77th Fighter Squadron

The squadron was organized Feb. 20 1918, as the 77th Aero Squadron at Waco Field, Texas. The squadron was demobilized in November 1918, but was reactivated and consolidated with the 77th Observation Squadron in October 1927. In 1929, the squadron was redesignated the 77th Pursuit Squadron and reorganized as one of the first tactical units of the 20th Pursuit Group at Mather Field, Calif., with an officer strength of four.

From 1930 until 1943, the squadron moved back and forth across the country with the 20th, flying several different aircraft, including the P-26, P-36, P-38, P-39 and the P-40. In January 1943, the 77th settled at March Field, Calif., in time to be reassigned to England and the European Theater of Operations during World War II. The 77th, now designated a fighter squadron, arrived at Northhamptonshire, England, in August 1943, flying the P-38. The 77th entered combat operations in November 1943, flying combat missions until April 25, 1945, when, armed with P-51 Mustangs, they began escorting "heavies" to Pilzen, Czechoslovakia, in one of the last raids of the war.

The 77th was instrumental in the 20th achieving its record "kill" of 432 enemy aircraft, 400 locomotives, 1,555 freight cars, 94 ammunition cars and 536 motor vehicles destroyed. The 77th left King's Cliffe, England, and was deactivated in October 1945.

The 77th and the 20th were reactivated in July 1946 at Biggs Field, Texas. Between 1946 and 1952 the squadron moved to Shaw Field, S.C., and then to Langley Air Force Base, Va., becoming the 77th Fighter-Bomber Squadron and transitioning to the F-84.

In May 1952, the 77th and the 20th were reassigned to Royal Air Force Wethersfield, England. In 1957, the squadron transitioned to the F-100 and a year later was designated a tactical fighter squadron flying the "Hun" for 11 more years in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization commitment.

In 1969, the 77th and the 20th began moving to RAF Upper Heyford and converted to the fighter-bomber version of the F-111. The squadron, flying the F-16, reorganized and incorporated 250 maintainers on Feb. 1, 1992. The 77th was inactivated Sept. 30, 1993, then transferred and reactivated at Shaw AFB, S.C., on Jan. 1, 1994. In 1996, the 77th deployed to Southwest Asia.

In 1999 and 2001, the 77th deployed to Southwest Asia flying missions over Iraq in support of Operation Northern Watch. The squadron also deployed in support of Operations Allied Force and Desert Fox in 1999. In 1997 and 2000, the 77th deployed to Southwest Asia flying missions over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch.

The 77th was awarded the 20th FW Fighter Squadron of the Year in 1998 and 2000. In 2001, the squadron participated in many other deployments. From July to Sept. 2002, the 77th deployed to Operation Northern Watch. In February 2003, the squadron deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lineage

Organized as 77 Aero Squadron on 20 Feb 1918. Redesignated as Squadron A, Barron Field, TX, on 21 Jul 1918. Demobilized on 18 Nov 1918. Reconstituted and consolidated (1936) with 77 Observation Squadron, which was constituted on 18 Oct 1927. Redesignated as 77 Pursuit Squadron on 8 May 1929. Activated on 15 Nov 1930. Redesignated as: 77 Pursuit Squadron (Fighter) on 6 Dec 1939; 77 Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 12 Mar 1941; 77 Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942; 77 Fighter Squadron (Twin Engine) on 30 Dec 1942; 77 Fighter Squadron, Twin Engine, on 20 Aug 1943; 77 Fighter Squadron, Single Engine, on 5 Sep 1944. Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945. Activated on 29 Jul 1946. Redesignated as: 77 Fighter Squadron, Jet, on 15 Jun 1948; 77 Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 Jan 1950; 77 Tactical Fighter Squadron on 8 Jul 1958; 77 Fighter Squadron on 1 Oct 1991. Inactivated on 30 Sep 1993. Activated on 1 Jan 1994.

Assignments

Unkn, 1918. 20 Pursuit (later, 20 Fighter) Group, 15 Nov 1930–18 Oct 1945. 20 Fighter (later, 20 Fighter-Bomber) Group, 29 Jul 1946 (attached to 20 Fighter-Bomber Wing, 15 Nov 1952–7 Feb 1955); 20 Fighter-Bomber (later, 20 Tactical Fighter) Wing, 8 Feb 1955 (attached to 39 Tactical Group, 1–31 Aug 1990 and Feb 1991); 20 Operations Group, 31 Mar 1992–30 Sep 1993. 20 Operations Group, 1 Jan 1994–.

Stations

Waco, TX, 20 Feb 1918; Taliaferro Field No. 1, TX, Feb 1918; Taliaferro Field No. 2, (later, Barron Field) TX, Mar–18 Nov 1918. Mather Field, CA, 15 Nov 1930–14 Oct 1932; Barksdale Field, LA, 31 Oct 1932; Moffett Field, 19 Nov 1939; Hamilton Field, CA, 9 Sep 1940; Myrtle Beach, SC, 22 Feb 1942; Morris Field, NC, 24 Apr 1942; Paine Field, WA, 30 Sep 1942; March Field, CA, 11 Feb–11 Aug 1943; Kings Cliffe, England, 25 Aug 1943–11 Oct 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, 16–18 Oct 1945. Biggs Field, TX, 29 Jul 1946; Shaw Field (later, AFB), SC, 20 Oct 1946; Langley AFB, VA, 19 Nov 1951–22 May 1952; Wethersfield RAF Station, England, 1 Jun 1952; Shepherds Grove RAF Station (later, RAF Shepherds Grove), England, 9 Aug 1955; RAF Wethersfield, England, 27 Apr 1956; RAF Upper Heyford, England, 1 Dec 1969–30 Sep 1993 (deployed at Incirlik AB, Turkey, 1–31 Aug 1990 and Feb 1991). Shaw AFB, SC, 1 Jan 1994–.

Commanders

Unkn, 20 Feb-18 Nov 1918. 1 Lt Walter E. Richards, c. Nov 1930; Lt Hopkins, 12 Jun 1931; Lt Wittkop, 19 Aug 1931; Capt John M. Clark, Dec 1932; Maj Oliver P. Gothlin, Sep 1935; Maj Carlton F. Bond, Aug 1936; 1 Lt Orrin L. Grover, Mar 1937; Lt P. K. Morrill Jr., Jun 1937; Maj Carlton F. Bond, Jul 1937; Capt Milo N. Clark, 10 Aug 1937; Capt Orrin L. Grover, 18 Jul 1938; Capt James W. McCauley, Sep 1939-unkn; Capt Barton M. Russell, 5 Dec 1941-unkn; Maj Robert P. Montgomery, by Oct 1943; Maj Herbert E. Johnson Jr., 12 Nov 1943; Maj Russell F. Gustke, 9 Mar 1944; Maj Merle B. Nichols, 18 Dec 1944; Maj George S. Wemyss, 30 Sep-Oct 1945. Lt Col John J. Hussey Jr., unkn-11 Sep 1946; Maj Harry G. Peterson, 11 Sep 1946; Lt Col Niven K. Cranfill, 5 Dec 1946; Maj Delynn E. Anderson, 28 Apr 1948; Lt Col Robert A. Barnum, 13 Nov 1948; Lt Col Edward S. E. Newbury, by 30 Apr 1949; Col Dean Davenport, 24 May 1950; Maj Willliam L. Jacobsen, c. 1 Feb 1951; Lt Col William J. Payne, by 30 Jun 1951; Maj Harry H. Moreland, unkn-4 Sep 1951; Lt Col John W. Meador, 4 Sep 1951; Maj John J. Kropenick, 3 Dec 1951; Lt Col Bruce L. Morrison, 9 Feb 1952; Maj George W. Askew Jr., c. Jul 1953; Lt Col Paul E. Adams, by Oct 1953; Maj George W. Askew Jr., 1 Jul 1955; Lt Col William F. Harris, Nov 1955; Lt Col Robert A. Ackerly, c. Dec 1956; Lt Col Ray S. White, 21 Apr 1958; Maj Felix A. Blanchard, by 29 Jun 1960; Maj Dwight N. Hillis, 16 Jul 1961; Maj Robert F. Ronca, by 30 Jun 1963; Lt Col Virgil K. Meroney, by 6 Aug 1963; Lt Col Robert C. Laliberte, 24 Aug 1964; Lt Col Stanley L. Evers, 25 Jul 1966; Lt Col Donald H. Hooten, 19 Apr 1968; Lt Col Robert L. Burns, 20 Jun 1969; Lt Col Jude R. McNamara, 6 Nov 1970; Lt Col Frank L. Yow Jr., 16 Dec 1971; Lt Col William L. Broomall Jr., 11 Jan 1972; Lt Col Charles A. Herning, 10 Jun 1974; Lt Col Ronald D. McDonald Jr., 1 Aug 1975; Lt Col William W. Hopkins Jr., 16 Jul 1977; Lt Col Frank B. Payne, 18 Aug 1976; Lt Col Leo J. Lemoine, 28 Jan 1980 (temporary); Lt Col Richard R. Riddick, c. 1 Apr 1980; Lt Col Raymond J. Bartholomew, 12 Mar 1982; Lt Col Wilson D. Briley Jr., c. 6 Jan 1984; Lt Col John H. Cain, 11 Feb 1985; Lt Col Jon G. Safely, 20 Nov 1986; Lt Col David F. MacGhee, 6 Jun 1988; Lt Col Harold H. Barton Jr., 11 Jun 1990; Lt Col Wesley E. Trevett, 20 Mar 1992; Lt Col James D. Matheny, unkn-30 Sep 1993. Unkn, 1 Jan 1994; Lt Col William J. Shirey, 30 Sep 1994; Lt Col Michael R. Cook, 10 May 1996; Lt Col David G. Minto, 31 Dec 1997; Lt Col Michael H. Geczy, 3 Dec 1999; Lt Col Jon A. Norman, 9 Nov 2001; Lt Col David R. Stillwell, 30 May 2003; Lt Col Donavan E. Godier, 15 Jul 2005; Lt Col Craig S. Leavitt, 28 Jun 2007; Lt Col Lance A. Kildron, 23 Jun 2009; Lt Col John E. Vargas Jr., 3 Jun 2011; Lt Col Matthew Ayres, 21 Jun 2013-.

Aircraft

Evidently included JN–4, JN–6, and perhaps S–4 during 1918. In addition to P–12, 1930–1935, included DH–4 during 1931; P–26, 1934–1938; P–36, 1938–1940; P–40, 1940–1942; P–39, 1942–1943; P-43, 1942-1943; P–38, 1943–1944; P–51, 1944–1945. P–51, 1946–1948; F–84, 1948–1957; F–100, 1957–1970; F–111, 1970–1993. F-16, 1994-.

Operations

Apparently a flying training unit, 1918. Provided personnel for and helped train new units, 1940–1942. Combat in European Theater of Operations (ETO), 28 Dec 1943–25 Apr 1945. Combat in Southwest Asia, Feb 1991. Since 1994, supplied personnel and aircraft for operations in Southwest Asia, including Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Service Streamers

World War II American Theater.

Campaign Streamers

World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Air Combat, EAME Theater. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait; Southwest Asia Ceasefire.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers

None.

Decorations

Distinguished Unit Citation: Central Germany, 8 Apr 1944. Meritorious Unit Awards: 1 Jun 2007-31 May 2009; 1 Jun 2009-31 May 2011; 1 Jun 2011-31 May 2012; 1 Jun 2012-31 May 2013. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Jul 1956–30 Sep 1957; 1 May 1963–31 Dec 1964; 1 Jan 1965–31 Mar 1966; 1 Jul 1968–31 Mar 1970; 1 Sep 1970–30 Jun 1972; 31 Mar 1973–30 Jun 1974; 1 Jul 1977–30 Jun 1979; 1 Jul 1981–30 Jun 1983; 1 Jul 1987–30 Jun 1989; 1 Jul 1990–30 Jun 1992; 1 Oct 1992-9 Jul 1993; 1 Jan-31 Dec 1994; 1 Jun 1997-31 May 1999; 1 Jun 1999-31 May 2001.

Emblem

Approved on 29 Aug 1931; revised on 9 Mar 1995

Lineage, Assignments, Stations, and Honors through Mar 2016.
Commanders through Jun 2013; Aircraft and Operations through 31 Dec 2010.
Supersedes statement prepared on Mar 2014.
Prepared by Carl E. Bailey.