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"This is the penal unit. I decide when you die."
AWACS Bandog[1][2]

Spare Squadron, officially the 444th Fighter Squadron, is a former penal military unit in the Osean Air Defense Force, formerly under the command of Colonel D. McKinsey. The unit is comprised of Osean military personnel who have committed some form of crime. Members of this squadron are considered expendable by the Osean Defense Forces.[3] Following Operation Flush, Spare Squadron was recognized as a legitimate Osean Air Force squadron and all members were pardoned.[4]

The squadron had no standardized aircraft, but all planes were decorated with "sin lines" on the tails in the form of white dashes blocking out previous unit decals. The number of marks depended on the severity of the crime committed.[1] Spare Squadron was first stationed at the 444th Air Base in Zapland and was later transferred to Tyler Island.[4]

History

Formation

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Spare Squadron was formed sometime in May 2019[5] when a concept of the penal unit was proposed by Colonel McKinsey.[6] In May 17, the prisoners were transported to Zapland where the 444th Air Base was functioned as their base of operations.[5]

In June 2019, Erusean bombers fell for the Osean facade and began conducting bombing operations on the decoy 444th Air Base in Zapland. In order to make the base seem more legitimate, Spare Squadron was assembled for the sole purpose of deceiving the Erusean military. The squadron was deployed multiple times during this period.[7]

Deceiving Erusea

AC7 Spare Squadron Aircraft

Spare Squadron shortly before taking off. Note the "sin lines" covering the planes' tail designations.

Following Operation Lighthouse Keeper, Trigger was tried and found guilty of assassinating former President Vincent Harling and transferred to Spare Squadron. Shortly after his transfer, Erusean bombers started bombing the base once again, believing the Osean Air Force was concentrated on it. Spare was sent up without access to their weaponry. During the battle, contact with Colonel McKinsey was lost, prompting AWACS Bandog to allow Spare access to their weaponry. Trigger almost singlehandedly shot down all bombers shortly afterward.[1]

After arriving back at base, all squadron members were thrown into solitary by Colonel McKinsey for using weaponry without his permission.[1]

Assault on Roca Roja

On July 4, Spare Squadron was sent to the desert region of Roca Roja in order to cripple a large Erusean base situated in the area prior to the main forces' assault. Without suitable armaments, Spare was deployed and commenced attacking the base. At the onset of the engagement, multiple Spare aircraft ran out of ammo and were unable to resupply due to Colonel McKinsey's orders. Commenting on the potential failure of the operation, Count eventually managed to convince Bandog to grant them permission to resupply. During the operation, Trigger destroyed substantial portions of the base, causing Erusea to deploy multiple MQ-99s to defend the base. As the operation continued, High Roller and squadron members were shot down, causing many of the remaining Spare aircraft to flee from combat. Undeterred, Trigger, Count, Full Band, and Tabloid managed to successfully complete the operation.[6]

Upon returning to base, Spare was thrown into solitary once again by McKinsey, this time due to members of the squadron resupplying during the operation without his permission.[6]

Rescuing the LRSSG

AC7 Su-30SM Kulbit

Mihaly engaging Champ over Yinshi Valley

Eight days after the attack on Roca Roja, Spare was tasked with securing a return route for the Long Range Strategic Strike Group squadrons, Cyclops and Strider. Shortly after the destruction of Erusean ground forces within Yinshi Valley, both Cyclops and Strider Squadrons entered the airspace while being pursued by MQ-99s. Almost singlehandedly, Trigger managed to shoot down the drones and protect the Osean aircraft. Following the destruction of the drones, Champ was suddenly engaged by Mihaly A. Shilage who, after a brief exchange of maneuvers, shot down and killed him before also downing Spare 10. With the threat of losing more friendlies, Bandog ordered Trigger and Tabloid to engage the Su-30SM. A dogfight between Trigger and Mihaly ensued, however, it was cut short as clouds were moving in, prompting Sol Squadron to withdraw.[3]

Following the successful effort of Cyclops and Strider, Spare was thrown into solitary yet again by McKinsey, due to returning without his permission and "failing as escorts".[3]

Crippling Erusea

Spare Squadron 2

Spare Squadron forming up on Trigger during Operation Flush

On July 22, Spare Squadron was ordered to destroy fuel facilities in Artiglio Port, with the ultimate goal of crippling Erusea's drone fuel supply. Spare succeeded in destroying the majority of the fuel supplies, however, several Erusean trucks loaded with oil manage to escape into the sandstorm Inessa 2, which had just entered the area of operations. Despite the hazardous conditions and subsequent arriving of Erusean drones, Spare managed to destroy all the escaping trucks.[8]

Five days later, Spare Squadron infiltrated the Waiapolo Mountains in order to destroy the Erusean military's communications network. As the area was guarded by satellite-guided anti-air missiles, Spare was forced to fly under cloud cover and only ascend in order to attack the radar facilities. Prior to the operation, Full Band managed to acquire more classified information, resulting in Bandog showing distaste with his actions. Following the destruction of the radar facilities, a squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornets with Osean Maritime Defense Force markings entered the airspace and attacked Spare. Unable to fire back due to their IFF, Spare formed up around Trigger, which allowed Bandog to register all blips in the formation as allies; while doing so, Bandog asked Full Band for his position. After destroying all the hostile aircraft, Bandog registers Full Band as an enemy and informs Count of the remaining hostile, causing him to unknowingly shoot down his wingman.[2]

Transfer to Tyler Island and Escape

Ac7 c130

Spare Squadron and 444th Air Base personnel on board multiple C-130 transports

Due to their accomplishments, Spare Squadron was now officially recognized as a legitimate unit within the Osean Air Defense Force and all members were pardoned. The majority of the squadron was ordered to relocate to Tyler Island, however, Trigger and Count were personally selected by the General Staff Office to escort the colonel to Bulgurdarest.[4]

On August 5, the majority of Spare Squadron departed from the base and headed west, while McKinsey's transport, Roper 1, headed north. While heading towards Bulgurdarest, Trigger sought out and destroyed multiple SAM sites across Erusean territory while Count remained nearby Roper 1. During the mission, multiple Erusean squadrons approached the transport and were subsequently intercepted and shot down by Trigger and Count. After crossing the border into Bulgurdarest, Erusean aircraft withdrew, however, an ADFX-10 quickly approached Roper 1 shortly afterward. With the transport under threat, Bandog ordered Trigger to engage the aircraft while Count escorted the transport. Despite the ADFX-10's inhuman dog-fighting capabilities, Trigger shot down the drone. Cyclops Squadron then entered the airspace and guided McKinsey, along with Spare, back to their base.[4]

Dusty Ruins

Tabloid, Mead and 444th Air Base personnel on Tyler Island

On August 10, Trigger and Count were officially transferred to the Long Range Strategic Strike Group.[9]

Believing Tyler Island to have been secured, Spare Squadron and other personnel of the 444th Air Base landed. However, the airbase had not yet been secured, and so Spare could not provide air support. Following the breakdown of Erusean and Osean communications network, the island fell into chaos, and Spare was at risk of attack from both Eruseans defending the island and Oseans mistaking them for a rebelling Osean penal unit. They would remain isolated on the island until October 10, when the Long Range Strategic Strike Group would arrive and rescue them.[10]

Three weeks later, they helped escort refugees into the International Space Elevator. However, Tabloid was crushed by falling debris in the process.[11]

Following the end of the war, they helped provide supplies for refugees at the Space Elevator.[12]

Roster

Members

Scrap Queen

After being convicted of breaking wartime aviation laws, Avril Mead was transported to the 444th Air Base where she was tasked with restoring old, mothballed aircraft to working condition. Her ability to restore aircraft and provide the pilots of Spare Squadron with refurbished aircraft eventually earned her renown and the title of "Scrap Queen".

Gallery

Trivia

  • The number 4 is considered an unlucky number in Japan; it can be pronounced "shi", which shares the same pronunciation for death (死).
  • The squadron bears no unique tail code for its aircraft, so the aircraft wear the tail codes of its members' previous squadrons. 
    • Trigger wears "FG" for Fort Grays.
    • Count wears "HK" for an unknown base, possibly Heierlark Air Force Base in North Osea.
    • Tabloid wears "MN", most likely for McNealy Air Force Base in southwestern Osea.
    • Champ wears "BN", likely meaning Bana.
    • High Roller wears "OR", likely meaning Oured.
    • Full Band and the rest of the squadron wear "AD" for an unknown location.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "444", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Faceless Soldier", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "First Contact", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Transfer Orders", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "444th Air Base", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Long Day", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  7. "Fetid Air", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  8. "Pipeline Destruction", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  9. "Fleet Destruction", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  10. "Homeward", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  11. "Lighthouse", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  12. "Dark Blue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
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