The 86th Flying Training Squadron, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, conducts the T-1A flying training portion of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training.
The 86th FTS traces its lineage to the 86th Bombardment Squadron, which was designated on Nov. 20, 1940, activated on Jan. 15, 1941 and stationed at McChord Field, Wash. The 86th’s mission was mainly anti-submarine patrols with the B-18 its primary aircraft. In the six years that followed, the 86th traveled to all parts of the world, earning a proud history. The mission was expanded to include training personnel for overseas duty and combat operations.
In 1942, the 86th started its journey through various parts of Europe and North Africa. It was stationed in approximately 20 different locations including French-Morocco (1942), Conrobert, Algeria (1943) and Salon, France (1944). The 86th supported combat operations with the DB-7, A-20 and A-26 aircraft. The 86th Bombardment Squadron received numerous campaign streamers and the Distinguished Unit Citation in 1943 and 1945.
The 86th returned to the United States in 1945 to begin training in support of a new mission of night tactical operations. Stationed at Biggs Field, Texas, in 1946 and then Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in 1948, the 86th was redesignated the 86th Bombardment Squadron, flying the A-26 and then B-45 aircraft. With the slowdown of military operations, the 86th was deactivated in October 1949.
On March 23, 1954, the 86th Bombardment Squadron was reactivated. It was stationed at Sculthorpe Royal Air Force station and Alconbury Royal Air Force Station, England, flying the B-45 and B-66 aircraft. On Oct. 1, 1955, the 86th was redesignated the 86th Bombardment Squadron. The 86th remained in England, maintaining proficiency in a variety of tactical operations and was awarded the Air Force Unit Citation for operations from July 1958 to June 1960. On June 22, 1962, the 86th distinguished itself by acquiring eleven campaign streamers and three distinguished unit citations.
On March 22, 1972, the squadron was redesignated the 86th FTS, replacing the 3646th Pilot Training Squadron, at Laughlin. Since 1972, the 86th has been an active squadron training student pilots. From 1976 to 1979, the squadron trained Strategic Air Command co-pilots in the ACE program. The squadron was deactivated in September 1992. During its twenty years as a pilot training squadron, the 86th FTS earned five Air Force Outstanding Unit awards.
On Feb. 17, 1994, the 86th FTS was reactivated at Laughlin. The training mission continues utilizing the T-1A Jay Hawk as part of SUPT in the airlift-tanker-bomber track.
(Current as of November 2017)