The genesis of the 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron can be traced back to World War II, when the 425th Night Fighter Squadron was first constituted on 23 November 1943, and activated on 1 December, 1943, at Orlando Air Base, FL. The squadron saw service with several Numbered Air Forces and flew combat in the European Theater of Operations flying from bases in England and France. The unit was equipped with the Northrop P-61 "Black Widow", the first night fighter designed and developed from the ground up for the night fighter mission.
The 425th was still flying the P-61 "Black Widow" when it was deactivated on 25 August 1947, at McChord Field, WA.
In 1964, a new unit, the 4441st Combat Crew Training Squadron, was constituted at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, with the mission of training foreign pilots in the new low cost lightweight Northrop F-5A single seat multirole fighter and the F-5B two seat fighter trainer variant. Initially designed for foreign military sales to third world countries, the F-5s' performance was sufficient to attract major NATO user Air Forces.
On 15 October 1969, the 4441st was re-designated the 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron. This change to the 425th numeral designation was a change in designation only, with the unit's mission remaining unchanged. Ken Johnson and Don Crane, two of the original instructors in the 4441st, thought the new squadron designation warranted a new emblem and they designed a new patch with a "Black Widow" as its predominate feature to commemorate the linage to the original 425th squadron's P-61 Black Widow. The new design was approved by the USAF and became the 425th's official patch.
In 1973, the squadron started re-equipping with the new more advanced F-5E which presented even greater capability and increased training requirements for the 425th.
In addition to local training at Williams AFB, the squadron deployed Mobile Training Teams to F-5 user nations for follow-on training. In its 25 years of operating the F-5, the squadron trained 1,499 pilots from over twenty different Air Forces until its deactivation on 1 September 1989, ended the 425th F-5 era.
Although the deactivation of the 425th ended F-5 service in the U.S. Air Force, the aircraft continues to soldier on in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp in the adversary role emulating third generation adversary aircraft, and as a front line fighter in many foreign Air Forces.
On 1 December 1992, the squadron was reactivated as the 425th Fighter Squadron and assumed the mission of training international pilots in the F-16 aircraft. This squadron is still active with the 56th Fighter Wings Operations Group at Luke AFB, AZ and maintains the "Black Widow" emblem made famous during the F-5 425th reign.