HISTORY OF THE 456th F.I.S. Fighter Interceptor Squadron
The History of the 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron can be described in very few words "RAPID CHANGE".
Originally constituted as the 456th Fighter Squadron
" on October 15, 1944, at Seymour Johnson Air Field NC;
then moved to Selfridge Air Field Michigan, on November 21, 1944; and then to
Bluethenthal Air Field NC, on March 19 till June 5, 1945; before being
reassigned to North Field, Iwo Jima, as part of the 414th Fighter Group, 7th
Fighter Command, 301st Fighter Wing, of the 20th Air Force, on July 7, 1945; and
then again on December 23, 1945 to Clark Field and Florida Blance Field, Luzon
in the Philippians; where it was finally deactivated on August 25, 1946.
(A great site for the History of 7th Fighter
Command and 414th Fighter Group is (http://www.7thfighter.com
Old Luther Patch
The squadron emblem or insignia that most of us know as
Luther was originally described in the application for approval to the
Department of the Army Air Core, as follows,
"Over and through ultra-marine
blue disc, a caricatured, ferocious, red octopus, affront, winged in gold,
having yellow eyes with green pupils, three tentacles on either side focused and
emanating a golden fluid toward the center base: area enclosed within the
tentacles and fluid of the field." It was approved by the the Department
of Army Air Core, on 21, March 1945."
Squadron emblem insignia 'Luther' application
The original story of who designed, how it was chosen,
or the significants of the insigina, and squadron motto of, "EXERTUS, MOSTUS,
" is totally unknown.
The following is made up of excerpts from e-mails that
I have received from Stan Wood who was a Lieutenant and a pilot in the original 456 FS in 1944, 1945 and 1946.
Interesting web site and very happy to have
found you through Mark. I was a Lt. pilot with the 456th in 45 and 46. I flew
P-38s, Jugs, and 51s with the 456th as well as the first Lockheed P-80s when
we were supplied with 30 of them while stationed at Florida Blanca in the
- Cheers, Stan Wood"
America Strikes Back
Ken Taylor in his P-40
Tomahawk bringing down his second enemy aircraft on December 7, 1941, an
Aichi D-3A1 "Val" dive-bomber. George Welch is in close company as a group
of Japanese planes head for the sea over Barbers Point. In the background
palls of smoke rise from Hangar 6 housing the naval float planes, and the
up-turned battleship Oklahoma.
"Major Kenneth Taylor was my C.O. and he is now a retired General living in
Alaska. Lt. Ken Taylor and Lt. George Welsh were the first two who shot down Japs on Dec. 11 flying
P-40s. Ken is the only one that I have talked to and have no idea where anyone
else is and sure wish I knew.
Ken Taylor is living in Anchorage, AK. I talked to him a year ago...
Ken had a piece and picture in the People magazine, issue of May 28, 2001"
"George S. Welch was born in 1918 and was killed while ejecting from an F-100A
on Columbus Day in 1954. He was very active as a military test pilot.
"Together in 1941 Ken and George shot down between 6 and 10 Jap planes. Ken was
officially credited with two and George with 4 after flying 3 sorties. They
were both given the DSO for the days work. They were, as I understand,
with the 47th F/S stationed at Wheeler Field. I wish I could be of more
help. _Cheers, Stan "
"Bob, The primary plane was the P-47. When the Squadron
was transferred to Clark Field. in Manila we flew P-51s and some
P-38s. We also had 38s later when we were moved to a new
fighter base north of Manila, Florida Blanca, where our primary
planes were P47N models. I can remember we still had some
38s there as I later helped ferry some of them down to either
Nichols or Clark Field where they pushed them all into a huge
hole and destroyed them. Remember well, one brand new 38L
with only 10 hours on the form one. I salvaged the control
wheel from it and managed to take it home with me. These planes
could have been purchased from the Government for $100 with full
tanks of gas and all the instrumentation intact. It was
enough to make you sick watching them burn these planes up.
(Yes, that was one hundred dollars)
"In Florida Blanca the primary plane was the P-47. Somewhere in the early part
of 1946 we got 30 Lockheed P-80As for testing in field conditions, which were
the first jets in the South Pacific. I remember flying over the Aircraft
Carrier in Manila bay many times with the jets just sitting on the deck. They
had come over without the batteries and Aux. tanks so we didn't get them
delivered for over a month. I remember being on TDY in Manila, with not
much to do, so I took the Jet engine course that they had at Clark.
When we finally did get the 80s trucked up to our base it was mandatory that to
fly them you had to have completed the engine course. Since I happened to be the
only one of the line pilots to have completed it I was able to check out after
our Group commander and my Squadron Commander.
"We lost a few. I remember being on the road behind an 80 starting his
take off run and hearing the buckets start to let go in the turbine. The pilot
couldn't hear it from the cockpit and having no radio to contact the tower and
no way to get the pilots attention I was only able to watch him get off the
ground and blow up at the other end of the field. The most frustrating
experience I have ever had. " _ Cheers, Stan
The squadron was resurrected and re-designated as
Fighter Interceptor Squadron"
March 23, 1953 at George AFB, Victorville, California. It was reactivated August 8, 1954
and assigned to TRUX Air Field, Madison Wisconsin,
under the command of Major James Macefield, as part of the 28th Air Division, and equipped with North American F-86-D Saber Jets.
one year later on August, 18
1955, the squadron was
This deactivation was
lived, for two months later on October, 18 1955, it as reactivated again at Castle
Air Force Base in Merced / Atwater California, with a detachment at the Fresno Municipal Airport,
Fresno, California. Once again with North American F-86D Saber Jets. A year later June 1958 the squadron was transitioned to the Convair F-102"Delta Dagger".
( The first production delta wing aircraft in the world. )
Then, a mere 15 months
later, in June the last aircraft transition occurred, this time to
After over 40 years, it is still officially
the fastest single engine jet aircraft in the world, the eleventh ( 11th )
fastest production aircraft in the world, and the twelfth (12th) fastest over
all manned aircraft in the world.
On 1 July 1960 the squadron was reassigned to the new
San Francisco Air Defense Sector.
On July 18th, 1968 the 456th
Fighter Interceptor Squadron was officially moved to Oxnard Air Force Base in
Oxnard California and its designation changed to the 437th Fighter
The original color scheme (yellow & black instead of
yellow & blue) and tail markings of the 456 FIS F-106. The Red, White & Blue
stripes and the shield indicate the
28th Air Division
Lt. Col. James Price at 1961 William Tell
Courtesy Of Douglas Fahnlander
SQUADRON HISTORY COURTESY OF THE AIR FORCE HISTORICAL RESEARCH CENTER MAXWELL AFB
THE 437TH FIS
This designation was extremely short lived. Just 2
months later on September 30th, 1968 the 437th F.I.S.
designation was deactivated, thus making the 437th Fighter
Interceptor Squadron the “shortest
- lived” F-106 UNIT IN HISTORY.
THE 460TH FIS
Oxnard AFB, CA.
Grand Forks, ND
That very same day the unit
became the 460th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, and remained at Oxnard
AFB. until November 1969, when it was moved to Kingsley Field in Klamath
Falls, Oregon. Eighteen months later the squadron was once again moved, this
time to Grand Forks Air Force Base, in Grand Forks, North Dakota in April 1971.
On July 15th 1974 the 460th FIS was deactivated and all
the aircraft were either dispersed or removed from active duty.
After 30 years
NUMEROUS base assignments
and 2 squadron designations
the 456th F. S. AND 456th
F. I. S. and THEIR remnants ceased to exist