ensured all assigned Mission Ready and Mission Capable pilots had the required hours in different types of training to ensure their currency in the aircraft and associated weapons. They were constantly juggling sorties, times, events, etc; a very dynamic operation, with changes constantly occurring.

Weapons and Tactics, F-16 pilot, Fighter Weapons School Graduate, S-prefix type (Fighter Weapons Instructor), headed up this section. Weapons was the brain trust on own weapons system capabilities, tactics and employment. Had some other pilots to help, if available.

The squadron also had some “attached” personnel, folks assigned to a wing staff position but who flew or worked with the squadron on a regular basis. Several of these attached folks would also join the squadron for their exercise/wartime duty.

– Pilots attached to the Samurai came from various wing staff positions in Plans, Safety, Scheduling, Stan Eval, Training and Weapons. We even had a pilot from HQ Fifth Air Force at Yokota AB who was lucky to have a staff billet which allowed him to fly the F-16 at Misawa while on staff at Fifth Air Force. The Deputy Commander for Operations (DO) also flew with the squadron.

– The squadron also had a Flight Surgeon (AFSC 9356?) who was dedicated to keeping the pilots good to go, healthwise, and he flew with the squadron as well, in the back-seat of the family model.

– Samurai Intelligence, brain trust on the adversary order of battle, capabilities, tactics and employment, usually an Intel Officer (8075) and Enlisted Airmen (201X0) attached to the squadron by the wing Intel shop.

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