By Jay Greenberg, F400954
On May 17, 2013, members of the Snake River Valley chapter were given a five-hour tour of the Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, 366th Fighter Wing. Senior Airman Alyssa C. Wallace from the Base Public Affairs Office was our tour guide. During this informative tour, we were honored to participate in an officer promotion ceremony, which was held in a maintenance hangar.
The history of the 366th Fighter Wing dates back to World War II. In 1943 the wing was activated at Richmond Army Base in Virginia in preparation for action in Europe. The wing participated in numerous missions, including D-Day, through the duration of the war and remained in Germany as part of the occupying forces until its inactivation in 1946.
The wing was reactivated in 1953 and began operations in France and Italy until it was inactivated again in 1959. As the Cold War intensified, the 366th Fighter Wing was reactivated three years later and was stationed in France. In 1966 the wing was sent to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. While there, pilots noted that they were missing opportunities to shoot down enemy North Vietnamese MiGs, because the F-4C Phantom planes didn’t have cannons and their missiles were ineffective at short range. Wing maintenance personnel mounted an external 20-millimeter Gatling gun pod on each F-4C, and in less than a month the wing’s pilots had scored four MiG kills. The gun pod innovation and the MiG kills that followed earned the wing the nickname it carries today, the “Gunfighters.” During this period, the wing earned a Presidential Unit Citation for shooting down 11 enemy aircraft in a six-week period.
Today, the wing comprises four groups: the 366th Operations Group, the 366th Maintenance Group, the 366th Mission Support Group, and the 366th Medical Group. The wing also is home to the 389th Fighter Squadron, the 391st Fighter Squadron, and a Republic of Singapore 428th Fighter Squadron, all of which use F-15E Strike Eagle and RSAF F-15SG aircraft.
Our chapter wishes to thank the 366th Fighter Wing and their Public Affairs Office for granting us this tour. Our members truly appreciated seeing the base and finding out more about the 366th Fighter Wing, as we did not know about this historic unit that’s based in our own backyard.