During this time, taxying a little
far for telelens, the jockeys of one of the Bitburg based
Phantoms F-4D AF 68711 of USAF 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron
seem to play the harversters with oxygen masks in place and open
History of this squadron begins at Rio hato Canal Zone during january 1941, being the 53rd Pursuit Squadron. Associated to 36th Fighter Group, the unit was renamed 53rd Fighter Squadron and became a true part of 36th FG in June 1943. Successive aircraft had been P-39s, P-40s and finally P-47s from September 43. April 1944 saw the 53rd install at Liverpool in England but, very flexible, the unit operated from several airfields in France and Germany until WWII ceased, totalling some 2432 combat sorties. Impressive... Germany was left during February 1946 to come back two years later fitted with Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star jet fighters. Fürstenfeldbruck was its first airfield until July 1953, date of transfer to Bitburg. Between 1950 and the post 1970 era with all-weather F4-D Phantoms, the squadron always used high performance fighters. Pilots are wearing black flight suits with a dorsal patch featuring a tiger wearing uniform, cap and proudly walking as a fierce soldier...