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16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron
16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron emblem.jpg
16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron emblem
Active 1943-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Combat Support
Part of Air Combat Command
Garrison/HQ Robins Air Force Base
Motto(s) Light the way

McDonnell RF-4C-34-MC Phantom II AF Serial No. 67-0436 of the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron - October 1986. Note the NATO European camouflage schema, "SW" tail code and low visibility USAF markings. This was one of the last RF-4Cs flown by the 363d TFW before their retirement in 1989.

Emblem of the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

The 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron is under Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force, and flies the E-8C Joint STARS. Its parent unit is the 461st Air Control Wing, located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The 16 ACCS operates the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), the most advanced ground surveillance and battle management system in the world. JSTARS detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets ground movements on the battlefield, communicating real-time information through secure data links with U.S. Forces command posts.

History[edit | edit source]

Activated as part of IV Fighter Command in early 1943, engaged in Air Defense of the San Francisco area as well as a RTU until the end of 1943. Trained as a P-51 operational squadron, deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to IX Fighter Command in England. Operated both as a tactical fighter squadron, providing air support to Allied ground forces in France as well as an air defense squadron, attacking enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat over Europe. Converted to a Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in August 1944, engaging in hazardous reconnaissance flights over enemy-controlled territory unarmed, gathering intelligence for Allied commanders. Advanced eastward across France using forward combat airfields, then into the Low Countries as well as Occupied Germany until the end of combat in Europe, May 1945. Remained in Germany as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe occupation forces, returning to Langley Field, Virginia in June 1947. Remained assigned to Tactical Air Command as a directly-assigned reconnaissance squadron until inactivated in 1950 due to budget restraints.

Activated at Shaw AFB, South Carolina in 1958 and equipped with RF-101C Voodoo reconnaissance aircraft. Deployed to south Florida in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, flying hazardous overflights over Cuba gathering intelligence photos. Upgraded to the RF-4C Phantom II in 1965. Operated a flight of EB-57E Canberra Electronic Jamming aircraft beginning in 1971 as part of the phaseout of the EB-66 Destroyers at Shaw, was the last USAF active duty B-57 Squadron, retiring the aircraft in 1976 with the advent of the F-4G Phantom II.

Remained as the single RF-4C squadron at Shaw after the 1982 realignment of the 363d from a Tactical Reconnaissance to Tactical Fighter Wing. Continued reconnaissance training in the United States until 1989 when the RF-4Cs were transferred to 67th TRW at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, and the squadron was inactivated.

Reactivated in 1996 at Robins AFB, GA as an E-8 JSTARS squadron.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted 380th Fighter Squadron on 11 February 1943
Activated on March 1943
Re-designated: 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 25 August 1944
Re-designated: 160th Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 29 Ju1 1946
Re-designated: 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 14 Jun 1948
Inactivated on 26 Apr 1949
  • Re-designated 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Night Photographic) on 8 Aug 1950
Activated on 1 Sep 1950
Re-designated: 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Night Photographic) on 10 October 1950
Re-designated: 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and activated on 8 February 1958
Redesignated 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Training Squadron, 1 October 1979
Redesignated 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 1 July 1982
Inactivated on 15 December 1989
  • Redesignated 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, 15 January 1996
Activated on 1 October 1996

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Air echelon attached to 10th Photographic Group, 24 December 1944-6 February 1945

Stations[edit | edit source]

Operated from Conflans Airfield (A-94), France, 24 December 1944-6 February 1945

Operated from MacDill AFB, Florida, 22 October-30 November 1962

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0-89201-097-5
  • Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
  • World Airpower Journal. (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing: London, UK. ISBN 1-880588-01-3


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