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'Bulldogs' activate as 3rd Wings second F-22 squadron

October 30, 2007 (by SSgt. Francesca Popp) - Who let the dogs out? Officials from the 3rd Wing did when they activated the 525th Fighter Squadron "Bulldogs" during a ceremony that began at 5:25 p.m. Monday.

525th Fighter Sq logo [USAF Art]

The second active-duty F-22A Raptor squadron took its place in wing history nearly three months after the aircraft officially landed on base. Lt. Col. Chuck Corcoran assumed command of the squadron with its initial cadre of five pilots and four support staff. Colonel Corcoran said he is honored to lead this squadron.

"I've been reading up on the history of the squadron. It's awesome and deep with tradition," said the Chillicothe, Ohio, native. "There are a lot of firsts. It was primarily in Europe until this point. It has performed brilliantly in numerous airplanes over the years and through numerous conflicts. There's no match for the air dominance mission anywhere in the world.

"It's great to know we get the opportunity to stand up the squadron here and be a part of a rich history the squadron has and add to it," he said.

The 525th FS's legacy began in February 1942 as the 309th Bombardment Squadron (Light) to support allied forces in the European theater of operations during World War II. Nearly 18 months after activation, the unit saw its first combat in Sicily. In August 1943, the 309th BS was redesignated as the 525th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Since then, the 525th has received several designations - fighter squadron from 1944-1950, to fighter-bomber squadron again from 1950-1954, to fighter-interceptor squadron from 1954-1969 and tactical fighter squadron from 1969 until being inactivated in 1992.

The squadron moved around Europe in its early days, but ended up calling Bitburg Air Base, Germany, home for 35 years.

Several former Bulldogs attended the ceremony, one of which is today's Pacific Air Forces commander, Gen. Paul Hester. Thirty years ago, the then captain was an F-15 instructor and flight examiner with the 525th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bitburg.

"We had such a wide variety of names we could choose. I'm very proud that the Bulldogs can be reactivated," General Hester said. "The focus should be on the men and women who are inside the squadron, who are doing America's work across the Pacific. It's the Airmen who are doing the work, regardless of what moniker we give them."

The general added that the event also adds to the importance of the Air Force's 60th anniversary and it portrays Heritage to Horizons.

"From the '70s to the '80s, now to the '90s and 2000s, it's four generations of Airmen doing the same thing, a part of the same team and wearing the squadron patch," said General Hester.

No matter what the number designator of the fighter squadrons -- the 525th, the 90th and the 302nd -- all have the same mission: to provide air dominance.

"Our job is to clear the skies of enemy aircraft, as well as take out any surface-to-air missiles that would deny us access to enemy airspace," said Colonel Corcoran. "The overarching reason for that is to gain control of the skies. That's what the F-22 was built to do and it's our mission here at Elmendorf.

"The only thing that is going to be different (compared to the 90th) is that our mascot is tougher," Colonel Corcoran said jokingly referring to his squadron's mascot. "He'll have a 'Pair-o-dice' as a chew toy. Sure, there will be friendly rivalry between the squadrons, but at the end of the day our mission is the same, our job is the same and we'll help each other do it. We're a total force, total team and our job is to do that mission."

The colonel said that as he leads the Bulldogs into the next chapter of its history his vision for the squadron is to accomplish the mission they're tasked with.

"I want to do it at the level the 525th has historically done it ... perfectly. I think it will be pretty easy to execute that, because we have the world's best equipment with the F-22 and the world's best people," he said. "My job is going to be pretty easy taking care of those people, so they can accomplish the mission with that awesome equipment. My vision is to provide them what they need so they can be trained and equipped to do what they have to do if they're called on to do it."

With the unfurling of the 525th Tactical Fighter Squadron flag, the 525th became active again after 15 years. The 525th Fighter Squadron will have 26 people and 20 aircraft assigned when it becomes fully operational by the end of 2008.

Courtesy of 3rd Wing Public Affairs