In 2011 the 311 Squadron and 312 Squadron from the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) both existed 60 years. This birthday was celebrated jointly, on the 24th of August, 2011.


The 311 Squadron was formed on May 1st, 1951. In 2011 it was the oldest at Volkel Air Base stationed squadron. It has both air support as air defence tasks, according to the so-called "swing-role' principle (quick switching between tasks).

The eagle in the emblem of the 311 Squadron symbolizes determination and speed. The emblem contains the text Ut Aquila Preadans, which means 'Like an eagle attacking its prey'.
Since the establishment the unit was equipped with the F-84E Thunderjet followed by the G-version of this jet. As the RNLAF didn't suffer from cuts as it did over the last years, various types of aircraft were operated. The F-version of the F-84, better known as Thunderstreak, entered service at the end of 1955. This jet was already replaced in 1964 for the legendary F-104G Starfighter. The 311 Squadron flew 18 years with this jet, when it was replaced in 1982 for the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The unit flew this jet till it was phased out.
The unit´s first commander was Captain Benjamins. On September, 27th 2012 the squadron was disbanded (actually 'sleeping') due to cutbacks. Lieutenant-Colonel Deering was the unit's last commander.

On December 1st, 1951 the 312 Squadron was formed. This unit has the same tasks and operated the same types of aircraft as the 311 Squadron
The two crossed swords in the emblem of the 312 Squadron symbolize the aggressiveness and strength that owns the unit. The lightning flash symbolises the squadron's speed in their operations. The text Audax cum Consilio accompanying the logo means Brave and discreet. The unit's nickname is the Bonzo Squadron. Bonzo was the name of the dog of Major Flinterman. He was the first commander of the 1st Tactical Fighter Group, to which the 311 and 312 Squadron belonged in 1952.
The first commander of 312 was Captain Van de Akker. During the 60th anniversary its commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Steur.

Anniversary and reunion

Both squadrons celebrated their anniversary on August 24th, 2011. The celebration took place in and around hangars H2 and H3 at Volkel Airbase. Traditionally, all former and current employees were invited.
A reception was held at 13.00 o'clock and several activities, like a continuous birds of prey show and a Raven UAV show, were offered. It was possible to visit the air base's museum 'Typhoon' and several aircraft were put on static display. The static show featured some historic aircraft belonging to the RNLAF Historical Flight, a F-16AM with its possible armaments and the AH-64D from the RNLAF Apache Display Team. Two F-16's were equipped with special anniversary stickers on the tail. At exactly 3:11 PM, four F-16's performed a fly-by.