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15th Reconnaissance Squadron
15th Reconnaissance Squadron - ACC - Emblem.png
Emblem of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron
Active 9 May 1917
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Size over 140 combat-ready personnel
Part of Air Combat Command
Twelfth Air Force
432d Wing
432d Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Creech Air Force Base
Motto(s) ""
Mascot(s) carrier pigeon
Equipment MQ-1 Predator
Battle honours World War II
Korean War
Commanders
Current Commander Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Kiebler
Ceremonial chief Lieutenant Colonel Ken Moss
First Sergeant SMSgt Steve Flatt
Current Squadron Superintendent SMSgt Tim Nelson
Notable
commanders
General Arthur J. Lichte
Lieutenant General Paul Selva
Brigadier General Michelle D. Johnson

15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron McDonnell RF-4C-19-MC Phantom 63-7751 Kadena AB, Okinawa, 1975

RF-101 Voodoo 56-0042, Kadena AB, Okinawa, 1960

Republic RF-84F-30-RE Thunderflash 52-7412, Kadena AB, Okinawa, 1956

15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron- North American RF-86A-5-NA Sabre – 48–195 at K-14 Airfield, South Korea, 1952

A USAAF North American F-6C Mustang (code 5M-Q) from the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photo Reconnaissance Group in 1944. The F-6 was the reconnaissance version of the P-51C fighter.

15th Reconnaissance Squadron (15 RS) flies MQ-1 Predator UAV's and is stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The 15th Reconnaissance Squadron is one of the first armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) squadrons. The squadron provides combatant commanders with persistent ISR, full-motion video, and precision weapons employment. Global operations architecture supports continuous MQ-1B Predator employment providing real-time actionable intelligence, strike, interdiction, close air support, and special missions to deployed war fighters.

History[edit | edit source]

The unit traces its history back to 9 May 1917, the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, redesignated the unit as the 15th Aero Squadron on 22 Aug 1917. Flying historic aircraft like the Curtis "Jenny" JN-4 biplane, the squadron served as a flying training unit between 1917–1919. After a short stint on the inactive list and a series of organizational changes, the unit emerged as the 15th Observation Squadron on 25 Jan 1923. This began a varied and unending string of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles for the unit that stretched over more than eight decades.

On 20 March 1938, the 15th Observation Squadron deployed from Scott Field, Illinois, to Eglin Field, Florida, for two weeks of gunnery training. Thirty-five officers and 108 enlisted men were involved.[1]

The unit was reactivated on 1 August 1997, at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field under command of the 57th Operations Group, 57th Wing.

During the Vietnam era the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was based at Kadena Air Base, Japan, flying the RF-101. The unit had many deployments to Southeast Asia, flying reconnaissance missions in support of US combat operations in that theatre.

From July 2005 to June 2006, the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron participated in more than 242 separate raids; engaged 132 troops in contact-force protection actions; fired 59 Hellfire missiles; surveyed 18,490 targets; escorted four convoys; and flew 2,073 sorties for more than 33,833 flying hours.[2]

Starting in 2005, the unit trained California Air National Guard's 163d Reconnaissance Wing members to operate the MQ-1.The 163d is being retasked as an MQ-1 unit.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Organized as 2d Aviation School Squadron on 9 May 1917
Redesignated 15th Aero Squadron on 22 Aug 1917
Demobilized on 18 Sep 1919
  • Reconstituted, and consolidated (1924) with 15th Squadron (Observation)
Authorized on 30 Aug 1921
Organized on 21 Sep 1921
Redesignated 15th Observation Squadron on 25 Jan 1923
Inactivated on 1 Aug 1927
  • Activated on 15 May 1928
Redesignated: 15th Observation Squadron (Medium) on 13 Jan 1942
Redesignated: 15th Observation Squadron on 4 Jul 1942
Redesignated: 15th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) on 2 Apr 1943
Redesignated: 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 11 Aug 1943
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946
  • Activated on 3 Dec 1947
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1949
  • Redesignated 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-Jet on 5 Feb 1951
Activated on 25 Feb 1951
  • Redesignated 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 8 Oct 1966
Inactivated on 1 Oct 1990
  • Redesignated 15th Tactical Intelligence Squadron on 20 Feb 1991
Activated on 15 Mar 1991
Redesignated 15th Air Intelligence Squadron on 13 Apr 1992
Inactivated on 1 Jun 1994
  • Redesignated 15th Reconnaissance Squadron on 31 Jul 1997
Activated on 1 Aug 1997.

Assignments[edit | edit source]

  • Unknown, 1917–1919 (but possibly Aeronautical [later, Air] Division, Signal Corps, 9 May 1917
  • Training Section, Department of Military Aeronautics, Signal Corps, 24 Apr 1918
  • Operations Section, Department of Military Aeronautics, Signal Corps, 9 Jul 1918
  • Training and Operations Group, Air Service, 29 Jan-18 Sep 1919
  • Sixth Corps Area, 21 Sep 1921
  • 6th Division, Air Service, 24 Mar 1923
Attached to Sixth Corps Area, 24 Mar 1923 – Jun 1927
  • Sixth Corps Area, Jun-1 Aug 1927
  • 6th Division, Air Service (later, 6 Division, Aviation), 15 May 1928
Attached to Sixth Corps Area, 15 May 1928–
  • 14th Observation Group, 8 May 1929
Remained attached to Sixth Corps Area
  • 12th Observation Group, 1937 – Jul 1938
Remained attached to Sixth Corps Area
  • Unknown, Jul 1938
Remained attached to Sixth Corps area to c. 9 Jan 1941
Detachment operated at Field Artillery School, 1 Dec 1940-c. 9 Jan 1941
  • Field Artillery School, c. 9 Jan 1941
  • III Air Support Command, 1 Sep 1941
Attached to Field Artillery School, 1 Sep 1941–
Further attached to 68th Observation Group, 12 Dec 1941 – 2 Feb 1942
Remained attached to Field Artillery School to 1 Apr 1942
Attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 22 Dec 1943–
Remained attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
Attached to IX [later, XIX] Air Support Command, 4 Jan 1944 – c.16 Mar 1944
Attached to IX Tactical Air Command, 13–27 Jun 1944
Flight attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 3–12 Aug 1944
Attached to 363d Reconnaissance Group, 22 Aug – 3 Nov 1948
Attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1 Jun – c. 25 Nov 1954 and 1 Jul – 1 Oct 1957
Attached to 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 Mar 1960–
Remained attached to 18th Tactical Fighter Wing to 20 Apr 1970

Stations[edit | edit source]

  • Ober Olm Airfield (Y-64), Germany, 3 April 1945.
  • Erfurt/Bindersleben Airfield (R-9), Germany, 16 April 1945.
  • Fürth Airfield (R-28), Germany, 24 April 1945.
  • Reims, France, 23 June – 13 July 1945.
  • Drew Field, Florida, 3 August 1945.
  • MacDill Field, Florida, 21 December 1945.
  • Shaw Field, South Carolina, 3 February – 31 March 1946. (Unit inactivated)
  • Pope Field (later, Pope AFB), North Carolina, 3 December 1947 – 1 April 1949. (Unit activated) (Deployed to Lawson AFB, Georgia, 22 August – (day unknown) September 1948; Turner AFB, Georgia, September 1948; and Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field No. 3, Florida, (day unknown) – 3 October November 1948.)
  • Komaki, Japan, 25 February 1951. (operated from Taegu AB, Republic of Korea)
  • Taegu AB, Republic of Korea, 16 March 1951.
  • Kimpo AB, Republic of Korea, 23 August 1951.
  • Komaki AB, Japan, 2 March 1954.
  • Yokota AB, Japan, 25 August 1955.
  • Kadena AB, Okinawa (later, Japan), 18 August 1956. (deployed to Osan AB, Republic of Korea, 26 January – 12 February 1968; and Itazuki AB, Japan, 13 February – circa 25 July 1968.)
  • Taegu AB, Republic of Korea, 1 October 1989 – 1 October 1990. (Unit inactivated)
  • Hickam AFB, Hawaii, 15 March 1991 – 1 June 1994. (Unit inactivated)
  • Indian Springs Aux Field (now Creech AFB), Nevada, 1 Aug 1997 – present

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

  • JN-4
  • JN-6
  • DH-4 during period 1917–1919.
  • In addition to DH-4 and O-2, included JN-4, JN-6, JNS-1, and apparently M-1 during 1921–1927.
  • O-2, 1928–1930
  • O-19, 1930-c. 1938; O-46, 1936-c. 1939
  • O-47, 1939–1942, included O-43, O-49, and O-52 during part of this period; included A-20, P-39, P-40, and P-51, 1942–1943;
  • included Spitfire, L-4, and L-5 during 1943–1944; P-51/F-6, 1944–1945.
  • P-51/F-6, 1947–1948
  • RF-51, 1947–1949
  • RF-80, 1951–1956
  • RF-86, 1951–1956
  • F-80, 1952–1953
  • F-86, 1953;
  • RF-84, 1956–1958
  • RF-101, 1958–1966
  • RF-4, 1967–1990.
  • None, 1991–1994.
  • MQ-1 Predator to present

Emblem[edit | edit source]

A carrier pigeon in natural colors with wings extended perched on a telescope white outlined in black upon a shield of blue and yellow parted diagonally from "northwest" to "southeast", the blue above, the yellow below. Approved 2 April 1924

Honors[edit | edit source]

Campaign Streamers[edit | edit source]

  • World War II: Europe-Africa-middle Eastern (EAME) Theater: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland Ardenees-Alsace; Central Europe; Air Combat.
  • Korean War: First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1953.

Decorations[edit | edit source]

  • Distinguished Unit Citations: Korea, 25 February – 21 April 1951; Korea, 9 July – 27 November 1951; Korea, 1 May – 27 July 1953.
  • Cite in Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 6 June- [25 June] 1944.
  • Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: [25] February 1951 – 31 March 1953.
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 April – 30 November 1966.
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 December 1952 – 3 April 1953; 10 May −27 August 1962; 1 September 1962 – 31 August 1963; 1 August 1964 – 5 June 1965; 6 June 1965 – 31 December 1966; 1 January 1968 – 31 December 1969; 1 January 1974 – 31 December 1975; 1 June 1977 – 31 May 1979; 1 October 1979 – 31 May 1980; 1 July 1981 – 31 May 1983; 1 June 1983 – 31 May 1984; 1 June 1984 – 31 May 1986; 1 June 1987 – 31 May 1989; 1 October 1989 – 30 October 1990; 13 April 1992 – 30 June 1993.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Crestview, Florida, "Plenty of Activity at Val-P Gun Base", Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, Friday 18 March 1938, Volume 24, Number 12, page 1.
  2. Staff Sgt. D. Clare, "California Air National Guard embraces new mission", August 16, 2006

External links[edit | edit source]

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