The 23d Fighter Group directs the flying and maintenance operations for the USAF's largest A-10C fighter group, consisting of two combat-ready A-10C squadrons and an operations support squadron. The Group ensures overall combat training and readiness for over 90 pilots and 180 support personnel.
The 23d FG has a rich and illustrious history. The Group traces its roots back to the 23rd Pursuit Group (Interceptor), constituted at Langley Field, Va, 17 December 1941, just 10 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Claire L. Chennault had been recalled to active duty with the rank of brigadier general and placed at the head of the China Air Task Force (later to become 14th Air Force). The 23rd FG, a component of the CATF, was assigned three squadrons -- the 74th, 75th, and 76th.
The group inherited the mission of the disbanded American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers." Five of Chennault's staff officers, five pilots, and 19 ground crewmen became members of the new 23rd FG. A larger number, still in civilian status, volunteered to fly with the group for two weeks following the disbanding of their unit.
Others from the ranks of the old Flying Tigers left China temporarily, but many returned to duty later with the Army Air Corps in the China-Burma-India Theater. In addition to inheriting operational responsibilities from the AVG, the 23d FG also benefited from the knowledge and experience of the AVG pilots, and took on the nickname of the disbanded unit.
The Flying Tigers were inactivated after WWII, then reactivated and inactivated several times, flying several different fighter aircraft types at different locations before being reactivated as the 23rd Wing, part of a composite wing at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., on 1 June 1992. The wing's activation coincided with the activation of Air Combat Command, headquartered at Langley AFB, Va. In April 1997, the wing became a fighter group flying only A-10s, and continued to prosecute the missions of Southern Watch in Southwest Asia on a regular rotation.
In response to the attacks of 11 September 2001, the 23d FG landed the first fighter aircraft inside of Afghanistan in March 2002. They deployed from Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, first to a classified location and then to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. 23d Fighter Group personnel operated simultaneously in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and SOUTHERN WATCH for nearly 7 months. The Flying Tigers have been heavily engaged in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM ever since.
In 2007, the 23d FG moved from Pope to Moody AFB, Ga. Simultaneous with the group's move, all 23rd FG A-10s were upgraded to the precision engagement A-10C. In 2008 and 2009, respectively, the 75th and 74th Fighter Squadrons deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, flying their newly upgraded A-10C aircraft. While providing close air support to ground forces and engaging Taliban and insurgents, the squadrons logged more than 23,000 combined combat hours.
The 23d FG will continue to carry on the tradition of the first and foremost Flying Tiger, Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault. The Flying Tiger legend lives on as a beacon of pride to those committed to peace and as a threat to those who would unsheathe the terrible sword of aggression.
There are three squadrons aligned under the 23d FG to support the groups mission.
74th Fighter Squadron
The 74th Fighter Squadron is one of Moody's two combat-ready A-10C Thunderbolt II squadrons. The squadron's 35 pilots are dedicated to carrying out the close air support mission through the A-10, which is specifically designed for long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability and survivability.
75th Fighter Squadron
The 75th Fighter Squadron is one of Moody's two combat-ready A-10C Thunderbolt II squadrons. The squadron's nearly 35 pilots are dedicated to carrying out the close air support mission through the A-10,
which is specifically designed for long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability and survivability.
23d Operations Support Squadron
The 23d Operations Support Squadron has nearly 170 personnel who directly support the 23rd Fighter Group's staff through support functions. These include intelligence, training, weapons and tactics, aircrew flight equipment, simulation, medical, mobility, flying hour program management and Host Aviation Resource Management.