The 27th Fighter Squadron (FS) “Fightin’ Eagles” are assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing (FW) at Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE), Hampton, Virginia. Deftly operating the world’s premier air dominance fighter - the F-22 Raptor - these dedicated men and women are proud to carry on the Fightin’ Eagles’ longstanding tradition of excellence!
First organized at Kelly Field, Texas on May 8th, 1917 as the 27th Aero Squadron, the Fightin’ Eagles own the distinction as the oldest active fighter squadron in the United States Air Force. Soon after their creation, the 27th left to serve in the European Theater in WWI. Continuing the tradition of firsts, Frank Luke, Jr. - a 27th fighter pilot - was the first Airman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Over the course of his involvement in the war, Luke scored eighteen total aerial victories and became known as the “Arizona Balloon Buster.” On September 29th, the day Luke earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, Luke downed three balloons as well as two German pursuit aircraft before his Spad XIII was badly damaged by enemy fire. Limping his aircraft into position, Luke executed one final strafing pass, killing six enemy ground troops and crash landing in a field in Meraux, France. Surrounded on all sides by enemy troops and facing certain death, rather than surrender, Luke drew his pistol and wounded several more enemy troops before succumbing to a fatal chest wound. The fighting spirit of Frank Luke thrived in the hearts of the Fightin’ Eagles through WWI, who added 8 of their pilots to the list of aces by the end of the conflict.
In the period between the world wars, the 27th Pursuit Squadron (redesignated in 1923) was stationed primarily at Selfridge Field, Michigan, as part of the 1st Fighter Group. During these years, the unit flew various aircraft, including the Fokker D-7, PW-8, P-12, P-16, P-26, P-35, P-36, and the YP-43.
When WWII began, the squadron picked up right where they left off previously - scoring America’s first aerial victory of the conflict in Europe, producing eight additional aces, and finishing the war with three Distinguished Unit Citations.
In the years following WWII, the 27th’s pace did not slow as they were re-designated and moved across the country. The Fightin’ Eagles spent time in New York, Maine, and Florida flying F-86s, F-94s, F-102s and F-4Es before moving to their current home at Langley AFB in Hampton, Virginia. In July 1975, the 27th became the first operational unit to transition to the new F-15 Eagle, a leap in air-to-air technology and capability. This fearsome new fighter ruled the skies for the next thirty years, earning a combat record better than 100 to 0. During that time, the squadron demonstrated unmatched air superiority over Canada, Egypt, the Netherlands, and the Middle East in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM, SOUTHERN WATCH, and VIGILANT WARRIOR.
As a new century dawned, a new mission was born at home as the 27th was tasked with Operation NOBLE EAGLE (ONE), providing the same unrivaled air dominance stateside in defense of the President of the United States and the Washington D.C. Capitol area – a mission the squadron still executes today. Continuing the Fightin’ Eagles’ tradition of firsts, the 27th was the first to transition to the Air Force’s fifth-generation F-22 Raptor, the first to achieve Initial Operational Capability, and the first to take the Raptor to combat in 2014, during Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR).
More recently, the 27th Fighter Squadron celebrated their 100th anniversary while deployed in 2017, again in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE - this time responding directly the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons, defending US forces in the Middle East, and forcing ISIS out of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqah, Syria. Among other achievements, the 27th set records for most bombs dropped by an F-22 squadron in one month, as well as number of GBU-32 JDAMs dropped by an F-22 unit in a twenty four hour period.
Today, the 27th is Air Combat Command’s premier “on call” force for any mission requiring air dominance. The 27th Fighter Squadron stands ready to rapidly deploy combat ready F-22 Raptor Aircraft and Airmen to perform Air Dominance and Air Defense missions worldwide in support of all United States operations. They stand ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year!
(Current as of June 2020)