The 334th Fighter Squadron stands ready to deploy and conduct sustained combat operations on a no-notice basis, worldwide.
The 334th was constituted by War Department letter on 22 Aug 1942, and activated at Bushey Hall, England, on 12 Sep, with the men and Spitfires of RAF 71 Sq(F) Eagle. The three Eagle squadrons, formerly composed of American volunteers in the Royal Air Force, were assigned to the 4th Fighter Group - the first Army Air Corps unit activated in the European Theater during World War II - and were based at Debden Field, Essex, England.
As former members of RAF 71st Squadron, the 334th Fighting Eagles continued to fly Spitfires until the arrival of the P-47 Thunderbolt in 1943. A year later the squadron changed to the P-51 Mustang, which served as the primary aircraft for the remainder of the war.
The 334th led its sister squadrons in aerial accomplishments against the German Luftwaffe, with 395 kills - 210 in the air and 185 on the ground. The 334th Fighter Squadron and the 4th Fighter Group made history in 1944 by being selected as the lead fighter group of the 8th Air Force to escort the bomber shuttle missions to Russia. Following VE Day, the 334th continued to train at Debden for the expected deployment to the Japanese home islands but fortunately was stood down and rotated to the US.
The 334th moved to Andrews AFB, MD, in April 1947 and was equipped with the F-80 Shooting Star aircraft. In 1949, the squadron moved to Langley AFB, VA, and was reequipped with F-86 Sabre aircraft. By November of that year, the Fighting Eagles were en route to Korea. Flying Air Superiority missions in "MiG Alley", the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron was credited with the destruction of 142.5 enemy aircraft by wars end.
Several notable aces made the 334th their home during the Korean conflict including the first all- jet ace and high-scoring 4th FIW ace, Maj. James Jabara. Major Jabara flew two combat tours with the 334th FIS and ended his last tour in 1953 with 15 confirmed MiG-15 kills. Other high scoring aces of the 334th FIS included Maj. George Davis (14.5 kills), Capt. Pete Fernandez (14.5 kills), Maj. F.C. "Boots" Blesse (10 kills), and the most recent 334th and USAF ace, Lt. Charles "Chick" Cleveland (5.5 kills). Lt. Clevelands last kill was credited by the American Fighter Aces Association in 2000 making him the most recent official ace in the United States.
Many 334th FIS pilots paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Korean conflict, but Maj. George A. Davis stands out amongst them. The leading ace of the Korean War at the time, Major Davis was shot down in a MiG battle on Feb. 10, 1952. While defending a flight of fighter- bombers with only one other F-86, Maj. Davis lead the attack to disrupt the superior MiG-15 formation. The Major had destroyed his 13th and 14th MiGs of the war and was zeroing in on another when a MiG pulled in behind and shot him down. His aircraft crashed 30 miles south of the Yalu River. For this action Maj. Davis was posthumously awarded The Medal of Honor.
The 334th FIS remained in the Far East until Dec. 8, 1957, when it was reassigned to Seymour Johnson AFB as a Fighter Bomber (Day) unit of the 4th Fighter Day Wing. The unit flew the F-100 Super Sabres until mid-
1959 when transition to the F-105 Thunderchief aircraft began. The squadron designation changed to Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1958.
The 334th was again call to action in the Asian theatre when the squadron was selected as the only unit of the 4th TFW to deploy to the "new" conflict in Vietnam. The 334th TFS deployed to Takhli, Thailand in 1965 and commenced combat operations in support of Operation ROLLING THUNDER. The 334th TFS was the first TAC unit to fly F-105 missions into North Vietnam. After a six-month tour in Southeast Asia, the 334th returned to Seymour Johnson in February 1966 and began instructing new pilots in F-105 operations. The Fighting Eagles had just completed the transition to the F-4D Phantom II when it was rushed to Korea in January 1968, supporting operations during the Pueblo incident. The squadron returned to Seymour Johnson in June 1968.
The Fighting Eagles had just completed the upgrade to the gun-equipped F-4E when the war in Vietnam escalated. The 334th TFS was alerted to deploy 24 Phantoms to Southeast Asia in support of Operation LINEBACKER. The squadron arrived at Ubon AB, Thailand in the fall of 1972 and flew combat attached to the 8 TFW until the spring of 1973 when all 334th assets and personnel returned to Seymour Johnson. For the next 20 years the squadron maintained mission ready status in the F-4E, deploying to numerous CRESTED CAP exercises at European air bases in support of NATO.
The 334th flew its first F-15E sorties on Jan. 1, 1991. During this month the squadron served as the host unit for several units deploying to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Additionally, 334th aircrews and support personnel deployed to Operation Desert Storm as augmentees. The squadron became operational in the F-15E on June 18, 1991, and deployed to Saudi Arabia the next day to relieve remaining elements of the 335th, providing combat air patrol and ground alert forces supporting withdrawal of troops from Operation Desert Storm.
The mission of the 334th changed in 1995 to the Fighter Training Unit (FTU) mission, training the best F-15E aircrew in the world. Since 1995 the 334th FS has trained over 500 students to fly and fight in the worlds premier multi-role fighter, the McDonald-Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle.