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|480th Fighter Squadron|
Squadron F-16C Fighting Falcons in Bulgaria in October 2010.
|Active||1942–1944, 1951–1956, 1957–1994, 2010–present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||United States Air Forces in Europe|
|Garrison/HQ||Spangdahlem Air Base|
|Motto(s)||Escadrille to Warhawks|
First In, Last Out
|Decorations||Presidential Unit Citation|
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
|Lt Col Michael "Bait" Richard|
|480th Fighter Sq emblem (modified 20 August 2010)|
|Patch with 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron emblem (approved c. March 1959)|
World War II
Established by III Bomber Command as a B-26 Marauder training squadron.
Tactical Air Command
The 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron' was established in 1957 at England Air Force Base, Louisiana, as the 480th Fighter Bomber Squadron, flying North American F-100 Super Sabres. In 1959 it was inactivated again due to budgetary reductions. Three years later it was reactivated again under United States Air Forces in Europe, flying the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak. In 1963 it was re-equipped with F-100s, but withdrawn from France upon request of French government.
Reassigned to Hollomon AFB, New Mexico (USA), it was re-equipped with F-4C Phantom II fighters. The squadron was deployed to Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, in 1966 as part of USAF buildup in Southeast Asia and was engaged in combat operations, primarily over North Vietnam, from 1966 to 1971. In November 1967, a member of the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Capt. Lance Sijan, ejected his disabled aircraft and was badly injured in North Vietnam. Despite his injuries, he evaded enemy forces for more than 40 days and then, when captured, managed to escape briefly. Captain Sijan later died in a prison camp and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
In 1969 the squadron moved to Phù Cát Air Base (tail code: HK), South Vietnam, scoring nine MiG kills. The continued drawdown of United States forces from Vietnam resulted in the inactivation of 37th TFW at Phù Cát AB on 31 March 1970. The wing assets remained and were re-designated as the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing when the 12 TFW was moved without personnel or equipment from Cam Ranh Bay Air Base on 1 April 1970, to replace the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and its units. On 20 October 1971, the 480th TFS flew its last combat mission, which was also the last combat sortie for 12 TFW. 480 TFS F-4Ds were originally scheduled for redeployment to Holloman AFB, however, instead were distributed to bases throughout Southeast Asia: Clark Air Base, Philippines; Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base and Udon AB, Thailand; Da Nang AB; and Inspection and Repair as Necessary facilities (IRAN) at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base Taiwan. The 480 TFS was therefore inactivated, again.
The 480th began its service with the 52d Tactical Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, when it moved to the base in 1976, flying F-4D Phantom IIs, then F-4G Advanced Wild Weasels as part of the Wild Weasel mission. In 1987, the 480th started flying F-16C Fighting Falcon and became the USAF's first squadron to be equipped with the Block 50 F-16s in 1993. In 1994 the squadron was inactivated again as part of the post Cold War force reductions.
In April 2010 the 52nd Fighter Wing's strength was reduced by one third when 20 F-16Cs were transferred to other units. As a result of the drawdown of F-16s, the 22d and 23d Fighter Squadrons were inactivated on 13 August 2010 and formed a single "new" squadron, the 480th Fighter Squadron.
- 480th Bombardment Squadron
- Constituted as the 480th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 9 July 1942
- Activated on 15 July 1942
- Disbanded on 1 May 1944
- Reconstituted and consolidated with the 480th Air Resupply Squadron and the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron as the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 19 September 1985
- 480th Air Resupply Squadron
- Constituted as the 580th Aerial Resupply Squadron on 15 March 1951
- Activated on 16 April 1951
- Redesignated 580th Air Resupply Squadron on 5 November 1951
- Inactivated on 18 October 1956
- Redesignated 480th Air Resupply Squadron on 31 July 1985
- Consolidated with the 480th Bombardment Squadron and the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron as the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 19 September 1985
- 480th Fighter Squadron
- Constituted as the 480th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 1 September 1957
- Activated on 25 September 1957
- Redesignated 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 July 1958
- Inactivated on 1 April 1959
- Activated on 30 April 1962 (not organized)
- Organized on 8 May 1962
- Inactivated on 17 November 1971
- Activated on 15 November 1976
- Consolidated with the 480th Air Resupply Squadron and the 480th Bombardment Squadron on 19 September 1985
- Redesignated 480th Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1991
- Inactivated on 1 October 1994
- Activated on 13 August 2010
- 336th Bombardment Group, 15 July 1942 – 1 May 1944
- 580th Air Resupply and Communications Group (later 580th Air Resupply Group), 16 April 1951 – 18 October 1956
- 366th Fighter Bomber Wing (later 366th Tactical Fighter) Wing]], 25 September 1957 – 1 April 1959 (not operational after 4 March 1959)
- United States Air Forces Europe, 30 April 1962
- 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, 8 May 1962
- 2d Air Division, 5 February 1966 (attached to 6252d Tactical Fighter Wing)
- Seventh Air Force, 1 April 1966 (attached to 6252d Tactical Fighter Wing to 7 April 1966, then to 35th Tactical Fighter Wing)
- 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, 23 June 1966
- 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, 10 October 1966
- 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 April 1969
- 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, 31 March 1970 – 17 November 1971
- 52d Tactical Fighter Wing (later 52d Fighter Wing), 15 November 1976
- 52d Operations Group, 1 October 1991 – 1 October 1994
- 52d Operations Group, 13 August 2010 – present
- MacDill Field, Florida, 15 July 1942
- Fort Myers Army Air Field, Florida, 10 August 1942
- Avon Park Army Air Field, Florida, 13 December 1942
- MacDill Field, Florida, 13 October 1943
- Lake Charles Army Air Field, Louisiana, 6 November 1943 – 1 May 1944
- Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, 16 April 1951 – 19 September 1952
- Wheelus Field (later, Wheelus Air Base), Libya, 28 September 1952 – 18 October 1956
- Alexandria Air Force Base (later England Air Force Base), Louisiana, 25 September 1957
- Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base, France, 8 May 1962
- Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, 16 July 1963
- Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, 1 February 1966
- Phu Cat Air Base, South Vietnam, 15 April 1969 – 17 November 1971
- Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, 15 November 1976 – 1 October 1994
- Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, 13 August 2010 – present
- Martin B-26 Marauder, 1942–1944
- Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 1951–1956
- Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, 1951–1956
- Grumman SA-16 Albatross, 1951–1956
- North American F-100 Super Sabre, 1957–59, 1963
- Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, 1962–1963
- McDonnell F-4C Phantom II, 1963–1971
- McDonnell F-4D Phantom II, 1963–1971, 1976–1987
- McDonnell F-4E Phantom II, 1976–1987
- McDonnell F-4G Phantom II, 1976–1987
- General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon, 1987–1994, 2010–present
- Dollman, TSG Davis (13 October 2016). "Factsheet 480 Fighter Squadron (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- Polesnak, 1 Lt Kathleen (24 August 2010). "480th activated as Spangdahlem's newest F-16 squadron". 52d Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 24 February 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- Gradishar, SRA Kali L. (26 April 2010). "F-16 drawdown to begin". 52d Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- Knee, SSG Daryl (9 March 2012). "U.S. pilots plant SEAD with Turkish counterparts". Anatolian Falcon Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947–1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.