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1st Squadron (Belgium)

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Covid-19
Active  16 April 1913
Branch  Air Component
Country  Belgium
Part of  2nd Tactical Wing
1st Squadron (Belgium)
Motto(s)  Nemo me impune lacessit (No one provokes me with impunity) (Latin)
Commander  Lieutenant-Colonel V. Maniet

The 1st Squadron (French: 1re escadrille) is a fighter squadron in the Air Component of the Belgian Armed Forces. It is part of the 2nd Tactical Wing and operates F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Contents

The 1re Escadrille de Chasse was the first fighter squadron of the Belgian Air Component. The squadron was founded during World War I, reorganized into a dedicated fighter unit, and became part of a fighter wing before war's end.

The origins

The 1re Escadrille de Chasse was founded in February 1916 as the first dedicated squadron of the Aviation Militaire Belge. It drew upon the men and equipment of the previously existing provisional Escadrille I. In August 1917, upon receiving the new Hanriot-Dupont 1 aircraft, the first version of the famous “Thistle” symbol was designed by André de Meulemeester as the squadron's insignia, to be painted on the aircraft. He also selected the squadron motto “Nemo me impune lacessit” or “No-one can challenge me unpunished”. In March 1918, it would be reorganized into the 9ème Escadrille.

Aerodromes

1 Coxyde: February 1916 - June 1916

2 Les Moeres: June 1916 - March 1918

Notable personnel

1 Andre de Meulemeester

2 Fernand Jacquet

3 Jan Olieslagers

4 Willy Coppens

Aircraft used

1 Nieuport 10

2 Nieuport Scouts

3 Nieuport 16

4 Nieuport 17

5 Hanriot HD.1

6 Sopwith Camel

Operations

At the start of World War I, Belgium was neutral. An overwhelming invasion by the German army left Belgium partially occupied by the end of 1914, with its preserved territory shielded by deliberate defensive flooding at Nieuwpoort by the Belgians. As a result, the Aviation Militaire Belgium was based in the diminished remnant of a small country, and performed largely in a static defensive mode.
Captain Fernand Jacquet and Lieutenant Louis Robin scored the squadron's first victory on 20 May 1916. It would claim 52 aerial victories and be credited with 15, at a blood cost of five Belgian pilots killed in action and one accidental death.

Present day

After World War II, the modern Belgian Air Force was founded in 1946. The "Thistle" was accorded to 351 Squadron of 161st Wing at Florennes Airbase. On January 10, 1948, this unit became 1st Squadron of 2nd Wing. From that day to the present, the squadron shares the identity and the traditions of the 1ère Escadrille de Chasse of 1917 . In July 1971, 1 Squadron leaves Florennes for Bierset, to constitute 3rd Wing together with 8 Squadron. Designated to transform to the F-16, the unit swaps bases with 42 Squadron of Florennes in 1989.

Airbases

1 Florennes: 1948-1971 ; 1989–Present

2 Bierset : 1971-1989 ( Brustem: 1981)

Aircraft used

1 Spitfire XIV

2 F-84 E/G/F

3 Mirage 5BA

4 F-16 Fighting Falcon

References

1st Squadron (Belgium) Wikipedia


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