510th Fighter Squadron (USAFE)

"Buzzards" 

510 FS "Buzzards" (USAFE)
Status:
Active
Version: F-16C/D block 40
Role:Multirole, Attack, Strike
Tailband: Purple
Motto: Buzzards Rule
Badge: An eagle soaring over an energising atom.

Sideways profile for the 510th FS in 2007 with unit markings on the tail.

F-16 History

The 510th FS started receiving the first F-16s in 1994. The airframes came from the disbanded 512th and 526th FS at Ramstein AFB in Germany and these were block 40 airframes. The units tasking was mainly an air-to-ground mission. However, since the disbandment of these Ramstein AFB units, there was also a strike task that had to be transferred. So the squadron was also earmarked for this task.In 1994 the war in the Balkan region was still at hand and therefore the squadron quickly received the necessary equipment to conduct operational missions. During Operation Deliberate Guard the squadron was the very first block 40 squadron to drop a laser-guided bomb. During the same operation the squadron was also the first to operationally deploy night vision goggles (NVG). Together with this the unit also deployed as Forward Air Controllers (FAC).

Afterwards the unit joined Operation Northern Watch and was rotated through Incirlik AB during regular intervals just as the other USAF units at that time. Since the squadron is situated in the southern region of Europe it is strategically positioned to take part of major operations both in Europe as in the Middle East.

During Operation Allied Force in 1999 the 510th FS flew more combat missions than any other F-16 squadron. The unit was known then as ‘Balkan Buzzards’. By the year 2000 most European combat operations finally came to an end and the squadron began rotating through the Middle East. Yet again it had the distinct pleasure of a first. During Operation Southern Watch in 2002 the squadron dropped the first GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). Afterwards this weapons was permanently cleared for operational usage throughout the air force.


USAF F-16C block 40 #89-2001 from the 510th FS flies over the Adriatic Sea during a mission supporting Operation Joint Forge on April 9th, 2003. Note mission markings for Allied Force on the nose. [USAF photo by TSgt. Mike Buytas]

Another squadron milestone was reached when on October 29th, 2007 Captain George Collings was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Earlier in the year - on January 28th, 2007 - Captain Collings displayed excellent airmanship when he had to rush in to provide Close-Air-Support for friendly forces who were pinned down during a rescue attempt on a downed AH-64. Collings' one bomb managed to incapacitated over thirty enemy insurgents. When Captain Collings was awarded the medal it was presented by his father and fellow F-16 pilot Major General Michael Collings, the Senior U.S. Defense Representative to Egypt.

As the years progress more block 40 airframes reach higher flying hours. On May 5th, 2009 F-16C (#89-2057) passed 7,000 flight hours. In the coming years more airframes of the squadron will reach this milestone as the squadron is still engaged in the Middle East rotations.


USAF F-16C block 40 #89-2047 is a 510th FS aircraft at it's home base in Italy on February 3rd, 1997. [Photo by Sergio Gava]

Aircraft Markings History

1994 - present

The tail consists of a purple tailband with the word 'Buzzards' inside it. The 'AV' tailcode (for Aviano) is in the center of the tail with the USAFE logo in between them on toned-down colors and the serial at the bottom of the tail.


Unit History

  • 1943: Activation of the squadron in Drew, Florida (as 625 BS)
  • 1943: A-24 'Banshee' (part of 405 BG)
  • 1943: A-24 'Banshee' (redesignated 510 FBS)
  • 1943: A-24 'Banshee' (Walterboro Field, South Carolina)
  • 1943: P-39 'Airacobra'
  • 1943: P-47D 'Thunderbolt'
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Christchurch [Eng.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Picauville [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (St. Dizier [Fr.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Ophoven [Bel.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Kitzingen [Germ.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Straubing [Germ.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Camp Kilmer, New Jersey)
  • 1945: Disbanded
  • 1952: Activation of the squadron in Godman, Kentucky
  • 1952: F-84F 'Thunderstreak' (part of 405 FBG)
  • 1953: F-84F 'Thunderstreak' (Langley AFB, Virginia
  • 1956: F-100C 'Super Sabre'
  • 1957: F-100C 'Super Sabre' (part of 405 FBW)
  • 1958: Disbanded
  • 1959: Activation of the squadron in Clark [Phil.]
  • 1959: F-100C 'Super Sabre' (part of 405 FW)
  • 1964: F-100C 'Super Sabre' (part of 3 TFW, England AFB, Louisiana)
  • 1965: F-100C 'Super Sabre' (Bien Hoa AB [S. Vietn.])
  • 1969: Disbanded
  • 1978: Activation of the squadron in Bentwaters [Eng.]
  • 1977: A-10A 'Thunderbolt II' (part of 81 TFW)
  • 1992: A-10A 'Thunderbolt II' (part of 52 OG)
  • 1993: A-10A 'Thunderbolt II' (Spangdahlem AB [Germ.])
  • 1994: Deactivated
  • 1994: Activation of the squadron in Aviano [It.]
  • 1994: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 31 OG)

Deployments

'Deny Flight'
Aviano AB, Italy (September 1st, 1994 to December 20th, 1995)
This was an operation in support of the UN-led UNPROFOR troops stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Different nations took part in this operation.
'Deliberate Force'
Aviano AB, Italy (August 25th, 1995 to September 20th, 1995)
This operation only lasted for a couple of weeks. It was to show force to the Serbian authorities. It continued with Operation Deny Flight afterwards.
'Decisive Edge'
Aviano AB, Italy (December 21st, 1995 to December 20th, 1996)
Operation Decisive Edge began on December 21st, 1995 and was a follow-on to Operation Deny Flight, which the squadron participated in the previous year. The operation was a United Nations mandated no-fly zone for the airspace over Bosnia-Herzegovina. On December 21st, 1996 Operation Decisive Edge transitioned to Deliberate Guard.
'Deliberate Guard'
Aviano AB, Italy (December 21st, 1996 to June 20th, 1998)
When the UN forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina changed their mandate resulting in a name change from IFOR to SFOR, also the air operations were given another name. Ultimately, 'Deliberate Guard' formed the air asset for the SFOR troops.
'Deliberate Forge'
Aviano AB, Italy (June 21st, 1998 to February 28th, 1999)
Operation 'Deliberate Forge' was the successor of operation 'Deliberate Guard'. When the SFOR troops were reorganized into a smaller force, the covering air campaign also received a new name.
'Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey [8 F-16s] (October 1st, 1998 to January 31st, 1999)
Operation Northern Watch was a US European Command Combined Task Force (CTF) who was responsible for enforcing the United Nations mandated no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq. This mission was a successor to Operation Provide Comfort which also entailed support for the Iraqi Kurds. They replaced the 555th FS in this deployment.
'Allied Force'
Aviano AB, Italy (March 24th, 1999 to June 10th, 1999)
Operation 'Allied Force' was the codename for the almost three month long air strikes against Serbia. The 510th FS had a major contribution to this operation, flying daily mission.
'Joint Guardian'
Aviano AB, Italy (July 1st, 1999 to March 31st, 2002)
Operation Joint Guardian was a NATO contingency response aiming at ensuring full compliance with the Military Technical Agreement signed by NATO and FRY military authorities and with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
'Southern Watch'
Ahmed Al Jabar AB, Kuwait [10 F-16s] (March 3rd, 2000 to June 12th, 2000)
Deployed with some 555th FS jets and all jets were left for the 555th FS pilots and crew when they arrived in June. The 555th FS stayed till September 15th, 2000 and brought equipment back to Italy for both squadrons.
'Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey (June 1st, 2001 to August 31st, 2001)
For the second time the 510th FS was stationed in Turkey to provide cover over northern Iraq. A total of 220 airman were deployed for this mission.
'Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey (March 27th, 2002 to May 4th, 2002)
The third consequtive deployment to Turkey. This time only 120 airmen were deployed since the number of aircraft was less then the previous deployment and also the duration of the mission was much shorter.
'Deliberate Forge'
Aviano AB, Italy (April 1st, 2002 to May 31st, 2004)
Operation 'Deliberate Forge' was the successor of operation 'Deliberate Guard'. When the SFOR troops were reorganized into a smaller force, the covering air campaign also received a new name. This mission marked the end of this operation.
'Southern Watch'
Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait (September 10th, 2002 to December 18th, 2002)
Operation Southern Watch was an operation which was responsible for enforcing the United Nations mandated no-fly zone below the 32nd parallel in Iraq. This mission was initiated mainly to cover for attacks of Iraqi forces on the Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims.
'Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom'
Balad AB, Iraq (December 1st, 2003 to February 27th, 2004)
Operation Iraqi Freedom was initiated in March of 2003 to drive Saddam Hussein from reigning Iraq. Over the next years, multiple units where tasked to perform air cover over Iraq in the wake of this war. For the 510th FS this operation was immediately followed by an Operation Enduring Freedom mission.
'Iraqi Freedom'
Balad AB, Iraq (September 23rd, 2005 to January 10th, 2006)
This time the 510th FS deployed with over 300 airmen for this mission. A total of over 1,500 sorties were flown with all sorties rated code 1.
'Iraqi Freedom'
Balad AB, Iraq [12 F-16s] (January 19th, 2007 to May 18th, 2007)
This marked the longest Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment of the 510th FS. A total of 12 F-16 and 330 airmen were deployed to Balad AB. The mission lasted over half a year and over 2,000 missions were flown as part of AEF5/6 (Cycle 6).
'Enduring Freedom'
Bagram AB, Afghanistan [16 F-16s] (May 22nd, 2010 to October 17th, 2010)
A large deployment shared with no other unit. Aircraft from the 555th FS were borrowed as a total of 16 aircraft went. Approximately 300 airmen from Aviano deployed and the mission was to provide close-air-support. Even on the first day of arrival, the base itself was attacked by insurgents. Aviano airmen witnessed helicopter gunships engaging the enemy.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

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