Unit Details

7th Fighter-Bomber Squadron

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7th Fighter Squadron.jpg

7th Fighter Squadron

7th Fighter Squadron
Lockheed Martin F-22A Block 30 Raptor 05-4106.jpg
F-22A block 30 05-4106, 7th FS takes off from Holloman AFB, October 22, 2008 for training missions in the local area
Active 15 January 1941 – 15 December 2006
15 May 2008 – 2 May 2014
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Air Supremecy
Nickname(s) Screamin' Demons
Engagements Asiatic-Pacific Streamer.png
World War II (Asia-Pacific Theater)
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Korean War
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Vietnam War
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1991 Gulf War (Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation of Kuwait)
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Operation Southern Watch
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Distinguished Unit Citation (7x)
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Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
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Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (6x)
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Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
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Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (2x)
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Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Insignia
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The 7th Fighter Squadron (7 FS) is an inactive United States Air Force unit, assigned to the 49th Operations Group. It is stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. On May 2, 2014, the 7th Fighter Squadron was inactivated.

Overview

The 7th Fighter Squadron better known as the "Screamin' Demons" maintain combat readiness to deploy worldwide in accordance with Secretary of Defense taskings. Operating the F-22A Raptor, the squadron provides unsurpassed air dominance in the world's most dangerous threat arenas.

The squadron's emblem is described as a "Bunyap, an Australian aboriginal death demon". The usual spelling is Bunyip.

History

World War II

The 7th Fighter Squadron origins date to 16 January 1941, when it was activated as Selfridge Field, Michigan as the 7th Pursuit Squadron. It was equipped with Seversky P-35s that were transferred from the 1st Pursuit Group that departed to Rockwell Field, California. In May 1941, the squadron proceeded to Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida, to train in the Curtiss P-40 fighter.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, training was greatly accelerated to prepare the Squadron for combat duty. By 16 February 1942, the 7th found themselves at Bankstown Airfield, Sydney, Australia, as one of the first American aviation units in the Southwest Pacific, flying the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. The first combat action with the Japanese happened on 14 March over Horn Island, Queensland off the Cape York Peninsula, Australia, with the 7th downing 5 Japanese Zeroes, taking no losses themselves. Until September 1942, the 7th would remain in Australia, engaged primarily in air defense. The 7th moved to join the other 2 squadrons of the 49th PG, in the defense of Darwin, Northern Territory, in April 1942.

 P-40E of the 7th Fighter Squadron – 49th Fighter Group – Australia – March 1942

It then moved North to Schwimmer Airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea, where its P-40s flew attack and air defense missions against Japanese fortifications. During this period, the squadron originally known as the "Screamin’ Demons," adopted their mascot and emblem, the Bunyap, an Australian aboriginal death demon. Even to this day, the Bunyap remains the squadron emblem.

During World War II, the 7th had 10 of its members earn Ace status, as each of them destroyed 5 or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat. The squadron continued to function effectively during WW II scoring 36 "Kills" in December 1944. By the end of the war, the Screamin’ Demons had achieved 178 "Kills."

The squadron participated in the Allied offensive that pushed the Japanese back along the Kokoda Track, took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943, fought for control of the approaches to Huon Gulf, and supported ground forces during the campaign in which the Allies eventually recovered New Guinea. It covered the landings on Noemfoor and had a part in. the conquest of Biak.

After having used Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, the squadron was equipped completely in September 1944 with P-38's, which were used to fly long-range escort and attack missions to Mindanao, Halmahera, Seram, and Borneo. The unit arrived in the Philippines in October 1944, shortly after the assault landings on Leyte and engaged enemy fighters, attacked shipping in Ormoc Bay, supported ground forces, and covered the Allied invasion of Luzon. For or intensive operations against the Japanese on Leyte, the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.

Other missions from the Philippines included strikes against industry and transportation on Formosa and against shipping along the China coast. The end of the war in August 1945 found the 7th Fighter Squadron on Okinawa, preparing for the planned invasion of Japan in November.

 Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star 49-526 7th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, taking off from Itazuke AB, Japan, 14 August 1950

After the Japanese Capitulation, the squadron moved to the Japanese Home Islands, initially being stationed at the former Imperial Japanese Navy Atsugi Airfield, near Tokyo on 15 September 1945. Its war-weary P-38 Lightnings were sent back to the United States and the squadron was re-equipped with P-51D Mustangs with a mission of both occupation duty and show-of-force flights. In February 1946, the squadron was moved to Chitose AB, on northern Honshu and assumed an air defense mission over Honshu and also Hokkaido Island. The pilots of the squadron were briefed not to allow any Soviet Air Force aircraft over Japanese airspace, as there was tension between the United States and the Soviet Union about Soviet occupation forces landing on Hokkaido. In April 1948, the squadron moved to the newly-rebuilt Misawa AB when the host 49th Fighter Group took up home station responsibilities. At Misawa, the squadron moved into the jet age when it was re-equipped with the F-80C Shooting Star.

Korean War

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the 7th was one of the first USAF squadrons dispatched to Korea from Japan, initially operating propeller-driven F-51Ds to cover the evacuation of civilians from Kimpo and Suwon. Next, it flew close air support missions to help slow the advancing North Korean armies. Later, it turned to the interdiction of enemy troops, supplies and communications from Misawa. However its short-range F-80Cs meant that the 49th had to move to South Korea in order for them to be effective.

 Republic F-84G Thunderjet 51-10538 "Damn Yankee", 7th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, shown at Pohangdong AB (K-3), South Korea, equipped with wing pylon fuel tanks and JATO Bottles

The squadron moved to Taegu AB (K-2) on 1 October 1950, becoming the first jet fighter outfit to operate from bases in South Korea. During the autumn of 1950 and spring of 1951, the squadron flew combat missions on a daily basis from Tageu, flying escort missions for B-29 Superfortresses over North Korea and engaging Communist MiG-15 fighters in air-to-air combat. When the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) Intervention Campaign gained momentum in 1950–1951, the squadron again concentrated on the ground support mission, attacking Communist Chinese ground units in North Korea, moving south until the line was stabilized and held just south of Seoul.

The 49th changed equipment to the F-84G Thunderjet in mid-1951, It engaged Communist forces on the ground in support of the 1st UN Counteroffensive Campaign (1951). Afterwards, it engaged primarily in air interdiction operations against the main enemy channel of transportation, the roads and railroads between Pyongyang and Sinuiju. Also, it flew close air support missions for the ground forces and attacked high-value targets, including the Sui-ho hydroelectric plants in June 1952 and the Kumgang Political School in October 1952. On 27 July 1953, the squadron joined with the 58th FBG to bomb Sunan Airfield for the final action of F-84 fighter-bombers during the Korean War.

The wing remained in Korea for a time after the armistice. It was reassigned to Japan in November 1953 and returned to its air defense mission. The squadron upgraded to the F-86F Sabre in 1956. By late 1957, however, Worldwide DOD Budget restrictions during FY 1958 meant that the 49th FBW would be inactivated as part of a reduction of the USAF units based in Japan.