The 22nd Fighter Squadron started receiving the first F-16s in 1994. The squadron came from the neighbouring Bitburg AB, Germany. There were two F-16 units based at Spangdahlem AB – being the 23rd FS and the 480th FS. With all the restructuring after the end of the Cold War the USAF Staff decided to concentrate the F-16 units in Germany at Spangdahlem AB. With the 22nd FS being more in line with the available squadron numbers, the 22nd FS was moved to the base and taking over all the duties and heritage of the resident 480th FS.
Although flying the block 50 destined to be a Wild Weasel unit, the squadron maintained its general purpose mission. It wasn't until 1998 that the squadron began to fully utilize the block 50s Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) capability. Primary mission switched to Wild Weasel as the squadron equipped with HARM missiles and targeting pods. Besides this the squadron also had a nuclear task. The 480th FS held that position before and this task was also transferred to the 22nd FS.
USAF F-16C block 50 #90-0829
from the 22nd FS is seen departing from RAF Fairford on July 21st, 2003. Note the special tail and mission markings which can be seen in this shot. [Photo by Gerhard Plomitzer
Over the years the squadron became actively involved in contingency operations throughout Europe and Asia. The squadron deployed on numerous occasions to the Middle East for Operation Northern or Southern Watch missions. Also the war on the Balkan was an operational scene for the squadron.
Rumors that a change was due at Spangdahlem AB already erected in 2009, but the details were kept in secrecy. In 2010 it became clear that reorganization would take place with both resident units being melted together to one. In the end it was decided to disband both the 22nd and 23rd FS and reactivate the 480th FS to be the sole F-16 squadron at Spangdahlem AB. The squadron finally disbanded on August 13th, 2010.
USAF F-16C block 50 #90-0813
from the 22nd FS is seen landing at Florennes AB on March 15th, 2005. [Photo by Ray Binder]