F-16 Reference

311th Fighter Squadron ( USAF AETC)

" Sidewinders"  

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311 FS " Sidewinders" ( USAF AETC)
Version: F-16C/D block 42
Role: Training
Tailband: Blue & Yellow
Motto: N/A
Badge: N/A

Sideways profile for the 311th FS in 1993 with the unit marking on the tail.

F-16 History

The 311th TFTS - along with the 310th TFTS - were the first units established with the F-16 at Luke AFB, Arizona in early 1983. Although established in 1983 the squadron started phasing out the F-4 for the F-16 in 1982. Deactivation with the F-4C was on November 4th, 1982 and first F-16s arrived in December but the training role continued even with the F-16A/B. The 311th was largely tasked with training foreign crew on basic introduction to the Viper. Between 1988 and 1991 this entailed the Singapore F-16 pilots flying the Vipers delivered under the Peace Carvin I program.

USAF F-16A block 5 # 78-0044 from the 311th TFTS is parked on the tarmac at Luke AFB in the early eighties. [Photo by Steve Lockhart]

Around the early 1990's most of the 58th FW F-16 squadrons were upgrading to the F-16C/D. The 311th TFTS converted to the block 42 version of the Viper. By February 1991 the last F-16A/B departed the 311th TFTS. Starting on November 1st, 1991 the 311th was re-designated simply as a Fighter Squadron. During a major restructuring at Luke AFB in 1994 the 311th FS disbanded on April 1st, 1994 and the 308th Fighter Squadron took over the 311th's assets and personnel.

An interesting - yet not well known - piece of the 311th FS history is that the squadron reactivated again. This time under the 56th FW at Luke AFB on January 1st, 1995. Aircraft were assigned but not for long as the unit disbanded again only nine months later in September of 1995. It's task was to provide support for the Turkish Peace Onyx program.

On March 1st, 2014 a new episode of the squadron began when it was reactivated at Holloman AFB under the 54th FG. The unit received the jets of the disbanded 309th FS and are taking up the training task the unit once furfilled back at Luke AFB. In 2015 the squadron will be joined by the 314th FS which will be reactivated at Holloman AFB as well.

Aircraft Markings History

1982 - 1995

The tailband was blue with a white border. Most of the time there was a small white star within the blue part of the band, but from time-to-time this star was omitted. The tail code was 'LF', common to all Luke F-16 squadrons. In some cases, a white star was added to the blue stripe. The stars were awards for "jet of the month" so not all jets had them. They were stenciled on by the Dedicated Crew Chief. The stars stayed on until the next time the aircraft was sent to be painted. More than one star would be applied if the jet was awarded more than once.

2014 - present

The tailband has a blue background with two yellow cheat lines on top and at the bottom and the unit's name in the center. The tail code was 'LF', since the squadron adheres to the 54th FG, which is a subordinate unit of the 56th FW based at Luke AFB. This eventually slowly changed over to the HO tail code.

Unit History

  • 1942: Activation of the squadron in Harding, Louisiana
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (part of 58 PG)
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (Dale Mabry Field, Florida)
  • 1942: P-39 'Airacobra' (Richmond AAB, Virginia)
  • 1942: P-40F 'Warhawk' (Bolling Field, District of Columbia)
  • 1943: P-40F 'Warhawk' (Bradley Field, Connecticut)
  • 1943: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Hilsgrove Field, Rhode Island)
  • 1943: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Grenier Field, New Hampshire)
  • 1943: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Multiple bases in the Pacific Theatre)
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (part of 58 FG, Ft William McKinley [Phil.])
  • 1946: Disbanded
  • 1952: Activation of the squadron in Taegu, South Korea
  • 1952: F-84 'Thunderjet' (part of 58 FBG)
  • 1954: F-86F 'Sabre'
  • 1955: F-86F 'Sabre' (Osan AB [S. Kor.])
  • 1957: F-86F 'Sabre' (part of 58 FBW)
  • 1958: Disbanded
  • 1970: Activation of the squadron in Luke, Arizona
  • 1970: F-4C 'Phantom II' (part of 58 TTW)
  • 1983: F-16A/B 'Viper'
  • 1991: F-16A/B 'Viper' (part of 58 OG)
  • 1994: Disbanded
  • 1995: Activation of the squadron in Luke, Arizona
  • 1995: F-16C/D 'Viper' (part of 56 OG)
  • 1995: Disbanded
  • 2014: Activation of the squadron in Holloman, New Mexico
  • 2014: F-16C/D 'Viper' (part of 54 FG)

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