4th Space Operations Squadron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
4th Space Operations Squadron
Air Force Space Command.png
Active 1941–1946; 1947–1949; 1952–1958; 1992–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Satellite Operations
Part of Air Force Space Command
Garrison/HQ Schriever Air Force Base
Motto(s) Linking the Forces (since 1994)[1]
Engagements Southwest Pacific Theater[1]
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation[1]
4th Space Operations Squadron emblem (approved 20 August 1992)[1] 4th Space Operations Squadron.png
4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron emblem (approved 20 January 1956)[2] 4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SAC).png
4th Photographic Mapping Squadron emblem (approved 14 July 1943)[2] 4th Reconnaissance Squadron (World War II).png

The United States Air Force's 4th Space Operations Squadron is a satellite operations unit located at Schriever AFB, Colorado. 4 SOPS controls the Milstar communication satellite constellation.

The mission of the 4th Space Operations Squadron is to ensure the Milstar system provides survivable, enduring, critical essential command and control communications through all levels of conflict for the president, the Secretary of Defense, and war fighting combatant commanders worldwide. 4th operates the $31 billion Milstar system executing communications management, satellite command and control, and ground segment maintenance for the Milstar constellation. The squadron's motto "Linking the Forces" reflects Milstar's responsibility to enhance the nation's secure communications capability for today's military forces.[3]


World War II[edit]

Established under the 1st Photographic Group in May 1941. Performed aerial mapping primarily over the southwestern United States prior to the Pearl Harbor Attack using Beechcraft F-2 Expeditor variants of the Beechcraft Model 18 which were equipped for the ground-attack and reconnaissance roles.

After the United States entry into World War II, flew aerial mapping missions over Western Canada and Alaska, mapping uncharted territory to support the building of the Alaska Highway. Deployed to South America in 1942–1943; mapping locations in British Guiana and Brazil for locations of emergency airfields as part of the development of the South Atlantic Transport Route.

Attached to 13th Air Force in late 1944; engaged in long-range mapping and reconnaissance over combat areas in support of seaborne landings in the Southwest Pacific Area and the liberation of the Philippines. Remained in the Pacific Theater after V-J Day performing reconnaissance mapping flights over Japan, Korea and China. Unit largely demobilized on Okinawa. Inactivated in early 1946.

Air Force reserve[edit]

Active from 1947 to 1949 at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport as a reserve unit. Apparently not fully manned or equipped.[1]

Strategic Air Command[edit]

Reactivated in 1952 as part of Strategic Air Command. Mission was to gather intelligence on a global scale. Squadron operated Boeing RB-47 Stratojet medium bombers refitted for aerial reconnaissance and mapping mission. Flew day and night strategic reconnaissance missions over a global scale. Inactivated due to budget reductions in 1958.

Space unit[edit]

Activated at Falcon Air Force Base, Colorado in 1992 as a space unit.[1]


  • Constituted as the 4th Photographic Squadron on 15 May 1941
Activated on 10 June 1941
Redesignated 4th Mapping Squadron on 13 January 1942
Redesignated 4th Photographic Mapping Squadron on 9 June 1942
Redesignated 4th Photographic Charting Squadron on 11 August 1943
Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, Long Range, Photographic on 15 June 1945
Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, Very Long Range, Photographic on 20 November 1945
Inactivated on 14 April 1946
  • Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic on 5 September 1947
Activated in the reserve on 20 September 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium on 9 May 1952
Activated on 28 May 1952
Inactivated on 1 July 1958
  • Redesignated 4th Space Operations Squadron on 1 April 1992
Activated on 30 April 1992[1]




  • Beechcraft F-2 Expeditor, 1941–1942
  • A-29 Hudson, 1942
  • B-34 Lexington, 1943–1944
  • B-24/F7 Liberator, 1943–1946
  • Unknown, 1947–1949
  • Boeing YRB-47 Stratojet, 1953–1958
  • Boeing RB-47 Stratojet, 1953–1958
  • Boeing B-47 Stratojet, 1953–1958
  • Satellites, 1992–present


  • Lt Col Charles Thompson (March 1992 to June 1993)
  • Lt Col Kimber McKenzie (June 1993 to January 1995)
  • Lt Col Michael Mantz (January 1995 to August 1996)
  • Lt Col Philip Fitzjarrell (August 1996 to March 1999)
  • Lt Col Allan Kirkman (March 1999 to February 2001)
  • Lt Col Roger Teague (February 2001 to June 2003)
  • Lt Col Ronald Huntley (June 2003 to June 2005)
  • Lt Col John Shaw (June 2005 to June 2007)
  • Lt Col Tommy Roberts (June 2007 to June 2009)
  • Lt Col Doug Schiess (June 2009 to June 2011)[4]
  • Lt Col Scott Trinrud (June 2011 to Jun 2013) [5]
  • Lt Col Monte Munoz (June 2013 to July 2015) [6]
  • Lt Col Sherman Johns (July 2015 to present)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Robertson, Patsy (December 1, 2008). "Factsheet 4 Spece Operations Squadron (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Endicott, pp. 351-352
  3. ^ 4 SOPS Fact Sheet
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ http://www.schriever.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123261531
  6. ^ http://www.schriever.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123353048


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