Active15 January 1941 – 22 June 1962
1 September 1972 - Present BranchUnited States Air Force Part ofAir Education and Training Command
19th Air Force
47th Flying Training Wing
47th Operations Group Garrison/HQLaughlin Air Force Base
The 85th Flying Training Squadron (85 FTS) is part of the 47th Flying Training Wing based at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. It operates T-6 Texan II aircraft conducting flight training.
The 85th was first activated as a bombardment squadron shortly before the United States entered World War II. Stationed at McChord Field, Washington it flew antisubmarine patrols following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The squadron was sent to North Africa to participate in Allied operations in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in late 1942 where it specialized in conducting low-level bombing missions against enemy forces. The unit earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for actions against German forces at Kasserine Pass in February 1943.
Following the Axis defeat in North Africa the 85th participated in the reduction of Pantellaria and Lampedusa and the invasion of Sicily in the summer of 1943. The squadron next supported the British Eighth Army during the invasion of Italy and continued to lead support combat support throughout the Italian Campaign, earning it a second Distinguished Unit Citation for actions in the Po Valley 21–24 April 1945. In August and September 1944 the 85th briefly broke off from the Italian Campaign to support the invasion of southern France.
Following the Second World War the squadron remained an active bomber unit. It was the first squadron to operate the B-45 Tornado, the US Air Force's first jet bomber. It later transitioned to the B-66 Destroyer before being inactivated in May 1962. The squadron was reactivated a decade later as a Flying Training Squadron, replacing the 3645th Pilot Training Squadron at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.