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163rd Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon Model


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163rd Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon Model

Fly with the 163rd Fighter Squadron in this handcrafted F-16 Fighting Falcon Model. Each piece is carved from wood and handpainted to provide a piece you’ll love.

Length – 18 inches.

The 163d Fighter Squadron is a unit of the Indiana Air National Guard 122d Fighter Wing located at Fort Wayne Air National Guard Station, Indiana. The 163d is equipped with the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

World War II

365th Fighter Squadron P-47D[2] The squadron was first activated as the 365th Fighter Squadron on 1 January 1943 at Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia as one of the original squadrons of the 358th Fighter Group. The squadron initially began training with the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Later that year, the unit replaced its Warhawks with the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, which it flew for the remainder of the war. The squadron left the United States in September 1943.[3][4]

The 365th arrived in England during October 1943, where it began operations with Eighth Air Force on 20 December 1943, but was transferred to Ninth Air Force in February 1944. The unit engaged primarily in missions escorting bombers attacking targets on the continent of Europe until April 1944. The squadron then dive bombed marshalling yards and airfields and attacked enemy communications during April and May from its new station, an advanced landing ground[5] at RAF High Halden, to help prepare for the invasion of Normandy.

The squadron escorted troop carrier formations on D Day and the following day as the formations dropped paratroopers on the Cotentin Peninsula. For the remainder of June, it attacked rail lines, troop concentrations, bridges and transport. The squadron moved to France in July and, from its base at Cretteville, took part in operations that resulted in the Allied breakthrough at St Lo. The squadron continued to fly escort, interdiction and close air support missions during the Allied drive across France and into Germany.

The squadron received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions between 24 December 1944 and 2 January 1945, when it supported Seventh Army attacking railroads and rolling stock, other vehicles and enemy artillery formations. It also destroyed numerous Luftwaffe fighters while defending against Operation Bodenplatte, an attack concentrating on forward Allied air bases in an attempt by the Luftwaffe to attain air superiority in the area of the Battle of the Bulge. In March, the squadron attacked German forces attempting to withdraw across the Rhine River, destroying motor transport and hampering the withdrawal efforts, earning a second Distinguished Unit Citation. The following month, the squadron attacked enemy airfields near Munich and Ingolstadt, engaging aircraft and supporting the advance of ground forces in the area, earning a third award of the Distinguished Unit Citation. The squadron was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm by the Government of France for its assistance in the liberation of France.[4] The squadron was credited with the destruction of 27 enemy aircraft during the war.[6]

Indiana Air National Guard
The wartime 365th Fighter Squadron was re-designated as the 163d Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the Indiana Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Stout Field, Indianapolis, Indiana and was extended federal recognition on 9 December 1946 by the National Guard Bureau. The 163d Fighter Squadron was bestowed the lineage, history, honors, and colors of the 365th Fighter Squadron. The squadron was assigned to the 122d Fighter Group, Indiana Air National Guard and equipped with F-51D Mustang fighters.

The 163d and the 113th Fighter Squadron at Baer Field, Fort Wayne, were the operational squadrons of the 122d Fighter Group. Its mission was the air defense of Indiana. The 113th flew training missions primarily over the northern part of Indiana, while the 163d operated from Indianapolis south to the Ohio River border with Kentucky.

During the postwar years, the Air National Guard was almost like a flying country club and a pilot could often show up at the field, check out an aircraft and go flying. However, these units also had regular military exercises that kept up proficiency and in gunnery and bombing contests they would often score better than full-time USAF units.

Korean War Federalization
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 and placed on active duty. The 163d Fighter Squadron and its parent 122d Fighter Group were federalized on 10 February 1951.

The 163d initially remained at Baer Field, Fort Wayne and the 122d Fighter Group established headquarters at Stout Field, Indianapolis along with the 113th Fighter Squadron under Air Defense Command. ADC established the 122d Fighter-Interceptor Wing with the 122d Fighter-Interceptor Group as its operational unit with a mission for the air defense of Indiana and the upper midwest as part of the Eastern Air Defense Force. Both squadrons were re-equipped with very long range (VLR) F-51H Mustangs that were developed during World War II for long distance B-29 Superfortress bomber escort missions in the Pacific Theater.

On 1 May the 113th FIS was dispersed to Scott AFB, Illinois and the 163d FIS to Sioux City MAP, Iowa; the 122d FIW being transferred to the ADC Central Air Defense Force. Now assigned for the air defense of the Central United States, the squadrons flew interception missions for ADC. The 122d FIW/FIG were inactivated on 6 February 1952, the squadron being reassigned to the 31st Air Division. Its period of federalization ended, the squadron was returned to Indiana State Control on 1 November 1952.

Air Defense mission
The unit was re-formed at Baer Field, Fort Wayne, and continued to fly the F-51H Mustangs, returning to its pre-federalization air defense mission of Indiana. With the end of the line for the Mustang in USAF service, the United States Air Force, in an effort to upgrade to an all jet fighter force, required Air National Guard Air Defense Command units to upgrade to jet-powered aircraft. In July 1954 the Mustangs were retired and the squadron was re-equipped with F-80C Shooting Star jets that had seen combat in the Korean War. In March 1956, conversion to refurbished and reconditioned F-86A Sabres commenced, and in April 1958 new F-84F Thunderstreaks were received.