The 60th Fighter Squadron is one of two F-15C Eagle flying squadrons at the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The "Fighting Crows" prepare and maintain combat-ready F-15C Eagles, plan and execute an annual flying hour program of more than 5,000 sorties and train and maintain the combat readiness of 32 pilots and 300 maintenance personnel.
Activated in 1940 at Mitchell Field, N.Y., as the 60th Pursuit Squadron, the unit was attached to the 33rd Pursuit Group on January 15, 1941. Re-designated as the 60th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Crows" on May 15, 1942, the unit was responsible for the continual mission of air defense of the U.S. until October 1942. In late 1942, the 60th joined the U.S. effort in World War II by participating in combat operations in the Mediterranean Theater and the China, Burma, India Theater. As a result of superior performance in central Tunisia, the 60th earned the Distinguished Unit Citation for combat operations on January 15, 1944.
Following its service in World War II, the 60th was assigned to the 33d Fighter Group at Neubiberg, Germany in August 1946 and flew the P-51 Mustang. In 1947, the 60th transferred to Roswell, N.M., and soon afterward, in June 1948, converted to the F-84 Thunderjet. In November 1948, the 60th transferred to Otis Air Force Base (AFB), Mass., and by June of the following year had completed a conversion to the new F-86 Sabre. On August 9, 1950, the 60th moved to Westover Air Force Base, Mass., and on January 1, 1951 became part of the Air Defense Command. From 1952-1959, the 60th, flying the F-86 Sabre and the F-94 Starfire was assigned to various organizations including, the 4707th Defense Wing, 4735th Air Defense Group and the Boston Air Defense Sector all located at Otis AFB. On January 5, 1959, the 60th was the first Air Defense squadron to receive the new F-101 Voodoo aircraft. The unit was additionally tasked as part of the joint test force (teamed with members at Eglin AFB, Fla.) to test the F-101's operational capabilities prior to its entrance into active service.
During the 1960s the 60th participated in various tests, exercises and operations in the Air Defense Command. In October and November of 1962, the unit was placed on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but was never deployed. The 60th deactivated on April 30, 1971 and in September of the same year was reactivated at Eglin, AFB, Fla., as the 60th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Reorganized in June 1979, the squadron conducted pilot mission qualification training for Pacific Air Forces pilots under Ready Eagle III at Kadena AB, Japan.
The 60th made its first combat deployment since World War II when it sent ten F-15s to Grenada in support of Operation Urgent Fury, the rescue of American medical students held in Grenada in the mid 1980s. The unit later supported Just Cause in 1989, the operation to remove and arrest Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
In 1991, members of the 60th helped gain air superiority over Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. Captain David G. "Logger" Rose shot down a MiG-23 "Flogger" while on patrol north of Baghdad on 29 January recording the squadron's first kill since WWII. The Crows deployed 24 F-15s to Haiti for Operation Restore Democracy in 1994, but the planned invasion turned into a permissive entry operation and no combat missions were flown.
The 60th enforced U.N. Resolutions over the skies of Iraq between 1993 and 2001, deploying five times in support of Operation Southern Watch and twice for Operation Northern Watch. Under these operations, the 60th participated in Rugged Nautilus and Desert Fox during periods of heightened tension with Iraq. The Crows also provided a regular rotation in support of the Icelandic Defense Force at Keflavik Naval Air Station throughout the nineties. In March 2000, the squadron became the first active duty F-15C unit in ACC to be Night Vision Goggle operational.
Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the 60th FS provided support for Operation Noble Eagle, the Air Force's continuing mission to protect the U.S. from another air attack from inside or outside the U.S. Their proud heritage includes a Distinguished Unit Citation in 1943, the 1996 Hughes Trophy as the best air defense/air superiority squadron in the Air Force, the 2004 Raytheon Trophy (formerly known as Hughes Trophy) and five Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards.
In December 2008 the 60th realigned under the 58th Fighter Squadron and the unit's deactivation ceremony is set for a future date.
(Current as of December 2008)