787th Air Expeditionary Squadron

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787th Air Expeditionary Squadron
Operation United Assistance 141104-Z-VT419-235.jpg
Airmen and equipment deploy as the 787th Air Expeditionary Squadron for Operation United Assistance
Active 1943-1946; 1965; 2006; 2014–2015
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Expeditionary operations
Part of United States Air Forces Europe
Engagements European Theater of Operations
Patch with unofficial 787th Bombardment Squadron emblem[1][2] 787th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png

The 787th Air Expeditionary Squadron is a provisional United States Air Force unit, assigned to United States Air Forces Europe. The squadron has been activated twice for contingency operations in Africa.

The squadron was first activated during World War II as part of the 466th Bombardment Group. After serving in the European Theater of Operations it was inactivated at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona on 17 October 1945.

In 1965, the squadron was briefly active under the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing as a McDonnell F-4 Phantom II squadron, but its personnel and equipment were transferred to another unit within four months of its activation.


World War II[edit]

466th Bomb Gp B-24 Liberator[note 1]

Established in mid-1943 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomb group; trained under Second Air Force in Idaho. Completed training in early 1944; deploying to European Theater of Operations (ETO) assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England.

Engaged in long-range strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, March 1944-May 1945 attacking enemy military and industrial targets as part of the United States' air offensive against Nazi Germany. Most personnel demobilized in Europe after the German capitulation in May 1945; a small cadre returned to the United States, being programmed for conversion to being a B-29 Superfortress very heavy bomb squadron and deployment to the Central Pacific to engage in strategic bombardment over Japan.

Training ended after Japanese capitulation in August 1945, unit inactivated in October; its training aircraft being assigned to other squadrons or sent to storage.

Fighter operations[edit]

As the United States Air Force expanded its McDonnell F-4 Phantom II fleet in April 1965, it activated the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base Florida. Although it was planned that the squadrons of the 33d Wing would be Convair F-102 Delta Dagger squadrons that were inactivating in the Pacific, these squadrons were still winding down their operations, so the 33d was initially formed with the 786th, 787th, 788th and 789th Tactical Fighter Squadrons. The 33d embarked on a program of tactical training with the Phantom. In June 1965, the squadron was inactivated and its planes and personnel were transferred to the 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which moved on paper to Eglin from Misawa Air Base, Japan.[3]

Expeditionary unit[edit]

In April 2006, the squadron was converted to provisional status as the 787th Air Expeditionary Squadron and assigned to United States Air Forces Europe to activate or inactivate as needed. It deployed to Karadje, Niger in July to support Operation Eagle Vision, downloading satellite imagery for mapmaking.[4]

The squadron was activated at Dakar, Senegal, where it established a transportation hub for Operation Unified Assistance, the US military name for humanitarian operations to limit the spread of Ebola in West Africa. It relieved members of the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123d Contingency Support Group. It continued airlift missions with Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft for the next four months.[5][6]


  • Constituted as the 787th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 August 1943
Redesignated 787th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy c. 10 August 1944
Redesignated 787th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 5 August 1945
Inactivated on 17 October 1945[7]
  • Redesignated 787th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 9 February 1965 and activated (not organized)
Organized on 1 April 1965[8]
Inactivated on 20 June 1965[8]
  • Converted to provisional status and redesignated 787th Air Expeditionary Squadron on 24 April 2006
Active July 2006[4]
Activated c. 18 November 2014[5]
Inactivated c. 13 February 2015[6]


  • 466th Bombardment Group, 1 August 1943 – 17 October 1945[7]
  • Tactical Air Command, 9 February 1965 (not organized)
  • 33d Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 April–20 June 1965[3]
  • United States Air Forces Europe to activate or inactivate as needed after 24 April 2006
Attached to 86th Airlift Wing, July 2006
Attached to 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, c. 18 November 2014 – c. 13 February 2015




  1. ^ Aircraft is Consolidated B-24J-180-CO Liberator serial 44-40807
  1. ^ Watkins, pp. 105-106
  2. ^ See Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 756 (no official emblem)
  3. ^ a b Bailey, Carl E. (November 28, 2007). "Factsheet 33 Fighter Wing (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Dorrance, Capt Erin (August 26, 2011). "Ramstein Airmen assist villagers in Niger". European Command Public Affairs. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Greer, Maj Dale (November 18, 2014). "Kentucky Air Guard completes Ebola-response mission in Senegal". Joint Task Force Senegal Public Affairs. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Taunton, Capt Sybil (February 13, 2015). "AF Ebola support winds down". European Command Public Affairs. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 755-756
  8. ^ a b c d See Bailey, Factsheet 33 Fighter Wing
  9. ^ Station number in Anderson.


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