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59/1 Squadron

Armed Force
Magyar Légierö
 (HuAF)
Airfield
Kecskemét AB
 (LHKE)
, HUN
Aircraft
JAS-39C/D Gripen
Membership status
Full Member
Member since
2009
History

This unit is a direct descendent of an elite element of the Royal Hungarian Air Force, the 101st Fighter Division, which which was the most famous and well known of all Hungarian Air Force units during WWII. The 101st Fighter Squadron was commissioned in 1938. Having two thirds of their country as a consequence of the Trianon-'treaties', Hungary became an ally of the axis-powers, regained parts of its old territory in the 'Vienna arbitrage', and joined the war against the soviets. Later in WWII, with the tide turned, Hungary became from 1944 on a target for USAAF massed bomber attacks flown out of Italy. At the same time they had to defend their homeland against the advancing Red Army. On the 1st of May 1944 a single fighter component, the 101st Fighter Division was established, composed of all former existing squadrons, for the sole purpose of defending national airspace. Flying the Bf-109 and variants, the Pumas shot down 108 P-51's, P-38's and B-24's between May and August 1944 in what is called the 'American Season'. In air combat against the Red Air Force they could not prevent their homeland being taken by the Soviets. Hungarian forces eventually retreated into Austria. Finally the unit burned it's last Bf-109's on 4th May 1945 at Raffeldingen AB (Austria) to prevent their capture by advancing US and Russian troops. In the year fighting the Red Air Force they had 288 air victories, their overall record against opposition forces was 396. The 101st lost 67 Puma pilots.
The squadron logo, unlike other unit insignia, was not attached to a particular unit but to it's commander, Aladár Heppes, following him to his new commands. He first designed it in 1938. After him taking command of the 101st Fighter Squadron in 1941 it was used there, and later in 1944, when he became commander of the 101st Air Division.

The motto, 'Vezérünk a bátorság, Kíséronk a szerencse!' - 'Led by courage, Escorted by luck!', originates from Nagy Mihály, a member from another squadron that was commanded by Aladár Heppes  before becoming commander of the 101st FW.The Pumas' insignia, motto and traditions were reborn in 1988 when the 1st squadron of the 59th wing took the name 'Puma' again. The 59th Wing is based at Kecskemét AB, which is officially known as Szentgyörgyi Dezso Air Base.

59/1 squadron flew MiG 21's from the 1960's until 1994. The squadron had 21 aircraft, and summoned up a total of 163.735 hours, mainly in the air-to-air role with air-to-ground as a secondary task employing the gun, free fall bombs and rockets. In 1994, already carrying the honorary Puma name, the squadron received the MiG 29 which they flew until 2004. The squadron had 11 single and 3 double-seat MiG 29's, and totaled 7850 hours, before transitioning to the Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter in 2005.