The 87th Flying Training Squadron's lineage goes back to the 87th Aero Squadron which was active in 1917 and 1918. The squadron was designated as the 87th Aero Squadron and organized on 18 August 1917. Active time was very short as the unit was redesignated Squadron B, Park Field, on 25 July 1918.
The unit was reconstituted and consolidated with the 87th Pursuit Squadron on 1 December 1936. The Pursuit Squadron was constituted on 19 February 1935, organized 1 March, and then inactivated for the consolidation. The combined unit was then demobilized on 1 January 1938.
The lineage continued when the unit was constituted as the 87th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 13 January 1942 and activated on 9 February at Dale Mabry Field, Florida. After activation the unit was redesignated the 87th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942 and was stationed at Morris Field, North Carolina. During this period the squadron was flying P-40 Warhawk aircraft and soon transfered to the North African Campaign to fly against Rommel's Corps.
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 occured in 1947. For its part in the European Theater the 87th was awarded ten campaign streamers for Egypt-Libya; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley; and Air Combat, EAME 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 on 15 July 1947.
On 1 November 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 Bentwaters, England, and deactivated in September 1955.
In 1956, the 87th was reactivated as a part of the Aerospace Defence Command at Lockborne Air Force Base, Ohio, still flying the F86D Sabre. While still at Lockborne Air Force Base, the 87th was reequiped with the F-102 Delta Dagger in 1958 and continued to fulfill its alert committment. 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 FIS at Duluth IAP, Minnesota, was redesignated the 87th FIS in October 1969, and the front line of defense became the F-106 Delta Dart. A new and varied mission filled the 87th Fighter Interceptor Squadron operational role as a worldwide deployment capability expanded it's horizons. The 87th utilized air refueling capabilities and the much greater range of the F-106 to fulfill alert committments in the Alaska Region. An outstanding record of reliability in cold weather operations became the standard of 87th excellence. In addition, the 87th established the reputation in 1968-1970 as the "Flyingest F-106 Squadron in Air Defense Command" with over 725 hours of F-106 time logged in February 1969. Every pilot averaged over 35 hours for the 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. Due to budget cuts the conversion was cancelled and the squadron again scheduled for inactivation on 1 October 1985.
The 87th was redesignated 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 mission is to train USAF and Allied officers to fly "Fast Movers" (Fighter/Bomber track) as a component of the 47th Flying Training Wing.
(Current as of November 2017)