963d Airborne Air Control Squadron

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963d Airborne Air Control Squadron
963d Airborne Air Control Squadron.jpg
Flight Patch
Active 7 December 1942 - 10 April 1944
19 September 1945 - 27 January 1946
3 October 1946 - 1 April 1949
8 December 1954 - 30 April 1976
5 May 1976 - Present
Country United States of America
Allegiance USA Old Glory
Branch United States Air Force
Type Air Squadron
E-3 AWACS Aircraft
Part of Air Combat Command
Twelfth Air Force
552d Air Control Wing
552d Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Tinker Air Force Base
Mascot Blue Knights
Engagements Vietnam War
Desert Storm/Desert Shield
Operation Provide Comfort
Operation Southern Watch
Afghanistan War
Iraq War
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA w/ V Device
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm

The 963d Airborne Air Control Squadron (963 AACS) is a squadron of the United States Air Force based at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The squadron is a subordinate unit of the 552d Operations Group and it flies the E-3 Sentry, radar surveillance aircraft. The squadron currently falls under the authority of Air Combat Command and Twelfth Air Force.

Emblem[edit]

The 963d's mascot is the Blue Knight which is represented on the unit's insignia as a blue colored winged chess knight. The background is a series of black and white squares that resembles a chess board. Three bolts of lightning emitted from the knight's eye shows the lightning fast deployability of the AWACS, and the knight's wings represents the flying mission of the unit.

History[edit]

EC-121 aircraft

The 963d Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron (963 AEW&Cs) was activated, on 8 July 1955 at McClellan AFB, California.[1] The squadron flew the EC-121 Warning Star, which was a military version of the Lockheed Constellation aircraft, until the unit's inactivation in 1976.[2]

It was inactivated on 30 April 1976.

The inactivation lasted less than a week however, as the Air Force again activated the unit on 5 May 1976 and redesignated it as the 963d Airborne Warning and Control Squadron (963 AWACS). On 1 July 1976, the squadron relocated to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. The squadron was under the command of the 552 AWACW, which reported directly to Headquarters, Tactical Air Command (TAC).[1] The squadron began flying the new E-3 Sentry aircraft upon being reactivated. This new airframe is a military version of the Boeing 707 aircraft.

963d aircraft on the flight line

During the 1980s the squadron flew training missions in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East.

In 1990 the squadron deployed to Riyadh AB, Saudi Arabia with the military build-up prior to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

In 1992, the unit (and its superior unit the 552 ACW) came under the authority of the newly formed Air Combat Command (ACC). Throughout the early to mid-1990s, 963d aircrews routinely deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey to support the northern Iraqi no-fly zone (Operation Provide Comfort). Crews from the 963d also continued operations in Saudi Arabia on the southern no-fly zone (Operation Southern Watch). They were also deployed to other trouble spots around the world as a modern form of Gunboat diplomacy. On April 14, 1994 an aircraft and crew from the 963d operating out of Incirlik AB, Turkey featured prominently in the 1994 Black Hawk shootdown incident.

In 1994, the squadron's name was redesignated to 963d Airborne Air Control Squadron (963 AACS).

The 963d AACS also participated in the invasion of Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operations[2][edit]

Lineage[2][edit]

  • 3d Search Attack Squadron (Heavy) (1942–1944)
  • 163d Liaison Squadron (Commando) (1944–1949)
  • 963d Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron (1954–1976)
  • 963d Airborne Warning and Control Squadron (1976–1994)
  • 963d Airborne Air Control Squadron (1994–Present)

Assignments[2][edit]

Bases stationed[2][edit]

Aircraft Operated[2][edit]

B-18 Bolo B-24 Liberator L-5 Sentinel UC–64 Norseman
B-18 Bolo
(1942–1943)
B-24 Liberator
(1943–1944)
L-5 Sentinel
(1944–1945)
UC–64 Norseman
(1944)
L–4 Grasshopper C–45 R–5 Dragonfly R-6 Hoverfly II
L–4 Grasshopper
(1945)
C–45 Expeditor
(1946–1947)
R–5 Dragonfly
(1947–1949)
R-6 Hoverfly II
(1947)
L–13 Grasshopper RC-121 EC-121 Warning Star E-3 Sentry
L–13 Grasshopper
(1948–1949)
RC-121
(1955–1959 & 1961–1963)
EC-121 Warning Star
(1963–1972)
E-3 Sentry
(1976–Present)

External links[edit]

References[edit]