Text: Philippe Decock - Pictures: Philippe Decock & Hellenic Air Force - Archives: Coll Serge Van Heertum, Coll Denis Eusicom
Copyright sbap 2017İ
 
   
116 Air Combat Wing
  
Emblem: Tactical Air Support Emblem: 116 Air Combat Wing
 

Emblem
"Bold beyond our powers"
(Thucydides)
The delegates of the Corinthians, addressing their Lacedemonians allies before the outbreak of the Peloponesian War, praise the qualities of the people of Athens.
"… Whereas you are disposed merely to keep what you have, to devise nothing new, and, when you do take action, not to carry to completion even what is indispensable. Again, they are bold beyond their strength, venturesome beyond their better judgement, and sanguine in the face of dangers."
(Thucydides, Histories 1, 70, 2-3; Loeb, by C. Forster Smith.)

Location: Araxos Air Base.
Established: 1962
Subordination: Hellenic Tactical Air Force (HTAF)
Squadrons: 335 Bomber Squadron - 336 Bomber Squadron
Aircraft served: F-84F Thunderstreak - F-104G/TF-104G Starfighter - A-7H/TA-7H Corsair II - A-7E/TA-7C Corsair II
Aircraft serving: F-16C/D Block 52+ Advanced

Mission
The mission of the 116 CW is to maintain a high level of readiness and effectiveness and the carrying out of air operations, at any given time, in total success. It is achieved by the appropriate organization, training of personnel and maintenance of the available means and systems.
History
- 1936 : First use of Araxos airport
- 1941 : At the beginning of April 1941, the runway was ready to receive aircraft flights. In the same period the first RADAR base in Greece was set up in Araxos.
- 1958 : In 1958, it was decided that the airport be modernized, and it would serve jets ever since.
- 1962 : On April 1962, the 116 Combat Group was formed at Araxos airport with the F-84F aircraft of the 336 Fighter Bomber Squadron. Lt.Colonel (pilot) Laitmer was the first commander of 116 Combat Group.
- 1964 : The F-84F of 336 Sqn were replaced by F-104G aircraft.
- 1969 : On May 1969, the 116 Combat Group was renamed to 116 Combat Wing.
- 1977 : In June 1977, 355 Sqn from 114 CW redeployed to 116 CW with F-104G aircraft.
- 1992 : In 1992, the replacement of F-104Gs with the A-7Es aircraft started.
- 1993-1995 : On March 1993, the retirement of F-104G was completed while the delivery of A-7E aircraft had been completed by September 1994. The conversion of 335 Sqn to A-7E aircraft was accomplished on September 1993, and on June 1995 for the 336 Sqn.
- 1996 : In November 1996, the A-7E Re-training Flight was established and started to operate in March 1997.
- 2009 : 335 Squadron started using F-16C/D block 52+ Advanced in may 2009.
- 2014 : 336 Squadron says farewell to the last Corsair II and starts using F-16C/D block 52+ Advanced in october 2014.

 
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak   (Coll Denis Eusicom) Lockheed F-104G Strarfighter  (Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 LTV A-7E Corsair II  (Hellenic Air Forceİ) LTV TA-7C Corsair II  (Serge Van Heertumİ)
 
335 MIRA

Emblem: Head of a tiger

Call Sign: TIGER

Previous Aircrafts:
Hawker Hurricane-IIB
Hawker Hurricane-IIC
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire IX and XVI
Republic F-84G Thunderjet
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Lockheed F-104G/TF-104G Starfighter
Chance Vought A-7H/TA-7H Corsair II
Chance Vought A-7E/TA-7C Corsair II

Current Aircraft
Lockheed-Martin F-16C/D Block 52+ Advanced Fighting Falcon

Mission:
The 335 Squadron's mission is to implement Hellenic's Tactical Air force operations during times of war or crisis and peace through the effective maintance of its assets and the training of its personnel.

 

History
The 335 Squadron with callsign "Tiger" is the oldest squadron of the Hellenic Air Force, as it was established in october 1941, when Greece was under German occupation, at the Palestinian airport of Akir, i.e. a few months after Greece's total occupation by the Germans.
The first squadron pilots were officers of the Hellenic Royal Air Force, who had been sent to Iraq since 1940 to be trained by British officers, as well as many pilots who abandoned Greece after the occupation, for carrying on the liberation fight.
The squadron was initially equipped with Hurricane IIB fighter aircraft and thereafter with the Hurricane IIC and was subordinated to the RAF 339 Combat Wing. It operated these aircraft until December 1943, when the Spitfire VB and VC replaced them.
The Squadron had as its main role the offensive reconnaissance and interception. It carries out missions in North Africa, Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania and in occupied Greece, especially in Crete, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands.
During the stay in the Middle East, the Squadron operated from landing strips and participated in navel convoy escort and patrol missions.
This routine mission was broken by a strafing operation against the H.Q. of the Italian XX Corps which was based in Libya, behind the Axis lines. The attack was accomplished in full success in October 28th. As it was the second anniversary of the Italian attack against Greece, the Squadron Leader asked permission from the British Command to "celebrate" the occasion, by carrying out this mission.
In September 1944, the Squadron redeployed to Italy and thereafter to Greece in the end of October, at Hassani airport, today's Hellenikon airport. There, the 335 Sqn along with 336 Sqn and 13 Light bomber Sqn, which were established in the Middle East, were handed over by the British to the Hellenic Government.
During WWII, the squadron lost 18 pilots, flew 8500 combat hours in 5555 sorties and an additional 12000 flight hours for training purposes.
In August 1945 it re-deployed to Sedes airport. In June 1947 the new Spitfire IX and XVI were delivered to the Squadron in order to contribute to the civil war operations during 1947 -1949.
In October 1953, the 335 Sqn was renamed 335 Fighter-Bomber Sqn and became the first Squadron that replaced the propeller aircraft with jets, the F-84G and RT-33A type, in Elefsis airport.
It redeployed to 111CW in Nea Aghialos and stayed there until September 1957. Thereafter it redeployed to 110 CW in Larissa and remained based there until May 1960, while being equiped with the F-84F since autumn 1957.
In November 1960, the 335 Fighter-Bomber Sqn assumed strike role and redeployed to Tanagra. The reception of F-104G Starfighter aircraft started in May 1965, and in June 30 1977, the squadron redeployed to 116 CW at Araxos. From May 1965 until May 1992 it flew with the F-104Gs.
On April 3 1993, it was renamed 335 Bomber Squadron and received the A-7E and TA-7C Corsair II, which where part of a set of 62 aircraft delivered by the USA.
The HAF bombing ability was increased with the A-7 aircraft, because of their great capability to carry a heavy weapon load to long distances and deliver it to the target with satisfactory accuracy.
In may 2009, 335 Squadron traded its old A-7's for brand new F-16C/D block52+ Advanced.
Since 1972, 335 Squadron is a member of the NATO Tigers Association and are called " Aegean Tigers ".

 
 Painting behind the maintenance hangar   (Philippe Decockİ)
 The 335 Squadron traditions area (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) Tiger trophy from Zaragozza  (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) 335 Tiger family...  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Some models for an historic overview (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 Lockheed F-104G Starfighter  (Coll Denis Eusicom) Lockheed F-104G Starfighter in Tiger colors,
celebrating the unit 50th anniversary  (Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 A formation of 4 Ling-Temco-Vought A-7E's  (Hellenic Air Forceİ) LTV A-7E specially painted for the NTM 2007  (Serge Van Heertumİ)
 Lockheed-Martin F-16C block 52+ Advanced  (Hellenic Air Forceİ) Lockheed-Martin F-16D block 52+ Advanced  (Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 The F-16C specially painted for the NTM 2016  (Hellenic Air Forceİ) The tiger painted F-16C taxiing in Zaragozza  (Philippe Decockİ)
 
336 MIRA (Bomber Squadron)
 

Emblem: Eagle on the top of Mount Olympus.

Call Sign: OLYMPOS

Previous Aircrafts:
Hawker Hurricane-IIB
Hawker Hurricane-IIC
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire IX and XVI
Curtiss Wright B2C-5 Helldiver
Republic F-84G Thunderjet
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Lockheed F-104G/TF-104G Starfighter
Chance Vought A-7H/TA-7H Corsair II
Chance Vought A-7E/TA-7C Corsair II

Current Aircraft:
Lockheed-Martin F-16C/D Block 52+ Advanced Fighting Falcon

Mission:
The 336 Squadron's mission is to implement Hellenic's Tactical Air force operations during times of war or crisis and peace through the effective maintance of its assets and the training of its personnel.

 
History
The 336 Squadron with callsign "Olympos", was established for the 1st time, on February 25, 1943 at the "Landing Ground 219" airport near Cairo, Egypt. Its first name was 336 "Hellenic Royal Fighter Bomber Squadron". The 336 Sqn was subordinated to the RAF 219 Combat Wing, and it was the second FB Squadron of the Hellenic Royal Air Force.
The squadron was initially equipped with 21 Hurricane-IIC aircraft, and had a total of 309 men, with 26 pilots.
On April 4 1943, it is transferred to the desert, at the LG121 airport, which was located near Sidi Barrani, Egypt, and it stayed there until January 1944. From April 11, 1943 the Squadron was fully operational.
The missions were naval convoy protection, interception of hostile aircraft, offensive patrols and ground attack sweeps over Crete.
The Squadron's main characteristic was the keenness and the willingness of all the pilots to participate in the missions. This led to having draws in order to determine which pilots would take part in the missions, because there were few aircraft and many volunteers. The missions carried out by the Greek pilots too often caused admiration to the allies.
In January 1944, the squadron redeployed to the Libyan airport of El Adem, where it stayed until March 1944. Thereafter it redeployed to the Bu Amoud airport for a few days, and since April 1944 to the Marsa Matruh airport of Egypt.
In June 1944 the personnel started training to receive the new aircraft type, the Spitfire V. In July once again it redeployed to El Adem airport, where the reception of the new aircraft started in September.
After a few days, the 336 Sqn was transferred to Italy at Nuova airport and from this base it carried out ground attack missions over Albania, Yugoslavia and occupied Greece.
Next station was Biferno airport, only for a few days, and after that the squadron operated all November from Grottaglie airport, until its return to Greece.
It continued operating from Hassani airport against the German forces in Crete, Milos and the Dodecanese.
The 336 Squadron flew 12427 hours, of which 5116 were combat hours, in 3250 missions. As many as 12 pilots were killed and 3 got captured.
In May 1945, it redeployed to Sedes airport, in Thessaloniki, and took part in the civil war operations during 1946-1949. In February 1949, 336 Sqn redeployed to Larissa and was integrated to the 110CW.
On August 24 1946, it was equipped with the Helldiver vertical attack fighter-bomber, changing its role to Light Bomber Squadron. Following this, it was equipped with the F-84G at Elefsis airport, while at the same time it was renamed to 336 Fighter Bomber Squadron.
On December 28 1953, it redeployed to Nea Anchialos. In 1958 it replaced the F-84G with the new F-84F and in March 1959 it redeployed firstly to 110 CW and then to 116 CW on December 4 1962. On September 25 1963 it was renamed 336 Strike Squadron.
On January 15 1965, the 336 Strike Sqn moved to 114CW with its Lockheed F-104G Starfighter while the part of 336 Sqn still flying the F-84F stayed with 116CW. On December 23 1966, the 336 Strike Sqn moved back from 114 CW to 116 CW.
From December 1966 until March 31st 1993, the 336 Sqn maintained the F-104G aircraft. From this date on, it was renamed 336 Bomber Squadron and started receiving the A-7E and TA-7C. With those aircraft, it operated at first as Re-training Flight for the F-104Gs pilots to the new aircraft type.
The HAF bombing ability was increased with the A-7 aircraft, because of their great capability to carry a heavy weapon load to long distances and deliver it to the target with satisfactory accuracy.
Since 2014 the 336 Squadron has welcomed the brand new fourth generation F-16C/D Block 52+ Advanced. The squadron conducted its first flight with a formation of four F-16C/D Block 52+ Advanced under the callsign ''OLYMPOS GOLD".
From now on, the 336 squadron pilots are taking on to execute a variety of missions under any condition, as the F-16 can participate effectively in all types of missions. Undeniably, the pilots are preparing to continue the glorious past of 336 Squadron.
  
 (Philippe Decockİ)

The 336 Squadron memories (Philippe Decockİ)

  (Philippe Decockİ)

Two A-7E's in their original US Navy colors 
and in HAF colors following their delivery in 1993
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 Lockheed F-104G Starfighter (Philippe Decockİ) Chance Vought A-7E (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 Lockheed F-104G Starfighter in silver colours  (Coll Denis Eusicom) F-104G in a special livery to celebrate the unit 50th anniversary
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 LTV A-7E Corsair II  (Hellenic Air Forceİ) LTV A-7E in a special livery to celebrate the unit 60th anniversary
 (Serge Van Heertumİ)
The 336 Sqn current mount...  (Hellenic Air Forceİ) The Lockheed-Martin F-16C/D block 52+ Advanced   (Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 
Araxos Operations
  
 A 335 Sqn F-16C departing for an early morning mission  (Philippe Decockİ)
 335 Sqn maintenance hangar   (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) Close up on 335 Sqn F-16D 029  (Philippe Decockİ)
 A 336 Sqn F-16C at rest  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 A 336 Sqn F-16C taxiing out  (Philippe Decockİ) A 336 Sqn F-16C awaiting the next mission  (Philippe Decockİ)
 335 Sqn F-16D 029 landing in the middle of a heavy shower
(Philippe Decockİ)
335 Sqn F-16D 021 takes to the sky
(Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) Followed by 336 Sqn F-16D 024  (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) 021 returning to the 335 Sqn area  (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) Charming marshalling (Philippe Decockİ)
 Face to face with the F-16...  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 Back from the mission of the day (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 023 is also back  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) On-the-spot debriefing  (Philippe Decockİ)
 True Tiger spirit!  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 021 and 023 are prepared for their next flight  (Philippe Decockİ)
 
Preserved Aircraft
 
 LTV A-7E in a special scheme to celebrate the retirement of the Corsair II from HAF service   (Philippe Decockİ)
 Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (Philippe Decockİ) Lockheed F-104G Starfighter (Philippe Decockİ)
 Lockheed F-104G Starfighter (Philippe Decockİ) Lockheed F-104G Starfighter 1993 Tiger scheme  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star  (Philippe Decockİ) Chance Vought A-7E Corsair II (Philippe Decockİ)
 Chance-Vought TA-7C Corsair II (Philippe Decockİ) Chance Vought A-7E retirement special markings  (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 AGM-12 Bullpup (Philippe Decockİ) AN/AAR-45 FLIR and Air to Air refueling pod (Philippe Decockİ)
 
The Corsair Graveyard
 
 A mix of derelic A-7E's and A-7H's  (Philippe Decockİ)
A-7E's and TA-7C's  (Philippe Decockİ)  LTV A-7E  (Philippe Decockİ)
 TA-7C  (Philippe Decockİ) A-7E's and TA-7C's  (Philippe Decockİ)
 A-7E  (Philippe Decockİ) Close up on the nose section of an A-7E  (Philippe Decockİ)
 A pair of A-7E's  (Philippe Decockİ) LTV A-7H Corsair II  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Close up on the nose section of a TA-7C  (Philippe Decockİ) TA-7C  (Philippe Decockİ)
 TA-7C  (Philippe Decockİ) TA-7C  (Philippe Decockİ)
 
On behalf of SBAP, I would like to thank the Embassy of Belgium in Athens, the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Araxos Air Base Commanding Officer, my guide of the day and all the people I met during my visit for helping us in the realization of this report.
 

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