493rd Fighter Squadron
The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C Eagle squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defence missions in support of United States Air Forces in Europe, United States European Command, and NATO operations.
It employs air-to-air weapons and electronic identification systems. The squadron has the ability to rapidly deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime tasks in any theatre of operations in the world.
In the early 1990s, while the 493rd’s sister squadrons (the 492nd and 494th FS) were taking delivery of the new F-15E Strike Eagle, the 493rd changed from its previous roll of ground attack with the F-111, to being a dedicated fighter squadron by receiving the last production block of F-15C Eagles. This marked the first time that the squadron had flown a specifically air-to-air weapon system, after flying for more than 50 years with an air-to-ground mission.
In 1999, following intervention by NATO in the Kosovo crisis, the 493rd Deployed to the region to take part in Operation Allied Force 3. Within 72 hours, the 493d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, stationed at Cervia Air Base, Italy, recorded four aerial victories over Serbian MiG-29s.
Most recently the 493rd FS have just returned from their Baltic deployment. The roll of the F-15s was to police the airspace of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia where they were placed on 24/7 alert status and could scramble at a moments notice if there were any threats to the Baltic air space during the increased tentions in the region.
The 493rd FS is routinely tasked to deploy in support of Air Force One referred to as "POTUS missions." Recent instances include the most recent G-8 summits and the 2008 NATO Summit.