25th Air Support Operations Squadron

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25th Air Support Operations Squadron
Pacific Air Forces.png
Tac Air Control Party aimen on an exercise at Wheeler AAF range.png
Tactical Air Control Party airmen of the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron at Wheeler Army Airfield's East Range
Active 1942–1949; 1971–1989; 1990–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Air Operation Support
Engagements South West Pacific Theater of World War II
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation
25th Air Support Operations Squadron emblem (approved 18 January 1943)[1] 25th Air Support Operations Squadron.PNG

The United States Air Force's 25th Air Support Operations Squadron is a combat support unit located at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii. The squadron provides tactical command and control of airpower assets to the Joint Forces Air Component Commander and Joint Forces Land Component Commander for combat operations.[1]


25th Liaison Squadron L-5 and other aircraft at Wau airfield New Guinea 1944

World War II and post-war era[edit]

L-5 restored in markings of the Guinea Short Lines

The squadron was first activated at Salinas Army Air Base, California in March 1942 as the 25th Observation Squadron.[1] The squadron's cadre came from the 110th Observation Squadron, a federalized unit of the Missouri National Guard.[1][2] Initially, the primary aircraft of the squadron was the North American O-47, although it flew a number of other aircraft as well.[1] In April 1943 it was redesignated the 25th Liaison Squadron and converted to light two-seater aircraft. primarily Piper L-4s, but also including Stinson L-5 Sentinel. The unit moved overseas in October 1943 aboard the Cape Mendocino to Australia in the South West Pacific Theater.[2]

After pausing briefly in Australia, the squadron moved to New Guinea.[1] There it operated primarily with L-5 Sentinels, flown by enlisted pilots. Some of these "sergeant pilots" were men who had washed out of pilot school, but had been given a chance to operate the light aircraft.[3] Beginning in February 1944, the 25th began participating in combat operations.[1]

In addition to their mission of spotting and aerial reconnaissance, the squadron was tasked with short haul transportation.[2] The capability of its light aircraft to operate from confined spaces earned A Flight of the squadron the nickname "Guinea Short Lines".[4] The flight moved forward to Saidor Airport.[3]

The squadron dropped supplies to units caught behind enemy lines and evacuated them, sometimes dropping tools so that these units could hack a landing zone out of the jungle.[5] In addition to the task of evacuating downed aircrew members, the flight flew night harassment missions behind enemy lines, dropping small bombs and other paraphernalia on enemy camps. The flight was called on in 1944 to rescue a downed Republic P-47 Thunderbolt pilot from behind enemy lines. In the course of this operation, and while the downed pilot was clearing an area for an L-5 to land in the jungle, the squadron was tasked to also evacuate 23 Indian soldiers, who had escaped from a Japanese prisoner of war camp and who had intelligence information concerning Japanese troop positions. Flying into the improvised jungle airstrip, the flight successfully returned all to friendly control.[3]

Shortly after this rescue operation, the flight was tasked with transporting fifty Australian commandos to Wantoat to attack a Japanese radio facility. Following the raid, four Japanese prisoners were returned, each sitting on the lap of an Australian in the back seet of one of the Sentinels.[3]

By the end of 1944, the 25th began operating in the Philippines, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations and a Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for its actions there.[1] During the Philippine campaign, the squadron also trained pilots of the liaison squadrons of the 3d Air Commando Group, which had just arrived in the theater.[3] It remained in the Philippines until August 1947, although it was not manned or equipped after January. Although it moved on paper to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa in August, it was not again manned until October 1947. It remained with the occupation forces on Okinawa until being inactivated in March 1949.[1]

Modern era[edit]

25th Tactical Air Support Squadron O-2A at Eielson AFB
OV-10 Bronco firing White phosphorus

The squadron was again activated in July 1971 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, as the 25th Tactical Air Support Squadron and equipped with the Cessna O-2 Skymaster.[6][7] In 1986 the 25th upgraded to the North American OV-10 Bronco, 1986–1989.[6] The squadron was inactivated in September 1989.[7]

Its most current period of active service in Hawaii began a little more than a year later in 1990, when it was activated as the 25th Air Liaison Squadron at Schofield Barracks. Three months later the squadron moved to Wheeler Army Airfield.[7] The unit has deployed in support of Air Force and Army missions.[8] The squadron is manned by tactical air controllers, a unique type of servicemembers—Air Force by service, but Army by trade, planning, communicating and facilitating the execution of close- air support for ground forces. To assist in their communication needs, the JTACs operate and maintain a complete array of equipment. Tactical Air Control is also one of the few jobs in the Air Force operates far forward on the battlefield.[9]

The 25th deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. They were located everywhere from headquarters to operations with company-sized elements, acting as the liaison for all air support that comes from all services and coalition partners. Their mission of calling in air support requires communication and planning. Planning includes advising leaders on the best ways to use air assets and coordinate so that close air support can operate safely on the battlefield with other indirect-fire assets, such as artillery and mortars.[9]


  • Constituted as the 25th Observation Squadron (Light) on 5 February 1942
Activated on 2 March 1942
  • Redesignated 25th Observation Squadron on 4 July 1942
  • Redesignated 25th Liaison Squadron on 2 April 1943
Inactivated on 25 March 1949[10]
  • Redesignated 25th Tactical Air Support Squadron on 30 March 1971
Activated on 8 July 1971
Inactivated on 15 September 1989
  • Redesignated 25th Air Liaison Squadron on 26 September 1990
Activated on 1 October 1990
  • Redesignated 25th Air Support Operations Squadron on 1 August 1994[7]




Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation Philippine Islands 10 December 1944 – 25 December 1944 25th Liaison Squadron[1]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation Philippine Islands 17 April 1945 – 1 June 1945 25th Liaison Squadron[1]
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines) Streamer.png Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation 10 December 1944-4 July 1945 25th Liaison Squadron[1]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
American Campaign Streamer.png Antisubmarine 27 May 1942 – 20 August 1942 25th Observation Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG New Guinea 11 February 1944 – 31 December 1944 25th Liaison Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG Leyte 10 December 1944 – 1 July 1945 25th Liaison Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG Luzon 5 March 1945 – 4 July 1945 25th Liaison Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG Southern Philippines 5 March 1945 – 4 July 1945 25th Liaison Squadron[1]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 131
  2. ^ a b c Cannon & Stratton, p. 18
  3. ^ a b c d e Oliver
  4. ^ "Guinea Short Lines IHRA". International Historical Research Associates. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Cannon & Straton, p. 20
  6. ^ a b c d "Eielson Air Force Base History: Aircraft Operating". Explore North. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Endicott, Judy G. (3 November 2003). "Lineage and Honors History of the 25 Air Support Operations Squadron (PACAF)" (PDF). Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Cuomo, TSG Shane A. (17 April 2006). "25th Air Support Operations Squadron prepares to deploy". Air Force Pacific News. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Magni, SGT Frank (22 November 2004). "Tactical Controllers Command Over Afghan Sky". Department of Defense News. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d Lineage prior to 1963, including assignments, stations, and aircraft in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 131


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]