435th Fighter Squadron

Squadron Motto: “Establish Dominance”

Squadron Nickname: “Deadly Black Eagles”

Squadron Code: J2

The 435th Fighter Squadron was activated at on 15th October 1943 at Long Beach, California, equipped with P-38F Lightnings.

On 15th May 1944 the 435th Fighter Squadron, as part of the 479th Fighter Group arrived at Wattisham with P-38J Lightnings to provide long range fighter escort for the 8th Air Force bombers. The Group was led by Lt. Col. Kyle L. Riddle and were known as “Riddle’s Raiders”. They also had a secondary tasking of low level seek and destroy missions against railways, ammunition dumps and airfields.

In June 1944 the 435th Fighter Squadron took part in D-Day, and continued their low level strafing sorties across Europe.

September 1944 saw the squadron convert to the P-51D Mustang, and by the end of the war, they had racked up an impressive number of air and ground targets destroyed.

The 435th Fighter Squadron produced an ace in the form of Richard G. Candelaria with 6 aerial victories.

The 479th Fighter Group departed Wattisham in November 1945, for Kilmar, New Jersey.

435th FS P-51Ds. Image from American Air Museum