Trisha Shetty (Editor)

11th Reconnaissance Squadron

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Country  United States
Garrison/HQ  Creech Air Force Base
Role  Aerial reconnaissance
Engagements  World War II
11th Reconnaissance Squadron

Active  1942-1946; 1947-1949; 1953-1960; 1966-1971; 1971-1979; 1991-1994; 1995-present
Branch  United States Air Force

The US Air Force 11th Reconnaissance Squadron flies MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles and is currently stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The 11th oversees the training of pilots and sensor operators assigned to the MQ-1.



The 11th Reconnaissance Squadron is the U.S. Air Force's first MQ-1B Predator formal training unit that conducts 5 basic and advanced training courses: Initial Qualification, Instructor Upgrade Training, Foreign Officer Course, Senior Officer Course, and Launch & Recovery Course.

World War II

The squadron was first activated as the 11th Observation Squadron at Wheeler-Sack Field in early 1942. It initially operated in the southeastern United States under Third Air Force flying antisubmarine patrols along the Gulf Coast after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

The unit was reassigned to Fourth Air Force in Southern California during early 1942, flying reconnaissance, mapping, artillery adjustment, bombing, dive-bombing, and strafing missions to support Army ground units in training at the Desert Training Center or on maneuvers. It trained personnel in aerial reconnaissance, medium bombardment, and fighter techniques.

With the closure of the Desert Training Center in late 1943, the unit returned to Third Air Force becoming a reconnaissance training unit for Army forces at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After the war it was assigned to Shaw Field, South Carolina, and was never fully equipped or manned. The unit inactivated March 1946.

Cold War

The 11th was reactivated at Langley Field, Virginia in 1947 and equipped with Douglas RB-26 Invaders and Lockheed RF-80 Shooting Stars as a photo-reconnaissance squadron. It was reassigned to Twelfth Air Force and moved to March Air Force Base, California. Budget constraints, though, resulted in the unit's inactivation in March 1949.

The squadron operated as part of Far East Air Forces after the Korean War, engaging in photographic and weather reconnaissance missions over South Korea as well as the Japanese Home Islands and the adjacent waters along the Korean peninsula and Chinese/Soviet Pacific coasts until 1960. In 1957 the squadron received twelve Douglas RB-66C Destroyer electronic intelligence gathering planes.

Vietnam war

It was activated as a McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II reconnaissance squadron in 1966 under Tactical Air Command. The squadron deployed to Thailand shortly after formation, flying tactical reconnaissance missions primarily over North Vietnam and selected locations in Laos and Cambodia. The squadron provided much of the aerial photographic intelligence obtained during the Vietnam War, especially that from North Vietnam. In the fall of 1970 the squadron's parent wing was phased down as part of the overall American withdrawal from the Vietnam War, returned to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina where the unit was inactivated in early 1971.

The unit was reactivated at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base later in 1971 as a Ryan AQM-34 Firebee unmanned tactical reconnaissance drone squadron. Performed photographic reconnaissance to support tactical air and surface forces with tactical drones manufactured by Ryan Aeronautical. It used AQM-34L/M/V drones, Lockheed DC-130 Hercules launch vehicles, and Sikorsky CH-3 recovery helicopters. The group conducted follow-on testing and evaluation of the AQM-34V model drone and the initial operational testing and evaluation and developmental testing and evaluation of the DC-130H "mother ship." The unit was inactivated in 1979.

Modern era

The squadron Provided real-time intelligence support to the 11th Tactical Control Wing and Eleventh Air Force from 1992 to 1994. In 1996 it became the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron in the USAF. It provided deployable, long-endurance, aerial reconnaissance and surveillance while flying the Predator UAV, 1996-2002. It began to conducte flying training in the Predator in 2003.

Reactivated on 29 July 1995, at Nellis Air Force Base under command of the 57th Operations Group, 57th Wing.


  • Constituted as the 11th Observation Squadron (Medium) on 5 February 1942
  • Activated on 2 March 1942 Redesignated 11th Observation Squadron on 4 July 1942 Redesignated 11th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) on 2 April 1943 Redesignated 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 11 August 1943 Redesignated 11th Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic on 25 January 1946 Inactivated on 31 March 1946
  • Activated on 19 May 1947
  • Redesignated 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic on 14 June 1948 Inactivated on 28 March 1949
  • Redesignated 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 12 August 1953
  • Activated on 18 September 1953 Redesignated 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Electronics and Weather on 25 November 1953 Discontinued and inactivated on 8 March 1960
  • Redesignated 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-Jet and activated on 3 November 1965 (not organized)
  • Organized on 1 April 1966 Redesignated 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 October 1966 Inactivated on 24 January 1971
  • Redesignated 11th Tactical Drone Squadron on 18 May 1971
  • Activated on 1 July 1971 Inactivated on 1 April 1979
  • Redesignated 11th Tactical Intelligence Squadron on 26 June 1991
  • Activated on 15 July 1991
  • Redesignated 11th Air Intelligence Squadron on 27 January 1992
  • Inactivated on 1 July 1994
  • Redesignated 11th Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 July 1995
  • Activated on 29 July 1995


  • Air Force Combat Command, 2 March 1942
  • Army Air Forces, 9 March 1942
  • 74th Observation Group (later 74th Reconnaissance Group, 74th Tactical Reconnaissance Group), 21 March 1942
  • XIX Tactical Air Command, 7 November 1945 (attached to 69th Reconnaissance Group)
  • First Air Force, 27 February 1946
  • Tactical Air Command, 21 March 1946
  • 67th Reconnaissance Group, 28 March 1946 – 31 March 1946
  • 67th Reconnaissance Group (later 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group), 19 May 1947 – 28 March 1949
  • 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 18 September 1953 (attached to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1 June - 30 Nov 1954 and after 1 July 1957)
  • 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1 October 1957 - 8 Marck 1960
  • Tactical Air Command, 3 November 1965 (not organized)
  • 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 1 April 1966
  • 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 25 October 1966
  • Tactical Air Command, 10 Nov 1970 – 24 January 1971
  • 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 July 1971
  • 432d Tactical Drone Group, 1 July 1976 – 1 April 1979
  • Eleventh Air Force, 15 July 1991
  • 11th Operations Group, 27 January 1992 – 1 July 1994
  • 57th Operations Group, 29 July 1995
  • 432d Operations Group, 1 May 2007 – Present
  • References

    11th Reconnaissance Squadron Wikipedia