F-16 Reference

308th Fighter Squadron ( USAF AETC)

" Emerald Knights"  

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308 FS " Emerald Knights" ( USAF AETC)
Version: F-16C/D block 42
Role: Training
Tailband: Green & White (checkerboard)
Motto: N/A
Badge: N/A
Converted to F-35A in November of 2018.

Sideways profile for the 308th FS in 2009 with the unit marking on the tail.

F-16 History

At the end of 1986 the squadron and wing changed tail codes from ZF to HS which better matched the squadrons location in Homestead, Florida. There is no photo proof that the 308th TFS ever flew wtih the ZF tail code and may have only been carried on the 306th TFS aircraft as they were the first to receive the F-16 at Homestead.

In an interesting and not well known move it had been scheduled that the 31st TFW would convert to the block 25. Conversion had started with the 308th TFS being the first on the list and began to receive Shaw AFB block 25s in August of 1990. Two things happened that changed this from seeing completion. With the Gulf War build up and the 363rd TFW at Shaw AFB deploying to South West Asia meant no more block 25s were available. With some F-16A/B block 15s still in service for the 308th TFS, it continued to operate both types. When the war ended it was decided to convert the 31st TFW to block 40s instead. Up to this point about ten block 25s had reached the 308th FS and had been pained in 'Emerald Knight' markings. They were all sent to other units. Neither of the 31st TFWs other sister squadrons flew the block 25. In March of 1991 the 308th began conversion to the block 40 version of the F-16. On October 1st, 1991 the word 'Tactical' was dropped and unit became the 308th Fighter Squadron. By early 1992 the conversion to block 40 with the general purpose role was complete.

Drama came to the 308th during the 1992 hurricane season. An urgent escape had to be made when it became clear that hurricane Andrew was going to strike the southern portion of Florida where the parent 31st FW is based. While the 309th FS moved its aircraft to Shaw AFB, South Carolina both the 307th FS and 308th FS moved to Moody AFB, Georgia. The following day on August 24th, 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated Homestead AFB. It was to be a temporary move to Moody, but Homestead was so heavily damaged it was never re-opened for any of the 31st FW squadrons even though President Bush promised it would be while visiting the devastated area shortly after the storm.

USAF F-16A block 15 #83-1092 part of the 308th TFS is stationned under a cloud broken sky at Homestead AFB. [Photo by Mike Kopack]

After being at Moody for a few months, the 308th FS was officially assigned to the 347th FW on November 20th, 1992. At this point the 'HS' tail code began to be replaced with a 'MY' tail code. In fact some block 40s were delivered right from the factory to the 308th Fighter Squadron's new home base at Moody.

On April 1st, 1994 - after being at Moody for almost 3 years - the unit moved to Luke AFB, Arizona where it became a training unit. Training by the 308th FS is not a typical syllabus as the 308th FS is the main training hub for turning out instructor pilots. The 'Emerald Knights' mission statement is to 'Provide the finest single-seat, single-engine F-16 fighter pilots for the combat Air Forces and produce top quality F-16 instructor pilots.' The role of training instructor pilots was not exclusive and the 308th FS had classes of crew which were new to the Viper.

Inactivated on June 15th, 2015 in preparation of being the third F-35 squadron to be based at Luke AFB. Aircraft departed the base in June of 2015 to form the 314th FS which would still report to Luke AFB but were tenanted at Holloman AFB where F-16 training would continue in parallel, but to a lesser extant at Luke AFB.

USAF F-16C block 42 #88-0505 of the 308th FS is parked on the huge tarmac at Luke AFB on June 5th, 2001. [Robs Aircraft Picture Library photo by John Smith]

Aircraft Markings History

1986 - 1992

In the early days, the tail code was 'ZF' which was changed within the first year of F-16 operations at Homestead to 'HS'. The tailband is green with white trim and white text stating part of the squadron’s name 'Knights.'

1992 - 1994

After moving to what was to be a temporary location eventually the 308th FS jets started replacing their tail codes with 'MY' for Moody AFB, Georgia. The tailband was unchanged during this time period.

1994 - 2015

The tail band is a green and white checkerboard band. The 'LF' tail code standard at Luke for F-16 squadrons was applied.

Unit History

  • 1942: Activation of the squadron in Baer Field, Indiana
  • 1942: P-40B 'Warhawk' (part of 31 FG)
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (New Orleans AAB, Louisiana)
  • 1942: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (RAF Biggin Hill)
  • 1942: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (RAF Atcham)
  • 1942: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (RAF Kenley)
  • 1942: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (RAF Westhampnett)
  • 1942: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (Tafaraoui Field [Alg.])
  • 1943: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (Thelepte Field [Tun.])
  • 1943: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (Tebessa Field [Alg.])
  • 1943: 'Spitfire' Mk. VB (Canrobert Field [Alg.])
  • 1943: P-51B 'Mustang' (Kalaa Djerda Field [Tun.])
  • 1943: P-51B 'Mustang' (Djilma Field [Tun.])
  • 1943: P-51B 'Mustang' (Le Sers Field [Tun.])
  • 1943: P-51B 'Mustang' (Korba Field [Tun.])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Gozo Field [Malta])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Ponte Olivo Field [It.])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Agrigento Field [It.])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Termini Emerese Field [It.])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Milazzo Field [It.])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Montecorvino Field [It.])
  • 1943: P-51D 'Mustang' (Pomigliano Field [It.])
  • 1944: P-51D 'Mustang' (Castel Volturno Field [It.])
  • 1944: P-51D 'Mustang' (San Severo Field [It.])
  • 1945: P-51D 'Mustang' (Mondolfo Field [It.])
  • 1945: P-51D 'Mustang' (Triolo Field [It.])
  • 1945: P-51D 'Mustang' (Drew Field, Florida)
  • 1946: P-80A 'Shooting Star' (part of 31 TTW, Giebelstadt Field [Germ.])
  • 1946: P-80A 'Shooting Star' (Kitzingen Field [Germ.])
  • 1947: P-51D 'Mustang'
  • 1947: P-51D 'Mustang' (Langley Field, Virginia)
  • 1947: P-51D 'Mustang' (Turner AFB, Georgia)
  • 1948: F-84C 'Thunderjet'
  • 1949: F-84E 'Thunderjet'
  • 1952: F-84G 'Thunderjet'
  • 1957: F-100 'Super Sabre'
  • 1959: F-100 'Super Sabre' (George AFB, California)
  • 1962: F-100 'Super Sabre' (Homestead AFB, Florida)
  • 1965: F-100 'Super Sabre' (part of 31 TFW, Bien Hoa AFB [Vietn.])
  • 1966: F-100 'Super Sabre' (Tuy Hoa AFB [Vietn.])
  • 1970: F-4E 'Phantom II' (part of 4403 FW, England AFB, Louisiana)
  • 1970: F-4E 'Phantom II' (part of 31 FW, Homestead AFB, Florida)
  • 1980: F-4D 'Phantom II'
  • 1986: F-16A/B 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1990: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1992: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 347 FW, Moody AFB, Georgia)
  • 1994: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 56 FW, Luke AFB, Arizona)
  • 2015: Deactivated

F-16 Airframe Inventory


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