The 428th Fighter Squadron is part of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Currently, it operates F-15SG Strike Eagle aircraft conducting formal training missions to qualify Republic of Singapore Air Force crew in the F-15SG in a program titled Peace Carvin V.
The squadron was first activated during World War II and served in the European Theater of Operations under the 474th Fighter Group, where it earned the Distinguished Unit Citation. After V-E Day in 1945, the 428th served briefly with the occupation forces in Germany before returning to the United States for inactivation. The squadron was again activated as the 428th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in 1952 to replace an Air National Guard unit serving in the Korean War and earned a second Distinguished Unit Citation in that conflict. Following the truce ending the Korean War, the squadron returned to the United States, frequently deploying to Europe. As the reactivated 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron under the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, in 1968 it deployed to Thailand to support the Vietnam War and again, in 1973, to Thailand to support combat operations in the Vietnam War. The squadron was inactivated in 1989.
In 1990, the squadron became the 428th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron and has trained crews from 1990 to 1995, 1998 to 2005, and again since 2009.
The squadron's mission is to provide advanced weapons and tactics continuation training for Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15 pilots, weapon systems officers and maintenance personnel. RSAF aircrew and maintenance personnel are assigned to the 428th for two years, during which they receive advanced tactics training, shoot live missiles at Combat Archer, and deploy to locations throughout the United States to participate in composite operations and dissimilar air combat exercises.
World War II
The 428th Fighter Squadron was activated on 1 August 1943 as a Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter squadron under IV Fighter Command in Southern California as part of the 474th Fighter Group. It trained with the P-38 over the Mojave Desert, moving to the European Theater of Operations, and was assigned to Ninth Air Force in England during March 1944. It operated out of Warmwell, Britain, and Saint Lambert, St. Marceau, and Peronne, France, Florennes, Belgium, and Strassfeld, Langensalza, Schweinfurt, and Stuttgart, Germany during and immediately after the war in 1945. Squadron markings on the vertical tail surfaces were a black triangle and "F5" with call sign "Geyser". It provided bomber escort but the primary role was as an attack and interdiction fighter. It flew its first combat missions on 25 April 1944. As part of the 474th Fighter Group, they attacked bridges and railroads in France in preparation for the Normandy invasion, provided air cover for the invasion force, and flew bombing missions to support the landings. Subsequently it conducted armed reconnaissance missions after D-Day and attacked highways and troops to support the Allied breakthrough at St Lo. The Squadron supported the British attack on Holland in Sep 1944; the Battle of the Bulge Dec 1944-Jan 1945; and the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. As part of the 474th, it was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 23 August 1944 and twice the Order of the Day, Belgian Army. Personnel were demobilized in Europe during 1945, returned to the United States in November as an administrative unit and was inactivated on 7 December 1945 without personnel or equipment.
Reactivated in Japan under Far East Air Forces, July 1952 as a result of the Korean War. Replaced Federalized Georgia Air National Guard personnel, receiving their Republic F-84G Thunderjets. Moved to South Korea in August as part of the 474th Fighter Bomber Wing and, later, the 474th Fighter Bomber Group engaging in combat operations from Kunsan Air Base (K-8). From Kunsan the squadron bombed and strafed bridges, bunkers, troop concentrations, artillery positions, and a host of other enemy targets. Moved to Taegu Air Base (K-2) in April 1953 being attached to the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Flew interdiction and close air support missions in as well as attacking special strategic targets such as military schools, dams, and port facilities in North Korea until the June 1953 Armistice, Remained in South Korea for over a year afterward to insure Communist compliance with the cease-fire.
Returned to Clovis Air Force Base, New Mexico in November 1954. The Squadron was re-equipped with North American F-86H Sabre fighter-bomber aircraft, being assigned to Twelfth Air Force, Tactical Air Command. It maintained proficiency in tactical fighter operations, deploying components, aircraft, and crews on a global basis in support of NATO, PACAF, AAC, and other organizations. Deployed to southeastern United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
The Squadron moved to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in 1966 to be part of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW). The 474th (Roadrunners) became the first USAF operational wing equipped with the General Dynamics F-111. On 20 January 1968 the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada from the 4480th TFW, giving the base an operational tactical fighter wing assigned to Twelfth Air Force.
In early 1968, the Air Force decided to send a small detachment of F-111As to Southeast Asia under the "Combat Lancer" program. Six 428th TFS Harvest Reaper F-111As were allocated to the Combat Lancer under "Detachment 1" under the command of Colonel Ivan H. Dethman, and they departed Nellis for Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base on 15 March 1968. The 6 F-111s, accompanied by KC-135 tankers, departed for Andersen AFB, Guam. The over 13 hour trip was flown using the F-111's inertial navigation system and with topoff refueling from the tankers, arriving at Andersen AFB on the 16th. The Detachment departed Andersen and arrived at Takhli on 17 March. The Detachment was attached to the F-105 Thunderchief-flying 355th Tactical Fighter Wing in what was officially seen as the first stage in replacement of the Wing's F-105s with the F-111A. F-111 combat operations began on 25 March using the aircraft's unique terrain following radar (TFR) capability to conduct surprise night deep interdiction strikes. By the end of the deployment, 55 night low-level missions had been flown against targets in North Vietnam, but three aircraft had been lost. Aircraft 66022, call sign Omaha 77, had been lost on 28 March with the loss of the crew, Colonel Hank McCann and Captain Dennis Graham. On 30 March, the crew of Major Sandy Marquardt and Captain Joe Hodges in aircraft 66017, Hotrod 73, successfully ejected and was recovered uninjured in Thailand. Replacement aircraft had left Nellis, but a third loss halted F-111A combat operations. On 22 April, Tailbone 78, aircraft 66024, crewed by Lieutenant Commander Spade Cooley and by Lieutenant Colonel Ed Palmgren, was lost. After the 3rd loss, the Detachment remained poised for combat, but they saw no combat action before their return to the U.S. on 22 November. The Detachment and remaining aircraft returned to Nellis and development of the F-111 continued, with the 474th finally reaching operational status in 1971.
In March 1973 it was reassigned to the 347th Fighter Wing and deployed back to Takhli, this time being placed on permanent party status in Thailand, taking over the aircraft the 430th TFS had left upon its return to the United States. For a brief period the 347th flew combat operations into Cambodia until 15 August, when the last wartime mission of the Vietnam Era was flown into Cambodia for final mission of Constant Guard. After the cease-fire, the wing was maintained in a combat-ready status for possible contingency.
After the end of combat missions in Indochina, the squadron moved to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand on 12 July 1974 after the closure of Taklhi and remained in Southeast Asia through May 1975 to undertake strike missions in the event of further contingency operations. Participated in numerous exercises and firepower demonstrations, and, during Jan–May 1975, flew sea surveillance missions. Participated in the recovery of the American merchantman SS Mayaguez from Cambodian Communist forces in May 1975, including the sinking of a Cambodian patrol boat.
Upon return to the United States on 30 June 1975, reassigned back to the 474th Wing, sending F-111s to 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho and changing equipment to the McDonnell F-4D Phantom II during "Operation Ready Switch". Received new Block 1/5 General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon aircraft in November 1980 after protracted development period in the 1970s. Conducted routine Tactical Air Command training and deployments from Nellis with the F-16s, upgrading to Block 10/15 models in the early 1980s. Inactivated September 1989 when aircraft were considered no longer front-line combat capable.
Post Cold War era
Reactivated at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on 2 April 1990 as an F-111G Formal Training Unit squadron for the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing. Reassigned to the 27th Operations Group in 1991 when the wing implemented the USAF Objective Wing organization. Received F-111Es in June 1992 as a result of the retirement of the F-111s from United States Air Forces Europe, the aircraft being transferred to Cannon from RAF Upper Heyford, England, upgrading the 27th Fighter Wing. Inactivated in October 1995 as part of the phaseout of the F-111 from the USAF inventory.
Reactivated in September 1998 as an F-16C/D training squadron for the Peace Carvin III initiative. When reactivated the 428th was a hybrid US Air Force/Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16 Fighter Squadron manned by highly experienced USAF instructor pilots, maintenance and support personnel. The squadron operated 12 RSAF-owned Block 52, F-16C/Ds. With approximately 25 USAF personnel and 140 RSAF personnel, the unit was responsible for continuation training of Singapore personnel in rapid deployment and tactical employment of the F-16 throughout a wide spectrum of missions including air-to-air, joint maritime and precision air-to-ground weapons delivery. Inactivated on 5 July 2005 with the phaseout of the F-16 at Cannon, and the base being transferred to Air Force Special Operations Command.
Reactivated in May 2009 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho as a F-15SG Strike Eagle fighter training squadron, part of the Peace Carvin V program for the RSAF.
The squadron, previous commanded at reactivation 2009 by Keith Gibson, LTC, USAF, is commanded by Nicholas Jurewicz, LTC, USAF with Lt. Col. Shewan Goh, RSAF as senior ranking officer.