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510th Fighter Squadron History

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The 510th Fighter Squadron was originally constituted as the 625th Bombardment Squadron (Dive) on 4 February 1943. It was activated on 1 Mar 1943 at Drew Field, FL, and assigned to the 405th Bombardment (later, 405th Fighter-Bomber; 405th Fighter) Group. It was redesignated as the 510th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 10 August 1943; as the 510th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Single Engine, on 20 August 1943; and as the 510th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 30 May 1944. In late 1943, the squadron moved to Walterboro Army Air Field, South Carolina where it began to fly the were the Douglas A-24 Banshee (1943), then the Bell P-39 Airacobra (1943) and finally the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (1943-1945).

In March of 1944, the 510th moved to Christchurch, England, and began combat operations. During WWII, the 510th moved to mainland Europe with the advance of Allied troops, flying from Picauville and St Dizier, France; Ophoven, Belgium; and Kitzingen, Germany. The unit was credited with 39 kills and saw combat in ETO, from 11 April 1944-1 May 1945. The squadron returned to the United States and inactivated on 27 October 1945 at Camp Kilmer, NJ.

Redesignated as the 510th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 15 October 1952, the squadron reactivated on 1 December 1952 at Goldman AFB, KY. Assigned to the 405th Fighter-Bomber Group, the squadron operated the Republic F-84 Thunderstreak before transitioning to the F-100 in 1956. The 510th was reassigned to the 405th Fighter-Bomber Wing, on 8 October 1957. The squadron inactivated on 1 July 1958 at Langley AFB, VA, where it had relocated to on 17 April 1953.

Redesignated as the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 11 March 1959, the squadron was reactivated on 9 April 1959 at Clark AB, Luzon. Assigned to the 405th Fighter Wing (though attached to Joint Task Force 116, from 16 May-8 June 1962), the squadron flew the North American F-100 Super Sabre. During that period, the squadron had been, until 14 March 1964, stationed at Clark AB, Luzon, (but deployed at Chai-Yi AB, Taiwan (1-8 July and 2-12 November 1959); at Takhli RTAFB, Thailand (11 May-8 June 1962)); and at England AFB, LA, until 7 November 1965 (but deployed at Clark AB, Philippines, from 8 May-20 August 1965). The squadron saw combat in Southeast Asia from 12 November 1965 to 15 October 1969. The squadron inactivated on 15 November 1969 at Bien Hoa AB, South Vietnam, to which it had relocated on 10 November 1965. The 510th flew over 27,200 combat missions in Southeast Asia. In 1969, it again deactivated.

The 510th reactivated on 1 October 1978 at RAF Bentwaters, England, and was assigned to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing (though attached to the 405th Fighter Wing, c. 8 May-17 August 1965). It was reassigned to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, on 1 October 1978. The squadron began operating the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in 1979.

The squadron began providing close air support for NATO exercises, starting August 1979 and this until December 1992. The 510th deployed aircraft and personnel to Turkey to support Kurdish relief in Northern Iraq, from 6 September-10 December 1991; from 8 April-10 June 1992; and from 6 August-30 October 1992 and in support of Operation DESERT STORM and Operation PROVIDE COMFORT.

Reassigned to the 52 Operations Group on 1 October 1992, the 510th relocated to Spangdahlem AB, Germany. The 510th Fighter Squadron completed transferring aircraft from RAF Bentwaters, England, to Spangdahlem, Germany on 4 January 1993. This completed the transition of the 510th Fighter Squadron from Bentwaters, which closed in 1993. With the final two aircraft, the 510th FS had its full compliment of 18 A-10 and six OA-10 aircraft. Spangdahlem's 52nd Fighter Wing received its first operational A-10s from Bentwaters in October 1992 and was receiving aircraft from England about every two weeks during the transition. The 52nd FW inactivated when Spangdahlem was redesignated the 20th Fighter Wing 04 January 1994. The 20th FW was assigned to RAF Upper Heyford, England, but its flying mission there ended by 31 December 1993. The 20th FW was scheduled to operate three squadrons of F-16s and one A-10 squadron making it the largest flying operation in USAFE. During 1993-1994, the 510th flew more than 1,700 combat sorties, from Aviano AB, Italy, in support of Operation DENY FLIGHT. In the skies over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the squadron became the infamous "BOSNIA BUZZARDS". The 510th inactivated on 1 February 1994.

Redesignated as the 510th Fighter Squadron "BOSNIA BUZZARDS" on 23 March 1994, it activated on 1 July 1994 at Aviano AB, Italy, and was assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing's Operations Group flying the General Dynamics/Lockheed F-16CG VIPER.

The BOSNIA BUZZARDS, during Operation DELIBERATE FORCE, were the first F-16 Block 40 squadron to drop a Laser Guided Bomb.  The 510th led the Tactical Air Forces with the 1st combat use of Night Vision Goggles in an F-16 during Operation DELIBERATE GUARD.  The BOSNIA BUZZARDS led the way by being one of the first F-16 units to become Forward Air Controllers (FAC-A), and were the first to employ as FAC-A's in combat in the F-16.

In October - December 1998, the 510th deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey for its first F-16 deployment to OPERATION NORTHERN Watch.

In OPERATION ALLIED FORCE, the Air War over Serbia, the Buzzards distinguished themselves by flying more combat missions than any other F-16 squadron. 

Subsequently the "BALKAN BUZZARDS" have expanded into an Expeditionary Air Force, the worldwide "FIGHTIN' BUZZARDS" and were the first Aviano fighter squadron to deploy to OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH in June 2000.  It again deployed to OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH in June of 2001.  During those deployments the "FIGHTIN' BUZZARDS" engaged in combat operations over Iraq in both surface attack and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR).  In September to December 2002, the Buzzards returned to OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH and dropped 136,508 pounds of ordinance over Iraq to include the first GBU-31A JDAM in F-16 CG combat history.

The worlds finest fighter squadron, the "FIGHTIN' BUZZARDS" continue to fly the world's greatest fighter, the single engine, single tail, supersonic, multi-role, 9G, General Dynamics/Lockheed F-16CG Viper at Aviano AB, Italy.

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