The 335th Fighter Squadron is stationed at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina. The 335th received their first F-15s in 1990 and became IOC on October 1990 and became the fourth operational F-15E squadron.
Always deployed where the action is, to support operational commitments of the United States Air Force, the history-making Chiefs are one of the finest fighter squadrons in the world. One of six operational F-15E squadrons in the U.S. Air Force, the mission of the 335th Fighter Squadron is to be prepared to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice and deliver an array of air-to-ground weapons with pinpoint accuracy. The squadron is currently authorized 24 F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft and approximately 360 officer and enlisted personnel.
The 335th was the second fighter squadron in the Air Force to receive the Strike Eagle
On 27-28 December 1990, the 335th deployed twenty-four F-15Es along with support personnel and equipment to Al Kharj Air Base in central Saudi Arabia. On the night of 16 January, the Chiefs participated in the initial assault on Iraq, hitting communications, power networks, and airfields around Baghdad. Given the mission of finding and destroying Iraq’s SCUD missile launchers, the 335th brought Iraq’s use of this terror weapon to a virtual halt, earning the squadron the nickname “SCUD BUSTERS.” The 335th made aerial warfare history by downing an Iraqi helicopter in the air using a laser-guided bomb. During the war, the Chiefs flew 1,097 combat missions over Iraq and occupied Kuwait, dropping over 4.8 million pounds of ordnance.
After the war, the 335th continued to fly combat air patrol missions over Iraq and Kuwait until relieved by the 334th Fighter Squadron in June 1991. Since then, the Chiefs have returned to Southwest Asia several times; they deployed three times to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and twice to Doha, Qatar, as an Air Expeditionary Force. The AEF-III deployment in 1996 was the first for an Air Force unit to Doha. The Chiefs’ most recent deployment was in January 2002 to Kuwait, where they flew in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch. The 335th Fighter Squadron stands ready to meet the challenges of the future and demonstrate the meaning of their proud byline: “Chiefs’ Standard.”
Chiefs return, all F-15Es back at Seymour
by Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2010 – SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — Armed with flags, colorful signs and personalized T-shirts, family and friends lined the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., flight line to welcome home pilots and weapon systems operators from the 335th Fighter Squadron Jan. 8.
The officers deployed in September to assume the Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, close air support mission from the 336th Fighter Squadron, their Seymour Johnson AFB brethren. This return of 18 F-15E Strike Eagles marks the first time in nine months all of the aircraft have been at homestation together.
While deployed, the 335th FS Chiefs flew more than 1,670 combat sorties totaling nearly 6,500 flight hours.
“The Chiefs didn’t miss a single tasked (air tasking order) line during their four-month deployment,” said Lt. Col. Lance Bunch, 4th Operations Group deputy commander. “They supported operations resulting in 19 high-value individuals being captured.”
The Chiefs were instrumental in the defense of Coalition Observation Post Keating during the heated battle Oct. 3-4, 2009.
“During this battle, the outpost was being ambushed by more than 250 Taliban fighters in a well-planned, 360 degree-coordinated attack that outnumbered Coalition Forces three to one,” Bunch said. “For the duration of the battle, the Chiefs were overhead, many times working with other airborne assets. The actions of the Chiefs saved more than 72 Coalition lives and prevented COP Keating from being overrun by insurgents.”
While everyday operations downrange for the Chiefs were not for the faint of heart, hugging loved ones in their welcoming committee for the first time in months still managed to get their adrenalin pumping.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Capt. Taylor Francis, 335th FS aircrew, as he enjoyed an embrace from his wife, Stephanie, and seven-month-old son, Edward. “You think you know how you will feel when you get home, but you really have no idea until you get here.”
After months of maintaining a steady state of readiness and making decisions that had an automatic impact on other’s lives, Francis said he is looking forward to relaxing and reconnecting with his family by syncing to his son’s schedule.
The returning Chiefs will have an opportunity reconnect with family and friends before returning to work at the end of the month to resume training. As a capstone to their reconstitution training, they will deploy to participate in RED FLAG at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, in April.
“Major breaks 1,000 combat hours milestone”
by Tech. Sgt. John Jung 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
10/19/2009 – BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Growing up in Caldwell, Idaho, Sam Tucker listened to the stories of his grandfather, Lt. Col. (ret) Carroll Tucker, and his exploits as a B-17 Flying Fortress navigator in WWII; young Sam Tucker knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up.
Major Sam Tucker is still living out his dream as a flyer in the backseat of an F-15E Strike Eagle here in Afghanistan with the 335th Expeditionary Fighter squadron. Recently, the Instructor Weapon Systems Officer, deployed from the 334th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., broke a milestone that few in his chosen career have reached – he surpassed 1,000 combat hours.
Breaking 1,000 combat hours is a huge feat according to Lt. Col. Eric Trychon, 455th Expeditionary Operations Group deputy commander. “It’s a major career milestone and even a rarer milestone for those in the F-15E community,” said the Worcester, Mass., native, who is deployed from Nellis AFB, Nev.
“I didn’t think this would ever happen,” said Major Tucker. “It was always like a bridge too far for me, for everyone really,” continued the 12-year Air Force veteran.
“Most guys are just hoping to get to fly 1,000 hours in the jet, let alone 1,000 hours in combat,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Anthony, 335th EFS squadron commander, deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB.
“It’s all about longevity in flying,” said Capt. Taylor Francis, a 4-year Air Force veteran Weapon Systems Officer. “Comparatively speaking, it’s like playing football as long as Brett Farve or playing baseball as long as Cal Ripkin Jr.,” continued the Dare County, N. C. native, also deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB. “It’s day-in and day-out getting the job done and done well.”
And getting the job done is what Major Tucker has prided himself in doing. He not only has 1,000 hours in combat, but more 2,300 hours in the Strike Eagle. Never one to shy away from his job or duty, he has deployed five times.
His first deployment was to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia, then twice to the 379th AEW, Southwest Asia and twice more to Bagram, Afghanistan, where he is currently serving out an extended deployment. Major Tucker has flown in support of Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Deploying so often has been made a bit easier for the major due to the phenomenal support of his wife and children.
“I’m six for thirteen on anniversaries and have more pictures of my children’s birthday parties than I’ve actually been to,” said Major Tucker. “Luckily my family understands the mission and what it takes to get it done. My wife is a one-of-a-kind woman, they just don’t make them like her anymore. I love her and my children dearly.”
The love of his family and the flying is what keeps Major Tucker going as he strives for still further milestones