The 525 was designated as the 525th Fighter Interceptor Squadron on 9 August 1954. Flying the F-86F in an Air Defense role the squadron was stationed at Landstuhl (later Ramstein) Air Base in Germany under the 86th Fighter Group. The Bulldog emblem was approved for the squadron by the Air Force on 29 September 1955. In March of 1956 the squadron transitioned to the new "all weather" F-86D Sabrejet.

In 1957, the squadrons of the 86th Group were dispersed throughout Europe to provide better air defense coverage and reduce vulnerability to attack. On 12 February 1957 the Bulldogs moved to Bitburg Air Base, Germany. The Bulldogs were the only squadron at Bitburg to maintain air defense alert for the next 20 years.

Though stationed at Bitburg, the Bulldogs remained under the 86th Fighter Group at Ramstein. In March of 1958, the 86th was re-designated the 86th Fighter Interceptor Wing in anticipation of the arrival of the F-102 Delta Dagger. The 525th received its first F-102s in February of 1959 and was selected to represent the united States Air Forces in Europe at the 1959 William Tell competition. Although new to their aircraft the Bulldogs took the lead in the competition and held to the last event when they were nosed out by a few points.

In 1965 and 1967 the 525th was chosen to represent USAFE in the NATO Air Superiority Competitions. In each competition the Bulldogs made an outstanding performance.

The 525th remained at Bitburg and was re-designated as the 525th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 1 October 1969 ending the squadron's pure air defense role.