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80th Fighter Squadron

 

 

The 80th Fighter Squadron flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon out of Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, and is one of two fighter squadrons assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing, the Wolf Pack.

VISION

To lead the combat air forces as the most lethal fighter squadron of motivated, expertly trained warriors focused on the defense of the Republic of Korea and regional stability in the Pacific.

MISSION

Be prepared to execute immediate air combat operations in support of COCOM theater wide taskings to dominate any aggressors threatening U.S. or ROK interests.

The 80th Fighter Squadron stands ready to conduct counter-air, air interdiction, close air support and forward air controllers missions in both day and night conditions.
History

The 80th Fighter Squadron was originally activated during World War II on Jan. 6, 1942, as the 80th Pursuit Squadron (interceptor) at Mitchell Field, NY. Upon reaching Australia, the 80th awaited the arrival of its P-39s, being sent from the United States in crates. On 10 June, 1942, the 80th became part of the 8th Pursuit Group. The Squadron's first combat mission was flown from Port Moresby, New Guinea, on July 22, 1942, as the unit provided air cover for the B-25s striking convoys off Buna. The 80th scored its first victory on 26 August, when it engaged and destroyed six enemy aircraft, the first of more than 200 such victories.

In January 1943, the squadron was re-equipped with the higher-performance Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which it operated throughout the rest of the war.
The majority of the unit's activities consisted of light and medium bomber
escort and ground support attacks. From its first combat base in New Guinea the squadron moved through Borneo and the Celebes Islands. They were also stationed in the Netherlands, East Indies, and the Philippines. From Christmas 1943 to Christmas 1944, the 80th was busy providing aerial support for the landings in the Philippines. The squadron moved to Okinawa on Aug. 29, 1944, and flew its first mission against the Japanese mainland on the following day. On Aug. 12, 1945, the 80th flew its final combat mission of World War 11, in which the squadron commander was shot down.

During the course of the war, the squadron accounted for 225 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air (second highest in the theater), receiving 10 battle honors and three Distinguished Unit Citations. Among the 24 "headhunter" pilots who became famous aces was Captain Richard L. Bong (40 kills), the American "ace-of-aces".

During the post-war period, the squadron moved to Itazuke AB, Japan,
converting from the P-51 to the F-80. There the 80th was redesignated the
80th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Because of its location at Itazuke, the 80th
was one of the first units to see combat in the Korean Conflict. On June 26, 1950, the day after the North Koreans moved south of the 38th parallel, the 80th covered the evacuation of Americans from Seoul.

On Aug. 11, 1950, the 80th was attached to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing,
flying the F-80 "Shooting Star", and was the first American unit to fly jet
aircraft in combat. During the see-saw battle for Korea, the 80th was based at various times at Itazuke AB, Japan, or Suwon and Kimpo ABs, Republic of Korea, depending on the success of the United States ground forces. Whether striking the enemy's front lines, or flying deep behind the lines to hit supply routes, bridges, supply build-ups, or heavy troop concentrations, the 80th remained in continuous combat during the entire conflict.

During the post-Korea period, the squadron converted to the F-84 and F-86 at Kadena AB, Japan, then returned to Itazuke in 1956 to become one of the first squadrons to convert to the F-100 Supersabre. In the summer of 1963, the squadron began conversion to the F-105 Thunderchief and in May moved to Yokota AB, Japan.

With the advent of the Vietnam Conflict, the 80th was one of the first units
to send pilots and planes to Thailand to fly combat missions against North Vietnam. The squadron was deployed to temporary duty to Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from Oct. 30 to Dec. 29, 1964, and to Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from June 27 to Aug. 15, 1965.

In the winter of 1967 to 1968, the 80th began converting to the F-4C Phantom 11 at Yokota AB. It was during January, 1968 that the 80th was involved in the Pueblo Incident. In April of 1969 the 80th aircrews participated in the search for the Navy EC-121 that was shot down by the North Koreans.

On 15 February, 1971, the 80th moved from Yokota AB to Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, and was temporarily assigned to Det 1, 475th TFW. The 80th then became an integral part of the 3rd TFW's varied mission until its transfer to the 8 TFW on Se, 1974.

In September of 1981 the 80th became the first unit stationed overseas to
convert to the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On Jan. 31, 1992, the 80th TFS was
redesignated 80 FS and reassigned to the TFW. The 80th continues to support the United States Contingent in Korea with the same pride and excellence instilled in the squadron from the "Headhunters" of the past.