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Al Kharj Royal Saudi Air Base - January 1991, QTVR file, 530Kb, 320x200.

4th Tactical Fighter Wing
The 4th Fighter Group was established in the UK in September 1942 as the parent unit for the Royal Air Force's American-manned Nos 71, 121 and 133 (Eagle) Squadrons, on their transfer to the US Army Air Forces' 8th Army Air Force - as the 334th, 335th and 336th Fighter Squadrons. The unit retained its Supermarine Spitfire Mk V fighters up to April 1943, but then switched to the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and finally the North American P-51 Mustang in February 1944. The unit remained in action up to April 1945 and in that time claimed 583 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air together with another 469 on the ground, for the loss of 241 of their own fighters. The unit's record includes the accolade of having been the 8th AAF's oldest fighter group, scoring the highest number of air and ground 'kills' of any USAAF unit in World War II (1939-45), being the first unit to engage enemy aircraft over Paris and Berlin, and being the first 8th AAF fighter unit to penetrate German air space. The unit's highest-scoring ace was Don S. Gentile, who shot down 22 German aircraft and destroyed another six on the ground. The 4th FG returned to the USA in November 1945 and was deactivated at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. The unit was reactivated in September 1946 with the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star turbojet-powered fighter, and in 1949 converted to the North American F-86 Sabre, the first swept-wing fighter to serve with what had become, in 1947, the US Air Force. As the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing, the unit was transferred to the Tactical Air Command during January 1950. The 4th FIW was moved to the western Pacific in 1950, and was heavily involved through most of the Korean War (1950-1953), in the process 'bagging' 506 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighters. The 4th FIW's highest-scoring ace was Lieutenant Colonel James Jabara, who with 15 air-to-air 'kills' was the second-highest scoring ace of the Korean War. In all, 25 pilots of the 4th FIW became aces in the Korean War by destroying five or more communist aircraft, and this total included Lieutenant Colonel George A. Davis who was killed in action in February 1952 after shooting down 14 aircraft. He was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. The unit returned to the USA in December 1957, and as the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing was responsible for introducing to service the Republic F-105 Thunderchief strike fighter. This took place in 1958, and after active service in the Vietnam War (US involvement between 1961 and 1973), the unit transitioned to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II multi-role fighter as part of the Tactical Air Command's 9th Air Force, when it was based at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. As a highly experienced and capable multi-role unit specializing in the attack role, the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing was again selected to introduce another type to USAF service. This time the warplane introduced by the 4th TFW was the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Eagle, of which the first deliveries were made in December 1988. The 4th TFW was comprised of the 334th, 335th and 336th Tactical Fighter Squadrons. In June 1991 the 4th TFW was redesignated as the 4th Wing as part of the USAF's shift in concept to an 'intervention' force comprising, in part at least, composite wings operating a number of aircraft types. The F-15E Eagles were therefore complemented in the 4th Wing by McDonnell Douglas KC-10A Extender tanker/transports for long-range deployments and operations.

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