When you’ve had a rough couple of weeks, sometimes the only remedy is to sit back, relax, and crank the volume while you watch a bunch of Samurai warriors raging through the airspace in their Vipers. Throw in some spectacular scenery rushing by in the background, some live weapon releases, a little BFM goodness, and you’ve got yourself a pretty epic video.
The 14th Fighter Squadron is one of two F-16 squadrons assigned to the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan. It operates the F-16CM aircraft in the Block 50 configuration, conducting missions revolving around the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, or SEAD.
For its history, the squadron was first activated during World War II as the 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. In the European Theater of Operations, it flew combat reconnaissance missions and earned a Distinguished Unit Citation. The squadron supported Operation Overlord–the D-Day invasion of Normandy, as well as Operation Market Garden, the campaign featured in the film, “A Bridge Too Far.”
From November 1967 until August of 1973, the squadron conducted combat reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia out of Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, earning two Presidential Unit Citations. For a period of time in that stretch, it was the only recce unit in the AO. Upon its return to the United States, the squadron was inactivated in June of 1975.
The Samurai were resurrected again in 1987 at Misawa as U.S. Air Force F-16s moved to the western Pacific region. The unit initially trained for Close Air Support and related conventional operations, all as it provided Air Defense for northern Japan. More recently, the squadron has provided personnel and aircraft to support contingency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
We’re not ones to deny our loyal viewership an amazing viewing experience, especially going inside the cockpit of the Super Weasel! So without further ado, here are the Samurai during their recent travels around the Pacific.