Despite its sleekness and speed, the F-104 was not well-suited to the needs of the USAF. Lacking the range and weaponry of the other interceptors of the day, the 104 never formed the backbone for America’s air defense. Though it served the Air Force for about twenty years, it typically never served in one interceptor squadron for long. Hamilton AFB’s 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron as seen here is typical: they flew the F-104 from 1958-60. On average, a USAF Starfighter squadron operated the type for only four years. This is in sharp contrast to the service the F-104 provided to air forces abroad. This was especially so in the skies of Europe where it was flown by a host of nations and was a familiar sight for decades.
Aircraft seen here are 56-0788 and 56-0819. In keeping with the Starfighter serving abroad theme, 788 was soon transferred to the Republic of China Air Force.
2 thoughts on “Starfighters of the 83rd FIS, 1959”
I served in the 83rd from the time of the 104 until Aug 1960. They still were flying the F86d when I arrived at Hamiliton. I deployed to Taiwan with them during operation Jonah Able in 1958. I got out of the AF in Aug 1958.
Always great to hear from a man who is associated with one of the photos on this website. I assume you are in the picture?
– William Stein