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Emerald Knights squadron stands down

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Devante Williams
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 308th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit officially stands down this month at Luke Air Force Base after 73 years of service.

The base has trained "Emerald Knights" F-16 pilots and maintainers since 1993.
Luke is hosting a base-wide event honoring the 308th FS highlighting its legacy at Luke and their transition to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico where they will start their new journey as the 314th FS and AMU, the second F-16 unit to stand up at Holloman. The 314th FS mission remains the same as the 308th FS, 'To provide the finest single-seat, single-engine F-16 fighter pilots for the combat air force and produce top quality F-16 instructor pilots.'

The 308th was constituted Jan. 30, 1942, as the 308th Pursuit Squadron and was activated at Baer Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fast-forward to Oct. 1, 1986. The pursuit squadron was designated a fighter squadron and was re-equipped with the F-16A and F-16B. The 308th FS was first assigned to Homestead AFB, Fla., and then to Moody AFB, Ga. It wasn't until April 1, 1994, when Luke AFB became the home of the 308th.

During the 308th FS's almost 22 years at Luke, they achieved many milestones. Since activation, they have trained approximately 270 students to enter the Combat Air Forces as the world's greatest fighter pilots. In 2012, the 308th received Top Operations Squadron honors within the 56th Fighter Wing. The legacy of the 308th will continue to be a part of Luke Air Force Base.

'We can be sad about losing a squadron, but we're going out on a high note," said Lt. Col. Christopher Bacon, 308th FS commander. "Best instructor pilots in the wing, best students in the wing, and we were 2014 Operations Squadron of the year. It's sad to shut down the squadron, but I couldn't be more proud of each and every member of the Emerald Knights."

As the 308th FS and AMU depart for New Mexico, 1st Lt. Allana Gallant, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron 308th AMU officer in charge, said she definitely enjoyed her time with the 308th and wishes them nothing but success as they embark on their journey to Holloman.

"I'm sad to see the squadron go," she said. "We've become a great family and were able to overcome any obstacles we faced. It'll be nice for the young 308th Airmen to experience Holloman and see how they run their mission, but Luke AFB will always be the home of the 308th."
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