357 FS Mission Spotlight
Published September 20, 2012
357th Fighter Squadron
The Dragons currently train US and Allied pilots to fly the A-10C Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog. Constituted and activated on 12 Nov 1942 as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron, the 357th deployed to the European Theater of Operations in July 1943. The 357th Fighter Squadron remained in combat until 25 April 1945, performing ground attack missionsand later, after converting to the P-51 Mustang, bomber escort duties. By the end of World War II, the Dragons had accounted for 535 enemy aircraft damaged or destroyed and six 357th pilots had become aces. During the Cold War, the 357th was reactivated as the 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and performed air defense duties in the F-86 Sabre from Portland International Airport, Oregon and then from Nouasseur AB, French Morocco over the forward-deployed B-47 Stratojet bases in North Africa until 1960. Reactivated as the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron in July 1962, the Dragons were equipped with F-105 Thunderchiefs and deployed to Thailand, flying hazardous combat operations over enemy-held territory in South and North Vietnam until 1970, during which time six 357th pilots were credited with MiG kills and one 357th pilot, Maj. Leo K. Thorsness, became one of only 14 Vietnam-era Air Force members decorated with the Medal of Honor. Reactivated in March 1971 at Davis-Monthan AFB and equipped with the new A-7D Corsair II ground support aircraft, the Dragons deployed its Corsairs to Korat RTAFB, Thailand to continue combat operations over Vietnam. On 1 July 1976, the squadron was redesignated the 357th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron and began training new A-7D pilots. Receiving new A-10A Thunderbolt IIs in 1979 to replace the A-7Ds, the 357th became an A-10 Fighter Training Unit and was redesignated the 357th Fighter Squadron on 1 Nov 1991.
"We Train the World's Finest Attack Pilots"
Mission (Mission Statement):
Train pilots to plan, coordinate, execute, and control day and night close air support, battlefield surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of friendly ground forces.
Through disciplined and efficient instruction build aggressive, quick-thinking, combat-ready attack pilots with solid foundational mindsets and a technically accurate understanding of the A-10 and its tactical employment.
The 357th FS conducts all Air Combat Command formal course directed aircraft flying training, including transition, day and night tactics and weapons employment, day and night air refueling, dissimilar air combat maneuvers, and advanced targeting pod employment. The squadron prepares its students for and certifies them as combat mission ready attack pilots upon graduation. The unit is made up of roughly 20 military personnel, 24 A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft, and associated squadron facilities and training equipment.