F-16 Reference

523rd Fighter Squadron ( USAF ACC)

" Crusaders"  

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523 FS " Crusaders" ( USAF ACC)
Version: F-16C/D block 30
Role: Attack
Tailband: Blue
Motto: N/A
Badge: N/A
Disbanded on May 23rd, 2007.

Sideways profile for the 523rd FS in 2005 with unit markings on the tail.

F-16 History

The 523rd FS was the second squadron of the Canon based 27th Wing to receive F-16s. It was equipped with the F-16 together with its sister squadrons – the 522nd and 524th. In the first place these were block 30 airframes received from various other units. Although the F-16 itself is not optimised for close air support missions, these F-16s were the first to replace A-10 units in theatre. The first F-16s were received in May of 1995 with the final delivery taking place during 1996.

It was not long before the squadron was tasked to take up the demanding rotations in South East Asia. The first deployment already happened in 1998 for an Operation Southern Watch deployment.

USAF F-16C block 30 #87227 belonging to the Crusaders of the 523rd Fighter Squadron, 27th Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., launches for a combat air patrol mission at a deployed location in Southwest Asia. The 523rd is enforcing the No-Fly, No-Drive zone in Southern Iraq during Operation Southern Watch. [USAF photo by TSgt. James D. Mossman]

The mission of the squadron remained fairly the same during its operational career. At first the squadron shared the same block 30 airframes with the 522nd FS, but from 2003 onwards it was left alone with this block as the 522nd converted to the block 50. From that date onwards all three operational F-16 squadrons at Canon AFB flew different blocks, which is quite remarkable as mostly Staff decides to standardise on one block type to make operations more efficiently. In BRAC 2005 it was decided to close down Canon AFB completely. Although this decision was reversed in the course of 2006, the decision to disband all the bases flying squadrons was kept and so the unit was disbanded in 2007. On May 10th, 2007 the last F-16departed the 523rd FS. The official ceremony to close the 523rd FS was held a few weeks later on May 23rd, 2007.

USAF F-16C block 30 #86-0340 of the 523rd FS parked on the concrete. [Photo by Frank Ertl]

Aircraft Markings History

1995 - 2003

The tail sported a blue tailband with a wider mid section and two adjacent smaller linings including the 'Crusader' title. The 'CC' tailcode - from Cannon - was in the center of the tail with the Air Combat Command logo in between and the serial underneath the tailcode.

Unit History

  • 1939: Activation of the squadron in Barksdale, Louisiana (as 17 BS)
  • 1939: A-18 'Shrike' (part of 27 BG)
  • 1940: A-18 'Shrike' (Hunter Field, Georgia)
  • 1941: A-24 'Banshee' (Fort McKinley [Phil.])
  • 1941: A-24 'Banshee' (Lipa [Phil.])
  • 1941: A-24 'Banshee' (San Fernando [Phil.])
  • 1941: A-24 'Banshee' (Cabcaben [Phil.])
  • 1941: A-24 'Banshee' (Limay [Phil.])
  • 1941: A-24 'Banshee' (Bataan [Phil.])
  • 1942: A-20 'Havoc' (Charter Towers Field [Aus.])
  • 1942: A-20 'Havoc' (Hunter Field, Georgia)
  • 1942: A-20 'Havoc' (Key Field, Mississippi)
  • 1942: A-20 'Havoc' (Hattiesburg, Mississippi)
  • 1942: A-20 'Havoc' (Harding Field, Louisiana)
  • 1942: A-20 'Havoc' (Sainte-Barbe du Tlélat [Alg.])
  • 1943: A-20 'Havoc' (Nouvion [Alg.])
  • 1943: A-36 'Apache' (Ras el Ma [Mor.])
  • 1943: A-36 'Apache' (Korba [Tun.])
  • 1943: A-36 'Apache' (Gela [It.])
  • 1943: A-36 'Apache' (as 523 FBS, part of 27 FBG, Barcelona [It.])
  • 1943: A-36 'Apache' (Capaccio [It.])
  • 1943: A-36 'Apache' (Guado [It.])
  • 1944: A-36 'Apache' (Pomigliano [It.])
  • 1944: A-36 'Apache' (Castel Volturno [It.])
  • 1944: A-36 'Apache' (Santa Maria [It.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (part of 27 FG, La Banca [It.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Ciampino [It.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Voltone [It.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Serragia [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Le Luc [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Salon-de-Provence [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-40 'Warhawk' (Loyettes [Fr.])
  • 1944: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Tarquina [It.])
  • 1944: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Pontedera [It.])
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (St. Dizier [Fr.])
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Toul [Fr.])
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Biblis [Germ.])
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Mannheim [Germ.])
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Echterdingen [Germ.])
  • 1945: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Camp Shanks, New York)
  • 1945: Deactivated
  • 1946: Activation of the squadron in Fritzlar [Germ.]
  • 1946: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (part of 27 FG)
  • 1947: P-47 'Thunderbolt' (Bad Kissingen [Germ.])
  • 1947: P-51 'Mustang' (Andrews Field, Maryland)
  • 1947: P-51 'Mustang' (part of 27 FEG, Kearney AFB, Nebraska)
  • 1948: F-82E 'Twin Mustang'
  • 1949: F-82E 'Twin Mustang' (Bergstrom AFB, Texas)
  • 1950: F-84G 'Thunderjet'
  • 1952: F-84G 'Thunderjet' (part of 27 FEW)
  • 1953: F-84F 'Thunderstreak' (part of 27 SFW)
  • 1957: F-101B 'Voodoo' (part of 27 FBW)
  • 1958: F-101B 'Voodoo' (part of 27 TFW)
  • 1959: F-100D 'Super Sabre' (Canon AFB, New Mexico)
  • 1965: F-100D 'Super Sabre' (part of 405 TFW, Clark AFB [Phil.])
  • 1967: F-4D 'Phantom II'
  • 1972: F-4E 'Phantom II'
  • 1973: F-111D 'Aardvark' (part of 27 TFW, Canon AFB, New Mexico)
  • 1991: F-111D 'Aardvark' (part of 27 FW)
  • 1992: F-111F 'Aardvark'
  • 1993: F-111F 'Aardvark' (part of 27 OG)
  • 1995: F-16C/D 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 2007: Disbanded


' Southern Watch'
Al Jaber AB, Kuwait [18 F-16s] (March 1st, 1998 to May 6th, 1998)
During a rest stop at Moron AB, Spain thirty crewed the jets at that location. The first batch of twelve aircraft departed without any difficulty but the last six had to remain as the tanker to escort them broke. It took three weeks for the tanker to be fixed and the last six aircraft to arrive at Al Jaber AB. This was the first deployment the 523rd FS had with the F-16.
' Southern Watch'
Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia (June 8th, 2000 to September 12th, 2000)
With an intermediate of one year (1999) the squadron was again tasked to deploy to South East Asia in support of Southern Watch, guarding Iraqi airspace.
' Southern Watch'
Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia (December of 2001 to February of 2002)
This marked the third consecutive Southern Watch deployment. Total personnel count was 220 to rotate through this three month mission. Although equipped with block 30 airframes they did deploy as SEAD asset.

F-16 Airframe Inventory


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