Once activated with the F-16A/B the squadron was officially designated the 62nd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron on January 1st, 1981. Although a replacement training unit since 1975 with the F-4, it did not designate the training name in the squadron till the F-16 arrived. Beginning in late 1988 the unit converted over to the block 30 model of the F-16C/D. On November 1st, 1991 the squadron was once again re-designated back to what it was in WWII as the 62nd Fighter Squadron. Although the word 'Training' was dropped from the designation, this did not effect the units continuing training role. In the early 90's it was announced that MacDill AFB would be closed. The squadrons of the 56th FW would be deactivated starting with the 72nd Fighter Squadron and worked its way sequentially down to the 61st Fighter Squadron. Therefore the 62nd Fighter Squadron was second to last to disband. That was not the end of MacDill AFB as shortly after the deactivation of the 56th FW it became an air re-fuelling unit.
USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0262
from MacDill AFB 62nd TFTS flying a training mission. MacDill AB and all its units were disbanded in 1992-1993 and all their tasks were transferred to Luke AB. [Photo by Greg L. Davis]
Deactivation at MacDill AFB took place on May 14th, 1993 to prepare for the move to Luke AFB, Arizona were it would continue as an F-16 training squadron. Once the move was made to Luke AFB, the squadron was able to reactivate on March 18th, 1994. By that time the 58th FW at Luke had been renumbered the 56th FW so the squadron always remained part of that wing. Although the squadron moved, the aircraft did not come from MacDill AFB. Instead the 62nd Fighter Squadron converted to the block 25 along with the 61st Fighter Squadron.
Training for the 62nd FS is a standard syllabus, one that gets students their first look at the F-16 and prepare them for service with active duty units. The 'Spikes' mission statement is to 'Graduate flight pilots who meet or exceed syllabus standards and their gaining units' expectations. Teach the B-course students what it means to be a fighter pilot. Actively promote quality of life and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.'
On July 3rd, 2014 the squadron stood down in short term perpetration to receive the F-35A and thus ended F-16 operations with the 62nd FS. The 61st FS had already started to receive the F-35A setting the 62nd FS to be the second Luke squadron to receive the F-35s. At the time of deactivating the squadron was the only block 25 F-16 operator at Luke AFB. Those F-16s stayed put and the 309th FS took over the ex-62nd FS block 25s. Spanning 34 years, the 'Spikes' operated their F-16s with fondness.
USAF F-16D block 25 #83-1184
from the 62nd FS is photographed at Luke AFB on August 16th, 2006. [Photo by Jason Hyatt]