In November of 1976 the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron was reactivated at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, as part of the 52nd TFW (later the 52nd Fighter Wing). Flying the F-4D, the unit was tasked with maintaining an operationally ready nuclear strike capability, conventional attack, interdiction, armed reconnaissance, and close air support missions. Three years later, in 1979, the squadron gained additional capabilities by transitioning to the F-4E (outfitted with the ARN-101 Digital Modular Avionics System). The squadron earned an AF Outstanding Unit Award, 1 Jul 1978 – 30 Jun 1980.
LtCol Howard K. Carroll, 15 Nov 1976.
LtCol Barton P. Crews, 28 Jul 1978.
LtCol Laurence W. Peters, 7 Nov 1980.
LtCol Marlin R. Kitchen, 1981 – 1982.
LtCol Thomas L. Ticktin, 5 Mar 1982.
LtCol John W. Adler, 22 Dec 1982.
In late 1983, a wing-wide reorganization to multiply resources for the Wild Weasel defense suppression mission resulted in a “shuffling” of aircraft and personnel among the three squadrons of the 52nd TFW. Each squadron would consist of eight F-4G advanced Wild Weasel Aircraft, in a “hunter” role, and an accompanying sixteen F-4E “killer” aircraft.
In 1987, F-16s began replacing the aging F-4E in the “killer” role.
The squadron was redesignated the 480th Fighter Squadron on 1 Oct 1991 and became part of the 52nd Operations Group on 31 Mar 1992. The squadron deployed aircraft and personnel in this tactical role to strategic locations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey in support of the liberation of Kuwait from Sep 1990 to Mar 1993. 52nd FW crews were credited with recording 142 radar site kills during 40 days of combat. The Wing lost no aircraft or personnel to enemy fire.
The Wing’s final F-4Gs departed Spangdahlem in January 1994. The squadron was inactivated on 1 Apr 1994.
LtCol Richard F. Hardy, 14 Dec 1984.
LtCol William W. Hillman, 12 Dec 1986.
LtCol Larry E. Bickel, 30 Dec 1988.
LtCol James E. Allgood, 13 Jul 1990.
LtCol Jimmie E. Crouch Jr., 27 May 1992.
LtCol Kenneth S. Callicutt, 17 Nov 1993 – 1 April 1994.
The squadron earned an AF Outstanding Unit Award with Combat “V” Device, 1 Sep 1990 – 26 Feb 1991, and an AF Outstanding Unit Award, 1 Jul 1991 – 30 Jun 1993. In March 1993, the 480th received the USAFE Commander in Chief’s Trophy as the outstanding fighter squadron in the command for 1992.