Wednesday, August 8, 2012

47th Fighter Squadron Celebrates its Heritage

by Staff Sgt. Ted Daigle
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - Four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 47th Fighter Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., conduct a fly-over during a heritage event celebrated by the unit July 21, 2012 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The event honored the legacy of the 47th FS which distinguished itself during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. The 47th FS is in Hawaii to take part in the Rim of the Pacific military exercise, the world largest international maritime military exercise. It is held every two years and offers unique training opportunities for participating units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ted Daigle) Hi-res

7/30/2012 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- From shooting down bombers during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, to missiles at a naval hulk during this year's Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the 47th Fighter Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., has a long, rich history of being ready and effective in any situation. That legacy was honored during a heritage event held aboard the USS Missouri (BB 63) July 22, 2012, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Col. John Breazeale, 917th Fighter Group commander, reminded the Airmen in the audience of the unit's recent deployment to Afghanistan and the unique success enjoyed in RIMPAC honoring the legacy of all the members that came before them.

"When you think about the things the people who came before us did, it is a source of motivation. The success this unit enjoys from flying combat missions in Afghanistan to sinking ships at RIMPAC now rests on your shoulders," he said.

The event sought to highlight the contributions all members of the unit have made throughout its storied history, by having current pilots and members of the maintenance team speak about contributions made by their predecessors.

1st Lts. Shane McLaughlin and David Knighton, current 47th FS pilots, spoke about the contribution made by two former 47 FS pilots, Kenneth Taylor and George Welch, during the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

According to McLauglin, the two pilots had spent the previous night at the officer's club and had just arrived at their living quarters when the attack started. Following a quick phone call to ready their P-40 Warhawk fighters, the two threw on whatever clothes they could find, got to their planes and mounted a counter-attack.

The two pilots combined for six victories against Japanese planes that day, said Knighton.

Senior Airman John Slade, 917th Fighter Group crew chief, spoke about the contributions the maintenance teams made that day.

The maintenance crews endured repeated strafing attacks by Japanese planes, but still managed to get their planes in the air to fight off the attack, he said.

"We have to remember the guys who came before us. They set the standard that we always try to live up to," said Slade.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Source (including 3 photos)

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