exercices areas (left) and the same added on Google earth picture
well-known international exercise took place as usual at Leeuwarden
air base between April 11th and April 22nd. This year again, various
NATO countries took part to the event like Belgium, Germany, France,
United Kingdom, Finland, Poland, Norway, United States and of course
the Netherlands. Frisian Flag missions are held in the northern area
of the Netherlands above the North Sea. The German and Danish
airspaces are also involved in this very large exercise.
The main goal of these two weeks flying activities is mostly the
collaboration between the crews of all different nationalities to
have a common view on conflictual situations and work towards the
same procedures and language. This is the only key for an efficient
coalition in conflict areas, the last years events are the witness
of this. Remember all the conflict area like ex-Yugoslavia,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or, more recently and still current, the
conflict in Syria with the terrorism nest and ISIS actions in the
This year Frisian Flag was also linked to the NATO exercise Ramstein
Guard-5. The NATO Electronic Warfare Force Integration Program is
planned to train the NATO designed regional elements of NATO's
Integrated Air Defense Systems conducted through the CAOC's while
also including some national systems and assets. Ramstein Guard-5
was designed to train AC Ramstein and subordinate units on the
reporting/coordination requirements while exposing them to a wide
variety of Electronic Warfare tactics and technologies in a
During the two weeks of Frisian Flag exercise, different and quite
difficult missions were flown under the supervision of the 322
Tactess and under the leading of the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC).
The missions were also conducted by the German and Netherlands
forward air controllers with the support of a NATO Boeing E-3A based
In combination, like it was in 2015, an international air refueling
exercise was held and the participating tankers were based at
Eindhoven (KC-10, C-135F and KC-767) or departed directly from Köln
The North Sea exercise area was dived in 4 parts and called TGB's
taking the civilian areas like Schiphol or Heathrow flying zone into
Since 2015 the exercise hosted special guests and this year two
units of the Air National Guards deployed again at Leeuwarden with
their F-15C/D Eagles. This is also the opportunity to give you a
little historical overview of these two unusual units in the
Bravo (left) and TGB Echo (right) (©
Charly (left) and TGB Delta (right) (©
Squadrons edited special patches for this occasion: 322 Squadron (KLU)
- JG31 "Boelke" (GAF) - 349 (F) Squadron (BAF)
31 (FAF) - JG31 "Boelke" (GAF) - 322 Squadron (KLU)
Lockheed Martin F-16AM
FA69 / FA87 / FA95 / FA102 / FA103 / FA110 / FA116 / FA124
Donnell Douglas / Boeing F-18C
HN-401 / HN-409 / HN-418 / HN-434 / HN-437 / HN-438
Dassault Mirage 2000D
3-JP (611) / 3-XG (625) / 3-XD (630) / 3-JM (657) / 3-IV (683)
30+45 / 30+58 / 30+72 / 30+76 / 30+78 / 30+82 / 30+83 / 30+87 /
31+07 / 31+12
Netherland Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM
J-008 / J-013 / J-014 / J-015 / J-055 / J-065 / J-201 / J-509 /
J-512 / J-513 / J-616 / J-644 / J-646 / J-871
Dassault Falcon 20ECM
Poland Lockheed Martin F-16C-52CF
4041 / 4052 / 4055 / 4058 / 4060 / 4061
Kingdom Panavia Tornado GR4
ZA372 (???) / ZA 459 (025) / ZA462 (027) / ZA542 (035) / ZD716 (084)
/ ZG779 (136)
Mc Donnell Douglas F-15C/D
131 FS : 83-0018 / 84-0016 / 84-0028 / 85-0118 / 85-0122
194 FS : 80-0018 / 84-0014 / 85-0129 (D model)
Dassault Falcon 20D
Fighter Squadron "Death Vipers"- 104th Fighter Wing (Massachusetts Air National Guard)
131st Fighter Squadron (131 FS) is a unit of the Massachusetts Air
National Guard 104th Fighter Wing located at Barnes Air National Guard
Base, Westfield, Massachusetts. The 131st is equipped with the F-15C/D
The squadron was first established in August 1942 at Bellows Field,
Hawaii Territory as the 333rd Fighter Squadron. It was initially part
of the air defense of Hawaii, equipped with P-39 Airacobras. It also
served as a Replacement Training Unit (RTU) and flew reconnaissance
patrols over Hawaii until late 1943.
After the wartime, 333rd Fighter Squadron was re-designated the 131st
Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the Massachusetts Air National
Guard, on May 24th 1946. It was organized at Barnes Municipal Airport,
Westfield, Massachusetts, and was extended federal recognition on
February 24th 1947. The squadron was equipped with P-47D Thunderbolts
and was assigned to the Massachusetts National Guard 102nd Fighter
The mission of the 131st Fighter Squadron was the air defense of
Massachusetts. With the surprise invasion of South Korea on June 25th
1950, and the regular military's lack of readiness, most of the Air
National Guard was federalized placed on active duty. The 131st was
retained by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to maintain the air
defense mission. In 1951, the F-47s were retired to Davis-Monthan Air
Force Base and the 131st was re-equipped with the F-51H Mustang Very
Long Range fighter. With its air defense mission, the 131st was
re-designated as 131st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron.
After the Korean War, the Massachusetts Air Guard began to modernize
and expand. On May 1st 1956 the 102nd wing was re-designated as the
102nd Air Defense Wing and the Guard units at Barnes were authorized
to expand to a group level, and the 104th Fighter Group (Air Defense)
was established, with the 131st becoming the group's flying squadron.
Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 104th Material
Squadron, 104th Air Base Squadron, and the 104th USAF Infirmary. The
104th, along with the 102nd Fighter Group (Air Defense) at Logan
Airport, Boston began attending annual training at Otis Air Force
The squadron's air defense mission ended on November 10th 1958 when
the Massachusetts Air Guard and its units were reassigned to Tactical
Air Command (TAC) and converted to F-86H Sabre fighter-bombers. During
the 1950s and early 1960s, better training and equipment, and closer
relations with the Air Force improved the readiness of the
Massachusetts Air National Guard.
During the summer of 1961, as the 1961 Berlin Crisis unfolded, the
131st Tactical Fighter Squadron was notified on August 16th of its
pending federalization and call to active duty. On October 1st the
131st was assigned to the 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing, which was
federalized and placed on active duty at Otis Air Force Base.
The mission of the 102nd wing was to reinforce the United States Air
Forces in Europe (USAFE) and deploy units to Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air
Base, France. In France, the units were to provide close air support
and air interdiction to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
ground forces. This involved keeping its aircraft on 24/7 alert.
Between October 28th and 30th, the wing elements departed Otis AFB for
Phalsbourg and deployed 82 F-86H Sabres. In addition 2 C-47 Skytrain
and 6 T-33A Shooting Star aircraft were assigned to the wing for
support and training purposes.
Starting on December 5th, the 131st began deploying to Wheelus Air
Base Libya for gunnery training. During its time in Europe, the
squadron participated in several USAF and NATO exercises, including a
deployment to Leck Air Base, West Germany near the Danish border. At
Leck, ground and support crews from both countries exchanged duties,
learning how to perform aircraft maintenance and operational support
After the Berlin Crisis, the readiness status of the 104th Tactical
Fighter Group improved under the "gaining command concept",
whereby the regular Air Force Tactical Air Command was responsible for
overseeing the training of the group. Operational readiness
inspections also honed the edges of the wing.
In 1964, the 131st switched from F-86H Sabres to the F-84F
Thunderstreak. Why exactly this equipment change was made cannot be
determined. The F-86H was a viable aircraft in the ANG's inventory,
with the Sabres from both the 101st and 131st Tactical Fighter
Squadrons being sent to the New Jersey ANG, and the 119th and 141st
Tactical Fighter Squadrons sending their F-84Fs to the Massachusetts
squadrons. The 131st flew the Thunderstreaks throughout the 1960s, and
although the squadron was not activated during the Vietnam War,
several of its pilots volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia.
In 1971, the 104th began re-equipping with the F-100D Super Sabre; the
Air Guard was always one generation of fighter aircraft behind the Air
Force during this time.
The 104th remained as a tactical fighter unit flying the F-100 until
July 1979 when the F-100s were retired and the unit was re-equipped
with new A-10 Thunderbolt IIs as part of the "Total Force"
concept which equipped ANG units with front-line USAF aircraft. This
marked the first time the 131st had received new aircraft.
In 1990 the 131st was programmed to receive the specialized Block 10
F-16A/B Fighting Falcon, also referred to as the F/A-16 due to its
close air support configuration. The 1990 Gulf Crisis, however,
delayed this transition. During Operation Desert Storm, the F/A-16 was
battle tested and it was discovered that the close air support F-16
project was a failure. Subsequently, the conversion of the squadron
was cancelled in 1993, and the 131st remained an A-10 Thunderbolt II
close air support squadron.
In March 1992, the unit was re designated as the 131st Fighter
Squadron. In June, Tactical Air Command was inactivated as and was
replaced by Air Combat Command (ACC). In 1995, the 104th adopted the
Air Force Objective Organization plan and the 104th Fighter Group
became a Wing, and the 131st was assigned to the new 104th Operations
From August to October 1995, some 400 Airmen of the 104th Fighter Wing
deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy as part of the NATO mission to
repel Serbian forces in Bosnia. This was the first time that the 131st
Fighter Squadron flew combat sorties since World Wat II. Four years
later, in 1999, elements of the 104th mobilized and flew sorties over
the skies of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. As part of an Air
Guard A-10 group, the 131st attacked Serb forces in Kosovo.
In mid-1996, the Air Force, in response to budget cuts, and changing
world situations, began experimenting with Air Expeditionary
organizations. The Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept was developed
that would mix Active-Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard elements
into a combined force, instead of entire permanent units deploying as
in the 1991 Gulf War, Expeditionary units are composed of "aviation
packages" from several wings, including active-duty Air Force,
the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard, would be
married together to carry out the assigned deployment rotation.
As a result of the Global War on Terrorism, in 2003, the 131st
Expeditionary Fighter Squadron flew hundreds of combat missions with
the A-10 in support of U.S. Army and Marine operations in Afghanistan
(Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom).
During March and April 2003, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 131st
Fighter Squadron A-10s supported the U.S. Army by flying combat
missions that interdicted enemy forces.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, Departement of Defense recommended
that the 131st send its A-10s to the Maryland Air National Guard 104th
Fighter Squadron at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River,
Maryland. In return, the 131st received the F-15C/D Eagles of the
102nd Fighter Wing at Otis AFB, which was to convert into non-flying
Intelligence Wing. The realignment marked the end for the 131st's
nearly 30-year mission of flying close-air support missions with the
A-10. The 131st took over the homeland security mission of the 102nd.
In 2007, the A-10s began flying to Maryland and the F-15s began
arriving from Otis AFB. By the end of 2007, eighteen F-15C and a
trainer F-15D had arrived at Barnes airfield.
Bell P-39 Airacobra, 1942-1944
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, 1944-1945
Lockheed P-38 Lightning, 1944-1945
Republic F-47D Thunderbolt, 1947-1951
North American F-51D Mustang, 1951-1954
Lockheed F-94A Starfire, 1954-1957
North American F-86H Sabre, 1957-1965
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, 1965-1971
North American F-100D Super Sabre, 1971-1979
Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II, 1979-2007
Mc Donnell Douglas F-15C / D Eagle, 2007-present
Air National Guard deployments
1961 Berlin Crisis federalization.
1961 - 1962 Stationed at Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base, France,
October 1st 1961 - August 20th 1962 Operation Restore Hope.
1982 Yenisehir Airport, Turkey, Operations Deny Flight and Deliberate
1995 Aviano Air Base, Italy, Operation Southern Watch (AEF).
2000 Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, Operation Iraqi Freedom (AEF).
2003 Balad Air Base, Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom (AEF).
2012 Undisclosed Location, Southwest Asia.
2016 Leeuwarden, Netherland, April Frisian Flag participation.
Serge Van Heertum)
Fighter Squadron "Griffins" - 144th Fighter Wing (California Air National
194th Fighter Squadron (194 FS) is a unit of the California Air
National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing (144 FW) based at Fresno Air
National Guard Base, California. The 194th is equipped with the
F-15C/D Eagle and like its parent wing, is operationally-gained within
the active U.S. Air Force by the Air Combat Command (ACC).
The squadron was activated in October 1943 as 409th Fighter Squadron
based at Hamilton Field, California. During World War II, the squadron
was an Operational Training Unit (OTU), equipped with second-line P-39
Airacobras and P-40 Warhawks. Its mission was to train newly graduated
pilots from Training Command in combat tactics and maneuvers before
being assigned to their permanent combat unit. Initially assigned to
IV Fighter Command, and then transferred to III Fighter Command in
1944, the unit was re-equipped with P-51D Mustangs. It took part in
air-ground maneuvers and demonstrations, participating in the
Louisiana Maneuvers in the summer of 1944 and in similar activities in
the US until after V-Day. The squadron was inactivated in November
During the wartime, 409th Fighter Squadron was re-activated and
re-designated as the 194th Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the
California Air National Guard, on May 24th 1946. It was organized at
Naval Air Station Alameda, California, and was extended federal
recognition on June 25th 1948 by the National Guard Bureau. The 194th
Fighter Squadron was bestowed to the history, honors, and colors of
the 409th Fighter Squadron. The squadron was equipped with F-51D
Mustangs and was assigned to the California ANG 144th Fighter Group.
During its early years with the F-51D, the unit earned prominence as
one of the Air Force's most respected aerial gunnery competitors.
With the surprise invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950, and the
regular military's complete lack of readiness, most of the Air
National Guard was federalized placed on active duty. The F-51Ds were
exchanged for F-51H Mustangs in 1951, as the "D" model of
the Mustang was needed for close air support missions in Korea. The
F-51H was a Very Long Range version of the Mustang, which was
developed to escort B-29 Superfortress bombers to Japan, but not
considered rugged enough to be used in Korea. During its years with
the P-51H, the unit earned prominence as one of the Air Force's most
respected aerial gunnery competitors. In June 1953, while still flying
the Mustang, the unit was qualified for the first all-jet, worldwide
With the increased availability of jet aircraft after the Korean War,
the squadron's aircraft were upgraded from the piston-engine,
propeller driven F-51H to its first jet aircraft, the F-86A Sabre Day
Interceptor in 1954. At the same time, the 194th relocated to Fresno
Yosemite International Airport, followed by the wing in 1957. On July
7th 1955, the 144th was re-designated as the 194th Fighter-Interceptor
Wing, a designation kept by the squadron for the next 37 years. With
the F-86A, the 144th began standing dusk-to-dawn alerts, joining its
Air Defense Command active-duty counterparts. The 194th continued to
fly the F-86A until March 31st 1958. On April 1st 1958, the transition
was made to the F-86L Sabre Interceptor, which was designed from the
onset as an interceptor, and was able to be used in all weather. In
addition, the F-86L could be controlled and directed by the SAGE
computer-controlled Ground Control Interceptor (Radar) sites which
would vector the aircraft to the unidentified target for interception.
On April 1st 1958, the transition was made to the F-86L, which was
flown until June 30th 1964. On July 1st 1964, the 144th began flying
the F-102 Delta Dagger and continued flying this aircraft until July
24th 1974. On July 25th 1974, the 144th brought the F-106 Delta Dart
into service, and continued to fly this aircraft until December 31st
1983. On October 1st 1978 Aerospace Defense Command was inactivated,
its units being reassigned to Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC).
The aging F-106s was replaced on January 1st 1984 with F-4D Phantom
IIs, being used in the air defense interceptor missions.
The squadron started receiving their first F-16A Fighting Falcons on
October 1st 1989. These were of the block 15 type, replacing the F-4D
in the air defense and attack roles. The block 15 airframes weren't
exactly suited to the dedicated air defense mission the squadron was
tasked to. This was fixed with the Air Defense Fighter (ADF) upgrade
these aircraft received during 1990.
Effective March 16th 1992, the 144th Fighter Interceptor Wing was
re-designated as the 144th Fighter Wing (144th FW), with all related
Fighter Interceptor Groups and Squadrons becoming Fighter Groups and
Fighter Squadrons. On June 1st 1992, the 144th FW was reassigned to
Air Combat Command.
During this time the 194th FS also had an alert detachment at George
AFB. This base was closed in 1992 due to the overall downsizing after
the Cold War and the alert detachment moved to March Air Force Base.
In 1995 the squadron was converted to the F-16C Fighting Falcon block
After having flown for 11 years with the block 25 airframes, a number
of those came to the end of their operational lifespan. It was
therefore decided that the airframes of the 194th FS were to be
replaced with F-16C Block 32 aircraft. The conversion to these block
32 models started in December 2006 and was gradually completed by the
end of 2007.
The first F-15C Eagle arrived on June 18th 2013. The last F-16
Fighting Falcon flew to its new home in Tucson, Arizona on November
Bell P-39 Airacobra, 1943-1944
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, 1944-1945
North American P-51 Mustang, 1945
North American F-51 Mustang, 1948-1954
North American F-86A Sabre, 1954-1958
North American F-86L Sabre, 1958-1964
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, 1965-1974
Convair F-106 Delta Dart, 1974-1983
Mc Donnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II, 1983-1989
Lockheed Martin F-16A Fighting Falcon, 1989-1995
Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, 1995 - 2013
Mc Donnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle, 2013-present
Serge Van Heertum)