Unit Details

9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

9th Attack Squadron - Emblem.png

9 SQ              
  CPT KENNETH SKEEN F 84 MIG 15 19-09-51 1
Unit Total:              1


9th Attack Squadron
9th Attack Squadron - Trainer.png
9th Attack Squadron - Training drone control station
Active 15 January 1941 - 16 May 2008; 4 October 2012-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft training
Nickname(s) "Flying Knights"
9th Attack Squadron emblem 9th Attack Squadron - Emblem.png

The 9th Attack Squadron (9 ATKS) in a United States Air Force squadron, assigned to the 49th Operations Group, stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The squadron is a training unit for new pilots and sensor operators for the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).


The 9th ATKS is the second RPA training squadron at Holloman AFB. The squadron was activated to meet Air Force training requirements. By having a second squadron, it enables Holloman to train more students to meet those requirements. The 9th trains half of the Reaper operators who receive their instruction at Holloman. The base's 29th AS will train the others.


World War II

The 9th Fighter Squadron traces its origins to the formation of the 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) at Selfridge Field, Michigan on 20 November 1940. The 9th Pursuit Squadron 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.

With the advent of World War II, the squadron moved to Australia and became part of Fifth Air Force in January 1942. It was re-designated as the 9th Fighter Squadron in May 1942. The unit received Curtiss P-40 Warhawks in Australia and, after training for a short time, provided air defense for the Northern Territory.

The squadron moved to New Guinea in October 1942 to help stall the Japanese drive southward from Buna to Port Moresby. Engaged primarily in air defense of Port Moresby; also escorted bombers and transports, and attacked enemy installations, supply lines, and troop concentrations in support of Allied ground forces.

 Squadron posing in front of a P-38 Lightning commemorating the first USAAF pilots to land and operate in the Philippines after the landing on Leyte, October 1944.

The 9th 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 9th 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. Other missions from the Philippines included strikes against industry and transportation on Formosa and against shipping along the China coast. The 9th Fighter Squadron and its sister squadrons (7th Fighter Squadron and 9th Fighter Squadron) attained a record of 668 aerial victories not matched in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Notable Aces of the 9th FS are Dick Bong (40), Tommy McGuire (38), Gerald Johnson (22), James Watkins (12), Andrew Reynolds (9.33), Grover Fanning (9), John O'Neil (8), Wallace Jordan (6), John Landers (6), Ralph Wandrey (6), Ernest Ambort (5), Warren Curten (5), Jack Donaldson (5), Cheatam Gupton (5), and Robert Vaught (5)

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

 9th FBS F-84E 51-687 before a mission in 1952. It was shot down by MiG-15s on 9 September 1952. The pilot, Capt. Warren O'Brien, is since missing in action.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the 9th 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.

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 Taegu, 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 19501951, 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.