The squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, its origins dating to March 1918, being organized at Brooks Field, Texas, as a training Squadron during World War I. The squadron saw combat during World War II, and became part of the Air Defense Command during the Cold War.
|29th Training Systems Squadron
|Active||1918–1919; 1923-1944; 1944-1946; 1953-1968; 2002-present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Training systems development|
|Part of||Air Combat Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Eglin Air Force Base|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
29th Training Systems Squadron emblem (modified 11 January 2016)
The 29th Training Systems Squadron has personnel located at Eglin AFB and 11 geographically separated units around the nation: Barksdale, Beale, Creech, Dyess, Hill, Offutt, Robins, Tinker, Tyndall, and Whiteman AFBs as well as an operating location in Mesa, Ariz.
The squadron serves as the Combat Air Force's center of expertise for Aircrew Training Devices. Squadron personnel provide technical expertise on all aspects of ATD life-cycle management, including acquisition, modification, acceptance testing and certification testing for all A-10, B-1, B-2, B-52, E-3, E-4, E-8, EC-130, F-15C/E, F-16, F-22, F-35, HH-60, HC-130, MQ-1/9, RC-135, RQ-4 and U-2 ATDs.
Unit personnel also manage the CAF Simulator Certification Program. The squadron's efforts incorporate ATD oversight and management from concept development and preliminary design review through sustainment and program deactivation. By keeping training devices concurrent, cost effective and viable, the 29th TSS guarantees training systems meet present and future warfighters' needs while supporting evolving training demands with modern technology.
The first predecessor of the squadron was the 29th Aero Squadron, which was organized at Camp Knox, Kentucky in the fall of 1918, shortly before the end of World War I. It equipped with Curtiss JN-4 and Curtiss JN-6H aircraft, which it apparently operated from Camp Knox's airfield, Godman Field, as the aerial support unit for a field artillery brigade until it was demobilized in September 1919.
It was reactivated in the Panama Canal Zone at Albrook Field on 1 October 1933. On 6 December 1939, it was redesignated as the 29th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) and, between 1933 and 1939, had operated, in series, the Boeing P-12, Boeing P-26A Peashooter and Curtiss P-36A Hawk.
After the Pearl Harbor Attack, the squadron had nine new Curtiss P-40E Warhawks, one of the very first Canal Zone units to receive the new fighters, although at least one P-40C was also on hand. The Squadron was placed on General Alert at 15:00, 7 December 1941, at which time all 10 P¬40E's on hand were basically combat ready. Still at Albrook at the time, the unit later was the first to move to Calzada Larga Airfield, Panama (later named Madden Field). The unit was redesignated as the 29th Fighter Squadron on 15 May 1942.
On 29 August 1942, Flight "C" of the squadron was transferred from Madden to remote Talara Airport, Peru, to provide aerodrome defense for the installations there and was relieved there by "E" Flight by December (although this was redesignated as "0" Flight, 51st Fighter Squadron concurrently that month). By January 1943, with the main body still at Madden Field with 18 aircraft, the unit was starting conversion to Bell P-39K Airacobras. By October 1943, still at Madden Field, the squadron also had a flight detached to Aguadulce Army Airfield, Panama. Effective 1 November 1943, with the dissolution of the 16th Fighter Group, the squadron was subordinated directly to the XXVI Fighter Command.
The squadron continued on at Madden Field until 25 March 1944, when the unit moved to Lincoln Army Airfield, Nebraska and being assigned to IV Fighter Command as a replacement training unit, flying predominantly Lockheed P-38 Lightnings.
The squadron was later assigned to California where it was assigned to perform testing of the Bell P-59 Airacomet and Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star jet aircraft based at Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards Air Force Base). The early jets provided USAAF pilots and ground crews with valuable data about the difficulties and pitfalls involved in converting to jet aircraft. This information proved quite useful when more advanced jet fighters finally became available in quantity. The squadron later moved to several other airfields in California providing transition training to new jet pilots until being inactivated in July 1946.
It was reactivated in 1953 as part of Air Defense Command as an air defense squadron, and equipped with Lockheed F-94C Starfire day interceptors. It was assigned to Great Falls AFB, Montana with a mission for the air defense of the Upper Midwest region. It was re-equipped in 1957 with Northrop F-89H Scorpion Interceptor and later with the F-89J.
It received the new McDonnell F-101B Voodoo supersonic interceptor, and the F-101F operational and conversion trainer in 1960. The two-seat trainer version was equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable. On 22 October 1962, before President John F. Kennedy told Americans that missiles were in place in Cuba, the squadron dispersed one third of its force, equipped with nuclear tipped missiles to Billings Logan Field at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis. These planes returned to Malmstrom after the crisis.
It was inactivated in July 1968 as part of the drawdown of ADC interceptor bases, and the aircraft were passed along to the Air National Guard.
The 53rd Wing, sometimes written as 53d Wing, (53 WG) is a wing of the United States Air Force based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The wing reports to the United States Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, which in turn reports to Headquarters Air Combat Command.
The 53rd Wing serves as the focal point for the combat air forces in electronic warfare, armament and avionics, chemical defense, reconnaissance, and aircrew training devices. The wing is also responsible for Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E) of new equipment and systems proposed for use by these air forces. Current wing initiatives include advanced self-protection systems for combat aircraft, aircrew life support systems, aerial reconnaissance improvements, new armament and weapons delivery systems, and improved maintenance equipment and logistics support. The 53rd Wing, which consists of four groups, numbers almost 2,000 military and civilians at 17 locations throughout the United States.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.
Previously: Panama Canal Air Force (1940-1941); Caribbean Air Force (1941-1942)