15th Test Squadron

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15th Test Squadron
Air Force Materiel Command.png
15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron F-101B 58-0259 1961.jpg
15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron McDonnell F-101B Voodoo at Davis Monthan AFB in May 1961
Active 1940–1944; 1947-1949; 1953-1964; 1988-unknown
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Fighter Test
Insignia
15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron emblem (approved 28 July 1943)[1] 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron - Emblem.jpg

The 15th Test Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit, its last assignment was with the Air Force Materiel Command at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where it was inactivated.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The squadron was activated as the 15th Pursuit Squadron in early 1941 as part of the Southeast Air District, it was equipped with a series of pursuit aircraft with a mission of air defense of Florida. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, the squadron was assigned to the Caribbean Air Force in Panama where it operated in defense of the Panama Canal. It returned to the United States in early 1943 where it became a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (later North American P-51 Mustang) replacement training unit (RTU) for III Fighter Command, it was disbanded on 1 May 1944 as part of a reorganization of training units.

Air Defense[edit]

North American F-86D-40-NA Sabre 52-3722 34th Air Division, Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona, June 1957

The squadron was reactivated in 1953 as the 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, part of Air Defense Command. It was equipped with North American F-86A Sabre day fighters at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona with a mission of air defense of the Southwest United States. It Re-equipped in 1954 with North American F-86D Sabres; in 1957 it began re-equipping with the F-86L, an improved version of the F-86D which incorporated the Semi Automatic Ground Environment, or SAGE computer-controlled direction system for intercepts. The service of the F-86L destined to be quite brief, since by the time the last F-86L conversion was delivered, the type was already being phased out in favor of supersonic interceptors.

In 1960 the squadron received the new McDonnell F-101B Voodoo supersonic interceptor, and 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. 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 Williams Air Force Base at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis.[2][3] These planes returned to Davis-Monthan after the crisis.

In the early 1960s, the Air Force implemented Project Clearwater, an initiative to withdraw Convair F-102 Delta Daggers from overseas bases in order to reduce "gold flow" (negative foreign currency transactions).[4] By 1963, part of this plan called for the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Naha Air Base to move to Davis-Monthan,[5] permitting the 15th's F-101s to be distributed to other ADC squadrons. Because there would be a gap between the transfer of the 15th's F-101s and the arrival of the 16th's F-102s, eight F-102s from Perrin Air Force Base would maintain alert at Davis-Monthan, as another cost saving move, planning called for the 16th to be inactivated upon arrival at Davis-Monthan and the 15th to assume its aircraft. However, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident intervened and the 16th was kept in the Pacific to maintain an air defense capability there. Headquarters, USAF directed ADC to simply inactivate the 15th with no replacement, the squadron degraded to a marginally combat ready status by October 1964 and was inactivated in December.[6]

Test[edit]

2872d Test Squadron emblem
F-16 of the 2872d Test Squadron on a flight near Hill Air Force Base, Utah

The 2872d Test Squadron was activated at Hill Air Force Base, Utah to perform flight tests on General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons that had undergone major overhaul or modification. In 1992 the squadron was consolidated with the 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron as the 15th Test Squadron.

Lineage[edit]

15th Test Squadron

  • Constituted as the 15th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 15th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942
Disbanded on 1 May 1944
  • Reconstituted on 10 March 1947
Activated in the reserve on 12 March 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 11 February 1953
Activated on 20 April 1953
Inactivated on 24 December 1964
  • Consolidated on 1 October 1992 with the 2872d Test Squadron as the 15th Test Squadron
  • Inactivated unknown

2872d Test Squadron

  • Designated as the 2872d Test Squadron and activated on 15 January 1988
  • Consolidated on 1 October 1992 with the 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron as the 15th Test Squadron

Assignments[edit]

53d Pursuit (later Fighter) Group, 15 January 1941 – 1 May 1944
Detached to Sixth Air Force, 2 January – 10 November 1942
419th Troop Carrier Group, 30 September 1947 – 27 June 1949
34th Air Division, 20 April 1953
Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, 1 January 1960
Phoenix Air Defense Sector, 1 May 1961 – 4 December 1964
Ogden Air Logistics Center, 15 January 1988 - unknown

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. 
  2. ^ McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000), pp. 10-12
  3. ^ NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO , 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996). p. 16
  4. ^ McMullen, p. 51
  5. ^ The original plan was to move the 16th to Edwards Air Force Base, but military construction costs to base the squadron there were prohibitive, so Davis-Monthan was selected. McMullen, pp. 60-61
  6. ^ McMullen, pp. 63-64

Bibliography[edit]

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

  • Cornett, Lloyd H.; Johnson, Mildred W. (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980 (PDF). Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. 
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. 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. 
  • McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000)
  • NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996)