TO PROVIDE TACTICAL AIR OPERATIONS DESIGNED TO DESTROY
ENEMY FORCES AND INSTALLATION
To provide close air support for ground and naval forces.
Performs tactical air recon.
Provide rocketry and bombing of enemy forces and installations.
Provide deployment of combat ready forces on areas of operations as required by higher headquarters.
Perform other functions as directed by higher headquarters.
The 17 th Attack squadron was organized and manned on October 1 1974 while waiting for the arrival of the brand new SAI STELLO FRATI 260 Warrior. For a start, the unit was equipped with only the T-34A Mentor.
The first Italian made, locally assembled SF-260 Marchetti arrived on the latter part of February 1975. The first pilots of 15 th Strike Wing, including those of the warriors came from Basa and Fernando Air Base.
On October 18 1974, The Wing received the first batch of the T-28Ds fresh from the Vietnam War. Between the later part of 1974 and early 1975, these pilots made a smooth transition too T-28D and SF260W, bringing forth a new breed of PAF pilots- The Attack Pilots. These new breed of pilots assigned to a new unit geared towards counter insurgency operations specializing in Close Air Support were aggressive and young, ready to perform air strike mission against the rebels.
On February 18 1975, The Wing deployed four T-28D to Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga to support of SOWESCOM operations. Barely three days later, had the attack pilots scrambled for their first air strike in the Strike Wing History. Their target was Kandis, Province of Basilan.
The following month, in March, rocket launcher and the new M-60 machine guns arrived for the SF-260 marchetti. They were to augment deployed air asset of the Wing in the south. On March 17 1975, the first batch of personnel to maintain the Advance Command Post at Francisco Bangoy Airport, Davao City was deployed. They had control of three SF-260W aircraft for counter insurgency operations. The present ACP was built late 1975 based on the Wing’s specifications. Per records, the first air strike of the SF-260W was on April 15 1975 with Lt Col Lana and Lt Abaday as Pilots. From then on, the SF-260 Marchettis, together with the T-28D, were wreaking havoc to rebel encampment in the south from Balabagan to Sapakan and Reina Regente in Cotabato even further south in Glan.
With the political tension that pervaded the country after the Aquino Assassination, the Philippine economy was not able to bounce back. The Philippine Peso was devaluated which spelled budgetary cut for the government. As maintenance cost increased, asset dwindled and pilots left the service in search of greener pasture offered by the commercial aviation.
Because of the drain in personnel and equipment, 17 th Attack Squadron was un- manned on 01 August 1985. All personnel and equipment were absorbed by 16 th Attack Squadron, leaving the wing with one Squadron Flying the Tora-toras. The remaining Warriors were transferred to the PAF Flying School to augment their existing trainer fleet.
Changes occurred as Strike Wing moved towards the end of the decade. Pursuant too GO Nr 142, HPAF dated June 13 19990, 17 th Attack Squadron was again manned. By 1991 only a few T-28’s were full mission capable status. The battle tested Tora-tora was slowly feeling that it was after all a Vietnam vintage aircraft. Through the Foreign Military Sales, The US Government agreed to sell 24 OV-10A Broncos to the PAF. While the OV-10’s were assigned to 16 th Attack Squadron, the remaining T-28’s were transferred to 17 th Attack Squadron. The -28’s after long service with the PAF as a multi-role counter insurgency aircraft was retired and was replaced by OV-10A. Subsequently, 17th Attack Squadron was also given OV-10A to maintain and fly.
Asia was affected by an economic crunch that started June of 1997. On a positive note, the Philippines, although affected, was weathering the financial turmoil better than other Asian countries. However, the peso fall led to the implementation of cost cutting measures. The PAF resorted to the merging of Squadrons. 17 th Attack Squadron was unmanned effective April 1, 1997. All personnel and equipment were again absorbed by 16 th Attack Squadron.
For the second time, the 17 th Attack Squadron was again activated on 16 July 2001 through the effort of no less than the Commanding General PAF, Lt Gen Benjamin P Defensor Jr. The SF260TP Trainer planes from AETC was reconfigured and converted into a light attack aircraft and was transferred to 15 th Strike Wing to be the primary aircraft of 17 th attack Squadron.
Being one of the qualified Officers to act as Squadron Commander, Maj A L Sotelo Jr was given the responsibility to lead the newly resurrected squadron the newly assigned officers of the 15 th Strike Wing were designated as CCT’s together with some volunteer pilots from the helicopter squadron. At the same time, they held key positions since the squadron still lacked personnel. To augment the manning four instructor pilots and some Maintenance crew from AETC volunteered to be transferred to 17th Attack Squadron. These men composed the newly activated 17th Attack Pilots