2 Squadron
 

             

 
 

 Vision and Mission

VISION

 TO GUARANTEE AIR SUPERIORITY IN OUR SPHERE OF INFLUENCE 

MISSION

 WE CONDUCT FIGHTER OPERATIONS

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 Code Of Conduct

The Professional execution of our mission.

Perseverance, execution & dedication to our mission.

The maintenance of Military Standards and Traditions of the SA Air Force.

Honesty, loyalty and mutual respect for all.

Wildlife preservation, especially the Cheetah.

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 2 Squadron Roles

 Counter air operations

 Tactical offensive fire support

 Autonomous air operations

 Reconnaissance

 Electronic warfare

 Fighter pilot training

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 Squadron Aircraft

2 Squadron currently operates the Cheetah C and Cheetah D aircraft. The aircraft were converted by then Atlas Aviation from old Mirage III's to the current state.

The Cheetah C is is single seat multi-role fighter equipped with a modern pulse doppler radar. This is used in conjunction with a digital navigation attack system and HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick). The aircraft can carry a variety of ordinance including electromagnetic (EM) and infra- red (IR) missiles. In addition to this, it can also carry 120 kg HE and 250 Kg HE bombs as well as 250 kg HE laser guided bombs (LGB) The aircraft can also carry the Vinten Vicon 600E reconnaissance pod for taking photos of targets and other opportunity structures. The range of the aircraft is increased with the addition of a variety of external fuel tanks including a centre line tank (800 litres) 2 x 600 litre tanks, 2 x 1300 litre tanks or 2 x 1700 litre tanks.

The Cheetah D is a dual seat multi role fighter using primarily for training but can be utilised in most of the roles that the Cheetah C is capable of.

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 Photos

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 Battle Honours

2 Squadrons Battle Honours are as follows:

East Africa 1941
The Juba
The Lakes
Western Desert
1941 – 1943
Sidi Rezegh
Agedabia
Gazala
El Alamein
French North Africa
1943
El Hamma
Tunis
Mediterranean
1943
South East Europe
1944 – 1945
Ital
y 1943 – 1945
The Sangro
Gothic Line
Korea
1950 – 1953
Pjong-Jang

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 Historic Overview

THE SQUADRONS INCEPTION

 On May the 13th 1940, Maj N.G. Niblock-Stuart with 19 pilots and 24 ground-crew left AFB Waterkloof for Cairo.  On June the 1st 1940 they began training on Gauntlets at Abu Seur.  Another group under the leadership of Lt S. van Breda Theron received training on Hurricanes and Furies before leaving for Kenya on the 22nd May 1940. (It was in Kenya, where the Squadron received 2 Cheetah cubs as mascots, that the historic name “Flying Cheetahs” was conceived). A last group left on the 26th May 1940 by boat for Mombassa. These groups, a part of 1 Squadron, formed the foundation of 2 Squadron. 

A crest was designed by Cpl Jack Friedman on the 5th September and on the 1st of October 2 Squadron was officially formed although they had been operating independently of 1 Squadron for months. As well as manning the base in Nanuiki, Kenya, part of the Squadron under the command of Capt Meaker manned a base at Archers Post flying mainly Furies. 

On the completion of the East African Campaign on 20 April 1941 that part of the Squadron left East Africa via Durban for the Middle East.  During this campaign 2 Squadron claimed 8 Italian aircraft (confirmed) shot down while many others were not confirmed and therefore not included.  Only one 2 Squadron aircraft was shot down and only two pilots were taken prisoner of war after both executed emergency landings.

THE DESERT WAR

On the 2nd May 1941, the rest of the Squadron left Durban on the same boat from East Africa for the Middle East to the base at Amriya with Hurricanes, and later with Tomahawks.  On the 4th December, ten 2 Squadron Tomahawks engaged more than 30 Stukas, which cover of 20 Macchi 200’s and Fiat A50’s.  2 Squadron confirmed 6 enemy shot down and another 6 possibly shot down against a loss of only 2 pilots.  On the 10th  December, Lt Enslin was shot down and rescued and returned by Lt Lipawsky. During December 1941 and January 1942, 17 enemy aircraft were shot down, 5 possibly destroyed and 13 damaged against the loss of only 2 Squadron pilots. During the German attack on the Gazala-line, the Tomahawks were replaced by Kittyhawks which led to greater losses against the well known Messerschmitt and 3 damaged during July 1942.

THE COUNTER OFFENSIVE

The enemy’s attack at El Almien was stopped and a counter attack launched on the 23rd October 1942.  During October and November 1942, 2 Squadron, flying fighter-bombers, claimed 26 aircraft destroyed, 6 possibly destroyed and 12 damaged.

With the termination of the North African campaign on 13 May 1943, the SAAF No 7 wing, comprising no: 2, 4 & 5 Squadrons, was considered the best dive bomber world-wide.

SICILY AND ITALY

On the 12th August 1943 the Squadron was based at Palermo Sicily flying Spitfire MK5 bombers.  Effective attacks produced the best results.  (On the 6th April 1994 at Mawja-Luka in Yugoslavia 40 enemy aircraft were destroyed and 6 damaged).  During the war the following medals were awarded to 2 Squadron members : 8 DFC’s, 2 MID’s, 1 “Kings Medal for Bravery”, 1 BEM and 2 Summary DFC’s.

 On completion of World War 2, the Squadron was disbanded after returning to South Africa.

 2 Squadron was re-established at AFB Waterkloof in June 1946, using Spitfire MK9’s.  In 1950 Vampire air-crafts were obtained and the squadron was busy converting to the new jet aircraft when the Korea war broke out.  The jet was the start of the era in the SAAF.

 2 SQUADRON IN KOREA

 On the 4th August 1950 the South African Government announced its intentions to place a squadron of the SAAF, at the disposal of the United Nations for service in the Korea war.  No 2 Squadron was nominated And the contingent of volunteers left Pretoria on 25th September 1950 under the command of Cmdt S. van Breda Theron SM, DSO, DFC, Durban and sailed for Korea.2 Squadron formed part of the 12th Fighter Squadron USAF, under command of the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing USAF.  The squadron flew its first mission on the 19th November 1950 in P51 Mustangs. The record of 2 Squadron in Korea is a proud one and during its stay of 3 years it had more than 800 men on record.  The pilots were attacked on several occasions by the vastly superior Russian Mig 15’s, and lost only one aircraft, a P51 Mustang.  The squadrons participation in the Korean war consisted mainly of armed reconnaissance, interdiction and close air support for ground forces.  The men of 2 squadron served with such pride and bravery that they distinguished themselves from all the other participating units.

 In cognisance of its gallant men, the Korean Citation, bestowed on 2 Squadron and still worn on this day by all serving members, was presented to the Squadron by the President of the Republic of Korea on November 1st 1951, and reads as follows :

 "PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION

 The President of the Republic of Korea takes great pleasure in citing for exceptional meritorious and heroism.

 NO 2 SQUADRON

SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE

 for the reward of

 THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION

 This unit was dispatched form South Africa in support of the United Nations Forces in Korea.  It was equipped with P51 air-crafts and has functioned continually in support of operations of the Eighth Army.

Through all gallantry and devotion to duty of its personnel it has earned high praise and its losses in pilots have been heavy.

It continued to meet cheerfully all tasks allotted to it, and gives a higher performance than is normally expected."

 On the 31st of December 1952, the Squadron received their first F86 Sabres and Maj J.S.R. Wells was the first SAAF pilot to fly solo on 27 January 1953.

 Upon leaving Korea in 1953, the “Flying Cheetahs” left behind a reputation comparable to the best of the United nations Forces.  A measure of the appreciation of their efforts by the Americans, is found in a policy directive issued by the Officer Commanding 18th Fighter Bomber Wing, under which 2 Squadron served ; stating the following : 

            “In memory of our gallant South African comrades, it is hereby established, as a new policy, that all Retreat Ceremonies held by this Wing, the playing of our National Anthem shall be preceded by playing the introductory bard of the South African Anthem, “Die Stem van Suid Afrika”.  All personnel of this Wing, will render the same honours to this anthem as our own”.

 This policy is still in force to this day and is practised by all personnel of the American 18th Fighter Bomber Wing.

 An equally fitting tribute to the valuable service rendered by 2 Squadron is found in the following extract from the United States Presidential Unit Citation.  This award, a unique event in the history of the South African Air Force, was presented to 2 Squadron in August 1956, and reads as follows :

             “The unit displayed such gallantry, determination and esprit de corps in accomplishing its missions under extremely hazardous and difficult conditions as to set it apart and above other units participating in the same campaign”.

 1953 – 1956

 The squadron was reformed at AFB Swartkop in 1953 with 10 Vampire and Harvard air-craft.

1956                                                   

During the period 1956 – 1958 2 Squadron, under the leadership of the Officer Commanding Maj R.H. Rogers, SSA, SM, DS, DFC, was transferred to AFB Waterkloof and again converted to F86 Sabres.  At this stage 2 Squadron had 8 Sabres, 6 Vampires and 6 Harvards.  Another 8 Sabres, received later, brought the strength to 28 air-crafts.

April 1963 was another highlight in the Squadrons history when the first Mirage Ш CZ arrived from France by C130. The aircraft was assembled by a French team at 2 Squadron and they test flew the aircraft. By the end of May 1963 the first Mirage was demonstrated to the public at Waterkloof, when it and a C130 gave a spectacular show.  The Mirage flown by the OC of 2 Squadron Maj Melville, SM, went supersonic low-level and he followed with an  aerobatics display.                                                          

Mirages continued to arrive at intervals, and in November 1964 the first dual Mirage Ш BZ arrived at the squadron.  Prior to this arrival, pilots received training in the simulator only.

During July 1965, the first Mirage Ш EZ arrived and relieved a load of some flying duties.  Its equipment namely the Cyrano П radar for interceptions and ground mapping, the Doppler navigation system and the Tacan, fulfilled every squadron pilot’s needs.  Thereafter, the DZ’s the dual for the EZ arrived. During June 1974 the Mirage Ш R2Z arrived at the squadron.  This aircraft with its 9K50 engine giving 15 500 lbs thrust, was able to obtain Mach 2 at 30 000 feet, within seven minutes of releasing brakes. The Mirage proved to be a very reliable aircraft in all aspects, and 2 Squadron can to date boast an excellent safety record. In 1952 a Cheetah cub was donated to the squadron by a farmer from Northern Transvaal. It added to the lively spirit of the squadron and later became very effective in interception missions, against dogs, armourer’s, fowls and ladies. After its first claims, it was given to the Pretoria zoo, and eventually died on a game farm in October 1972.  During October 1974, the first Mirages were delivered to 85 Combat Flying School (then known as 85 ADFS).  These included the new Mirage Ш D2Z dual aircraft.

The squadron officially received its colours during a parade at AFB Waterkloof on the 3rd May 1966.  During December 1978, 2 Squadron officially took leave of AFB Waterkloof and moved to AFB Hoedspruit, where they had been stationed until the phasing out of the Mirage Ш in October 1990.

On the 16th of March 1985, the squadron received the freedom of the city of Johannesburg.

REUNIONS

During July 1973, a Korean reunion was held at the SAAF College Club.

On the 24th June 1978, a squadron reunion was held which ran concurrently with the inauguration of our honorary Colonel W. Isaacs.

On the 27th July, the same year, a Rorke’s Inn Reunion was held.  This reunion was in fact the 25th Anniversary of the Korean campaigners.

The 10th July 1981, saw the 40 Year Anniversary of 2 Squadron, and a reunion was held for all past and present members at AFB Hoedspruit.

The 29 September 2000, saw the 60th Anniversary of 2 Squadron, and a jolly reunion was held for all to enjoy at AFB Louis Trichardt.

2 SQUADRON’S HISTORY FROM APRIL 1990 : RE-ACTIVATED FEB 1993 TILL PRESENT

On April 1990, 2 Squadron was closed due to the fact that the Mirage 3 aircraft was too old and it was not economical to maintain the aircraft.  It was also too expensive to keep the aircraft in service.

26 February 1993, 2 Squadron was officially re-activated due to the Cheetah C’s arrival.  The first two Cheetah C’s were flown on 13 January 1993, flown by Cmdt C.D. Turner and Maj L.J. Du Plessis.  Cmdt C.D. Turner was the Officer Commanding at this time until 1994.  Lt Col J.J. Toerien started as the new Officer Commanding of 2 Squadron from March 1994 until January 1999.  During his time as Officer Commanding, the squadron received operational status on the Cheetah C aircraft, on 29 November 1995.  2 Squadron also received the award for the Best Flying Squadron (Gold) in the South African Air Force on 13 November 1998.  We also received the silver certificate for the Prestige Unit in the Air Force on the same date.  Lt Col J.H. Erasmus received the silver Arthur Child award on the 13 November 1998.

Lt Col J.J. Toerien handed over command of the squadron on 25 January 1999, to Lt Col L.J. Du Plessis.  On the 29 June 1999, 2 Squadrons Museum was officially opened by Brig Gen R.J. Beukes, General Officer Commanding Air Command.  Lt Col J.J. Du Plessis handed over command of the squadron in January 2000, to Lt Col N.J.C. Scheltema. 

Lt Col N.J.C. Scheltema, then handed over command to Lt Col L. Greeff in Dec 2001.  Lt Col L. Greeff handed over command to Lt Col D. Dormehl in Jan 2004 and remains Officer Commanding at present.

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 Museum

2 Squadron has its own museum located in 2 Squadron head quarters. The project was initialised by Maj K. Fryer and Sgt W. Wessels and was officially opened by then Chief of the Air Force, Maj Gen R.J. Beukes, SD, SM, MMM, on 29 June 1999. The museum boasts various pieces of equipment and articles which have been obtained through the years during the Squadrons duties as well as interesting stories and historical articles.

 

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