Click for larger photo
|Date Acquired:||May 2005|
|Acquired From:||Navy, Yuma AZ Marine Base|
Manufactured by Northrop Aviation, Hawthorne CA and gained by the USAF on January 20, 1976.
|Mar 1976||To 57th Fighter Weapons Wing (Tactical Air Command), Nellis AFB NV|
|Apr 1977||To 57th Tactical Training Wing (TAC), Nellis AFB|
|Apr 1989||Dropped from inventory by transfer to US Navy|
|Apr 1989||Transferred to VMFT 401, Snipers SQ. Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona|
|May 2005||Loaned to Joe Davies Heritage airpark|
Flown in the VMFT 401, Snipers SQ.
During 1989, VMFT-401 transitioned from the Israeli-built KFIR to the U.S. Air Force F-5E Tiger II and continued the aggressor role. This marked the end of U.S. military usage of foreign aircraft for aggressor training. The first F-5Es arrived from Nellis AFB on 13 April 1989 with in-depth training commencing almost immediately. After just two months, the squadron flew its first tactical sortie in the F-5.
In 1990 the "SNIPERS" deployed to MCAS Beaufort, MCAS Cherry Point, and participated in numerous Combined Arms Exercises and multi-unit MCCRES evaluations. The squadron's versatility and utility was widely recognized during this time frame in conjunction with fleet unit requirements in preparation for the pending conflict in the Persian Gulf. By the end of 1990 and into 1991 the U.S. was at war with Iraq and the fruit of VMFT-401's labor was recognized as U.S. pilots handily defeated Iraq's Air Force.
For the period June 92-July 93 this unit was awarded the "Pete Ross" Safety Award in recognition of its safety record while executing such a demanding mission. Exercise support for CAG-11, FLEETEX 2-94, WTI, Ice Storm and Scorpion Wind were major events for 1994. The "Snipers" continued their record of accomplishments and by 1995 had accumulated over 35,000 Mishap-Free sorties and 31,000 Mishap-Free flight hours. In 1995 VMFT-401 supported various units and deployed to Key West, Fl., MCAS Beaufort, Kingsley Field, OR, and NAS Whidbey Island, WA.
In 1996, during VMFT-401's tenth year of operation, the "SNIPERS" continued to provide dissimilar air-to-air combat training and aggressor support to numerous USMC/USN/USAF aviation and ground units. VMFT-401 met mission requirements while maintaining an aircraft mission capable rate of 74%.
VMFT-401 is the Marine Corps' only "Adversary" Squadron. Currently located at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, this small unit is the flight time leader of the Marine Reserves. Its mission it to provide instruction to Active and Reserve Fleet Marine Forces and Fleet squadrons through dissimilar adversary combat tactics.