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87TH FLYING TRAINING SQUADRON

Posted 10/27/2014 Printable Fact Sheet

The 87th Flying Training Squadron's lineage goes back to the 87th Aero Squadron, which was active between 1917 and 1918. The 87th Aero Squadron was organized on Aug. 18, 1917 and was active for a very short time before being designated Squadron B, Park Field, on July 25, 1918.

The unit was reconstituted and consolidated with the 87th Pursuit Squadron on Dec. 1, 1936. The squadron was constituted on Feb. 19, 1935, organized March 1, and then inactivated for the consolidation. The combined unit was then demobilized on Jan. 1, 1938.

The lineage continued when the unit was constituted as the 87th Pursuit Squadron, Interceptor, on Jan. 13, 1942 and activated on Feb. 9 at Dale Mabry Field, Florida. After activation, the unit was designated the 87th Fighter Squadron on May 15, 1942, and was stationed at Morris Field, North Carolina. During this period, the squadron flew the P-40 Warhawk and soon transferred to the North African Campaign of World War II to fly against Rommel's Corps, under the command of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

In 1944 the 87th converted to the P-47 Thunderbolt and pressed the Axis forces up the Italian peninsula following their dynamic support at the invasions of Sicily and Anzio. The end of World War II found the 87th moving from Southern France to Austria where deactivation occurred in 1947. For its part in the European Theater the 87th was awarded 10 campaign streamers for Egypt-Libya; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley; and Air Combat, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater. It also received two unit citations, one for North Africa and Sicily (Mar-Aug 1943), and the second for Italy (16-20 April 1945). Inactivation occurred at Langley Field, Virginia on July 15, 1947.

On Nov. 1, 1952, the 87th was reactivated and served at Sioux City, Iowa, flying the P-51 Mustang. It was here they picked up their first jet aircraft, the F-86D Sabre in 1953. In December 1954, the 87th moved to Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, and deactivated in September 1955.

In 1956, the 87th was reactivated as a part of the Aerospace Defense Command at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio, flying the F86D. While still at Lockbourne Air Force Base, the 87th was reequipped with the F-102 Delta Dagger in 1958 and continued to fulfill its alert commitment. In 1960, the F-101 Voodoo became the primary aircraft of the squadron until deactivation in June 1968.

Actual deactivation was short-lived as the 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Duluth International Airport, Minnesota, was designated the 87th FIS in October 1969, and flew the F-106 Delta Dart. The 87th utilized air refueling capabilities and the much greater range of the F-106 to fulfill alert commitments in the Alaska Region. An outstanding record of reliability in cold weather operations became the standard of 87th excellence. In addition, the 87th earned the moniker the "Flyingest F-106 Squadron in Air Defense Command" with over 725 hours of F-106 time logged in February 1969. Every pilot averaged more than 35 hours each month.

In May 1971 the 87th moved to K. I. Sawyer AFB, Minnesota, where it maintained readiness in all-weather intercept techniques, aerial refueling, and fighter-vs-fighter tactics.

The 87th maintained four T-33 Shooting Stars at K. I. Sawyer to provide target support for the squadron interceptors, simulating Soviet bomber tactics. In addition, they flew North American Air Defense Command radar evaluation and logistic support sorties.

The 87th was scheduled to convert to the F-15 Eagle in 1984, but due to budget cuts the conversion was cancelled and the squadron was again scheduled for inactivation on Oct. 1, 1985.

The 87th was designated the 87th Flying Training Squadron and activated on 2 April 1990 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, flying the T-38A Talon advanced supersonic trainer.

The squadron's mission is to train U.S. Air Force and allied officers to fly fighters and bombers as a component of the 47th Flying Training Wing.

(Current as of July 2013)


47th Flying Training Wing, Public Affairs 561 Liberty Drive, Suite 3
Laughlin AFB, Texas 78843-5227; Phone: (830) 298-5980; Fax: (830) 298-5047





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