322nd squadron (RNlAF)

"Polly Parrot" 

322 sqn "Polly Parrot" (RNlAF)
Status:
Active
Version: F-16A/B block 20 MLU
Role:Multirole, Air Defense
Tailband: N/A
Motto: Niet praten maar doen (Don't talk but act)
Badge: An African Grey (Polly Grey) on a white background.

Sideways profile for 322 sqn in 2007.

F-16 History

The 322nd squadron is the first Dutch F-16 to become operational. This happened on May 1st, 1981. Although it was an interception squadron in the F-104G era, it now became operational in the FBA task. Which was very rare for a Leeuwarden based squadron at that time. The CWI task was added a year later. From that moment onwards it was mainly active in the QRA task.

The 322nd was the first Dutch unit to attend the famous Red Flag exercise. This happened in 1984. It flew together with a Belgian and Danish squadron in this exercise.

On August 31st, 1989 the mascot of the squadron, a real parrot (Polly Grey IV), died. All flying activities where suspended for an indefinite period of time. NATO officers couldn't appreciate the gesture at all and demanded that flying would be resumed immediately. This order was only followed after an interim 'Polly' was found. On October 21st, 1989 a new parrot was accepted by the squadron as their new mascot. It was consequently named 'Polly Grey V'.


RNlAF F-16AM #J-366 seen in November of 2006 at Leeuwarden AB flying with 322 sqn. [Airliners.net photo by Rene Wilthof]

The squadron had the honor of having the first Dutch F-16 to pass 2,000 flying hours. This happened on August 6th, 1992 with airframe #J-251.

The squadron has participated in the majority of deployments the Dutch Air Force has attended over the past 13 years. This including deployments to Siauliai AB, Lithuania to patrol the airspace over the three Baltic countries and to Afghanistan to be part of the ISAF force. These last deployments are spread over a vast number of years starting way back in 2001 and continuing upon today. The majority of the task in Afghanistan is show of force and CAS in cooperation with Forward Air Controllers.

The squadron is slated to become the first unit within the RNlAF to recieve the F-35 from 2019 onwards.


RNlAF F-16A block 5 #J-230 of 322 sqn is seen landing at RAF Mildenhall during the Air Fete in 1989. [Photo by Nigel Watson]

Aircraft Markings History

1980 - 1982

The markings consisted of the squadron's logo in the middle of the tail.

1982 - 1992

A little adjustment was brought in with the addition of a tailband in blue and white. The squadron's logo didn't change, except that it could be seen on a white circle.

1992 - present

The scheme was toned-down in an overall gray finishing. The tailband could be absent from time to time.


Unit History

  • 1943: Activation of the squadron in Woodvale (UK)
  • 1943: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB
  • 1943: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (RAF Hawkinge)
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. VC
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. VC (part of 147 Wing (RAF), RAF Acklington)
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. XIV
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. XIV (RAF Hartford Bridge)
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. XIV (RAF West Malling)
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. XIV (RAF Deanland)
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. LF IXE
  • 1944: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (RAF Biggin Hill)
  • 1945: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (Woensdrecht)
  • 1945: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (Schijndel)
  • 1945: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (Twenthe)
  • 1945: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (Varrelbush [Germ.])
  • 1945: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (Wunstdorf [Germ.])
  • 1945: 'Spitfire' Mk. XVIE (RAF Lasham)
  • 1945: Disbanded (active in Dutch-Indies in this period)
  • 1950: Activation of the squadron in Twenthe
  • 1950: 'Spitfire' Mk. IX
  • 1950: 'Spitfire' Mk. IX (Soesterberg)
  • 1952: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 4
  • 1953: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 8
  • 1958: 'Hunter' Mk. 4
  • 1958: 'Hunter' Mk. 6
  • 1960: Deactivated for 4 years (active in Dutch-New Guinee in this period)
  • 1964: F-104G 'Starfighter' (Leeuwarden)
  • 1980: F-16A 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1998: F-16AM 'Fighting Falcon'

Deployments

'Deny Flight'
Villafranca AB, Italy (April 12th, 1993 to December 20th, 1995)
From the start of the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 operations in former Yugoslavia till December of 1995 it was part of 'Deny Flight'. This was an operation in support of the UN-led UNPROFOR troops stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
'Decisive Endeavour'
Villafranca AB, Italy (December 21st, 1995 to December 21st, 1996)
The switch from the UNPROFOR mission to the IFOR mission also resulted in a name change of the air operations over Yugoslavia. As from December of 1995 it was called Decisive Endeavour.
'Deliberate Guard'
Villafranca AB, Italy (December 22nd, 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.
'Determined Falcon'
Villafranca AB, Italy (June 15th, 1998 to June 16th, 1998)
Operation 'Determined Falcon' was a one-day operation to show force over Kosovo and Albania. NATO fighters patrolled this airspace coming only within 10nm of Serbian territory. This operation was meant as a warning to Serbian politicians to stop the bloodshed in this Yugoslavian province.
'Deliberate Forge'
Amendola AB, Italy (June 21st, 1998 to July of 2001)
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 operation continued until the end of Royal Netherlands Air Force operations in Yugoslavia, which ended in the summer of 2001.
'Allied Force'
Amendola AB, Italy (March 23rd, 1999 to June 10th, 1999)
Operation 'Allied Force' was the codename for the almost three month long air strikes against Serbia. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has flown a majority of attack missions of all Western European countries in this operation.
'Enduring Freedom'
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan (January 1st, 2003 to June 30th, 2003)
Operation 'Enduring Freedom' was initiated after the 9/11 attacks on the US. In Afghanistan this operation is aimed at fighting the remains of the Taliban which are still present in-country.
'Air Policing Baltic States'
Siauliai AB, Lithuania (March 30th, 2005 to June 29th, 2005)
This operation started when Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia joined NATO. These countries don't have fighters themselves and rely upon NATO for there air coverage. In a three-month rotation, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch F-16s will patrol the skies over the Baltic States.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kabul AB, Afghanistan (July 1st, 2005 to September 30th, 2005)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. Also to protect ISAF ground forces during the parliamentary elections held in the autumn of 2005.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (October 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2006)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. This is a continuation of this mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (April 1st, 2007 to June 30th, 2007)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. This is a continuation of this mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (January 1st, 2009 to April 30th, 2009)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. This is a continuation of this mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (May 1st, 2010 to August 31st, 2010)
This marked the 13th rotation into the Dutch Air Task Force supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan. This is a continuation of this mission.
'Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector'
Decimomannu AB, Italy (March 23rd, 2011 to October 31st, 2011)
The Dutch sent a detachment of 6 aircraft to Italy in support to this NATO operation to fight over Libya. At the end of this mission the squadron was reverted back to The Netherlands to continue its operation in Afghanistan as part of the Air Task Force.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (September 21st, 2011 to January 16th, 2012)
This mission was part of ATF-18. This made the switch to Mazar-e Sharif in November of 2011 still supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Mazar-e Sharif AB, Afghanistan (January 8th, 2013 to May 5th, 2013)
This mission was part of ATF-22, a continuation of the NATO-led Afghanistan detachment of the RNlAF.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Mazar-e Sharif AB, Afghanistan (May 17th, 2014 to July 12th, 2014)
This mission was part of ATF-26, which marked the end of Dutch F-16 operations over Afghanistan. In Total the Dutch have flown 12 years in support of NATO troops in that country. A truly remarkable effort.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

Errors and Omissions



Note: Errors and omissions in the above text can be added here. Please note: your comments will be displayed immediately on this page.

If you wish to send a private comment to the webmasters, please use the Contact Us link.