57th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron

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57th Reconnaissance Squadron
Emblem of the 57th WRS
Active 1943–1969
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

The 57th Reconnaissance Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force Reserve squadron. Its last assignment was with the 9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing, based at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The unit was inactivated on November 10, 1969.


Activated in early 1943 under Fourth Air Force; spent World War II in the United States as an Operational Training Unit (OTU), initially equipped with P-39 Airacobras for advanced fighter training. Reassigned to Third Air Force in 1944, becoming a Replacement Training Unit (RTU) for A-36 Apache fighter-dive bomber ground attack aircraft.

Reassigned to Stuttgart AAB, Arkansas in 1945 and realigned into a long-range strategic weather reconnaissance squadron, training with B-25 Mitchells and long-ranger P-61C Black Widow Night Fighters modified for weather reconnaissance missions. Reassigned to Rapid City AAB, South Dakota in late 1945, using P-61Cs as part of a NACA/Air Weather Service Thunderstorm Project to learn more about thunderstorms and to use this knowledge to better protect civil and military airplanes that operated in their vicinity. The P-61's radar and particular flight characteristics enabled it to find and penetrate the most turbulent regions of a storm, and return crew and instruments intact for detailed study. Inactivated in 1946 as part of the general demobilization of the AAF.

Reactivated as part of Strategic Air Command in 1951 in Alaska, Equipped with very long range WB-29 Superfortresses 1951, upgrading to extended long-range WB-50D Superfortresses in 1956. Conducted long-range weather flights over the Arctic and along the northern periphery of the Soviet Union; the aircraft being equipped with sensors for detecting radioactive debris to gather evidence when the Soviets tested nuclear devices. Inactivated in 1958 as part of the phaseout of the WB-50s from SAC and development of faster jet aircraft for the long-range intelligence mission.

Reactivated in 1962 at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Beginning in 1963 began to be equipped with new high-altitude reconnaissance RB-57F Canberra aircraft modified for high altitude, long range intelligence gathering, assigned to the meteorological role. Part of their duties involved high-altitude atmospheric sampling and radiation detection work in support of nuclear test monitoring. Over the next decade the RB-57Fs were flown on a worldwide basis at very high altitudes at high speeds; the squadron being reassigned to Australia, then to Hawaii. Stress cracks began appearing in the wing spars and ribs of the RB-57Fs after a few years of service. Some were sent to General Dynamics for repairs. By 1969 the aircraft were basically worn out and they were flown to Davis-Monthan for storage. Squadron was then inactivated.


  • Constituted 399th Fighter Squadron on May 26, 1943
Activated on August 1, 1943
Redesignated: 399th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on April 5, 1944
Redesignated: 399th Fighter Squadron on April 5, 1944
Redesignated: 57th Reconnaissance Squadron (Weather) on July 7, 1945
Inactivated on January 25, 1946
  • Redesignated: 57th Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range, Weather) on July 3, 1947
Activated in the reserve on August 1, 1947
Inactivated on June 27, 1949
  • Redesignated: 57th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium, Weather) on January 22, 1951
Activated on February 21, 1951
Redesignated: 57th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on February 15, 1954
Inactivated on October 18, 1958. Activated on February 8, 1962
  • Organized on February 16, 1962
Inactivated November 10, 1969.


369th Fighter Group, August 1, 1943
Third Air Force, July 7, 1945
III Reconnaissance Command, July 21, 1945 – January 25, 1946
70th Reconnaissance Group, August 1, 1947 – June 27, 1949
Air Weather Service, February 21, 1951
2142d Air Weather Wing, May 20, 1951
1st Weather Wing, February 8, 1954 – October 18, 1958
9th Weather Reconnaissance Group, February 16, 1962 – July 8, 1965
9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing, July 8, 1965 – November 10, 1969


Aircraft Assigned[edit]


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

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