US Ebbing ANGB F 35A training credit USAF 640Black Knights reactivated for Lightning II training effort

On 2 July 2024, the 57th Fighter Squadron Black Knights was simultaneously reactivated with the 85th Fighter Group. The latter being the parent unit.

Based at Ebbing Air National Guard Base (ANGB), adjacent to Fort Smith Regional Airport (AR), the 57th Fighter Squadron will be, amongst other tasks, responsible for training Polish Air Force pilots which are expected to arrive in September for initial flight simulations.

The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme anticipates the arrival of the first F-35A Lightning IIs in December, with training flights commencing before this year's end. It is expected that Ebbing will also host the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16 FMS training in the future and that more countries, which are participating in the F-35A education and training, will follow suit.

US 57th FS patch credit USAF 320The standup of the above mentioned units at Ebbing ANGB is a collaborative effort between Air Education and Training Command, the National Guard Bureau, Arkansas congressional representatives and the city of Fort Smith and its local community.

Of note is the fact that both the 57th Fighter Squadron and the 85th Fighter Group were based at Naval Air Station Keflavik (Iceland). While being a Fighter Interceptor Squadron and operating McDonnel Douglas F-15C/D Eagles, the 57th was inactivated on 1 March 1995. Strikingly, on 5 April 2024, Scramble Magazine first wrote about USAF's Fighter Interceptor Squadrons being revived.

Credit photo: USAF

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