|Country United States|
Garrison/HQ Creech Air Force Base
|Role Aerial reconnaissance|
Engagements World War II
|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.
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.
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.
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.