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The 35th Fighter Squadron is a United States Air Force unit, assigned to the 8th Operations Group, stationed at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. The squadron operates the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.

35th Fighter Squadron
35th Fighter Squadron F-16C Fighting Falcon lands at Kunsan AB[note 1]
Active1917–1919; 1932–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part ofPacific Air Forces
Cyclone's Flying Circus[citation needed]
Motto(s)First to Fight[1]
ColorsBlue[citation needed] (25 January 1980 – present>[2]
Mascot(s)Bill! The Cat[citation needed]
EngagementsWorld War I Southwest Pacific Theater
Korean War
Vietnam War[1]
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm[1]
Lt. Col. Christopher E. High
Maj. Emmett "Cyclone" Davis
Maj. Robert R. Scott
35th Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 7 November 1932)[1]

The 35th FS is one of two squadrons of Block 40 F-16C/Ds at Kunsan, flying the Fighting Falcon since 1981. The 35th is one of the oldest squadrons in the United States Air Force, its history dating to 12 June 1917, when the unit was activated as the 35th Aero Squadron.[1]


World War I

The 35th Fighter Squadron heritage dates back to 12 June 1917, when the unit activated as the 35th Aero Squadron. The squadron arrived in France in September 1917. After a first stop at the Etampes on 20 September, it spent some time in Paris then settled on Issoudun Aerodrome where it helped building the new Third Aviation Instruction Center, before being declared operational in November 1917, as the 35th Aero Squadron (Repair).

After being relieved some time between December 1918 and January 1919, it stopped at Clisson, France on 4 January 1919, before boarding in Saint-Nazaire harbor on 20 February a ship which took it back to United States.[3][4]

Inter-war years

"Recognizing the need for a strong air arm, American defense officials reconstituted the squadron in June 1932 and redesignated it the 35th Pursuit Squadron. For the next few years, the 35th flew Boeing P-12, Consolidated P-30, Northrop A-17 Nomad, and Curtiss P-36 Hawk aircraft out of Langley Field, Virginia. In 1939, the unit was redesignated the 35th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) and moved to Mitchel Field, New York, to fly the P-40 Warhawk."[4]

World War II

The 35th Fighter Squadron along with the 8th Pursuit Group and 22nd Airbase Group left San Francisco in Convoy Number 2033, escorted by USS New Orleans, for Australia on 12 February 1942 on the Army transport USAT Maui arriving with the convoy at Brisbane, Australia on 5 March 1942.[5] The squadron has never been stationed in the United States since. It arrived in Brisbane, Queensland on 6 March 1942. After arrival, it moved to Amberley Airfield, west of Brisbane, where it was equipped with Bell P-39D Airacobras that were originally intended to go to the Philippines but the convoy carrying them was diverted to Brisbane.

They then moved to Woodstock Airport, Queensland outside of Townsville in northern Queensland on 26 April 1942 on their way to Port Moresby, New Guinea where they arrived on 30 April 1942. There, the squadron operated from a gravel fighter strip constructed by the Australians in the 1930s called Kila Kila Airfield (3 Mile Drome). After two months in combat, the squadron rotated back to Australia, returning to Woodstock on 29 June 1942 for various rest and re-equipment tasks. They relocated to Garbutt Field in Townsville on 27 July 1942 and then moved to Milne Bay in New Guinea on 18 September 1942 after the airfield was secured from the Japanese. It again engaged in combat operations against Japanese forces with its P-39s until rotated back to Queensland, being sent to Mareeba Airfield in February 1943 as its Airacobras were basically worn-out. At Mareeba, the squadron was re-equipped with Curtiss P-40N Warhawks before leaving Australia for good in May and heading back to Port Moresby.

In New Guinea, the squadron covered landings and supported offensive ground operations in New Britain, New Guinea, and Hollandia, with the group moving forward to different bases as territory was captured from the Japanese. At Cape Gloucester, the P-40s were replaced by Lockheed P-38F Lightnings that were ferried up from Australia. It was with the P-38 that the 8th Fighter Group became truly effective both against the Japanese Zero in air-to-air battles, as well as providing ground support to MacArthur's ground forces. Its twin engines offered an additional safety factory when operating over long stretches of water and jungle. The Lightnings proved to be extremely rugged and could take a lot of battle damage and still keep flying. Missions lasting 9, 10, or even 12 hours became routine, and many wounded Lightnings were able to limp home on only one engine.

In 1944, the 35th supported operations in the Philippines, earning a second Distinguished Unit Citation when, armed only with machine guns, the Lightnings of the 8th Fighter Group strafed a Japanese naval task force for three hours, halting the ships until North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers from more distant bases could attack the task force with low-level bomb runs Despite the fact that the group did not have time to load bombs on its fighters and used only .50 caliber bullets on the mission, the 8th managed to sink one of the Japanese ships.

After moving to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in the Philippines in December 1944, the 35th spent the next several months conducting offensive operations against Formosa and the Asian mainland, as well as flying escort missions in the area. Moving to Ie Shima Airfield in August 1945, the 8th flew several missions against the Japanese island of Kyushu before the war ended.

On 14 August 1945, the day of the Japanese surrender, the 35th Fighter Squadron shot down the last enemy plane of the war. During its involvement in World War II, the 35th participated in nine campaigns.

Korean War

Lockheed F-80 near Mount Fuji in 1950[note 2]
Lockheed F-80 near Mount Fuji in 1950[note 2]
A 35th FBS F-86 Sabre in Korea, 1953
A 35th FBS F-86 Sabre in Korea, 1953

"When the Korean War began, the redesignated 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron entered combat. Once on the offensive, the 35th moved from base to base in Korea, flying the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and later the North American F-86 Sabre. At one time, the 35th was stationed at Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea."[4]

Pacific Air Forces service

When the Korean War ended, the squadron started flying North American F-100 Super Sabres at its new location at Itazuke Air Base, Japan. In 1963, the squadron received Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs to replace the F-100s and moved to Yokota Air Base, Japan.[4]

35th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-4D Phantom[note 3]
35th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-4D Phantom[note 3]

In 1964, the 35th deployed to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as one of the first units to fight in Southeast Asia. It later moved to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The squadron also performed numerous deployments to Osan Air Base, Korea.[4]

On 15 March 1972, the 35th moved to Kunsan Air Base to fly the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. In September 1981, the 35th and its sister squadron, the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron, became the first overseas units to convert to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The squadrons and wing dropped the 'tactical' designation from their titles during an Air Force-wide reorganization on 31 January 1992.[4]

On 17 November 2000, the 35th Fighter Squadron received its first Block 40 F-16s. The new aircraft carry Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, pods. The 35th completed the conversion in February 2001.[4]


Demobilized on 19 March 1919
Activated on 25 June 1932
Redesignated 35th Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) on 6 December 1939
Redesignated 35th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 12 March 1941
Redesignated 35th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Redesignated 35th Fighter Squadron, Two Engine on 19 February 1944
Redesignated 35th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 8 January 1946
Redesignated 35th Fighter Squadron, Jet on 1 January 1950
Redesignated 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 January 1950
Redesignated 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1958
Redesignated 35th Fighter Squadron on 3 February 1992[1]




See also



Explanatory notes
  1. Aircraft is General Dynamics F-16C Block 40 serial 89-2064, taken on 16 March 2010.
  2. Aiorcraft is Lockheed F-80C serial 49-696. This aircraft is in the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
  3. Aircraft is McDonnell F-4D Phantom II serial 66-8709 at Korat RTAFB, Thailand in 1973.
  1. Robertson, Patsy (16 March 2015). "Factsheet 35 Fighter Squadron (PACAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. Endicott, p. 529
  3. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 167–168
  4. No byline (23 April 2013). "Kunsan Air Base Library: Fact Sheet 35th Fighter Squadron". 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  5. Williford, p. 272


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

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