The 39th Squadron 'Cobras' derived their name from one of the first fighter aircraft they flew, the Bell P-39 Airacobra.
A Bell Company artist designed and painted an "Cobra in the Clouds" logo, which.
They were originally stationed at Selfridge Field in Michigan. But with the outbreak of WWII, the squadron was deployed to the Southwest Pacific.
Their P-39s were soon flying air cover over Port Moresby, New Guinea and in defense of Northern Australia.
While several P-39's were lost to the superior Japanese Zero, they never lost a pilot.
One of them, Thomas (Tommy) J. Lynch managed to even down a few enemy planes.
Later he was joined by Richard (Dick) Ira Bong. Together they both went on to become the squadrons leading aces with the arrival of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
The 39th was the first Lightning squadron in the Southwest Pacific and the first squadron to rack up 100 kills. They distinguished their aircraft by sporting a set of shark's teeth on the side of the engine nacelles.
The 39th later adopted the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and the North American P-51 Mustang by the war's end.
During the Korean conflict the 39th produced a number of aces. One of them, Joe McConnell with 16 Migs to his credit, was to become the top ace of that war and of America's jet fighter pilots.
Currently, the squadron is a flight training unit based at Randolph AFB in Texas.
39th Fighter Squadron
39th Fighter Squadron Heraldry