Type Tactical Fighter
|Country United States|
|Branch United States Air Force|
The 509th Tactical Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing, stationed at RAF Alconbury, England. It was inactivated on 30 December 1992.
World War II
Established as a dive-bomber squadron in early 1943, trained under Third Air Force with A-24 Banshees (the USAAF version of the Navy Douglas SBD Dauntless). Converted to a P-39 Airacobra squadron in August and finally into a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron in late 1943.
Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to IX Fighter Command in England in early 1944. Engaged in ground attacks of enemy fortifications; controlled bridges, railway lines, roads, armor and troop concentrations in Occupied France and the Low Countries; carrying out fighter sweeps of Luftwaffe-controlled airfields. Flew patrols over the Normandy Landing Beaches, 6 June 1944, later taking up station in newly constructed airfields in liberated areas of France. Engaged and completely destroyed a German armored division near Avranches, France, 29 July 1944. After immobilizing leading and trailing elements of the 3 mile (4.8 km) long column, the rest of the tanks and trucks were systematically destroyed with multiple sorties.
After the breakout at St Lo; squadron's mission was to provide air support in advance of the United States Third Army as it moved eastward across France, and as part of the Western Allied invasion of Germany in March 1945. Continued attacking ground targets until German Capitulation in May 1945. Gradually demobilized as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe occupation forces during the summer of 1945, inactivated in the United States as an administrative unit in October.
Pacific Air Forces
Reactivated in 1952 as a Tactical Air Command squadron under Ninth Air Force. Equipped with F-84 Thunderstreaks, later upgrading to F-100 Super Sabres in 1956.
When its home station (Godman AFB, Kentucky) was closed due to budget reductions in 1959, was reassigned to Pacific Air Forces in the Philippines. Re-equipped with F-86D Sabre interceptors, and provided air defense for that island nation in the early 1960s. Re-equipped with modern F-102 Delta Dagger("Duces") interceptors in late 1960. As the Vietnam War intensified, deployed flights to both Thailand and South Vietnam throughout the 1960s, providing air defense of Bangkok and Saigon as well as other areas from enemy aircraft. The 509th's Duces arrived at Da Nang Air Base, 4 August 1964 from Clark Air Base, Philippines. Inactivated in 1970 with the phaseout of the F-102 as well as the general drawdown of United States forces in Indochina.
United States Air Forces in Europe
Reactivated in 1980 as an A-10 Thunderbolt II Tactical Fighter Squadron at RAF Bentwaters, England under USAFE Third Air Force. Flew tactical fighter training missions throughout the 1980s from the United Kingdom as well as a forward locations at Ahlhorn Air Base and Norvenich Air Base West Germany. Reassigned to RAF Alconbury in 1988 in a USAFE dispersal of the 6-squadron host 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at the twin bases of RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge.
Inactivated in 1992 as a result of the end of the Cold War and a general reduction of USAFE forces afterward.