F-16 Reference

22nd Fighter Squadron ( USAFE)

" Stingers"  

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22 FS " Stingers" ( USAFE)
Version: F-16C/D block 50
Role: Multirole, SEAD, Strike
Tailband: Red
Motto: The Last of the Red Hot Fighter Squadrons.
Badge: N/A
Disbanded on August 13th, 2010.

Sideview profile for the 22nd FS in 2006 with unit markings on the tail.

F-16 History

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]

Aircraft Markings History

1994 - 1996

On top of the tail was a red tailband with white text 'Stingers' inside it. In the center the tailcode 'SP' (from Spangdahlem) with the serial underneath.

1996 - 2010

The general lay-out remained the same but the 52nd FW logo was inserted between the tailband and tailcode. It was painted in subdued colors.

Unit History

  • 1940: Activation of the squadron in Langley, Virginia
  • 1940: XP-37 (part of 36 PG)
  • 1940: P-36 'Hawk'
  • 1941: P-40 'Warhawk' (Losey Field, Puerto Rico)
  • 1942: P-40 'Warhawk' (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico)
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (Waller Field [Trin.])
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (part of 36 FG)
  • 1943: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Morrison Field, Florida)
  • 1943: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Mitchel Field, New York)
  • 1943: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Charleston, South Carolina)
  • 1943: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Alamogordo Field, New Mexico)
  • 1943: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Scribner Field, Nebraska)
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Kingsnorth [Eng.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Brucheville [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Le Mans [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Athis [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Juvincourt [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Le Culot [Bel.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Aachen [Ger.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Niedermennig [Ger.])
  • 1945: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Kassel [Ger.])
  • 1946: P-47D 'Thunderbolt' (Bolling Field, District of Columbia)
  • 1946: Deactivated
  • 1946: Activation of the squadron in Howard [Pan.]
  • 1946: F-80 'Shooting Star' (part of 36 FG)
  • 1948: F-80 'Shooting Star' (Furstenfeldbruck [Germ.])
  • 1950: F-84E 'Thunderjet' (part of 36 FBG)
  • 1952: F-84E 'Thunderjet' (Bitburg AB [Germ.])
  • 1953: F-86 'Sabre'
  • 1954: F-86 'Sabre' (part of 36 FDW)
  • 1956: F-100 'Super Sabre'
  • 1958: F-100 'Super Sabre' (part of 36 TFW)
  • 1961: F-105 'Thunderchief'
  • 1966: F-4 'Phantom II'
  • 1977: F-15 'Eagle'
  • 1991: F-15 'Eagle' (part of 36 FW)
  • 1992: F-15 'Eagle' (part of 36 OG)
  • 1994: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 52 OG, Spangdahlem AB [Germ.])
  • 2010: Disbanded


' Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey (January of 1999 to March of 1999)
First combat deployment for the 22nd FS with the F-16 and new role as a Wild Weasel. Three month deployment where the squadron saw a bit of combat launching twelve HARMs against Iraqi radar sites.
' Allied Force'
Spangdahlem AB, Germany (March 23rd, 1999 to June 10th, 1999)
Operation Allied Force was the codename for the almost three month long air strikes against Serbia. The squadron flew missions from its homebase escorting F-117 and B-2 aircraft when flying over Serbia. A total of 202 HARM missiles and 16 Mk. 84 general purpose bobms were dropped during the campaign.
' Southern Watch'
Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia (December of 2000 to March of 2001)
Flew both Operation Southern Watch and Northern Watch missions. Took over from its sister squadron - the 23rd FS - which was in theatre from October to December of 2000.
' Enduring Freedom'
Spangdahlem AB, Germany (September of 2001 to August of 2002)
The squadron flew C-17 escort missions who flew missions into Afghanistan. The squadron flew a high number of such escorts during this period, being on a 100 hour alert for these kind of missions.
' Iraqi Freedom'
Al Udeid AB, Qatar (January of 2003 to April of 2003)
Flew SEAD missions over Iraqi territory. This deployment the squadron send 220 airmen into the operation. The squadron played a key role during the 27-day air war by fulfilling it's 'Wild Weasel' mission of suppressing enemy air defenses and destroying Iraqi radar sites.
' Iraqi Freedom'
Balad AB, Iraq [18 F-16s] (September 25th, 2007 to January 12th, 2008)
This deployment was a rotation for AEF 9/10 (Cycle 6). The squadron deployed a total of 320 airmen into theatre. The mission lasted for three months and was one of the largest for the squadron.
' Iraqi Freedom'
Al Udeid AB, Qatar (March of 2008 to May of 2008)
Another three-month rotation was executed flying CAP missions over Iraq.
' Iraqi Freedom'
Balad AB, Iraq (May 10th, 2009 to September 8th, 2009)
This marked the final deployment of the squadron as part of AEF9/10 (Cycle 7).

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