47th Fighter Squadron marks 80 years of success

  • Published
  • By Capt. Monique Roux
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

December 1st marks a major milestone in the history of the 47th Fighter Squadron. The unit, a Reserve A-10 flying squadron assigned to the 944th Fighter Wing, celebrates 80 years since it was originally activated as the 47th Pursuit Squadron in 1940 as the U.S. was increasing forces prior to World War II. 

At the close of 1940, the squadron was one of three assigned to the 15th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field in Hawaii. Just one year after its activation, the 47th PS “Termites” were part of the initial fight at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Lieutenants Kenneth Taylor and George Welch, pilots with the 47th, were two of only five aviators at Pearl Harbor able to make it to their aircraft and respond to the attacks. The 47th pilots are credited with shooting down at least six enemy planes.

Over the past eight decades, the assigned location and mission of the 47th FS has changed, but dedicated and resilient members have been a constant theme throughout the years.

“I am continuously inspired by the creative energy of the men and women in the 47 FS,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Plante, 47th FS commander. “Their dedication and commitment to instructing future Close Air Support pilots is truly unique. We celebrate the spirit of Ken Taylor and George Welch each day, and strive to teach our A-10 students the same commitment to mission.”

The 47th FS is a unique organization as a unit-equipped fighter Formal Training Unit, working alongside their active duty and Reserve counterparts to train the next generation of CAS pilots.  The squadron was reactivated under the 944th FW in 2014 as a geographically separated unit at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.  Since then, they have consistently increased their B-Course Equivalent (BCE) production every year, training 100 percent of the students assigned to the program.

The Termites are determined to carry on their legacy and mission to train, educate, and mentor the world’s finest attack pilots.

“We take great pride in our heritage, especially our connection to Pearl Harbor and WWII, and strive to live up to that fighting spirit every day,” said Plante. “The fighter pilot ethos is something we try to infuse into our students, and is captured in our mission to ‘Forge Lethal Attack Pilots’.”