HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
Editor's note: This feature is part of a Hill Air Force Base 80th anniversary series. These articles will feature the base’s historical innovations and achievements, and will highlight mission platforms that have been operated and supported throughout the decades.
During the 1970s, several Hill Air Force Base tenant organizations made various changes. Formerly assigned to the 452nd Tactical Airlift Wing, the Air Force Reserve 945th Military Airlift Group was reassigned to the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing on July 1, 1972. Resulting from this reassignment, the first of 18 newly assigned F-105 Thunderchief aircraft arrived at Hill AFB on September 24, 1972, for the 945th.
Shortly thereafter, on November 27, 1972, the last C-124 Globemaster assigned to the group departed Hill AFB. A few months later, the 945th inactivated. Concurrently, the AFRES constituted the 508th Tactical Fighter Group and activated the unit at Hill AFB. The new group received the F-105 aircraft which had briefly been assigned to the 945th. Three months later, AFRES inactivated the 508th on March 25, 1973, and in its place activated Detachment 508 of the 301 TFW in order to provide the wing’s organizational structure conformity with other units in the command. Subsequent requirements, however, necessitated the reactivation of the 508th Tactical Fighter Group on October 17, 1975, at which time Detachment 508, 301 TFW, inactivated.
On October 10, 1978, AFRES activated the 405th Combat Logistics Support Squadron at Hill AFB and assigned the unit to the 508 TFG. Prior to this, on October 1, 1977, the 508th lost three of its assigned squadrons: the 7th Supply Squadron, Mobile; the 7th Maintenance Squadron, Mobile; and the 5th Augmentation Squadron, Wendover Auxiliary Field.
The AFRES inactivated the 508th Tactical Fighter Group at Hill AFB on October 1, 1982, concurrently activating the 419th Tactical Fighter Wing. Despite the fact that the 419th Fighter Wing’s 466th Tactical Fighter Squadron continued to fly the F-105 until March 1984, the 508 TFG was the last unit assigned the F-105. In June 1983, the 419th TFW, assigned the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, began retiring the F-105s it inherited from the 508th TFG upon the unit’s inactivation.
Shortly before beginning this process, the 466th TFS flew a 24-ship “diamonds on diamonds” formation with the F-105 as a salute to the aircraft’s many contributions. The F-105 flew and fought in the skies of Southeast Asia during the conflict in Vietnam. On February 25, 1984, F-105 combat veterans reunited at Hill AFB and conducted the final F-105 missing man formation.
During this ceremony they dedicated aircraft 62-4347, the F-105 with the most air time, as a monument to those who served with F-105s and especially those who gave their lives while doing so. The last F-105 (aircraft 62-8287, an F model) departed Hill AFB on March 10, 1984, for Chanute AFB, Illinois, where it was put on display.