13th Fighter Squadron

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13th Fighter Squadron
13th Fighter Squadron - Lockheed F-16C Block 50P Fighting Falcon - 92-3913.jpg
13th FS F-16 Fighting Falcon departs for the Fort Irwin ranges[note 1]
Active 1942–1943; 1966–1975; 1976–1982; 1985–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Fighter
Part of Pacific Air Forces
Nickname(s) "The Panther Pack"
Motto(s) Cave Putorium[1]
Mascot(s) Eldridge
Engagements Antisubmarine campaign
Vietnam War[2]
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm[2]
13th Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 16 August 2007)[2] 13 Fighter Squadron emblem.png
13th Tactical Fighter Squadron emblem (approved 15 August 1985)[3] 13 Tactical Fighter Squadron emblem.png
Eldridge, mascot of 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron

The 13th Fighter Squadron is a fighter squadron of the United States Air Force, the squadron flies the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and is part of the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

The squadron traces its heritage back to the 1942 activation of the 313th Bombardment Squadron, the squadron served in the continental United States as a training unit until its 1943 inactivation. The squadron was reactivated in 1966 as the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, fighting in the Vietnam War, the squadron flew Wild Weasel anti-SAM missions with the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, operating out of Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. The squadron moved to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in October 1967, flying F-4s in combat air patrols against North Vietnamese MiGs and ground strike missions. The squadron was inactivated with the end of the war in 1975, the squadron was reactivated in 1976 a training squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and inactivated again in 1982. The squadron was reactivated as the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1985 at Misawa, flying the F-16, it was redesignated the 13th Fighter Squadron in 1991.


The 13th Fighter Squadron "Panther Pack" operates the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon CM/DM Block 50 aircraft conducting air superiority missions. The Panthers provide in Offensive and Defensive Counter-Air capabilities, and specialize in the role of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses.[4]


World War II[edit]

The 13th Fighter Squadron was first activated as the 313th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 1 February 1942, part of the 21st Bombardment Group, the squadron was initially stationed at Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky, but moved to Jackson Army Air Base, Mississippi, a week later. On 24 April, the squadron moved to Columbia Army Air Base in South Carolina, becoming an operational training unit five days later, it served in the continental United States, training bomber crews for overseas service. The squadron also conducted anti-submarine patrols in the Gulf of Mexico between June and August, the squadron was disbanded on 10 October 1943.[4][2][5]

Vietnam War[edit]

A 13th TFS F-4D over Vietnam in 1971, carrying a Pave Sword laser pod.

On 2 May 1966, the squadron was reactivated as the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and the McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II. The squadron flew Wild Weasel missions to destroy North Vietnamese Surface-to-air missile sites; in October 1967, the squadron was moved to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, becoming part of the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. At Udorn, the 13th flew F-4D and F-4E aircraft, remaining there for the remainder of the war; in 1972, the squadron adopted as a mascot a panther nicknamed "Eldridge" after Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver. The squadron later became known as the "Panther Pack",[6] the squadron scored 11 MiG kills, compiled 21 aerial victories, and flew more than 30,000 combat sorties. The squadron earned 15 campaign streamers, six Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Valor, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm during the war. The squadron was inactivated in June 1975 with the end of the war.[4]

MacDill AFB Training unit[edit]

The squadron was reactivated on 15 January 1976 at MacDill Air Force Base as the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, part of the 56th Tactical Fighter Wing, the squadron conducted F-4 pilot and weapon system officer replacement training and was inactivated on 1 July 1982.[4]

Misawa Air Base[edit]

On 1 June 1985, the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron was reactivated at Misawa Air Base in Japan, assigned to the 432d Fighter Wing and flying the F-16C Fighting Falcon, the 13th became the first permanent fighter squadron stationed on mainland Japan since 1972. On 19 September, the 313th Bombardment Squadron's lineage was consolidated with the 13th TFS,[2] on 31 May 1991, the 13th TFS was redesignated the 13th Fighter Squadron. It was transferred to the 35th Fighter Wing's 35th Operations Group on 1 October 1994, part of an organizational realignment to ensure wings with rich heritages remained active.[4]

The squadron achieved initial operational capability in F-16CJs in 1996, the squadron's tail code was simultaneously changed from "MJ" to "WW" in recognition of the wing's Wild Weasel heritage. On 8 July of that year, the squadron became the first Pacific Air Forces F-16 unit to deploy in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq, as a result of a policy change allowing all units the opportunity to deploy, during Operation Southern Watch, the squadron flew its first combat missions since the 1975 Mayaguez incident. Since 1996, the 13th FS has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan ten times, most recently in 2014 to Jordan where the Panthers opened the US air campaign against the Islamic State. Eventually this effort would become known as Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).


313th Bombardment Squadron
  • Constituted as the 313th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 13 January 1942
Activated on 1 February 1942
Disbanded on 10 October 1943
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 19 September 1985[2]
13th Fighter Squadron
  • Constituted as the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron and activated on 2 May 1966 (not organized)
Organized on 15 May 1966
Inactivated on 30 June 1975
  • Redesignated 13th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on 18 December 1975
Activated on 15 January 1976
Inactivated on 1 July 1982
  • Redesignated 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 5 June 1984
Activated on 1 June 1985
  • Consolidated with the 313th Bombardment Squadron on 19 September 1985
Redesignated as 13th Fighter Squadron on 31 May 1991[2]





Capt Jeffrey Feinstein. 5 kills[7]



Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Aircraft is General Dynamics F-16C Block 50, serial 92-3913. Taken on 20 August 2008, during exercise Green Flag 080-9 at Nellis AFB.
  1. ^ Heitzman, Deana (5 May 2016). "Projecting power, fulfilling childhood dream". 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dollman, TSG David (October 11, 2016). "Factsheet 13 Fighter Squadron (PACAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  3. ^ Endicott, p. 433
  4. ^ a b c d e "13th Fighter Squadron". 35th Fighter Wing. 24 February 2014. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Maurer, ed. 1982, p. 380.
  6. ^ Jackson, Kenna (26 January 2012). "Wing AMUs keep the Falcon soaring". 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 2017-02-20. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Valor awards for Jeffrey S. Feinstein". Military Times Hall of Valor. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]