General Dynamics F-111E. The
father of all tigers of Tiger Meet is 79th Tactical Fighter
Squadron based in 1972 at Upper Heyford in Great Britain. Origins
came from February 1918 at Waco, Texas, then known as Aero
Squadron to train to aerial gunnery. The unit disappeared a few
months after WWI and as 79th Pursuit Squadron it started again in
May 1933 with Boeing P-12 training from Barksdale Field,
Louisiana to get Peashooter P-26s of Boeing and then Curtiss P-36s.
With brand-new Bell P-39 Airacobras, just after Pearl Harbour,
the unit was assigned to detection of hostile aircraft and ships
over of the San Francisco Bay, doing, shortly after, several
detachments to the East Coast with new Curtiss P-40s.
It was during 1943 at March Field, California that conversion was made on Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and after intensive training the 79th embarked aboard the Queen Elisabeth on 20 August 1943 to reach Kingscliffe in England from which it operated, as part of the 8th Air Force, in the fighter escort role besides bombers working on the Continent until the end of war. They gained the surname of "Loco Boys " after having destroyed 193 locomotives between March 44 and end of war, this being due to a change of tactic by Allies, the 79th and its formidable Lightning fighter-bombers having to sweep the field, mainly communication means, after medium and heavy bombers departure. They participated on D Day to protect landing forces en route to and on France soil before reequiping, the following month, with faster North American P-51 Mustangs with which they acted in the Battle of the Bulge and appeared on other main strategic areas during the final phases of war.
Again in the States, the squadron flew a short period from Biggs Field, Texas, then Shaw Field, South Carolina. After P-51s 79th TFS flew Republic F-84 Thunderjets, moved to Woodbridge during 1952 entering OTAN, received North American F-100 Super sabres during 1967 and joined 20th Tactical Fighter Wing of Upper Heyford during 1970, August of the same year seeing transformation on General Dynamics F-111s. So, the Tigers became the first operational squadron on the type, specialised in the nuclear strike.