15th Reconnaissance Squadron
|15th Reconnaissance Squadron|
MQ-1B Predator of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron
|Active||9 May 1917|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Size||over 140 combat-ready personnel|
|Part of||Air Combat Command
Twelfth Air Force
432d Operations Group
|Garrison/HQ||Creech Air Force Base|
|Battle honours||World War II
|Current Commander||Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Kiebler|
|Current Operations Officer||Lieutenant Colonel Ken Moss|
|First Sergeant||SMSgt Steve Flatt|
|Current Squadron Superintendent||SMSgt Tim Nelson|
|General Arthur J. Lichte
Lieutenant General Paul Selva
Brigadier General Michelle D. Johnson
|15th Reconnaissance Squadron emblem|
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.
The 15th Reconnaissance Squadron is currently in operation at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nev., and is the second of only two of the Air Force’s RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, squadrons.
The mission of the 15 RS is to provide theater commander with deployable, long endurance, near real-time reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition to close the sensor-to-shooter time line. The squadron operates medium altitude multi-sensor platforms to locate, identify and report battlefield conditions to warfighters. It also collects, exploits and distributes imagery and intelligence products to theater CINCs and national-level leadership.
The 15th Reconnaissance Squadron's origins go back to 8 May 1917, when it was stood up as the 2d Aviation School Squadron at Hazelhurst Field, Long Island, New York. The original mission of the squadron was part of the defense force for the New York City area, flying coastal patrols and as a flying training unit. At the end of World War I, the squadron was demobilized on 18 September 1919.
The squadron was constituted in the Army Air Service as the 15th Squadron (Observation) on 14 March 1921 at Chanute Field, Illinois, equipped with Dayton-Wright DH-4s. the main focus of the squadron was flying training, including gunnery, observation, reconnaissance, photography, radio familiarization and similar missions.
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.
During the early stages of World War II, the 15th supported the Field Artillery School in Oklahoma. On March 26, 1944, the unit deployed to England and began combat operations over France. Its first combat mission was photographic reconnaissance on an F-6. On June 6, 1944, the 15th received credit for the first aerial victory by a tactical reconnaissance pilot as well as the first victory of D-Day. The unit continued armed reconnaissance operations in the European theater until July 1945. After returning to the United States, the squadron provided visual and photographic reconnaissance and artillery adjustments for Army, Navy and Air Forces until it was inactivated in April 1949.
The 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-jet, was reactivated on Feb 5, 1951, in Japan and immediately deployed to Korea to provide visual and photographic reconnaissance. The unit flew F/RF-80s and F/RF-85s during this period. In March 1954 the unit moved back to Japan and in August 1956, moved to Okinawa. The unit transitioned to RF-84s from 1956-1958 and then to the RF-101s, continuing its long history of photographic reconnaissance. During the Vietnam era the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, flying the RF-101. The unit had many deployments to Southeast Asia, flying reconnaissance missions in support of US combat operations in that theatre. During the summer and fall of 1966, the squadron transitioned to the RF-4C, the aircraft that it was to operate for the next 25 years.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the squadron maintained aerial surveillance capabilities in support of American ground, naval and air forces in the Far East. The 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was inactivated Oct. 1, 1990. The unit was reactivated as the 15th Tactical Intelligence Squadron on Feb. 20, 1991. On April 13, 1992, the unit was redesignated as the 15th Air Intelligence Squadron. On June 1, 1994, it was once more inactivated.
The unit was reactivated on 1 August 1997, at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field under command of the 57th Operations Group, 57th Wing. It was assigned to fly the Predator UAV out of Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nevada.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 73d Observation (later, 73 Reconnaissance; 73 Tactical Reconnaissance; 10 Photographic) Group, 12 Mar 1942
- Remained attached to Field Artillery School to 1 Apr 1942
- Ninth Air Force, 22 Dec 1943
- Attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 22 Dec 1943–
- IX Fighter Command, 30 Dec 1943
- Remained attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
- 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 4 Jan 1944
- 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
- United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe, 24 Jun 1945
- Third Air Force, 3 Aug 1945
- First Air Force, 3 Feb 1946
- Tactical Air Command, 21–31 Mar 1946
- 10th Reconnaissance (later, 10th Tactical Reconnaissance) Group, 3 Dec 1947 – 1 Apr 1949
- Attached to 363d Reconnaissance Group, 22 Aug – 3 Nov 1948
- 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 25 Feb 1951
- Attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1 Jun – c. 25 Nov 1954 and 1 Jul – 1 Oct 1957
- 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1 Oct 1957
- Attached to 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 Mar 1960–
- 13th Air Division, 25 Apr 1960
- Remained attached to 18th Tactical Fighter Wing to 20 Apr 1970
- 18th Tactical Fighter Group, 1 May 1978
- 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, 11 Feb 1981
- 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 1 Oct 1989 – 1 Oct 1990
- 548th Reconnaissance Technical Group, 15 Mar 1991
- Pacific Air Forces, 3 Jul 1991
- 15th Operations Group, 13 Apr 1992 – 1 Jun 1994
- 57th Operations Group, 1 Aug 1997 – present
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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:  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.
- 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.
- Staff Sgt. D. Clare, "California Air National Guard embraces new mission", August 16, 2006