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Tigers, Gamblers celebrate 100 years

A Team Shaw member watches Maj. John Waters, Air Combat Command Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, fly an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base (AFB), S.C., June 9, 2018.

A Team Shaw member watches Maj. John Waters, Air Combat Command Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, fly an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base (AFB), S.C., June 9, 2018. The Shaw AFB flight line was temporarily opened for visitors joining the 77th and 79th Fighter Squadron centennial celebrations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Maj. John Waters, Air Combat Command Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, taxis an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 9, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Maj. John Waters, Air Combat Command Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot, taxis an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 9, 2018. Waters flew a series of aerial maneuvers in honor of the 77th and 79th Fighter Squadron centennial celebrations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

Members of the 77th and 79th Fighter Squadrons stand together at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 9, 2018.

Members of the 77th and 79th Fighter Squadrons stand together at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 9, 2018. The members celebrated the 100 year anniversaries of the squadrons together with tours, the sharing of old stories and a show by the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Team Shaw members and local veterans gathered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, June 8, in a celebration of Air Force history.

The 77th and 79th Fighter Squadrons celebrated their 100 year anniversaries together with squadron tours, the sharing of old stories and a show by the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team.

“This is such a big deal because we are celebrating 100 years of commitment to a greater cause,” said Capt. Aaron Gibson, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot.

The 79th FS formed in Waco, Texas in 1918 as the 79th Aero Squadron. The squadron has since taken part in many major campaigns launched by the Air Force and has flown multiple aircraft. The 79th FS, also known as the “Tigers,” started flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon at Shaw in 1994.

The 77th FS, also known as the Gamblers, like the Tigers, were formed in Waco, Texas in 1918 and joined their neighbor on the Shaw flight line in 1994.


“Being part of the fighter pilot heritage is something very special to me,” said Capt. Brian Tomlin, 77th Fighter Squadron chief of training. “My uncle was a Gambler and being able to share the history and heritage is something I’m unable to put in words.”

Former members of the Tigers and the Gamblers were invited to partake in the celebration, see their respective units’ updated facilities and to visit the F-111 Aardvark static display near the front gate. Before flying the F-16CM Fighting Falcon, the Tigers and Gamblers flew the F-111.

Tomlin said he thinks getting everyone together and celebrating fighter squadron heritage is really important and he was proud to have been part of it.