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4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
Emblem of the 4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Service history
Active 1941–1949
Role Reconnaissance
4th Reconnaissance Squadron Bell P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra 42-19622 1943

4th Reconnaissance Squadron Bell P-39Q-5-BE Airacobra 42-19622 1943, Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico,

4th Reconnaissance Squadron B-25G Mitchell 1943

4th Reconnaissance Squadron B-25G Mitchell 1943, Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico,

4th Reconnaissance Squadron F-5 Lightning 1945

4th Reconnaissance Squadron F-5 Lightning 1945, near Coolidge Field, Antigua

The 4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with 5600th Composite Wing, based at Howard Field, Canal Zone. It was inactivated on 14 March 1949.


Initially planned to serve as the main observation unit for the 13th Composite Wing, the unit in fact led something of a nomadic existence, being successively attached or assigned to the Puerto Rican Department, the 72d Observation Group; to the Antilles Air Task Force from 23 March 1943 until 1 June 1943 and, finally, to the Antilles Air Command itself from 1 June 1943 until the end of the war. In fact, this Squadron was the only Squadron to both start and finish the war in the Antilles throughout.[1]

The Squadron was initially stationed at Ponce Field, Puerto Rico when activated. The unit itself had been formed from cadre drawn from Air Corps units already in Puerto Rico. By 5 June 1943, the Squadron strength had increased to 12 aircraft. By the end of the month, one of the O-52's had been sent on detached service to Haiti, for reasons unreported, but apparently in Connection with the attempt that poor nation was making in establishing a primitive coastal patrol of its territorial waters at the time. In early July 1943, the Squadron received the first three of a number of Bell P-39Q Airacobra fighters that it was to operate until the end of the war.

On 27 October 1943, the Squadron moved enmasse to Borinquen Field, as Losey Field was turned over to the Army Ground Forces due to its rather poorly situated runways. At this time, and since the Squadron's assignment to Antilles Air Command on 1 June, the unit became one of the primary tactical operating units in the area. Fortunately, AAC recognized the new importance of the unit, and lobbied for equipment more capable than previously assigned.

The following month, reflecting the changing war situation, the Squadron also received a North American B-25D Mitchell and four new B-25G's, and in February 1943 added three more P-39Q's (for a total of nine), three new P-39N's and e B-18B Bolo.

The Squadron was occasionally tasked to perform flights throughout the Caribbean and, on one occasion, when the new airport was dedicated at Ciudad Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, every available P-39 was sent over (with belly tanks) where they put on a very lengthy aerial display for the locals.

By 10 March 1944, unit strength had been, considerably depleted, and the on-hand aircraft census consisted of three B¬25D's and B-25G's, a B-18 and a B-18C, three P-39N's and three P-39Q's. In October 1944, the Squadron received additional B-25D's.

Aside from frequent detachments of aircraft throughout the entire Caribbean basin during most of the war on an "as needed" basis, the unit itself did not move as a whole again until 21 May 1945 when it was reassigned from Borinquen to Coolidge Field on Antigua where the unit also welcomed with six new Lockheed F-5G Lightnings in June.

It remained active after the war, being assigned to several other bases in Puerto Rico and Panama until inactivated in 1949 due to budget reductions.

Operations and DecorationsEdit

  • Combat Operations: Defense in Caribbean area, 1941–1945
  • Campaigns: None
  • Decorations: None


  • Constituted as 4th Observation Squadron on 22 November 1940
Activated on 1 April 1941
Redesignated: 4th Observation Squadron (Medium) on 26 February 1942
Redesignated: 4th Observation Squadron on 4 July 1942
Redesignated: 4th Reconnaissance Squadron (Special) on 25 June 1943
Redesignated: 4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 20 May 1944
Redesignated: 4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 17 June 1948
Inactivated on 14 March 1949


  • 13th Composite Wing, April 1941
  • Puerto Rican Department, 14 July 1941
  • 72d Observation Group, 29 March 1942
Attached to: Puerto Rican Department, 29 March 1942 – 23 March 1943
Attached to: Antilles Air Task Force, 23 March – 1 June 1943
Attached to Provisional Composite Reconnaissance Group, 1 February – 28 July 1948
  • 6th Fighter Wing, 1 June 1948
  • 5600th Group, 28 July 1948
  • 5600th (later 5600th Composite) Wing, 20 August 1948 – 14 March 1949.




PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Hagdedorn, Dan (1995), Alae Supra Canalem: Wings Over the Canal, Turner Publishing, ISBN 1-56311-153-5

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