The 62d Fighter Squadron ("Spikes", Tailband: White & Blue) operates the F-35A Lightning II, conducting pilot training for active duty USAF pilots.
The 62d Fighter Squadron was constituted as the 62d Pursuit Squadron as part of the 56th Pursuit Group at Savannah, Georgia, on 15 January 1941. The squadron immediately began training for its wartime missions under III Fighter Command, rapidly transitioning through the P-35, P-36, P-39, and P-40 aircraft. On 7 December 1941, the 62d stepped up to defend the Northeastern United States from anticipated enemy air attack while it converted to the P-47 aircraft and prepared to deploy overseas, operating under the I Fighter Command, New York Fighter Wing in the early months of 1942.
It was redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942, and deployed to RAF Kings Cliffe (AAF-367), England on 9 January 1943. It was declared operationally ready two months later and flew its first combat missions 13 April. The squadron was given fuselage code "LM" and operated from several RAF stations during the war, flying the P-47C Thunderbolt as an VIII Fighter Command bomber-escort unit for B-17 Flying Fortresses and beginning in 1944 for B-24 Liberators attacking enemy targets in Occupied Europe. After the end of the war in Europe, the squadron demobilized in England, and was inactivated as an administrative unit on 18 October 1945. given
The squadron was reactivated on 1 May 1946 as a Strategic Air Command escort fighter group, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force at Selfridge Army Air Base, Michigan, equipped with long-range P-51H Mustangs that had been developed for Twentieth Air Force bomber escort missions in the Pacific Theater. The mission of the squadron was to provide fighter escort of SAC's B-29 Superfortress bombers on intercontinental strategic bombardment missions, deploying to Alaska and Europe in this role. In 1947, the squadron was upgraded to Lockheed P-80C Shooting Stars, as SAC introduced the B-50 in the late 1940s. The squadron trained to maintain proficiency as a mobile strike force; including bomber escort mission until transferred from Strategic Air Command to Continental Air Command on 1 Dec 1948.
The squadron began performing air defense missions in 1950 with its relocation to O'Hare Air Reserve Station, near Chicago in 1950, being re-designated as the 62d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 20 Jan 1950, and re-equipped with the F-86D Sabre. It was assigned to Air Defense Command 4706th Defense Wing in February 1952. In 1955, the 56th was reactivated under ADC as an Air Defense Group with the 62d FIS being a tactical interceptor squadron.
In 1959 with interceptors being moved from O'Hare the squadron was moved to K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan, and the 62d was re-equipped with the Mach 2+ McDonnell F-101B Voodoo twin-seat interceptor. The F-101B proved to be a quite successful interceptor. assigned alongside the F-101B interceptor was the F-101F operational and conversion trainer. The two-seat trainer version was equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable.
The squadron maintained alert against the ever-present Soviet bomber threat.
On 22 October 1962, before President John F. Kennedy told Americans that missiles were in place in Cuba, the squadron dispersed one third of its force, equipped with nuclear tipped missiles to Phelps Collins Air National Guard Base at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis. These planes returned to K.I. Sawyer after the crisis.
A highlight from this era was the squadron capturing top F-101 squadron honors at the William Tell 1965, USAF Worldwide Weapons Meet. The squadron maintained the air defense alert until 30 Apr 1971 when it was inactivated, the aircraft being passed along to the Air National Guard. The 62d FIS was the last active-duty squadron equipped with the F-101B. The squadron was replaced by the 87th FIS flying F-106A "Delta Darts"
On 1 September 1974, the 62d was re-activated at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, as a fighter-training unit. The squadron assumed the mission of training F-4E Phantom II and F-106 Delta Dart weapons instructors at the United States Air Force interceptor Weapons School. The following October, the flag moved again, this time to rejoin the 56th Tactical Fighter Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and began training F-4 crews for tactical units around the world. 62d TFS aircraft carried a blue fin cap, tail coded "MC". In April 1978, the squadron changed equipment to the F-4D, with the "E" models being transferred to operational squadrons.
The last F-4D flight occurred on 14 November 1980, and conversion began to the F-16A/B began that month. On 1 January 1981, the squadron transitioned to the F-16 Fighting Falcon" and the squadron was re-designated as the 62d Tactical Fighter Training Squadron. Beginning in June 1989 the unit converted over to the block 30 model of the F-16C/D. On 1 November 1991 the squadron was once again re-designated back to what it was in World War II as the 62nd Fighter Squadron with the adoption of the objective organization plan by the Wing.
With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s it was announced that MacDill AFB would be closed. The squadrons of the 56th FW would be inactivated starting with the 72d Fighter Squadron and worked its way sequentially down to the 61st Fighter Squadron. Therefore the 62d Fighter Squadron was second to last to disband. The squadron, however, continued to train fighter pilots until its inactivation on 12 May 1993 to prepare for the move to Luke AFB, Arizona where it would continue as an F-16 training squadron.
Once the move was made to Luke AFB, the squadron was able to reactivate on 18 March 1994. By that time the 58th FW at Luke had been re-designated as the 56th FW so the squadron always remained part of that wing. Although the squadron moved, the Block 30 aircraft at MacDill AFB did not move with the squadron. Instead the 62nd Fighter Squadron converted to the block 25 F-16 at Luke.
Pilot training for students assigned to the 62d FS is a standard syllabus, one that gets students their first look at the F-16 and prepare them for service with active duty units. The squadron's mission is to "Graduate flight pilots who meet or exceed syllabus standards and their gaining units' expectations. Teach the B-course students what it means to be a fighter pilot. Actively promote quality of life and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth." Constituted as 62d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940
Activated on 15 Jan 1941
Redesignated 62d Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) (Twin Engine)
on 31 Jan 1942
Redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron (Twin Engine)
on 15 May 1942
Redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron on 1 Jun 1942
Redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine
, on 28 Feb 1944
Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945
Activated on 1 May 1946
Redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled
, on 24 Apr 1947
Redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron, Jet
, on 14 Jun 1948
Redesignated 62d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
on 20 Jan 1950
Inactivated on 30 Apr 1971
Redesignated as 62d Fighter-Interceptor Training Squadron on 15 Aug 1974
Activated on 1 Sep 1974
Redesignated 62d Tactical Fighter Squadron
on 30 Jun 1975
Redesignated 62d Tactical Fighter Training Squadron
on 1 Jan 1981
Redesignated 62d Fighter Squadron
on 1 Nov 1991
Inactivated on 14 May 1993
Activated on 18 Mar 1994.
World War II