Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Exhibition: Jean-Pierre Dechesne with Daniel Brackx archives     © sbap 2018
Hundred years is not anything and this is the venerable age of the 9th Squadron (under control of the Competence Center) based at Beauvechain Airbase.
Such a centenary had to be celebrated with dignity in the company of the elders. Thus, March 1st, 2018 was chosen to mark this anniversary, exactly one hundred years to the day from the birth of this squadron which was officially created on March 1st, 1918.
The boss of the squadron, Cdt Christophe "Tcholle" Deroubaix, with the help of the people of his squadron, had put the dishes in large. No specially decorated aircraft, no flying demonstration, but a meeting of elders (as much as possible) having one day worn on his uniform the green shield "Cocotte".
So it was a meeting around the friendship glass in the "Chise" allowing meeting pilots, admiring a historical exhibition, enjoying an excellent meal and concluding with a last drink leading to many aeronautical discussions....
In short for everyone a day of happiness and emotion around this "Cocotte" created a century ago by the Ace Will Coppens de Houthulst.
Throughout its existence, the 9th squadron remained discreet, despite the military achievements recognized by the Aviation Militaire Belge headquarters and also many organizational changes. His birthday was also discreet, but is it really necessary to make a lot of noise? No, the qualities of souls and the desire to serve the country are inscribed in hearts, not in vain words.
As a conclusion before moving on to a historical reminder, let's wish "Happy Birthday" to 9th Squadron and that the white "Cocotte" on a green shield will last a long time.

 The 9th Squadron insigna was applied on the SF.260 in 2008
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
The standard of tradition and 
the 2018 logo created by SBAP and the 9th Sqn C.O.
 The special ST-40 in 2008 with the 9th Sqn insigna on the tail
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
The 9th Sqn was also a Jet squadron in the past !
(Serge Van Heertum ©)

It’s the 1st of March 1918, when the 9th Squadron was created at the airfield of “De Moeren”, not far from the coast, and the French border. Created with the help of the personnel and some planes from the 1st Squadron, the chosen emblem was the “Scottish Thistle”. At the moment of creation of the 9th Squadron, the First World War was almost over, and after the end of hostilities, the 9th moved to the vicinity of the capital, at Berchem-Saint-Agathe. This was for a relatively short period of time, because in March 1920, the squadron will move to Schaffen. In 1924, the squadron will become the 2nd Squadron.
In 1935, the denomination of the “9th Squadron” makes its comeback in the Belgian military aviation. Based in Bierset, the squadron was equipped with Renard R31 and receives a Sioux head in a blue circle as logo, and their motto became “Tenacity”. The squadron takes part in combat, following the German attack of May 10th 1940, and will participate bravely in the fight throughout the 18-day campaign.
The 9th Squadron returned to the front stage after the creation of the 7th Wing based in Chièvres, and received at that moment the logo of a “Cocotte” (paper bird) against a green background, with the motto “Get In”. The bird was the personal emblem of Willy Coppens from Houthulst during the war. In March 1952, the squadron moved on to the jet era (Meteor F.8 and then Hunter F.4) and was finally dissolved in March 1957.
The 9th squadron was reinstated in November 1971 at Brustem airbase in the training center and received the mission to train new instructors, who would afterwards be assigned to either the 7th or the 11th Squadron.
In November 1996, the bases of Brustem and Goetsenhoven were abandoned and all training units were dissolved and then regrouped in the 1st Training Wing at Beauvechain. In August 2001, the 9th was dissolved again to give way to the 7th Sqn, which took over the role previously assigned to the 9th Squadron. After the move of the Alpha Jet and the 7th Squadron to the French airbase at Cazaux and Tours, the 9th Squadron was reactivated once again in November 2005, and took charge of the training and evaluation of instructors on the SF.260. The 9th became a real “flying squadron” again on February 21st , 2008, when it received the traditional insignia of the “Paper Bird” again. In September 2010, the squadron was transferred from the 1st Training Wing to the CC-Air (Competence Center Air) which was newly created, and still at Beauvechain airbase.
The missions of the 9th squadron today are:
- Single engine IFR courses for pilots converting to transport aircraft, NH-90 helicopter or to obtain an equivalent civilian license (end of career).
- Management of the non-organic instructor pilots on SF.260, delivering support to both 5th and 9th Squadrons.
- Converting almost all pilot Staff Officers on SF.260 and guaranteeing their continuity flying training up to a possible conversion as Operational Instructor Pilot (OPS-IP)
- Since 2012, hosting the Belgian Air Force "Red Devils" display team, consisting of instructor pilots of both 5th and 9th Squadrons.

 The past... (Serge Van Heertum ©) ...and the present (Serge Van Heertum ©)
 Some of the 9 Squadron CO from begin until today
From Left to Right : Luc Pirsoul, Werner Desiron, André Muller, Luc Jaucot, Sam Van der Linden (with 9 sqn tradition flag), Steve Nuyts, L Mouzon, Gilbert Conte,
L. De Mey daughter, Pascal Van Thiegem, A. de Ligne.
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
The current Commander Officer Christophe "Tcholle" Deroubaix
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
 9th Squadron Commander Officers 1952 - 2018
1952-1953 De Mey L.
1953-1955 De Ligne A.
1955-1956 Goosse B.
1956-1957 Mouzon L.
1972-1974 Delbeke D.
1974-1976 Bieuvelet M.
1976-1978 Nuyts G.
1978-1981 Schoups JP.
1981-1982 Rabaey J.
1982-1983 Bouret M.
1983-1985 Claes L.
1985-1985 Evrard C.
1985-1986 Van De Putte E.
1986-1987 Muller A.
1987-1989 De Sutter E.
1989-1991 Meynckens L.
1991-1993 Vantieghem P.
1993-1996 Pirsoul P.
1996-1998 Jaucot L.
1998-2001 Conte L.
2001-2007 Rorive P. (7Sqn)
2005-2010 Desiron W.
2010-2011 Noppe D.
2011-2013 Van der Linden S. 
2013-2016 Collard A.
2016-2018 Deroubaix Ch.
March 01st, 2018...the Centenary party (Serge Van Heertum ©)
 The warm welcome of the 9th Sqn The wolf calls the 9th Squadron pack
 "Pappy" and "Tcholle" the two pillars of the 9th Squadon General view on the historical exhibition prepared by Jean-Pierre Dechesne
 The pleasure of seeing each other again and ending up in a few photos Some nicknames: "Flurke" on the right
 1950's 9th Squadron pilots...great to meet them "Daniel" and General er Michel Audrit
 "John" in the center of the picture "Meumeu" at the left side
 Bladt family and "Pappy" "K1" on the left side and "Psycho" in middle
 on the left "Marc" former Swallows 
and "Ket" F-16 demo in the 1990's on the right
"Jean" from the "Red Devils" at the right side
"Jos" one of the former Beauvechain Base Commander 
 "Colmant" from the Navy flight and "Buggy" "Meel" another "Red Devils" on the right
 "Flurke", "Docky" and "Fernand" "Fred" and "Chris" the 2017 Godfather
 "Pappy" and "Firmin" "Docky" and "Paul"...so serious...
 The exhibition realized by Jean-Pierre Dechesne with Daniel Brackx archives
 The "Ordre du jour de l'armée" 1918 - Adj Willy Coppens, Capt Walter Gallez C.O. & Adj Pierre Dubois in March 1918 - 9th Sqn fleet in 1920
 The 9th Squadron pilots in 1918 S/Lt Willy Coppens in his Hanriot H.D.1 H-D 23 at De Moeren airfield in 1918
 Willy Coppens in a Nieuport 16 C1 Sopwith F.1 Camel  flown by Adj. Léon Cremers
 SPAD XII C1 another aircraft used by the squadron The 9th Squadron pilots in 1922
 Nieuport Delage NiD 29 C1 what a fast evolution between 1918 and 1922 De Havilland DH.9
 Breguet XIX A2B2 in 1935 Renard R-31 in 1935 the WWII was at the door...
 Gloster Meteor F.8 as from 1952 Hawker Hunter F.4 as from 1956
 Potez-Air Fouga CM.170-1 Magister as from 1971 Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star also as from 1971
 Dassault-Breguet/Dornier (AMD) Alpha Jet 1B as from 1979
Moved to AJets Scholl at Cazaux in 2005
Stelio Frati beauty: the Siai Marchetti SF260M/D as from 1970

 The 9th Sqn Commander Officer speech The audience is listening...
 "Boutez en avant", the french way for the "Get In" moto A delicious diner
 And still under the 1st Wing wolf protection A present to General er Jean-Paul "Pedro" Buysse 
who will be the 2018 Godfather of the "Red Devils" team
 The "Chise" team...many thanks for the excellent meal and the smiling service provided during the party
 A Gloster Meteor nine in the 1950's...
(Daniel Brackx archives)
...and a Siai Marchetti SF.260 some years later
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
 100 years of discreet excellence...Happy Birthday 9th Squadron

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