|516th Strategic Fighter Squadron|
Emblem of the 516th Strategic Fighter Squadron
|Branch||United States Army Air Force|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 516th Strategic Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 407th Strategic Fighter Wing stationed at Great Falls AFB, Montana. It was inactivated on 1 July 1957.
Established in the spring of 1943 as an A-24 Banshee (Douglas SBD) operational training squadron. Unfortunately, the Army A-24 version of the Douglas dive bomber never achieved the degree of success as did its Navy SBD counterpart. In July 1943, the squadron was relieved of its training mission and deployed to Amchitka Army Airfield, Alaska Territory, to take part in the Battle of Kiska during the Aleutian Islands Campaign.
After carrying out an attack on Kiska Island on August 4, 1943, the squadron returned to the Continenal United States and was re-equipped with the A-36 Apache ground attack version of the P-51B Mustang. Was assigned to the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics at Lakeland AAF Florida until November when the school was closed down.
Re-equipped with P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts, became a training unit at Galveston AAF, Texas until April 1944 when the squadron was inactivated in a re-alignment of Training Command operational training units.
Was reactivated by Strategic Air Command in 1953 as a strategic fighter squadron; mission to provide fighter escort for SAC's long-range B-36 Peacemaker bomber. Equipped with F-84G Thunderjets, the squadron deployed to Misawa AB, Japan, August–November 1954 to provide air defense. Left F-84G's at Misawa, returned to Great Falls AFB and was re-equipped with F-84F Thunderflash swept-wing aircraft. Also operated a few RF-84F photo-reconnaissance aircraft.
Squadron operated until 1957 when the B-36 was being phased out and the unit was inactivated. The new B-52 Stratofortress and B-47 Stratojet bombers flew higher and faster than the F-84 escort fighters and instead of flying in formations, SAC's bombers flew individually to their selected targets.
- Constituted as: 633d Bombardment Squadron (Dive) on 23 March 1943
- Activated on 28 March 1943
- Redesignated as: 516th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 10 August 1943
- Disbanded on 1 April 1944
- Reconstituted, and redesignated as: 516th Strategic Fighter Squadron, on 13 November 1953.
- Activated on 18 December 1953
- Inactivated on 1 July 1957.
- 407th Bombardment(later Fighter-Bomber) Group, 28 March 1943 – 1 April 1944
- 407th Strategic Fighter Wing, 18 December 1953 – 1 July 1957
- Drew Field, Florida, 28 Mar 1943
- Operated from Amchitka Army Airfield, Alaska Territory, Jul-Aug 1943
- Lakeland Army Airfield, Florida, 2 Oct 1943
- Galveston Army Airfield, Texas, 9 Nov 1943-1 Apr 1944
- Great Falls AFB, Montana, 18 December 1953 – 1 July 1957
- Operated from Misawa AB, Japan, 8 August-10 November 1954
- A-24 Banshee, 1943
- A-36 Apache, 1943
- P-51 Mustang, 1943
- P-47 Thunderbolt, 1943-1944
- F-84 Thunderjet, 1954-1957
- Maurer, Maurer, ed (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/combat_sq_of_the_af_wwii.pdf.
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