The 71st Fighter Squadron was born in December of 1940. By February of 1942 they had transitioned from the YP 43 Lancer to the P 38 Lightening and were the first to take the twin engine monster to fly combat missions in Europe. The squadron went on to wreck Nazis at every opportunity. Her pilots accumulated 102 kills and produced 5 aces. 2nd Lt. “Stub” Hatch Jr. melted his four .50 M2, and a 20mm shooting Jerry out of the sky in a one-man fighter pilot clinic shooting down 5 Nazis, in under a minute. He became an ace in less time than it takes to read this product description. Legend. The 71st was awarded 17 Campaign Participation Credits and three Distinguished Unit Citations.
Post WWII the 71st was outfitted with several different aircraft including the F 86, F 102, F 106, and eventually the F 15. The squadron again made a name for itself in the opening day of Operation Desert Storm by achieving one of the first aerial victories of the conflict. They were also one of the first squadrons to get jets airborne in the minutes after the 9/11 attacks conducting CAP and escorting commercial airlines to safe landings.
In 2015 they became the 71st Fighter Training Squadron and currently reside at Langley AFB.