325th Fighter Wing
The current chapter of the 325th Fighter Wing's history began on 1 July 1981, when it was activated at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, as the 325th Fighter Weapons Wing. Using temporary bestowal, the wing enriched its heritage by adopting the emblem, awards, and history of the 325th Fighter Group of World War II fame.
The 325th Fighter Group was activated on 3 August 1942 at Mitchell Field, New York, and trained with P 40s. It entered combat with the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa on 17 April 1943. From its bases in Algeria and Tunisia, the group escorted medium bombers, flew strafing missions, and made sweeps over the Mediterranean Sea. The group received its first Distinguished Unit Citation for action over Sardinia on 30 July 1943. Using diversionary tactics, the 325th Fighter Group forced a superior number of enemy airplanes into the air and destroyed more than half of them.
The 325th Fighter Group also played a significant role during the invasion of Italy in September 1943. Invasion plans called for the forces of the United States Fifth Army to be transported from Tunisia to the Italian mainland, but their convoy had to pass within striking distance of Axis aircraft stationed on the island of Sardinia. To protect the convoy, a total of 112 P 40s of the 325th Fighter Group attacked the Pabillonis airfield on Sardinia on the 5th, 7th, and 8th of September. The group's fighter-bombers dropped fragmentation bombs and strafed aircraft and targets of opportunity.
From late September to December 1943, the unit flew no combat missions while its pilots retrained in P 47 Thunderbolt fighters and moved to Italy. Its mission now included escorting the Fifteenth Air Force's heavy bombers over strategic targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The 325th Fighter Group also protected reconnaissance aircraft and strafed trains, vehicles, and airfields.
Using one of the cleverest tricks of the air war, the 325th Fighter Group won a second Distinguished Unit Citation for its surprise attack on the German airfields near Villaorba on 30 January 1944. In late 1943, the Germans had moved about 200 bombers into northern Italy, putting them within range of the American beach head at Anzio. To counter this development, the commanders of the Fifteenth Air Force directed small bombing raids on German airfields near Austria. Having conditioned the Germans to expect more raids, the Fifteenth Air Force leaders tricked the Germans. B 17s and B 24s from the 97th, 99th, 301st, 449th, and the 450th Bombardment Groups, well escorted by P 38s from the 1st, 14th, and 82d Fighter Groups, flew at normal altitudes so that the German radar operators could plot them. Then, once the bombers were in the air, the 325th Fighter Group's P 47s took off. Flying on the deck over the Adriatic, the faster P 47s overtook the bombers, climbed high, and headed for the target area. They arrived 15 minutes before the bombers, catching the enemy's fighters, warned of the approaching bombers, in the act of taking off and assembling for combat. The tactical surprise being complete, the 325th consummated the attack, destroying 36 aircraft, including fourteen ME 109s, an additional eight probable kills, while losing only two of its P 47s. When the bombers arrived, they met almost no opposition and covered the field with 29,000 fragmentation bombs. The participation of Fifteenth Air Force's bombers and fighters resulted in the destruction, in the air and on the ground, of about 140 enemy aircraft. The Allied losses were only six bombers and three fighters. This attack and another the next day effectively ended the aerial threat to Anzio.
In May 1944, the group exchanged its Thunderbolts for P 51 Mustangs, which it flew until the end of the war. By then, the 325th's motto--"Locate et Liquidate," (Locate and Liquidate)--had earned the respect of both Allies and Germans alike. Returning to the United States after the war, the group was inactivated on 28 October 1945. This proved to be a temporary arrangement as the group reactivated on 21 May 1947 as the 325th Fighter Group (All Weather), and was equipped with F 61s. The group received F 82s in 1948 and F 94s in 1950. Over the next two decades, the unit changed its name and aircraft a number of times.
The wing first appeared on 9 June 1948, when the Air Force activated the 325th Fighter Wing, All Weather, at Hamilton AFB, California, with the 325th Fighter Group assigned. Interestingly, the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron, flying C-54s, was also attached to the wing. From 6 May 1950 to 8 June 1951, the wing provided training for elements of a troop carrier wing.
On January 20, 1950, the wing was redesignated as the 325th Fighter-All Weather Wing, only to be renamed the 325th Fighter-Interceptor Wing on May 1, 1951 and, again, inactivated on 6 February 1952.
As before, this inactivation did not last long because the Air Defense Command decided to create a wing organization at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. The Air Defense Command redesignated and reactivated the 325th Fighter Wing (Air Defense), on 18 October 1956. Its tactical units, the 317th, 318th, and 498th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons, were equipped with F 86 Sabrejets. However, they soon traded their Sabrejets for delta-winged, all-weather F 102A interceptors.
In August 1957, the 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron was reassigned to the 10th Air Division Alaskan Air Command, and the 325th Fighter Group inactivated on 25 March 1960. Meanwhile, the wing's remaining units transitioned to the F 106 Delta Dart. From February to July 1968, the wing kept a large detachment at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, to provide air defense. On 1 July 1968, the Air Force inactivated the wing.
The wing's recent history began on 1 July 1981, when the Tactical Air Command reactivated it as the 325th Fighter Weapons Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and assigned it to the USAF Air Defense Weapons Center. Five units already assigned to the weapons center were reassigned to the 325th. These were the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 82nd Tactical Aerial Target Squadron, 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 4756th Air Defense Squadron, and 475th Test Squadron. In addition, the Tactical Air Command assigned four new squadrons to the wing. These were the 325th Aircraft Generation, 325th Component Repair, 325th Equipment Maintenance, and the 325th Technical Training. Flying the F-101, F 106 and T 33 aircraft, the 325th accomplished the operations, test and evaluation, and maintenance portions of the weapons center's mission which was directly related to combat readiness training for air defense.
On October 15, 1983, the Air Defense Weapons Center underwent a major reorganization. The wing redesignated as the 325th Tactical Training Wing, and the 2nd Fighter Weapons Squadron became the 2nd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron. The 325th Technical Training Squadron changed its name to the 325th Maintenance Training Squadron. In addition, two new squadrons were activated and assigned to the wing: the 325th Tactical Training and the 325th Weapons Controller Training Squadrons. With this reorganization, the wing assumed air superiority training responsibilities. Additionally, the USAF Interceptor Weapons School, 475th Test and the 4756th Air Defense Squadrons inactivated. The weapons evaluation functions that had been assigned to the wing were assigned to the newly activated 475th Weapons Evaluation Group. The 82nd Tactical Aerial Targets Squadron transferred to the 475th.
On December 7, 1983, the wing's first F-15 aircraft touched down on Tyndall's runway. By 1989, the wing had replaced its T 33 aircraft with a fleet of F 15s. The wing's structure remained relatively stable until the fall of 1991 when a massive reorganization took place, the objective wing concept, under the direction and authority of Headquarters, Tactical Air Command and the US Air Force Chief of Staff. The reorganization, among other things, redesignated the wing as the 325th Fighter Wing and activated its predecessor group, with the designation of the 325th Operations Group.
There were four general highlights of the reorganization. First, the wing reorganized into a four-group structure, which included medical, logistics, support, and operations group, all of which reported directly to the wing.
Secondly, the United States Air Force Air Defense Weapons Center was inactivated. This contributed to the third highlight, the assumption of host unit responsibilities on Tyndall by the 325th Fighter Wing. Finally, on 1 June 1992, the Tactical Air Command inactivated. On that day, the wing was assigned to the newly created Air Combat Command.
One year later, the 325th Fighter Wing found itself changing major commands again. The wing transferred to the Air Education and Training Command on 1 July 1993. This move signaled a heightened emphasis on the wing's training mission and a more streamlined approach to training. At this time, the wing asked Nineteenth Air Force to realign the air weapons controller training to the wing. On April 1, 1994, the air weapons controller training transferred to the wing. Three months later, the 337th Technical Training Squadron inactivated. The air weapons controller training transferred to the 325th Training Squadron.
In September 1994, the wing gained four new squadrons, all in the medical community. HQ AETC activated the 325th Aerospace Medicine, 325th Medical Support, 325th Dental, and 325th Medical Operations Squadrons.
In June of 1994, Brigadier General Clinton V. Horn, Commander 325th Fighter Wing received word of the intention of AETC to reduce flying hour costs by conducting an A-76 study of various functions at Tyndall AFB. The study culminated with three private contractors assuming responsibility for back shop maintenance, Supply, and Transportation functions at Tyndall, in late 1997. A total of 1,034 military and civilian positions were deleted as a result of the A-76 process on 31 December 1997. The A-76 study anticipated savings to the Air Force of outsourcing at Tyndall was over $89 million over a five-year period.
It was also announced in 1997 that Tyndall would become the beddown site for the new F/A-22 fighter. While the first F/A-22 was not scheduled to arrive at Tyndall until some time in Calendar Year 2003, preparations for the conversion began in earnest in 1997.
On 7 August 1998, a terrorist bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, had deep repercussions in the Tyndall community. Killed in the attack was Senior Master Sergeant Sherry Lynn Olds. Sergeant Olds was a native of Panama City and had spent a good part of her military career at Tyndall and the 325th Fighter Wing. Sergeant Olds' body was buried in Panama City on 15 August 1998.
In March of 1999, the Wing began a series of "Scoping Meetings" with local area residents to address questions and concerns regarding the eventual beddown of the F/A-22 fighter aircraft. The common concern voiced during the meetings centered on the noise level associated with the F/A-22. A subsequent study concluded that while there would be a 10 percent increase in noise levels above 65 decibels on base, the noise level off base would be essentially unaffected by the F/A-22 since decibel levels would remain constant with those of the F-15.
On 11 September 2001, the 325th Fighter Wing responded to terrorist attacks on America. By swiftly implementing increased security controls throughout the base, the Wing provided a safe and secure environment from which First Air Force and Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR) could maintain air sovereignty over the United States in the aftermath of the attacks. They also generated Combat Air Patrols over key US cities in support of the CONR/NORAD mission while simultaneously performing its own key mission of training the world's premier air superiority team.
The 325th Fighter Wing underwent its first major reorganization in 11 years on 16 August 2002. While retaining a four-group structure, the nature and name of some of the groups changed. The Support Group was redesignated as the Mission Support Group, with expanded responsibilities that included Supply and Transportation functions in addition to responsibility it already had for Security, Services, Civil Engineering, etc. Meanwhile, the Logistics Group gave way to the new 325th Maintenance Group, which put all aircraft maintenance functions under the control of the Maintenance Group Commander. This left the Operations Group intact, but with total responsibility for planning and executing the flying training mission of the Wing. The 325th Medical Group remained unchanged during the reorganization.
2002 also saw the activation of the 325 FW's newest unit, the 43rd Fighter Squadron. The Air Force choose to activate the 43rd to be the Air Forces very first F/A-22 flying squadron. In September 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Harrigian, 43 FS Commander, flew the 325th's very first F/A-22 from the factory to Tyndall AFB. "Raptor"18 became the first operational F/A-22 to be delivered from the manufacturer.
2004 saw another first as General John Jumper, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, became the first Chief of Staff to become qualified in a new aircraft.
The 325th Fighter Wing is responsible for the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of command training programs to meet operational capabilities and employment concepts. Trains an Air Dominance Team of combat aircrews, maintenance personnel, Air Battle Managers, Intelligence Personnel, and Air Traffic Controllers for assignment to worldwide combat units. Evaluates air dominance concepts, doctrines, and tactics; provides the tool, training education, and support to assigned and associate organizations.