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Saturday, July 22, 2017

The 560th Flying Training Squadron (560 FTS) is part of the 12th Flying Training Wing of the United States Air Force based at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. It operates the T-38 Talon conducting flying training.


The 560th participated in combat in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. At one point the squadron carried out shuttle bombing missions from England to Germany to Poltava, USSR, to Foggia, Italy, and back to England.

Beginning in October 1962, the squadron, having been redesignated as a tactical fighter unit, conducted tactical operations and training in preparation for global deployment. It deployed to South Korea in response to North Korea's capture of the USS Pueblo in June 1969. After maintaining alert status in Korea and later Japan, the Squadron was redeployed to Homestead Air Force Base, Florida where it was inactivated in October 1970.

On 1 May 1972, the 560th was reactivated at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and took over the mission of training T-38 Talon instructor pilots for Air Training Command's Undergraduate Pilot Training bases.

560 FTS T-38A Talons at their Randolph AFB home in 1975

In October 1993, the 560th took on the mission of Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals and Upgrade Instructor Pilot Training in the "Smurf Jet" AT-38. In May 1998, the Smurf operation had become squadron-sized and was split off to reactivate the 435th Fighter Training Squadron. The 560th still prepares rated pilots from varied backgrounds for fighter lead-in training.

Additionally, the 560th maintains ties with Vietnam era POW pilots. Since 1973, all repatriated pilots, physically able to return to active flying duty came to the 560th for requalification training. As the final chapter in Operation Homecoming, the squadron returned more than 150 active duty pilots to flight status. Over the next two years the 560th flew more than 6000 hours and established a lasting bond with these former-POWs.

Source: Wikipedia

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