17th Reconnaissance Squadron

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17th Reconnaissance Squadron
17 RS.jpg
Emblem of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron
Active 1942 - 1946
1951 - 1979
2008 - Present
Country  United States
Branch Flag of the United States Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Role Reconnaissance
Engagements World War II
Cold War[1]
Disbanded 1946
MQ-1 Predator UAV
17th TRS McDonnell Douglas RF-4C-37-MC Phantom 68-0568 at Zweibrücken AB in mid-1970s Southeast Asia camouflage motif.
McDonnell RF-101F-56-MC Voodoo 56-0217 at Laon Air Base France, 1959

The 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (17 RS) is a squadron of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the 57th Operations Group, and stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada.


The 17th RS conducts intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operating the flies MQ-1 Predator UAV.


Established as a photo-reconnaissance squadron in mid-1942, trained under Second Air Force in Colorado, equipped with very-long range F-5 (P-38 Lightning) reconnaissance aircraft Deployed to the South Pacific Area, assigned to Thirteenth Air Force. Flew hazardous unarmed reconnaissance missions over enemy-held territory in Guadalcanal; New Guinea; Northern Solomon Islands; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon; Southern Philippines; Central Burma and southeast China. Inactivated in the Philippines, April 1946.

Reactivated at Shaw AFB, South Carolina in 1951 as a photo-reconnaissance training squadron. Equipped with several reconnaissance aircraft during the 1950s, deploying to NATO in 1959 with the RF-101C Voodoo. Operated from France until 1966, moving to RAF Upper Heyford, England. Remained in England until 1970, moved to West Germany and re-equipped with RF-4C Phantom II aircraft. Remained at Zweibrücken AB until 1979 when inactivated due to budget reductions.

According to the documentary film Drone, by Tonje Schei, since 2002 the squadron has been working for the Central Intelligence Agency as "customer", carrying out armed missions in Pakistan.[2]


  • Constituted 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 14 July 1942.
Activated on 23 July 1942.
Redesignated: 17th Photographic Squadron (Light) on 6 February 1943.
Redesignated: 17th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 13 November 1943.
Inactivated on 19 April 1946.
  • Redesignated 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-Jet on 1 April 1951.
Activated on 2 April 1951.
Re-designated: 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 October 1966.
Inactivated 1 January 1979.
  • Redesignated 17th Reconnaissance Squadron on 4 March 2002.
Activated on 8 March 2002.



Detachment operated from: Munda Airfield, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, c. 13 October 1943-31 January 1944, 9 March-1 April 1944.
Detachment operated from: Buka Airfield, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, c. 11 December 1943-February 1945.
Detachment operated from: Kornasoren (Yebrurro) Airfield, Noemfoor, Schouten Islands, 8–23 October 1944.
Detachment operated from: Sansapor Airfield, Netherlands East Indies, 13 October-4 November 1944.
Detachment operated from: Dulag Airfield, Dulag, Leyte, Philippines, 9 February–October 1945.



  1. ^ 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was stationed in France, England then West Germany during the period of 1951-1979.
  2. ^ Chris Woods (14 April 2014). "CIA's Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

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