25th Space Range Squadron

The 25th Space Range Squadron is a non-flying squadron of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Nevada Test and Training Range at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The 25th operates the Space Test and Training Range along with the reserve 379th Space Range Squadron.

The 25th is one of the oldest units in the United States Air Force, its earliest predecessor in the days of the USAAS being organized as the 20th Aero Squadron on 13 June 1917 at Camp Kelly, Texas, and almost immediately redesignated, due to a clerical error, as the 25th Aero Squadron by 22 June.[4] The squadron deployed to France and fought on the Western Front during World War I as a pursuit squadron within the week before the Armistice. The unit was demobilized after the war in 1919.[5]

The squadron's second predecessor was organized as the 25th Squadron (Bombardment) in 1921 as part of the permanent United States Army Air Service, the squadron served in the Panama Canal Zone during the Inter-War period, then as part of Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers. During the Cold War, it was part of Strategic Air Command, equipped with Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bombers[2] until its inactivation in 1964.

25th Space Range Squadron
379th Space Range Squadron field training at the Schriever AFB
Squadron and reserve associates field training at the United States Air Force Academy
Active1917–1919; 1921–1946; 1952–1964; 1988–1995; 2004–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleSpace range operations
SizeSquadron
Garrison/HQSchriever Air Force Base, Colorado
Nickname(s)Executioners
Mascot(s)Hatchet Man
Engagements
  • World War I War Service Streamer without inscription

    World War I
  • WW II American Campaign (Antisubmarine) Streamer

    World War II – Antisubmarine
  • Asiatic-Pacific Streamer

    World War II – Asia-Pacific Theater[1]
Decorations
  • Streamer PUC Army

    Distinguished Unit Citation (3x)
  • US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer

    Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (5x)[1]
Insignia
25th Space Range Squadron emblem (approved 15 October 2004)[1]
25th Space Range Squadron
25th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 15 February 1924)[2]
25 Bombardment Sq emblem
25th Aero Squadron emblem (approved by AEF 19 November 1918)[3][note 1]
25th Aero Squadron - Emblem

Mission

The 25th Space Range Squadron is responsible for the operation of the Space Test and Training Range, a capability that allows units to exercise space capabilities in a safe, secure and realistic environment while eliminating the risk of unintended collateral effects.

The 25th has deployed equipment and personnel to support theater operations.[6]

History

World War I

25th Aero Squadron - SE-5
Squadron S.E.5 at Gengault Aerodrome (Toul), France, November 1918

The first predecessor of the squadron was established as the 20th Aero Squadron in June 1917 at Camp Kelly, Texas. A few days later, due to the aforementioned clerical error, it was redesignated the 25th Aero Squadron.[1] After the United States' entry into World War I, the squadron deployed to Europe aboard RMS Carmania, first to England, then to the Western Front in France in late October 1918. it was assigned to the 4th Pursuit Group of the Second Army Air Service in the Toul Sector, but without any airplanes. The squadron finally received some British Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5s, mostly armed with a single fuselage-mounted Vickers machine gun, and flew two missions in November 1918 days before the war ended. The first patrol was uneventful and the other patrol targeted a truck convoy in Metz with 20 lb bombs hand-dropped from their S.E. 5a aircraft. The unit returned to the United States in the spring of 1919 and was demobilized in June.

Defense of the Panama Canal

25th Bombardment Squadron Keystone Bomber
Squadron Keystone LB-6 in Panama, 1933

The 25th Squadron (Bombardment) was organized on 1 October 1921 at Mitchel Field, New York, although it is not clear whether it was equipped before moving to France Field in the Panama Canal Zone in April 1922, where the Panama Canal Department assigned it to the 6th Composite Group.[7] It flew various biplane bombers to defend the Panama Canal. In April 1924, the squadron, now the 25th Bombardment Squadron, was consolidated with the World War I unit.[8] During the 1920s and early 1930s, it participated in various goodwill missions in Latin America, including flights to El Salvador and Nicaragua, from 13 to 19 May 1935; to Guatemala, from 8 to 11 February 1938, and again to El Salvador, from 19 to 22 April 1938. The squadron also flew mercy mission to Chile following the devastating 1939 Chillán earthquake in January and February 1939.[8]

25th Bombardment Squadron B-10s
Squadron Martin B-10 in Panama, 1935-1940

The squadron equipped with Douglas B-18 Bolos and became the 25th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 6 December 1939 .[7] The squadron had an opportunity to put its new, long-legged aircraft to the test in October 1939, when two Peruvian flyers, en route from the United States to Lima, Peru on a long-distance flight, were reported missing between the Canal Zone and Peru. Although eventually found to have made an emergency forced landing in Ecuador, three B-18s of the squadron conducted extensive searches of the area along the 80th meridian some 250 miles to sea. The aircraft carried enough fuel for a flight of 11 hours duration. On 20 November 1940, the unit became the 25th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)[1] in anticipation of the receipt of Boeing B-17E Flying Fortresses. By 25 August 1941, with its pre-war strength at but five B-18s, the Squadron was finally re-equipped with B-17E Flying Fortresses.

World War II

Antisubmarine campaign

Boeing B-17E Fortress 41-2504 Panama 1942
Squadron B-17E Flying Fortress in Panama, 1942

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron left its long time home at France Field for Rio Hato Airport, Panama. Little more than a month later, it began operations from Salinas Airfield, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (shuttling patrols back and forth) with four of the B-17Es, flying antisubmarine patrols over the Pacific approaches to the Panama Canal. These aircraft being joined by a B-18 by February. The main body of the Squadron left Salinas by 15 February and returned to Howard Field in early 1943, although a detachment was still in Ecuador as late as 30 June.

On 12 May 1943, the squadron was transferred to the 40th Bombardment Group and, the following month, the main body of the squadron, which had been at Howard Field only briefly in the spring of 1943, ended its 21 years of service in the Canal Zone, and moved to the United States.

Strategic attacks on Japan

25th Bombardment Squadron - B-29 Superfortress
Squadron B-29 Superfortress at Chakulia Airfield, India[note 2]

The 25th was stationed at Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas in July 1943 and remanned with new personnel. It received prototype and early production-model Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombers. It trained under Second Air Force for an extended period due to Boeing technicians making modifications to its B-29 aircraft. It deployed with the new XX Bomber Command as part of the 58th Bombardment Wing to the China-Burma-India Theater, flying to bases in India via South Atlantic ferrying route; across central Africa and Arabia to Karachi. Additional modifications to its B-29s were necessary in India to accommodate very high ground temperatures (115 °F).

From airfields in eastern India, engaged in very long range bombardment raids on Japan. The squadron participated in the first American Air Force attack on the Japanese Home Islands since the 1942 Doolittle raid on 15/16 June 1944, attacking the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata on Kyushu by using its forward staging base at Hsinching Airfield (A-1), China, for refueling.[9] It performed a total of nine missions to Japan, also engaged in very long range attacks against enemy targets in Thailand, Manchuria, Borneo, Formosa, Burma, Malaya, Japanese-occupied China, Singapore, Saigon and Cam Rahn Bay, French Indochina. It also engaged in aerial mining of Japanese-occupied seaports in Thailand, Malaya and French Indochina.[9]

The advance of American forces in the Central Pacific though the Northern Mariana Islands made new airfields available within the effective bombing range of Japan. It moved to West Field (Tinian) in April 1945, becoming part of the new XXI Bomber Command. From the Marianas, it engaged in very long range strategic attacks on Japan, its first mission being on 5 May 1945 against the Hiro Naval Aircraft Factory in Kure. Air attacks over Japan were initially high-altitude daylight bombing missions against industrial, transportation and military targets, largely ineffective due to high upper level winds dispersing bombs over a wide area. By July, began low-level large area night incendiary raids on urban areas, and dropped mines in Japanese shipping lanes. Continued aerial assaults until the Japanese Capitulation in August 1945, final combat mission taking place on 9/10 August attacking the Hikari Naval Arsenal.[9]

After V-J Day, the squadron dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners in Japan, Korea, and Formosa, and took part in show-of-force missions. The squadron returned to the United States in November 1945 and was inactivated at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona in the fall of 1946.[1]

Strategic bombardment

25th BS Smoky Hill AFB Kansas flight line
Squadron B-47s on Smoky Hill AFB flight line in 1956

The squadron was reactivated at Smoky Hill Air Force Base, Kansasin 1952 as Strategic Air Command expanded its bomber force. The 25th initially received what were by then second-line B-29s for training and organization. The propeller-driven B-29s were replaced with new Boeing B-47E Stratojet swept-wing medium bombers in 1954, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. In the 1960s, the B-47 was considered to be reaching obsolescence and was being phased out of SAC's strategic arsenal. The 25th began sending aircraft to other B-47 wings as replacements in early 1964 and was one of the last SAC squadrons equipped with the Stratojet. The squadron inactivated in September 1964 when the last B-47 aircraft was retired from SAC.

Strategic weapons training

CBUbombs
B-1 Lancer dropping cluster bombs

The 25th was reactivated in 1988 as a SAC training squadron. From 1988 to 1992, the 25th supervised SAC Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bomber crew training and, from 1992 to 1995, Air Combat Command B-52H and then Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber crew training at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It inactivated again in 1995.

Space control and range unit

The space range mission was conceived by Air Force Space Command in 2001 and the 25th was reactivated at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado as the 25th Space Control Tactics Squadron, taking on this role on 1 July 2004. In November 2007, the Executioners were redesignated at as the 25th Space Range Squadron and later tested new space control tactics in a secure environment. Air Force Reserve Command activated the 379th Space Range Squadron in April 2012 as an associate unit, joining the 25th in its range management function.[10][11] In 2013, the 25th was transferred back to Air Combat Command and moved under the Nevada Test and Training Range of the United States Air Force Warfare Center.[12] On 21 June 2017, the 25th celebrated its "Centennial Anniversary" and became one of the few Air Force units to trace its linage over 100 years.[13]

Lineage

25th Aero Squadron
  • Organized as the 20th Aero Squadron On 13 June 1917
Redesignated 25th Aero Squadron on 22 June 1917
Demobilized on 17 June 1919
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 25th Bombardment Squadron as the 25th Bombardment Squadron on 8 April 1924[1][8]
25th Space Range Squadron
  • Authorized as the 25th Squadron (Bombardment) on 30 August 1921
  • Organized on 1 October 1921
Redesignated 25th Bombardment Squadron on 25 January 1923
  • Consolidated with the 25th Aero Squadron on 8 April 1924[8]
Redesignated 25th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 6 December 1939
Redesignated 25th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
Redesignated 25th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 20 November 1943
Inactivated on 1 October 1946
  • Redesignated: 25th Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 9 May 1952
Activated on 28 May 1952
Discontinued and inactivated on 1 September 1964
  • Redesignated 25th Strategic Training Squadron on 21 June 1988
Activated on 1 July 1988
Redesignated 25th Flying Tactics Training Squadron on 1 September 1991
Redesignated 25th Training Squadron on 15 June 1993
Inactivated on 21 September 1995
  • Redesignated 25th Space Control Tactics Squadron on 20 April 2004
Activated on 1 July 2004
Redesignated: 25th Space Range Squadron on 11 November 2007[1]

Assignments

  • Post Headquarters, Kelly Field, 13 June 1917
  • Aviation Concentration Center, 3 January 1918
  • Air Service Headquarters, AEF, British Isles
Attached to the Royal Flying Corps for training, 31 January-16 August 1918
  • Replacement Concentration Center, AEF, 18 August 1918
  • Air Service Production Center No. 2, 29 August 1918
  • 1st Air Depot, 16 September 1918
  • 4th Pursuit Group, November 1918
  • 1st Air Depot, 15 April 1919
  • Commanding General, Services of Supply, April 1919
  • Post Headquarters, Mitchell Field, June 1919
  • Second Corps Area, 1 October 1921
  • Panama Canal Department, 30 April 1922
  • 6th Group (Observation) (later 6th Group (Composite), 6th Composite Group, 6th Bombardment Group), 27 May 1922
  • 40th Bombardment Group, 12 May 1943 – 1 October 1946
  • 40th Bombardment Wing (later 40th Strategic Aerospace Wing), 28 May 1952 – 1 September 1964
  • Strategic Air Command, 1 July 1988
  • 99th Strategic Weapons Wing, 10 August 1989
99th Operations and Maintenance Group (later 99th Operations Group), 1 September 1991 – 21 September 1995

Stations

  • Mitchell Field, New York, 6–17 June 1919
  • Mitchell Field, New York, 1 October 1921 – 22 April 1922
  • France Field, Panama Canal Zone, 30 April 1922
  • Rio Hato Airport, Panama, 8 December 1941
  • Salinas Airfield, Ecuador, c. 21 January 1942
  • Howard Field, Panama Canal Zone, 22 May–16 June 1943
  • Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas, 1 July 1943 – 12 March 1944
  • Chakulia Airfield, India, C. 11 April 1944 – April 1945
  • West Field (Tinian), Tinian, April-7 November 1945
  • March Field, California, 27 November 1945
  • Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, c. 8 May-1 October 1946
  • Smoky Hill Air Force Base (later Schilling Air Force Base), Kansas, 28 May 1952 (deployed at RAF Lakenheath, June–September 1955 and RAF Greenham Common, England, July–October 1957)
  • Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, 20 June 1960 – 1 September 1964
  • Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, 1 July 1988 – 21 September 1995
  • Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, 1 July 2004 – present[1]

Aircraft

See also

References

Notes

Esplanatory notes
  1. ^ The executioner faced left or right, so that it was facing the nose of the airplane displaying the emblem.
  2. ^ Aircraft is Boeing B-29-10-BW Superfortress, serial 42-6331. This aircraft was the first B-29 to reach the CBI Theatre of Operations. Photo taken in July 1944, showing aircraft taking off to attack Japanese targets during the Battle of Imphal. The aircraft was lost in combat, 1 December 1944.
Citations
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bailey, Carl E. (18 January 2018). "Factsheet 25 Space Range Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 129-130
  3. ^ "World War I Aero Squadrons". Cross and Cockade Journal. Society of World War I Aero Historians. 5 (2): 145. 1964.
  4. ^ Series "E", Volume 6, History of the 25th-27th Aero Squadrons. Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  5. ^ Gorrell
  6. ^ 25th Space Range Squadron Capabilities Handout, dated 2008
  7. ^ a b Conaway, William. "VI Bomber Command in Defense of the Panama Canal 1941–45: Unit Histories: 25th Bombardment Squadron". planesandpilotsof wwii.totalh.net. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Clay, p. 1392
  9. ^ a b c Mann,
  10. ^ Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, April 2012, Maxwell AFB, AL
  11. ^ Ontiveros, TSG Nicholas (3 March 2013). "379th is now official". 310th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  12. ^ Rodriguez, 2Lt Scarlett (27 June 2017). "25 SRS: A timeline". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  13. ^ Rodriguez, 2Lt Scarlett (28 June 2017). "The "Bloody 25th's" centennial celebration". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 10 April 2018.

Bibliography

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

  • Clay, Steven E. (2011). US Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 (PDF). Vol. 3 The Services: Air Service, Engineers, and Special Troops 1919-1941. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-98419-014-0. LCCN 2010022326. OCLC 637712205. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  • Hagdedorn, Dan (1995). Alae Supra Canalem: Wings Over the Canal. Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing. ISBN 1-56311-153-5.
  • Gorrell, Col. Edgar S. (1974). History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919. Series E: Squadron Histories. Vol. 6 History of the 25th-27th Aero Squadrons. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration. OCLC 215070705.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
  • Mann, Robert A. (2009), The B-29 Superfortress: A Comprehensive Registry of the Planes and Their Missions, McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-4458-4
  • Mayborn, Mitch (1971). The Boeing B-29 Superfortress (Aircraft in Profile 101). Leatherhead, UK: Profile Publications (reprint). OCLC 36547156

External links

25th Aero Squadron

The 25th Aero Squadron was an Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.

The squadron was assigned as a Day Pursuit (Fighter) Squadron as part of the 4th Pursuit Group, Second United States Army. Its mission was to engage and clear enemy aircraft from the skies and provide escort to reconnaissance and bombardment squadrons over enemy territory.The squadron saw limited combat, and with Second Army's planned offensive drive on Metz cancelled due to the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron returned to the United States in June 1919 and was demobilized .The current United States Air Force unit which holds its lineage and history is the 25th Space Range Squadron, based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado and assigned to the Nevada Test & Training Range.

379th Bombardment Squadron

The 379th Space Range Squadron is an Air Force Reserve unit. It is assigned to the 926th Wing, and is located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

For most of its existence the unit was designated the 379th Bombardment Squadron, and was most recently stationed under that name at Shilling Air Force Base, Kansas, where it was inactivated on 25 March 1965.

Frederick Ernest Luff

Lieutenant Frederick Ernest Luff was an American flying ace during World War I. He was credited with five aerial victories, and awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross.

Although he survived the war, he was injured in an air accident in May 1919 at Lorain, Ohio. He subsequently lived an invalid's life before expiring at home in Cleveland, Ohio in late April 1931.

List of American aero squadrons

This is a partial list of original Air Service, United States Army "Aero Squadrons" before and during World War I. Units formed after 1 January 1919 are not listed.

Aero Squadrons were the designation of the first United States Army aviation units until the end of World War I. These units consisted of combat flying, training, ground support, construction and other components of the Air Service. After World War I ended, the majority of these squadrons were demobilized. Some however were retained during the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s, and served in all theaters of operation during World War II. Today, the oldest squadrons in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard can trace their lineage back to the original Aero Squadrons of World War I.

Nevada Test and Training Range (military unit)

The Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Force Warfare Center of Air Combat Command. The unit is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada as a tenant unit.The NTTR controls and operates the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). The commander coordinates, prioritizes and is the approval authority for activities involving other governmental agencies, departments and commercial activities on the NTTR. The NTTR integrates and provides support for test and training programs that have a direct effect on the war-fighting capabilities of the combat air forces.

The history of the NTTR can be traced to its predecessor, the 98th Bombardment Group, a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber group that fought in North Africa and Italy during World War II. The group was last assigned to the range as the 98th Operations Group in 2011 and its history and honors have been temporarily been bestowed on the range. Two of the group's members, Colonel John R. (Killer) Kane and First Lieutenant Donald Pucket were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in combat. The group flew a total of 417 missions and earning a total of 15 battle streamers as well as two Distinguished Unit Citations.

During the early years of the Cold War, the 98th Bombardment Wing(BW), Very Heavy was formed in 1947 and assigned to Strategic Air Command. Further redesignations followed as the wing mission changed, including the 98th Strategic Aerospace Wing when it added intercontinental ballistic missiles to its bomber force in 1964, and later the 98th Strategic Wing when it moved to Spain to control deployed Strategic Air Command (SAC) assets in 1966. The 98th Strategic Wing was inactivated on 31 December 1976 with the phaseout of SAC operations at Torrejon AB, Spain and its functions transferred to the 306th Strategic Wing at Ramstein AB, West Germany.

The NTTR is commanded by Colonel Kenneth Thompson.

Reed G. Landis

Colonel Reed Gresham Landis (July 17, 1896 – May 30, 1975) was an American military aviator and the only son of federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first Commissioner of Baseball. He served in the air services of the United States Army during World War I and World War II, and was credited as a flying ace during the former, with twelve aerial victories.

Schriever Air Force Base

Schriever Air Force Base (Schriever AFB) is a base of the United States Air Force located approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States.

Space Innovation and Development Center

The Space Innovation & Development Center (SIDC), formerly the Space Warfare Center (SWC), was a military unit of the United States Air Force. It was directly under Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and resided at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. In 2013, AFSPC and ACC restructured the SIDC. Effective 1 April 2013, the SIDC transitioned into several Operating Locations at Schriever AFB under ACC's United States Air Force Warfare Center, headquartered at Nellis Air Force Base, NV.The SIDC aimed to "unlock the potential" as premier innovators, integrators and operational testers of air, space and cyberspace power to the warfighter. The center's mission was to advance full-spectrum warfare through rapid innovation, integration, training testing, and experimentation.

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