170th Fighter Squadron (USAF ANG)

"Fly'N Illini" 

170 FS "Fly'N Illini" (USAF ANG)
Version: F-16C/D block 30 (big mouth)
Role:Air Defence, Attack
Tailband: Orange & Blue & White
Motto: N/A
Badge: N/A

Sideways profile for the 170th FS in 2007.

F-16 History

The 170th Tactical Fighter Squadron saw their first F-16s on June 7th, 1989 when two landed at Capital Airport to replace the aging F-4D Phantom II. By May 5th, 1990 the 170th TFS was operational with the Viper. Its mission at the time was fighter attack and was provided the block 15 for this job. On March 15th, 1992 the squadron changed designation fromthe 170th Tactical Fighter Squadron to the 170th Fighter Squadron.

During early 1994 the 170th FS started to exchange their block 15's for block 30's with the big inlet design. This also meant an engine change from P&W to the GE engines. Most of the block 15's were retired straight to AMARC.

In 1997 the 170th FS painted the tail of F-16C #86-0371 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the USAF.

The 170th FS increased its capability by obtaining LITENING targeting pods in October of 2001. Training with the new pod started immediately and included some internal personel as some were trained on use of the pod as well as training from the Wisconsin ANG. Purpose of the training was to get ready for deployment in March of 2002 for Operation Enduring Freedom. Starting in January of 2002 the 170th FS deployed for two weeks to Tuscon, Arizona for final training with the LITENING pod. Initally the deployement in March of 2002 was to be with two other ANG units but this changed due to Operation Noble Eagle commitments. As a result the 170th FS deployed by itself as the 170th EFS. When the 170th EFS arrived it replaced the 18th EFS which is normally based in Alaska. On top of duties over Afghanistan, the 170th FS also had to preform air interdiction missions over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch.

USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0265 of the 170th FS has its ladder already attached while resting under a 'fluffy' sky. [Photo by Mike Kopack]

In the very early morning on April 17th, 2002 while on deployment in Afghanistan a pilot in a two-ship formation from the 170th FS mistakenly bombed a Canadian outfit which was practicing live firing of its weapons. Four soldiers were killed and eight were injured. This tragidy has dogged the 170th FS for years and a trial against the pilots back home dragged.

After more then two consecutive years with deploying overseas the 170th FS participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom when they deployed to the region in October of 2004.

In early June of 2008 the last attempt by Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich to save the 170th FS and its parent wing failed. It was highly unlikely as many F-16s had already departed and the US District Judge, Richard Mills stated that there was not enough evidence to support that the region would suffer major harm by the closure of the unit.

After nearly 20 years of Viper operations with the 170th FS the unit was disbanded in late 2008 with the last F-16 leaving on September 23rd.

USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0320 from the 170th FS is flaring for landing at Lakenheath AB on June 16th, 2005. [Airsceneuk photo by Matthew Clements]

Aircraft Markings History

1989 - 1991

The tail code for the 170th FS is 'SI' which stands for Springfield Illinois. Early markings on the block 15's were colourful tail bands and the words "Fly'n Illini" at the base of the tail.

1991 - 1998

During the operations with the block 15's and with the introduction of the block 30's the markings were the same but in tones of dark gray.

1998 - 2008

In the late 90s the markings were changed to a dark blue tail flash with yellow trim and text with the state name while the base of the tail contained nothing unlike the past.

Unit History

  • 1942: Activation of the squadron in Dale Mabry, Florida (as 305 FS)
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (part of 338 FG)
  • 1942: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Sarasota, Florida)
  • 1943: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Cross City, Florida)
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Dale Mabry Field, Florida)
  • 1944: Deactivated
  • 1948: Activation of the squadron in Springfield, Illinois (as 170 FS)
  • 1948: F-51D 'Mustang'
  • 1948: F-51D 'Mustang' (part of 183 FG)
  • 1951: F-51D 'Mustang' (Bergstrom AB, Texas)
  • 1951: F-51D 'Mustang' (George AB, California)
  • 1952: F-51D 'Mustang' (Springfield AB, Illinois)
  • 1953: F-86E 'Sabre'
  • 1955: F-84F 'Thunderstreak'
  • 1962: F-84F 'Thunderstreak' (part of 183 TFG)
  • 1972: F-4C 'Phantom II'
  • 1973: RF-4C 'Phantom II'
  • 1975: F-4C 'Phantom II'
  • 1981: F-4D 'Phantom II'
  • 1989: F-16A/B 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1992: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 183 FG)
  • 1995: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 183 FW)
  • 2008: Disbanded


'Southern Watch'
Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait (March of 1996 to May of 1996)
This is the first overseas deployment for the 170th FS. A total of 300 airman made the crossing to the Middle East. The unit was mainly tasked with flying Combat Air Patrols over southern Iraq to enforce the no-flying zone.
'Southern Watch'
Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia (June of 1997 to August of 1997)
This marks the second year the squadron is tasked with an Operation Southern Watch mission. The task of the unit remained the same.
'Southern Watch'
Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia (October of 1999 to December of 1999)
This marks the thirdyear the squadron is tasked with an Operation Southern Watch mission. The task of the unit remained the same.
'Southern Watch/Enduring Freedom'
Ahmed Al Jaber, Kuwait (March of 2002 to June of 2002)
A scheduled deployment (AEF 1/2 Cycle 3) for OSW turned into part war in Afghanistan. This deployment is one of only a few where an ANG unit has accepted a complete 90 day tour, not shared with another unit. By the time the 170th FS arrived only one out of five missions were flown over Afghanistan. Tragidy overshaddowed the deployment on April 17th, 2002 when a two-ship formation mistakenly bombed Canadian soldiers practicing on a firing range at night near Kandahar AP. Sadly four soldiers were killed and eight more were injured. Otherwise the deployment was very successfull as a 97% sortie effectiveness rate demonstrates.
'Iraqi Freedom'
Al Udeid AB, Qatar (October of 2004 to December of 2004)
This marked the first and so far only OIF deployment of the 170th FS. Over 250 airman supported this deployment to Al Udeid AB.
'Iraqi Freedom'
Al Udeid AB, Qatar (May of 2006 to August of 2006)
The squadron was tasked once again to perform a duty in South East Asia in an AEF cycle. This deployment was a little smaller than the previous one with a mere 200 people deployed.

F-16 Airframe Inventory


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