32nd Fighter Squadron the Wolfhounds

Canal Zone – Soesterberg / Camp New Amsterdam – Ramstein

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32nd WOLFHOUNDS
 

Brief History 32nd Fighter Squadron

Stationed at

Camp New Amsterdam

 

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Credit: Paap

 

32nd Fighter Day Squadron

 

32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron

 

32nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron

 

32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron

 

32nd Fighter Squadron

 

 

It was Tuesday, November 16, 1954. The sky

was grey and overcast, but it was a bright day

for Lt. Col. Frank M. Haynie and the other members

of the 512th Fighter Day Squadron who

had come to Soesterberg Air ,Base to become

the nucleus of the only U.S. Air Force flying

unit In The Netherlands.

Although the inclement weather forced cancellation

of a flyover by the squadron’s F-86F

Sabres that day, a number of high ranking

officials of The Netherlands government. the

U.S. Air Force and other NATO allies were on

hand for the signing of the treaty on the small

portion of Soesterberg Air Base to be officially

christened "Camp New Amsterdam" by the

Mayor of the City of Amsterdam.

The 512th mission was to augment 1he Royal

Netherlands Air Force defense forces under

NATO, But while a welcome addition to

Holland's defense structure, the squadron

Itself had no previous association with that

Country, so a search was begun to find unit

designation with an historical tie to The

Netherlands. And less than a year later, on

September 8, 1955. The unit was officially

designated the 32nd Fighter Day Squadron.

It was an appropriate choice for the squadron

which would represent the U.S. Air Force in

Holland, since the original 32nd had served on

Dutch soil during the Second World War.

 

 

 

Activated in 1940

Originally a pursuit squadron, the 32nd was

activated at Kelly Field, Texas, on February 1,

1940. Following a brief stay at Langley Field,

Virginia, where it trained cadets, the squadron

joined its parent unit, the 36th Pursuit Group,

at Ponce AFB, Puerto Rico, in January 1941.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on

December7, 1941 , the 36th Pursuit Group was

Immediately placed on 24-hour alert interceptor

missions were flown daily to investigate al l

unidentified aircraft entering Puerto Rican air

space.

 

 

 

First on Dutch Soil

Nine months later two detachments of the

32nd were sent to Curacao and Aruba, Netherlands

West Indies, where they engaged in

intensive antisubmarine patrols. Dawn- to- dusk

missions were flown daily, and all unidentified

aircraft were intercepted and investigated.

In March 1943 the remainder of the squadron

was sent to Hato Field, Curacao. The 32nd

remained to carry on the defense of the area

even after the parent unit. the 36th Pursuit

Group, left for the States.

On March 13, 1944, the unit moved to France

Field. Panama Canal Zone, to provide aerial

defense for the canal. It was relocated again,

on January 10, 1945. to Howard Field, also in

the Canal Zone, and remained there through

the end of the war and until its deactivation on

October 15, 1946.

The Air Force carried the squadron on the

inactive list until 1955, when it was reactivated

at Soesterberg, flying the F·86F Sabre.

 

 

 

New Aircraft

The following year saw the introduction of the

Supersonic F-100C  Super Sabre, repacing the

F-86s brought to Soesterberg by the 512th, and

two years later the 32nd was awarded an Air

Force Outstanding Unit Award for its service

in The Netherlands from May 1956 to May 1958.

Then, on July 8, 1958, it was redesignated the

32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron - a name it

would lose and then regain in the years to

come.

 

 

 

Unique Honor

In 1959, the 32nd became the only USAF unit

in the world to wear the royal crest of another

country, when the Crown and Wreath of the

Royal House of Orange were added to the

famed Wolfhound design.

This unique honor was granted in recognition

of the unit's contributions to the

defense of The Netherlands and

graphically illustrates the 32nd's close ties

with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Because

of that distinction, as well as the fact that

Camp New Amsterdam is located just a few

miles from the Royal Palace in Soestdijk, the

squadron is referred to as "the Queen's own."

 

 

 

Other Aircraft

Following four years with the Super Sabre, the

32nd changed its name and cockpit again, to

the 32nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron and

the F-102A Delta Dagger all-weather interceptor.

The unit's proficiency in that aircraft

was demonstrated in 1965 when it received its

second Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and

also won first place in the F-102 category of

the Worldwide Fighter Interceptor Weapons

Meet, called "William Tell" It was the first

overseas unit to win in the competition, and

the first which included foreign personnel,

RNLAF ground controllers who accompanied

the 32nd to Tyndall AFB, Florida, for the meet.

 

 

 

More Honors

The next year brought more prestigious

awards, with a "Silver Anvil" from the Public

Relations Society of America - the highest

honor bestowed by the public relations profession

- and the coveted Hughes Achievement

Award, which named the 32nd the most outstanding

air defense squadron in the United

States Air Force.

It also added victories in the AFCENT Air

Defense Competition that same year and the

next, as well as three years later, in 1970. In

1968 the squadron's armament loading team

competed in the USAFE Loader Competition,

the "Loadeo," recording the fastest times and

highest scores of all the participants in the

F-102 category, and repeated its achievement

in the 1970 Loadeo.

 

 

 

First F-4 Phantom II

In 1969 the 32nd became the first of four F-102

squadrons in USAFE to be equipped with the

new F-4E Phantom II, and in July of that year

was again designated the 32nd Tactical Fighter

Squadron, the name it has borne since that time.

Another milestone year for the unit was 1974,

when the third Loadeo first prize fell to the

32nd's crews in August. Then, on October 31,

the first improved Phantom’s arrived. These

aircraft incorporated "slatted" wings, giving

them significantly improved combat capability,

and would serve as the unit's primary weapon

system for the next four years.

 

In the five years since 1974 the squadron has

continued its record of achievement, with an

Air Force Flying Safety Award in 1975, for

18,000 accident-free flying hours, a 1977

USAFE nomination for the Hughes Award as

the best air defense unit in the command, its

third Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in 1978,

and a second-place finish by the base newspaper,

"the interceptor," in Air Force-wide

competition that same year

 

 

 

Fanion

The squadron's 20th Anniversary in The

Netherlands, November 16, 1974, was the

occasion for the presentation of what has

been perhaps its proudest possession. On

that date, in ceremonies befitting the occasion,

Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands presented

the 32nd a special flag, or fanion, commemorating

two decades of its contributions to the

nation's defense as well as the outstanding

relationship that has always existed between

the Dutch and Americans at Soesterberg. The

fanion is a unique honor in the U.S. Air Force,

as it has been officially recognized as the

squadron's flag and is used as such on all

important ceremonial occasions.

 

 

 

Era of the Eagle

But the most eagerly anticipated day for the

32nd was September 13, 1978, when Col. AI

Pruden touched down with squadron's first

F-15 air superiority fighter, to usher in the "Era

of the Eagle." Only the second unit in USAFE

to receive this advanced aircraft, the 32nd was

assisted in its conversion to the F-15 by a three

month deployment of aircraft and personnel

from the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley

AFB, Virginia. By the end of the year, the

squadron's remaining Eagles were in place

and flying their regular air defense missions in

2 ATAF, carrying on the proud traditions that a

quarter-century in The Netherlands had

established.

 

 

 

End of an Era The Final Chapter

After months of speculation, the Department of

Defense announced June 29, 1993, that the 32nd Fighter

Group at Soesterberg Air Base would cease operations

by Sept. 30, 1994, ending 40 years at the Dutch base

Joining the Wolfhounds on the closure list was Bitburg

AB, Germany.

Col. John Graham, Jr., 32nd Fighter Group

commander, held town meetings shortly before Defense

Secretary Les Aspin's public announcement in order to

pass on all the information known at the time.

 

"The single-most important thing we can do during.

the drawdown of the group is to continue our commitment

to our people," said Capt. John Brence, Graham's choice

to lead the early stages of drawdown. "We still have a

mission," reminded Brence, "until we're relieved from

our tasking. Then we'll still have a mission - it will just

have changed."

 

News of the base closure didn't stop Independence

Day activities. Hundreds of people came out for the

three-day event, including many from the Dutch community.

Many witnessed the Chiefs (base chief master

sergeants) down the Eagles (base colonels), 10-3, in their

final softball contest before mission completion. The loss

snapped the Eagles two-year winning streak.

 

Soesterberg's drawdown plan was hailed as "one of

the best seen to date" during a Project Task Force

(PROTAF) visit in early July. PROTAF teams visit

bases targeted for closure or drawdown and took a look

at their mission completion process. Base officials said

the team" didn't need to add much to our program and are

considering using it as a model for the command for bases

who fall under the objective wing concept." Early plans

called for the 32nd's F-15 s to begin departing in October 1993

with the last three Eagle’s leaving Wolfhound country in

January, 1994.

 

The last three F-15 Eagles were flown by:

 Capt. David Petersen, Lt. Col. Chris Tope and

Capt. David Solomon

to Cape Cod, Mass, for their duty with the ANG.

 

*****

 


 

 

 

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