The “Tip of the Spear” Squadron has been operating around the clock for three and a half decades. For its 35th birthday, the squadron’s personnel looked back on its significant milestones
The “Tip of the Spear” Squadron hasn’t had a dull moment since it was established as the IAF’s second “Baz” (F-15) Squadron. A short time after its establishment, it began taking off for operations at a blurring pace: its personnel destroyed Syrian aircraft, managed to land an F-15 with one wing, participated in operation “Wooden Leg” in which the IAF destroyed the PLO headquarters in Tunisia and proved that, as the slogan that hangs proudly in their debriefing room states – “There is no place too far”.
The “Tip of the Spear” Squadron celebrated three and a half decades of operations and flights yesterday. The occasion was celebrated in a unique day in which its personnel skipped back between significant mile stones in the squadron’s history. “The best way to celebrate is to look back on the period that has passed since our establishment and to this day”, explained Lt. Yaniv, the activity’s leaders in the squadron. “When you go back to the important events, you can experience some of the squadron’s character and see how it came to be over the years”.
Photography: “Tip of the Spear” Squadron
Back in Time
The squadron’s aircrew began the special day with a reenactment of the 1982 operation “Mole Cricket 19”, in which the Syrian army’s entire SAM (Surface -Air Missile) battery network in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley was destroyed in a single attack. The operation occurred before the establishment of the “Tip of the Spear” Squadron as an independent squadron, but the “Baz” division had a decisive part in the operation as its duty was to patrol, defend the IAF’s attacking aircraft and intercept enemy aircraft. The second sortie of the day was dedicated to long-range missions and included the prototype of a contingency plan from the “Gulf War” for an attack in Iraq, which was never executed. The day was sealed with a nightly attack sortie while looking to the future – “Wooden Leg 2”, it was called in the squadron. The sortie was a tribute to the 1985 operation “Wooden Leg”, the farthest attack the IAF has ever performed, but this time with advanced armament and a relevant threat.
Photography: Mor Tzidon
35 Years of Activity
The “Tip of the Spear” has an outstanding operational legacy. It was decided to establish it as a second F-15 squadron, besides the “Knights of the Twin Tail”, in November 1981. Its official establishment date was to be June 6, 1982, but when the First Lebanon War broke out that same day, it was decided to delay its establishment and combine the two squadrons in to one. Together, they shot down about 40 Syrian aircraft in “dogfights” and performed dozens of patrol and intelligence sorties. On June 13, the “Tip of the Spear” Squadron separated from the “Knights of the Twin Tail” and was opened as a separate squadron.
“The squadron’s history and legacy are important to us and influence us when performing our missions”, shared Maj. Itay, Deputy Commander of the Squadron. “We have recently integrated new pilots and WSOs that are currently undergoing conversion training. Some of the things that we are acquainting them with, alongside aerial training, are the squadron’s legacy and the people who established it”.
Looking to the Future
According to Maj. Itay, the squadron currently possess missions and armament unique only to it while also still serving as the IAF’s long arm. “The squadron is relevant and very important to the IAF and is expected to fly the ‘Baz’ at least until 2030. I’m very proud to be part of this squadron”, he added.