The 510th Fighter Squadron provides combat airpower on demand to U.S. and NATO combatant commanders as well as the National Command Authority in order to meet National Security objectives. The unit performs air and space control and force application roles of counterair, strategic attack, and counterland including interdiction and close-air support with 21 F-16CMs employing state of the art munitions in support of the joint, NATO, and combined operations.
The 510th Fighter Squadron was originally formed as the 625th Bombardment Squadron (Dive), 405th Bombardment Group, at Drew Field, Fla., in 1943, flying the Douglas A-24 Banshee. On Aug. 15, 1943, the 625th was renamed the 510th Fighter-Bomber Squadron.
In late 1943, the squadron moved to Walterboro Army Air Field, South Carolina, and began flying the Bell P-39 AIRACOBRA, and then the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. In March of 1944, the 510th moved to Christchurch, England, and began combat operations.
During WWII, the 510th moved to mainland Europe with the advance of Allied troops, flying from Picauville and St Dizier, France; Ophoven, Belgium; and Kitzingen, Germany. The unit was credited with 39 kills.
In late 1945, the 510th was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. In 1952, the 510th was reactivated at Godman AFB, Ky., flying the Republic F-84 Thunderstreak. In April of 1953, the squadron relocated to Langley AFB, Va., and transitioned to the North American F-100 Super Sabre. In 1959, the 510th moved to Clark AB, Philippines. In 1964, the squadron moved to England AFB, La.
At the start of the Vietnam War, the 510th established a new home at Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam. Bien Hoa became the birth place of the "BienHoa Buzzards". The 510th flew over 27,200 combat missions in Southeast Asia. In 1969, the unit again inactivated.
In 1979, the 510th reactivated at RAF Bentwaters, England, and began receiving the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II. In 1991, the 510th deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey, in support of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Provide Comfort.
In 1993, the 510th relocated to Spangdahlem AB, Germany. During 1993-1994, the 510th flew more than 1,700 combat sorties from Aviano AB, Italy, in support of Operation Deny Flight. In the skies over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the squadron became the infamous "Bosnia Buzzards".
The 510th was inactivated in April 1994 and reactivated at Aviano AB, Italy, on July 1, 1994 as the 510th FS "Bosnia Buzzards" flying the General Dynamics/Lockheed F-16CG Viper. The Bosnia Buzzards, during Operation Deliberate Force, were the first F-16 Block 40 squadron to drop a Laser Guided Bomb.
The 510th led the Tactical Air Forces with the first combat use of Night Vision Goggles in an F-16 during Operation Deliberate Guard. The Bosnia Buzzards led the way by being one of the first F-16 units to become Forward Air Controllers (FAC-A), and were the first to employ as FAC-A's in combat in the F-16.
In Operation Allied Force, the Air War over Serbia, the Buzzards distinguished themselves by flying more combat missions than any other F-16 squadron. Subsequently the "Balkan Buzzards" have expanded into an Expeditionary Air Force, the worldwide "Fightin' Buzzards" and were the first Aviano fighter squadron to deploy to Operation Southern Watch in June 2000 and to Operation Northern Watch in June and December of 2001. During those deployments the "Fightin' Buzzards" engaged in combat operations over Iraq in both surface attack and combat search and rescue. In September to December 2002, the Buzzards returned to Operation Southern Watch and dropped 136,508 pounds of ordinance over Iraq to include the first GBU-31A JDAM in F-16 CG combat history. The world's finest fighter squadron, the "Fightin' Buzzards" continue to fly the world's finest fighter the F-16CG Fighting Falcon at Aviano AB, Italy.