F-35s Fly in Evening Skies over Valp, Niceville


Niceville and Valp residents will have an encore for Independence Day, courtesy of Eglin Air Force Base and the United States Air Force’s F-35s. 


According to a news release from the Air Force Base’s Public Affairs Unit, Niceville and Valparaiso residents may hear jet noise between 4:30 and 10 pm in the evenings between July 5th and 7th. 


The 60th Fighter Squadron will practice night flying operations in the area. 


According to the release, “Night flying is required for the 60th Fighter Squadron’s training operations.”

U.S. Air Force Col. Jonathan Hassell, 60th Fighter Squadron director of operations, makes adjustments prior to flying in a F-35A Lightning II aircraft March 1, 2022, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Hassell was one of the two “Crows” from the 60th FS to participate in the first flight operations out of the newly reactivated squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Colleen Coulthard)

More on the 60th Fighter Squadron

The 60th Fighter Squadron is an F-35 fighter squadron under the 33rd Fighter Wing which is currently housed at Eglin Air Force Base. The squadron, which had been inactive for 12 years, was reactivated in 2021. According to the 33rd Fighter Wing Website, the squadron – known as the “Fighting Crows” organized for the first time at Mitchell Field, in New York State in 1940. The Squadron then received orders to attach to the 33rd pursuit group in January of 1941. 


The squadron was then designated as the “Fighting Crows” and was initially tasked with Air Defense of American soil during World War II. In late 1942, the unit received orders to head to Southeast Asia to participate in combat against the Japanese military. The unit also saw action against the Italian military in Tunisia.  In 1944, the unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for combat operations. 


Since the end of the Second World War, the 60th Fighter Squadron saw deployments to Grenada and Panama. Both of those actions took place in the 1980s. Additionally, the “Fighting Crows” served in Desert Storm, Haiti and enforced the no-fly zone over Iraq. 

The 60th Fighter Squadron, known as the Fighting Crows, will grace the skies of Northwest Florida after Independence Day. The outfit, which flies F-35 multirole fighter jets recently reactivated.
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