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OUR HISTORY
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THE HUGHES TROPHY
 
 

The former McChord based 317th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was the first three time winner of the Hughes Trophy, considering there were between, up to  175 fighter interceptor squadrons eligible to compete for the award during the 50’s and 60’s. The 317th's 1959 Hughes Trophy pictured above is currently on display at the National Museum of the Air Force.

 
Raytheon Achievement Award
  (AKA - HUGHES ACHIEVEMENT AWARD)
 
 

Recognized as the highest award given for the air defense the trophy became known as the highest Air Force award for air defense fighter achievement, the Hughes Achievement Award has been given to the Air Force’s top Fighter-Interceptor Squadron since 1953. Popularly known by many as the Hughes Trophy, the awards once sponsored by the Hughes Aircraft Company, is now sponsored by the Raytheon Company after the company purchased Hughes Electronics in 1997. 

 The first 11 trophies were designed by Julien Focan. Focan was born in Belgium on Christmas Day in 1906, immigrated to the U.S. in 1930. After Pearl Harbor, Focan joined the war effort with the Manhattan Project fabricating complicated triggering mechanisms for the first atomic bomb.  

 In 1945, he began making bowls for the Dodge Trophy Company using a technique where the artist hammers the metal into shape without using a mold. His expertise was quickly recognized and he was commissioned to design the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Cotton Bowl trophies. His metalwork talent also reached Hollywood, designing the Ramses’ golden chariot in the movie “The Ten Commandments.”  

Commissioned in 1952, Focan design and fabricated 11 Hughes Achievement Award trophies. In 1963, the Air Force reclaimed the first trophy from the deactivated 58th FIS to award pass on to the current winner of the trophy, the trophy is then passed on to the next winner.

Criteria for the award is a squadron engaging in active air defense operations, with an outstanding Intercept Training success rate, aircraft ready rate, and flying safety rate. Initially, only Fighter Interceptor Squadrons could compete for the Trophy, but in 1970 Headquarters, of the United States Air Force opened the competition to any squadron performing the air defense mission as their primary function.

Setting very high standards in the Air Defense Mission, 25th Air Division, NWADS and WADS units have been a regular nominee for the Trophy wining it six times. The first unit to win the award three times was the 317th FIS, taking its first award at McChord in 1956. This is a particularly monumental achievement considering the 317th competed against just shy of 100 squadrons eligible for the trophy. Not to be outdone, the 317ths former sister squadron, the 318th FIS itself nominated for the award numerous times,  won the Hughes trophy twice, once in the F-106 Delta Dart (1975) and another time in the F-15 Eagle (1984).

In 1994, North Dakotas 119th Fighter Wing became the first unit assigned to the Western Air Defense Sector to win the Raytheon Achievement Award. The unit, affectionately known as the "Happy Hooligans" became the first F-16, and (at the time) the second Air National Guard unit to win the prestigious Hughes Trophy. The 1994 award was the units second, wining another in 1974.

 
 
 
   
         COURTESY OF MARK O. WILLIAMS                                                                                                     
The patches above were produced for the 318th FIS to commemorate the squadrons two Hughes Trophy wins in 1975 & 1984.
 
 
HUGHES TROPHY / Raytheon Achievement Award
WINNING UNITS
  (25TH AD / WADS UNITS HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW)  
         
         
  YEAR UNIT,  BASE AIRCRAFT  
  1953 58TH FIS - OTIS AFB, MA F-94C  
  1954 96TH FIS - NEW CASTLE COUNTY AP, DL F-94C  
  1955 496TH FIS LANDSTUHL AB, W GERMANY F-86D  
* 1956 317TH FIS - McCHORD AFB, WA F-86D / F-102A  
  1957 512TH FIS - RAF BENTWATERS, UK  F-86D  
  1958 31TH FIS ELMENDORF AFB, AK TF/F-102A  
  1959 54TH FIS - ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. F-89J  
  1960 460TH FIS - PORTLAND IAP, OR  TF/F-102A  
  1961 83RD FIS - HAMILTON AFB, CA F-101B/F  
  1962 444TH FIS - CHARLESTON AFB, SC F-101B/F  
  1963 497TH FIS TORREJON AB, SPAIN T/F-102A  
  1964 329TH FIS - GEORGE AFB, CA F-106A/B  
* 1965 317TH FIS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK TF/F-102A
  1966 32ND FIS - SOESTERBERG AB NETHERLANDS TF/F-102A  
* 1967 317TH FIS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK TF/F-102A  
  1968 64TH FIS - CLARK AB PHILIPPINES TF/F-102A  
  1969 71ST FIS - MALSTROM AFB, MT F-106A/B  
  1970 57TH FIS - NAS KEFLAVIK, ICELAND TF/F-102A  
  1971 48TH FIS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-106A/B  
  1972 43RD TFS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK F-4E  
  1973 555TH TFS - UDORN RTAB, THAILAND F-4C  
  1974 178TH FIS HECTOR IAP , N.D. (ANG) F-101B/F  
  1975 318TH FIS - McCHORD AFB, WA F-106A/B  
  1976 57TH FIS - NAS KEFLAVIK, ICELAND F-4C  
  1977 43RD TFS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK F-4E  
  1978 49TH FIS - GRIFFISS AFB, NY F-106A/B  
  1979 32ND TFS - SOESTERBERG AB NETHERLANDS F-15A/B  
  1980 32ND TFS - SOESTERBERG AB NETHERLANDS F-15A/B  
  1981 12TH TFS - KADENA AB, JAPAN F-15C/D  
  1982 44TH TFS - KADENA AB, JAPAN F-15C/D  
  1983 67TH TFS - KADENA AB, JAPAN F-15C/D  
  1984 318TH FIS - McCHORD AFB, WA F-15A/B  
  1985 186TH FIS  - GREAT FALLS IAP, MONT (ANG) F-106A/B  
  1986 67TH TFS - KADENA AB, JAPAN F-15C/D  
  1987 57TH FIS - NAS KEFLAVIK, ICELAND F-15C/D  
  1988 22ND TFS - BITBURG AB, WEST GERMANY F-15C/D  
  1989 67TH TFS - KADENA AB, JAPAN F-15C/D  
  1990 58TH TFS - EGLIN AFB, FL F-15C/D  
  1991 58TH TFS - EGLIN AFB, FL F-15C/D  
  1992 59TH FS - EGLIN AFB, FL F-15C/D  
  1993 71ST FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-15C/D  
  1994 178TH FS HECTOR IAP , N.D. (ANG) F-16A/B(ADF)  
  1995 27TH FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-15C/D  
  1996 60TH FS - EGLIN AFB, FL F-15C/D  
1997 493RD FS - RAF LAKENHEATH, UK F-15C/D
  1998 71ST FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-15C/D  
  1999 493RD FS - RAF LAKENHEATH, UK F-15C/D  
  2000 19TH FS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK F-15C/D  
  2001 71ST FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-15C/D  
  2002 27TH FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-15C/D  
  2003 67TH FS - KADENA AB, JAPAN F-15C/D  
  2004 60TH FS - EGLIN AFB, FL F-15C/D  
  2005 71ST FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA F-15C/D  
  2006 12TH FS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK F-15C/D  
  2007 493RD FS - RAF LAKENHEATH, UK F-15C/D  
  2008  179TH FS - Duluth IAP, MN (ANG) F-16C/D   
  2009  19TH FS - ELMENDORF AFB, AK  F-15C/D   
  2010  27TH FS - LANGLEY AFB, VA  F-22A   
         
 
 
 
 

In 1994, North Dakota ANG's 119th Fighter Wing/178th Fighter Squadron, was the first F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron to win the coveted trophy (pictured above on the wing of one of the squadrons F-16's). The Happy Hooligans transitioned out of the F-16 and the fighter mission in 2006.

 
 
 
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McChord AFB, WA. 98438-0205
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e-mail - mamfound@mcchordairmuseum.org