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The 336th Fighter Squadron (336th FS), nicknamed the Rocketeers, is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 4th Operations Group and stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

336th Fighter Squadron
336th Fighter Squadron F-15E on alert in Afghanistan
Active22 August 1942 – 10 November 1945
9 September 1946 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAir Interdiction
Size103 COGs (As of 14 May 2021)
Part ofAir Combat Command
Mascot(s)The COG
EquipmentF-15E Strike Eagle
EngagementsWorld War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Operations Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom
Lt Col Brent Peterson
Steven L. "Steep" Turner
Carroll W. McColpin
Don Gentile
Willard W. Millikan
Capt Jacob “Spear” DelPonte
Benjamin H. King
336th Fighter Squadron emblem (Approved 15 October 1947)[1]
Squadron codeSC (1967 – 1974)
SJ (1974 – present)

The 336th was constituted on 22 August 1942 as an incorporation of the Royal Air Force No. 133 Squadron into the United States Army Air Forces' VIII Fighter Command. No. 133 Squadron was one of three RAF Eagle Squadrons composed of American volunteer pilots who enlisted in the RAF and fought in World War II prior to the United States entry into the war.

At the height of conversion training, the 4th TFW was one of the first units tasked to react to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. The 335th and 336th Tactical Fighter Squadrons and support personnel deployed to Saudi Arabia, beginning in August 1990. The combat record of the 4th TFW in Saudi Arabia was exceptional, with the 336th TFS flying 1,088 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. The unit dropped more than six-million pounds of bombs on Scud missile sites, bridges and airfields. Most of the missions were flown at night.[2]


The "Rocketeers" fly the McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) F-15E Strike Eagle. It was the first operational F-15E squadron in the Air Force. Its aircraft are identified by the "SJ" tail code and yellow fin flash.

Currently the squadron provides worldwide deployable aircraft and personnel capable of executing combat missions in support of worldwide Aerospace Expeditionary Force deployments to combat areas as part of the Global War on Terrorism. To date, the 336th have destroyed 459 enemy aircraft including the 4th Fighter Wing's sole MiG kill in Vietnam.


World War II

Don Gentile's P-51B Shangri La
Don Gentile's P-51B "Shangri La"
P-51D of the 336th Fighter Squadron[note 1]
P-51D of the 336th Fighter Squadron[note 1]

On 23 September 1942 the 4th Fighter Group moved to its initial airfield at RAF Debden; however, the 336th moved to a satellite field at RAF Great Sampford. They conducted operations from there until rejoining the group at Debden on 30 October 1942.

Fighter aircraft escorted first bombing raid over Berlin, March 1944. On 21 June 1944, escorted bombers in the first shuttle bombing mission from England to Russia. Received Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for destroying enemy aircraft and attacking air bases in France, 5 March – 24 April 1944.

Cold War

In 1946 trained in jet aircraft; participated in air shows around the US; began night flying in late 1947.

Ace Robbie Risner's F-86 1953 showing the Rocketeers' logo
Ace Robbie Risner's F-86 1953 showing the "Rocketeers' logo

Combat in Korea, December 1950 – July 1953. Received second and third DUCs for combat in Korean War, 22 April – 8 July 1951 and 9 July – 27 November 1951.

336th TFS F-100C of the (yellow) with two 333d TFS F-100F (red)[note 2]
336th TFS F-100C of the (yellow) with two 333d TFS F-100F (red)[note 2]

Deployed to Florida in October 1962 during Cuban missile crisis.

From January–June 1968, deployed to Korea; tasked with operations associated with USS Pueblo incident. Combat in Southeast Asia, April–September 1972 and March 1973.

336th TFS F-4E in 1984.[note 3]
336th TFS F-4E in 1984.[note 3]

During the 1980s, trained in combat readiness in order to maintain worldwide commitment and air-to-air mission capability. Deployed to Europe under dual-based mission concept in support of NATO objectives, 1978–1985.

4th FW F-15Es in Southwest Asia in 1992.
4th FW F-15Es in Southwest Asia in 1992.

Participated in initial attack on Iraq, 17 January 1991. During 1990–1994, shared quarterly rotation duties to Southwest Asia with 334th and 335th Fighter Squadrons.

Modern Era

Since 1991, trained as combat ready fighter squadron prepared for rapid worldwide deployment of fighter aircraft to accomplish air-to-ground, air-to-air, strategic attack and deep interdiction missions.

336th F-15E patrols over Florida as the Space Shuttle Atlantis launches in the background
336th F-15E patrols over Florida as the Space Shuttle Atlantis launches in the background

Deployed to combat areas in Middle East as part of Global War on Terrorism, 2001–present.

On 18 July 2009, F-15E serial 90-231 from the 336th Fighter Squadron crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing the two-man crew, Captain Mark R. McDowell and Captain Thomas J. Gramith. The US military reported that the jet was not downed by enemy action.[3]

Air Combat Command officials announced a stand down and reallocation of flying hours for the rest of the fiscal year 2013 due to mandatory budget cuts. The across-the board spending cuts, called sequestration, took effect 1 March when Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.[4] Squadrons either stood down on a rotating basis or kept combat ready or at a reduced readiness level called "basic mission capable" for part or all of the remaining months in fiscal 2013.[4] This affected the 336th Fighter Squadron with a stand-down grounding from 9 April-30 September 2013.[4]

In October 2021, the Rocketeers deployed to Larissa Air Base, Greece, to participate in Exercise Castle Forge.[5]


Activated on 12 September 1942
Redesignated 336th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 10 November 1945
Redesignated 336th Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled on 23 April 1947
Redesignated 336th Fighter Squadron, Jet on 14 June 1948
Redesignated 336th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 20 January 1950
Redesignated 336th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 8 March 1955
Redesignated 336th Fighter-Day Squadron on 25 April 1956
Redesignated 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1958
Redesignated 336th Fighter Squadron on 1 November 1991[1][note 4]


Attached to 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 19 November 1954; 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 7 August 1956; 313th Air Division, after 1 February 1957
Attached to 65th Air Division, 12 August 1963 – 7 January 1964; Seventeenth Air Force, 25 May–30 August 1965; 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 12 April–30 September 1972 and 9 March–7 September 1973; 314th Air Division, 22 March–17 April 1977; 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, 11 September–13 October 1978, 31 August–1 October 1979, 26 August–26 September 1980, 5 September–3 October 1983 and 26 August–26 September 1985; 4th Tactical Fighter Wing (Deployed), 9 August–20 December 1990; 4th Tactical Fighter Wing Provisional, 20 December 1990 – c. 13 March 1991



Aircraft operated include:[1][9]

Notable squadron members




Explanatory notes
  1. Aircraft is P-51D-10-NA Mustang serial 44-14277. This aircraft was shot down over Prague 16 April 1945 and the pilot was taken Prisoner of War.
  2. Aircraft is North American F-100C-1-NA Super Sabre, serial 53-1743. F-100F-10-NA Super Sabres are serials 56-3868 and 56-3842. 56-3842 was sold to Denmark in 1974, later being sold on the civilian marketplace, being registered as N417FS in 1982.
  3. Aircraft is F-4E-61-MC Phantom serial 74-1629.
  4. When the squadron is the primary force provider to a deployed expeditionary unit, that unit is designated the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, a provisional unit.
  1. Robertson, Patsy (11 October 2016). "Factsheet 336 Fighter Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  2. Heidicker, Dr Roy. "4th Fighter Wing History" (PDF). 4th Fighter Wing History Officve. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  3. No byline (19 July 2009). "Military names 2 who died in F-15 crash". Military Times (reprinting Associated Press story). Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  4. Everstein, Brian; Weisgerber, Marcus (8 April 2013). "Reduced flying hours forces grounding of 17 USAF combat air squadrons". Military Times. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. "U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles Ready For Exercise Castle Forge". North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  6. Station number in Anderson.
  7. Station number in Endicott, pp. 177–178.
  8. Station information in Robertson, except as noted.
  9. Scharringa, Henk (4 October 2002). "F-100 Super Sabre unit list". Tiscali's F-100 Wings and Squadrons. Archived from the original on 12 February 2004. Retrieved 12 October 2021.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

The Mighty Eighth: A History of the Units, men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force (1991) Motorbooks International
The Mighty Eighth War Manual (1991) Motorbooks International

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