Langley home of 1st Fighter Wing

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  • By 1st Fighter Wing
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As the host unit here, the 1st Fighter Wing operates and maintains one of the largest fighter bases in Air Combat Command.

The wing flies the F-22A Raptor and F-15 Eagle. The 1st FW's mission is to: "Train, organize and equip expeditionary Airmen; deploy, fight and win; provide world-class support to Team Langley."

To accomplish their mission, the men and women of the 1st FW work in one of four groups: operations, maintenance, mission support and medical. More than 20 squadrons comprise the four groups, which includes three fighter squadrons: the 27th FS known as the Fightin' Eagles, the 71st FS known as the Ironmen, and the 94th FS known as the Hat-in-the-Ring Gang.

The F-15 Eagle, the Air Force's air superiority fighter, entered operational service at Langley AFB in January 1976 with the 1st FW. The wing's current complement of F-15s stands at 75.

Continuing the 1st FW's tradition of first to bring new fighters operational, the Air Force announced in 2002 that the 1st FW would become the first F-22A operational wing, paving the way for the future of air dominance.

In addition to the F-15 and F-22A, the 1st FW has tallied many other firsts throughout its distinguished history. In World War I, when it was known as the 1st Pursuit Organization and Training Center, the wing scored its first aerial victory when Lt. Douglas Campbell of the 94th FS downed a German Phalz D-3 over France. By the time the war ended, the unit's name changed to the 1st Pursuit Group and it earned 202 confirmed kills.

During World War II, the 1st FW again excelled, earning three Distinguished Unit Citations for outstanding performance of duty. Redesignated as the 1st Fighter Group, the unit entered the war flying the P-38. Throughout the war, the 1st FG flew more than 20,000 sorties on 1,405 combat missions, and scored more than 400 aerial kills.

On Aug. 7, 1990, the 1st FW, then known as the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield, adding to the list of firsts by becoming the first U.S. unit to establish air superiority over Saudi Arabia. Through both operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the wing flew more than 6,200 sorties and nearly 25,000 flying hours. The wing also recorded an aerial victory when Capt. Steve Tate of the 71st FS shot down an Iraqi F-1 Mirage.

In 1991, the 1st TFW became known as it is today -- the 1st Fighter Wing. For most of the 1990s, the wing practiced the lessons it learned in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, participating in numerous deployments and exercises throughout the world. This practice would pay off.

In 2003, the Air Force called once again on the 1st FW to provide air superiority in combat. The wing deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where it flew more than 360 training and combat sorties.

Throughout its history, the 1st FW has led the way. On Dec. 15, 2005, the wing continued that tradition with the 27th FS becoming the Air Force's first operational F-22A fighter squadron.

(Current as of June 2006)