16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron
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|16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron|
16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron emblem
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Combat Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Robins Air Force Base|
|Motto||Light the way|
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 116th Air Control Wing and the unit is assigned to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. This squadron is not an Air National Guard unit, but is part of the only blended (active duty and guard) wing in the USAF.
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.
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.
- 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
- 363d Fighter (later Tactical Reconnaissance) Group, 1 March 1943
- Air echelon attached to 10th Photographic Group, 24 December 1944-6 February 1945
- 10th Reconnaissance Group, 15 November 1945
- Tactical Air Command, 25 June 1947
- 363d Reconnaissance (later Tactical Reconnaissance) Group, 24 July 1947-26 April 1949
- 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 1 September 1950
- 363d Tactical Reconnaissance (later Tactical Fighter) Wing, 8 February 1958-13 December 1989
- 93d Operations Group, 1 October 1996
- 116th Operations Group, 1 October 2002–present
- 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