|Country United States||Part of Air Combat Command|
|Active 1943-1949; 1950-1989; 1996-present|
Branch United States Air Force
Role Airborne Command and Control
Garrison/HQ Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
The 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron (ACCS) is a unit of Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force, and flies the E-8C Joint STARS. Its parent unit is the 461st Air Control Wing, located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
The 16 ACCS operates the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS), an advanced ground surveillance and battle management system. J-STARS detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets ground movements on the battlefield, communicating real-time information through secure data links with combat command posts.
World War II
The squadron was first activated as the 380th Fighter Squadron, part of IV Fighter Command in early 1943. It engaged in the air defense of the San Francisco area as well as acting as a Replacement Training Unit until the end of 1943. It trained as a North American P-51 Mustang operational squadron before deploying to the European Theater of Operations. In Europe it became part of IX Fighter Command in England. Operated both as a tactical fighter squadron, providing air support to Allied ground forces in France as well as an air defense squadron, attacking enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat over Europe.
The squadron was converted to a tactical reconnaissance squadron in August 1944, when it was redesignated the 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. It engaged in hazardous reconnaissance flights over enemy-controlled territory unarmed, gathering intelligence for Allied commanders until the end of combat in Europe, May 1945. The unit advanced eastward across France using advanced landing grounds, then into the Low Countries and Occupied Germany.
The squadron remained in Germany as part of the occupation forces, returning to Langley Field, Virginia in June 1947. The unit remained assigned to Tactical Air Command as a reconnaissance squadron. The squadron was inactivated in 1949.
In 1950 the squadron was activated once again at Langley, now designated the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. It moved to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina in 1958 where it re-equipped with McDonnell RF-101C Voodoo reconnaissance aircraft. The squadron deployed to south Florida in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, flying hazardous overflights over Cuba gathering intelligence photos. The unit upgraded to the McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II in 1965. It also operated a flight of Martin EB-57E Canberra electronic warfare aircraft. It added Douglas EB-66 Destroyer jamming aircraft beginning in 1971 as part of the phaseout of the Destroyer at Shaw. It was the last USAF active duty B-57 squadron, retiring the aircraft in 1976 when F-4G Phantom IIs took over its mission.
The 16th remained the single RF-4C squadron at Shaw after the 1982 realignment of its parent 363d from a tactical reconnaissance to tactical fighter wing. It continued reconnaissance training in the United States until 1989 when the RF-4Cs were transferred to 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, and the squadron was inactivated.
Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System
The squadron was reactivated as the 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron in 1996 at Robins Air Force Base, GA as an E-8 JSTARS squadron.