We use the designation of “BTW” to refer to two different time periods in our Squadron’s History–between WWII and Korea (1945 to 1950) and between Korea and Vietnam (1953 to 1963). A third period, after Vietnam ended in 1975 to the present, is not referred to as BTW. We are known here as the “Juvats.”
WWII to Korea (from 1945 to 1950)
On 26 Dec 1945, as part of the massive draw-down of American forces following World War II, the 80th Fighter Squadron was deactivated. The squadron remained inactive until 20 February 1947, when it was once again activated and assigned to the newly reformed 8th Fighter Group, which had moved to Itazuke, Japan. The 8th Fighter Group was again composed of the 35th, 36th, and 80th Fighter Squadrons and had converted from the P-38 to the F-51D Mustang. After 1948, the Air Force changed the designation from “P” for pursuit to “F” for fighter, so after 1948 the P-51 Mustang was designated as the F-51. In August 1948, the 8th Fighter Wing was formed and activated, and the 8th Fighter Group and its three flying squadrons were assigned under the new wing. A few months later, the squadron moved to Ashiya, Japan, and in March 1949 returned to Itazuke. The 80th began to transition to its first jet aircraft in 1949, trading its Mustangs for the F-80 Shooting Star. The F-80 was the first operational American jet fighter. The conversion to F-80s was completed in 1950, and the squadron designation changed to the 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 20 January 1950.
Korea to Vietnam (from 1953 to 1963)
About a year after the Korean War ended, the 80th moved from Suwon, Korea to Kadena, Okinawa on 21 October 1954. The move attached the squadron to Twentieth Air Force, although still officially assigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group. While at Kadena, the 80th converted to the F-84 Thunderjet. After this attachment ended on 7 August 1956, the “Headhunters” rejoined the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing, which had again moved to Itazuke. Here the squadron began flying the F-100 Super Sabre. During this time the squadron designation changed again, with a 1 July 1958 redesignation as the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Click here for a 2-minute film clip of our Air Force’s combat ready aircraft in 1959.
TEX … MY SON SENT YOU THE 80TH’S FLAG FROM THE TIME MY HUSBAND (MSGT PERRY BISHOP) WAS WITH THE SQUADRON ON OKINAWA. WHAT HAPPENED TO IT? I DON’T SEE ANY MENTION ON YOUR WEBSITE. TRUDY
Our Historian, Bob McNeese, has it carefully preserved.
It was featured in the February 2014 newsletter. See page #8: http://80fsheadhunters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Headhunteer-Headlines-1-Feb-14.pdf
We displayed it at our 2015 reunion in Colorado Springs.
I believe I sent you a paper copy of the February 2014 newsletter.
Hope that helps.
We also displayed it at the 75th Anniversary Reunion this May at Ft Worth, Texas at the entrance door.
Front and center along with Denson Ware’s (WWII) Japanese flag sent personally by the Emperor to his troops.
Trudy, I’d just like tell you that I just found your message to the 80th,dated 11 May,17. I have fond memories of MSgt Bishop. He was the finest example of a military NCO I know of. His demeanor and character and overall work had the respect every one in the squadron. In 1953 I was a 21 yr old, brand new fighter pilot. I found myself assigned to the 80th when it was at K2, Korea, followed by move to Kadena. I needed the adult guidance MSGT Bishop provided. I treasure the memory of my time in the 80th. Some years back I had some contact with Dale Christensen who shared my opinion of MSGT Bishop. God bless you and your family.
After thought, I remember the 80th flag also wondered what became of it……
I was a flight line technician with the 80th. I worked the UHF radio and on the ECM receiver (threat warning) in these F-100’s (see the antenna bump in the rear of the vertical stabilizer). Some pilots thought they were a nuisance! Chuckle!! At the time I had a BSA motorcycle, one of only two BSA’s on the base, the other belonging to a pilot. He crashed that motorcycle into a drainage ditch and was killed in the accident, in late ’56 or in ’57. Sad day at Itazuke.