F-16 Reference

55th Fighter Squadron ( USAF ACC)

" Fightin' Fifty Fifth"  

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55 FS " Fightin' Fifty Fifth" ( USAF ACC)
Version: F-16C/D block 50
Role: Attack, SEAD
Tailband: Blue & White (checkerboard)
Motto: Shooters Roll
Badge: N/A

Sideways profile for the 55th FS in 2005 with unit markings on the tail.

F-16 History

The 55th FS started receiving the first F-16s in 1997. During July of 1996 the 55th FS slowly began moving out its A-10s to Pope AFB. Shortly after all the A-10s were gone the squadron stood down and began the process of transitioning to the F-16C/D block 50. In July of 1997 the 55th FS became operational with the F-16 making Shaw strictly an F-16 base. With all squadrons fling the block 50 the 20th FW became a dedicated Wild Weasel operator. A USAF record was set when the squadron stood up combat ready in only 60 days.

For the Wild Weasel mission the aircraft were equipped with the HARM Targeting System (HTS) and the AGM-88 HARM missile. With the development of more advanced targeting pods it became possible to deploy these airframes in the so-called Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (DEAD) mission. This improves the output of each mission dramatically with the aircraft being able to detect and destroy radar systems and also being able to destroy other dedicated targets.

USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0363 from the 55th FS is parked on the tarmac with an engine cover over the exhaust. [Photo by Mike Kopack]

In 2002 rumors were that a Shaw AFB squadron was going to be deactivated. Most believed it would be the 55th FS. In the end the 78th FS deactivated with their aircraft being split between the various other Shaw AFB squadrons.

Over the years the squadron has been tasked with different deployments in the Middle East. This started in 1999 with operation Northern and Southern Watch missions. After more than twelve years of enforcing a no fly zone over northern Iraq by the Combined Task Force, the 55th FS had the honor of flying the last mission for Operation Northern Watch on March 17th, 2003. This also ended most operations out of Incirlik AB as the Turkish government did not allow strikes against Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom to come from any air bases in Turkey. Later on the squadron was also sent to Balad AB in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On January 10th, 2012 with a total of 12 F-16s from the 55th Fighter Squadron deployed to Kunsan AB, Korea, for a scheduled three-month deployment. Beginning on January 15th the 55th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron began combat support missions for the defense of the Republic of Korea. With the withdrawl of military presence in Iraq has allowed deployments such to be possible.

USAF F-16C block 50 #93-0550 from the 55th FS is the CO bird from the 20th FW at Shaw AB in October of 2000. [AviaMagazine photo by Frits Jongerman]

Aircraft Markings History

1997 - present

The tail consists of a white and blue checkered tailband with the squadron logo included. The 'SW' tailcode (for Shaw) is in the center of the tail with the Air Combat Command logo in between them. The serial is situated on the base of the tail.

Unit History

  • 1917: Activation of the squadron in Kelly, Texas
  • 1917: No aircraft assigned
  • 1917: No aircraft assigned (Hazelhurst Field, New York)
  • 1917: No aircraft assigned (Issoudun [Fr.])
  • 1918: No aircraft assigned (redesignated 467 ACS, St. Jean-de-Monts [Fr.])
  • 1918: No aircraft assigned (Latrecey [Fr.])
  • 1919: No aircraft assigned (Garden City, New York)
  • 1919: Disbanded
  • 1930: Activation of the squadron in Mather, California
  • 1930: P-12E (part of 2 BW)
  • 1931: P-12E (part of 8 PG)
  • 1932: P-12E (part of 20 PG, Barksdale Field, Louisiana)
  • 1934: P-26 'Peashooter'
  • 1938: P-36 'Hawk'
  • 1939: P-36 'Hawk' (part of 20 FG, Moffett Field, California)
  • 1940: P-40 'Warhawk' (Hamilton Field, California)
  • 1942: P-40 'Warhawk' (Wilmington, North Carolina)
  • 1942: P-40 'Warhawk' (Morris Field, North Carolina)
  • 1942: P-40 'Warhawk' (Drew Field, Florida)
  • 1942: P-39D 'Airacobra' (Paine Field, Washington)
  • 1943: P-39D 'Airacobra' (March Field, California)
  • 1943: P-38H/J 'Lightning' (Wittering [Eng.])
  • 1944: P-51C 'Mustang' (Kings Cliffe [Eng.])
  • 1945: P-51D 'Mustang' (Camp Kilmer, New Jersey)
  • 1945: Deactivated
  • 1946: Activation of the squadron in Biggs, Texas
  • 1946: P-51K 'Mustang' (part of 20 FG)
  • 1946: P-51K 'Mustang' (Shaw Field, South Carolina)
  • 1948: F-84D 'Thunderjet' (part of 20 FBG)
  • 1951: F-84G 'Thunderjet' (Langley AFB, Virginia)
  • 1952: F-84G 'Thunderjet' (Wethersfield [Eng.])
  • 1955: F-84F 'Thunderstreak' (part of 20 FBW, Sculthorpe [Eng.])
  • 1956: F-84F 'Thunderstreak' (Wethersfield [Eng.])
  • 1957: F-100 'Super Sabre'
  • 1958: F-100 'Super Sabre' (part of 20 TFW)
  • 1970: F-100 'Super Sabre' (Upper Heyford [Eng.])
  • 1971: F-111E 'Aardvark'
  • 1991: F-111E 'Aardvark' (part of 20 FW)
  • 1992: F-111E 'Aardvark' (part of 20 OG)
  • 1994: A-10A 'Thunderbolt II' (Shaw AFB, South Carolina)
  • 1996: Deactivated
  • 1997: Activation of the squadron in Shaw, South Carolina
  • 1997: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 20 OG)


' Southern Watch'
Prince Sultan AB, Al Kharj (1998)
Few details known about this deployment.
' Southern Watch'
Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait (January of 1999 to March of 1999)
Operation Southern Watch was an operation which was responsible for enforcing the United Nations mandated no-fly zone below the 32nd parallel in Iraq. This mission was initiated mainly to cover for attacks of Iraqi forces on the Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims.
' Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey (July of 2000 to September 8th, 2000)
Operation Northern Watch was a US European Command Combined Task Force (CTF) who was responsible for enforcing the United Nations mandated no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq. This mission was a successor to Operation Provide Comfort which also entailed support for the Iraqi Kurds.
' Southern Watch'
Ahmed Al Jaber, Kuwait (August of 2001 to October of 2001)
This marked the second deployment of the squadron to Kuwait to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. The 55th FS deployed a total of 150 airmen to Kuwait for this mission.
' Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey (September 11th, 2002 to December of 2002)
This marked the second deployment of the squadron to Turkey to enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq. The 55th FS deployed a total of 210 airmen to Incirlik AB for this mission.
' Northern Watch'
Incirlik AB, Turkey [8 F-16s] (December of 2002 to April 12th, 2003)
Operation Northern Watch officially ended on March 17th, 2003 when the last mission was flown from Incirlik AB, Turkey. This special distinction was held by the 55th FS from Shaw AFB. Six F-16s departed for home on April 7th and the other two left on April 12th. Over 36,000 missions were flown for Operation Northern Watch. In combination with ONW and Operation Provide Comfort which spanned 12 years of military operation, over 78,000 sorties were flown.
' Iraqi Freedom'
Balad AB, Iraq (September 18th, 2008 to January 11th, 2009)
Aircraft first deployed with a mix of aircraft from the 77th FS on May 27th, 2008. The 55th FS crew rotated through Balad AB later in September of 2008. On November 12th, 2008 F-16 #93-0554 was destroyed on the ground when a fire broke out while the engine was running at Balad AB. The pilot opened the canopy and escaped without any issues, but the fire destroyed a lot of the fuselage and warped the right wing.
' Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn'
Balad AB, Iraq (May 15th, 2010 to October 11th, 2010)
Around 300 Airmen deployed to Iraq for an almost five month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom transitioned into Operation New Dawn on September 1st, 2011 while the 55th was deployed. This was the early stages in guarding the withdrawal from Iraq which came to a conclusion on December 18th, 2011 more than year after the unit ultimately returned to CONUS.
' Inherent Resolve'
Unknonwn location (October 2015 to April 12th, 2016)
Approximately 300 Airmen deployed to the United States Central Command Area of Responsibility for six months for the fight against ISIS,

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