32d Intelligence Squadron

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32d Intelligence Squadron
Active 1942-1976; 1988-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role ISR
Part of Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency
Garrison/HQ Fort George G. Meade, Maryland
32d Intelligence Squadron emblem 32d Intelligence Squadron.PNG

The 32d Intelligence Squadron (32 IS) is a unit of the United States Air Force 707th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group located at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.


The 32d Intelligence Squadron iIs a specialized organization that consists of teams of intelligence professionals who support global power and secure and maintain information superiority by conducting operations that support Air Force, joint, combined, and special operations in peacetime and in war.

It provides effective organization, control, technical guidance, training, support, products, and tasking for ongoing intelligence analysis and dissemination activities. Serves the Department of Defense (DoD) and other customers as directed, providing the core capability assisting the National Security Agency (NSA) mission, through around-the-clock operations in support of national and tactical objectives. Performs information operations through multiple sources for national, theater, and tactical customers.


World War II[edit]

The squadron was established in mid-1943 as a tactical reconnaissance and photo-mapping squadron. Initial squadron training was under the Third Air Force, before it was deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) and assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force in southern Italy in August 1945.

Equipped primarily with unarmed Lockheed F-5 Lightnings, the squadron flew hazardous long-range intelligence and photo-mapping missions over enemy-held Italy and Occupied Europe, to get pictures required for the aerial war against the Axis powers. Initially it flew most missions over enemy-occupied Italy, Corsica and Sardinia, later flying missions over the Balkans. After the German surrender in May 1945, the squadron's personnel were demobilized in Italy during the summer of 1945, and the squadron was inactivated as a paper unit in the United States during October.

United States Air Forces in Europe[edit]

32d TRS RF-4C Phantom IIs - RAF Alconbury - 1970

In 1952 the squadron was reactivated as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) tactical reconnaissance unit to be based in France as a result of the United States Cold War military buildup in Europe. It was activated by the transfer of the equipment and personnel of the Alabama Air National Guard (ANG) 157th TRS, which had been federalized and brought to active duty during the Korean War. It took over the Lockheed RF-80A Shooting Star aircraft of the ANG unit, and trained for daylight reconnaissance missions.

32d TRS McDonnell RF-101C-65-MC Voodoo - 56-070

The squadron, however was stationed at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base in West Germany due to the uncompleted facilities at Toul-Rosières Air Base. Weather conditions in Germany severely restricted the training operations of the assigned RF-80As. The squadron frequently deployed to Nouasseur Air Base, Morocco during the winter of 1952-53 where the photo conditions were excellent.

The squadron moved to Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany in May 1953 where all of the elements of the parent 10th TRW were assembled at one base. It re-equipped with the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash in 1955, as the RF-80s were deemed not mission-capable against the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15.

In January 1958, the squadron was moved to Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base, France while the runway at Spangdahlem was under repair and renovation. In March 1958, the squadron was reassigned to the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, which was moving to Phalsbourg from Sembach Air Base due to poor runway conditions. During May, the Thunderflashes were replaced by McDonnell RF-101C Voodoos, which was the fastest tactical reconnaissance aircraft ever flown by the USAF.

32d TRS Republic RF-84F-25-RE Thunderflash - 52-7292

Routine training operations were flown from Laon for over seven years. In 1965 the squadron was again reassigned; to the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, which was being formed at Toul-Rosières Air Base. On 7 March 1966, French President Charles De Gaulle announced that France would withdraw from NATO's military structure but not leave the political organization. He gave NATO forces one year (until 1 April 1967) to depart France.

As a result, the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was relocated to Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. As part of the move from Toul, the 32d was reassigned to England, where it rejoined the 10th TRW, now stationed at RAF Alconbury. It sent the RF-101s back to the United States, and at Alconbury received new McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II aircraft.

The 32d flew the RF-4C at Alconbury for the next ten years, before being inactivated in 1976. The advent of reconnaissance satellites made tactical reconnaissance less and less necessary by the mid-1970s. This, along with the need for budget reductions after the end of the Vietnam War caused a reduction in the numbers of frontline tactical reconnaissance aircraft. On 1 January 1976, the 32nd TRS was the first of two squadrons of the 10th TRW to be inactivated that year.


32d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron emblem
Post-World War II 32d Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron patch
  • Constituted as the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) on 25 June 1943
Activated on 1 July 1943
Redesignated 32d Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 11 August 1943
Inactivated on 28 October 1945
  • Redesignated 32d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 25 June 1952
Reactivated on 10 July 1952
Inactivated 1 January 1976
  • Redesigned as 32d Intelligence Squadron, and activated, 15 Jul 1988


Attached to 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing from 8 January 1958




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

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