The tone of the ceremonies was triumphant Friday as military leaders resurrected a once-defunct U.S. Air Force Squadron to execute what is being called a pioneering role in advancing American combat flying. The Utah-based 34th Fighter Squadron, which closed in 2010 during a restructuring of the Air Force, returned to service Friday and will be the first unit in the Air Force to fly the military's new combat-ready F-35A fighter jets.
The 34th was activated at Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina on 15 October 1944, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. The squadron served in the final stages of World War II, seeing combat operations in the Western Pacific from May 1945 to August 1946, while it was stationed in the Ryukyu Islands, first on Ie Shima and later on Okinawa. On 23 December 1975, the 34th, as part of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, was relocated to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, still flying the F-4D Phantom II. In November 1979, the 34th TFS became the first fighter squadron to be fully equipped with the F-16 The 34th was inactivated on 16 July 2010 due to military restructuring and reactivated July 17, 2015.