The 33rd TFS started receiving the first F-16s in 1985. It was reactivated as an F-16 squadron and based at Shaw AFB. The squadron received brand-new block 25 airframes straight from the General Dynamics Fort Worth production line. The responsibilities of the 19th TFS were close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance to support worldwide contingencies. With these aircraft new weapon systems could be introduced, like the CBU-87 Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (WCMD).
During 1990 the tensions in the Middle East started rising. Therefore the squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia and started flying air defense missions over the Saudi kingdom. When Operation Desert Storm started in January of 1991 the squadron was at the forefront of air operations operating from Al Dhafra AB in the United Arab Emirates. After Operation Desert Storm ended the squadron was deployed to Southeast Asia in late 1992 to endorse the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. During that Operation Southern Watch deployment Lt. Col. Gary L. North, commander of the 33rd FS, became the first F-16 pilot to score an aerial victory with an AIM-120AMRAAM missile, shooting down an Iraqi MiG-25 on December 27th, 1992.
Between these two deployments the squadron started receiving some brand-new block 42 airframes. Their primary mission of air interdiction remained the same. During 1993 the first rumors came that the entire wing was to be disbanded. The news was quickly acknowledged. On November 15th, 1993 the squadron was being disbanded in favor of units from the 20th FW. The reason behind the disbandment was to keep the history alive of the 20th FW and its resident squadrons over those of the 363rd FW.
USAF F-16C block 42 #89-2132
from the 33rd TFS is parked on the flightline at Birmingham IAP in October of 1991. [Airliners.net
photo by Gary Chambers]