The 55th Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command. The wing is primarily stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, but maintains one of its groups and associated squadrons at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona as a geographically separated unit.
The 55 WG is the only Air Force wing with continuous operations, maintenance, and aircraft presence in the United States Central Command area of responsibility since Operation Desert Storm.
The wing's mission is to provide worldwide reconnaissance, real-time intelligence, command and control, information warfare and combat support to U.S. leaders and commanders. One of the wing's units, the 55th Operations Group, operates 46 aircraft, including 13 models of seven different types. It is the largest wing in Air Combat Command and flies the most diverse number of aircraft.
55th Communications Group
Provides worldwide command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems, information management and combat support to warfighting and national leadership. It also provides communications technology and support to the 55th Wing and 44 tenant units.
55th Electronic Combat Group
Provides combat-ready EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, crews, maintenance and operational support to combatant commanders. Stationed at: Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
55th Maintenance Group
Provides centralized direction of all maintenance staff functions providing support to world-wide aircraft reconnaissance missions.
55th Medical Group
Serves 50K beneficiaries with extensive outpatient clinic capabilities and ancillary support.
55th Mission Support Group
Provides vital mission support for Offutt Air Force Base through engineering, security, mission support, services, supply, transportation, contracting and deployment readiness programs.
55th Operations Group
ACC's largest group, has operational control over 12 squadrons and two detachments worldwide. It employs 46 aircraft, including 13 models of seven different types.
55th Wing Staff
38th Reconnaissance Squadron, RC-135
45th Reconnaissance Squadron, OC-135, RC-135, TC-135, WC-135
82d Reconnaissance Squadron (Kadena Air Base, Japan) - RC-135
95th Reconnaissance Squadron (RAF Mildenhall, UK), RC-135
338th Combat Training Squadron - aircrew training
343d Reconnaissance Squadron, RC-135
55th Electronic Combat Group (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona)
41st Electronic Combat Squadron, EC-130HFor additional history and lineage, see 55th Operations Group
43d Electronic Combat Squadron, EC-130H
The "Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth" has made significant contributions to the defense of the United States of America for more than 50 years. Since its inception, the unit has operated around the world, flying a wide variety of aircraft.
On 1 November 1950, the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (55 SRW) was activated under the Wing Base Organization at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico as the headquarters for the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Group and its supporting units. From 1950 to 1954 the Wing's task was to perform strategic reconnaissance, charting photography, precise electronic geodetic mapping, and electronic reconnaissance missions. In 1952, the wing moved to Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas and converted to Boeing RB-50 Superfortresses. On 13 March 1953, a wing RB-50 flying out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska was attacked by Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighters near Siberia, but was able to ward off the fighter's attack with defensive fire. The United States protested the attack, stating the plane was on a weather reconnaissance flight over international waters, 25 miles from the Kamchatka Peninsula. The Soviets responded by saying the plane was intercepted over their territory near Cape Krestovoi. A little more than three months later, on 29 July 1953 an RB-50 of the wing's 343d Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron was shot down by Soviet fighters about ninety miles south of Vladivostok. The Soviet Union did not deny the plane's location was over water, but claimed that the bomber had twice flown over Soviet territory and fired on their MiGs, who then returned fire defensively.
The wing formally assumed a global strategic reconnaissance mission in 1954 and transitioned to the RB-47E "Stratojet." The Wing was deployed at Ben Guerir Air Base, in what was then French Morocco, between May and August 1955.
When the mapping and charting functions originally assigned to the 55th Reconnaissance Group were transferred on 1 May 1954, the wing assumed the mission of global strategic reconnaissance, including electronic reconnaissance. It also carried out weather reconnaissance operations until June 1963, and photographic reconnaissance missions until May 1964.
The 55 SRW moved to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, in August 1966. That same year the 55th’s 38th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron assumed responsibility for SAC’s airborne command and control system. The 2d Airborne Command and Control Squadron inherited this mission after activation in April 1970. The 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron, flying E-4A aircraft, transferred to the 55th on 1 November 1975, bringing with it the National Emergency Airborne Command Post, now called the National Airborne Operations Center. The Wing flew reconnaissance operations during the U.S. military operations in Grenada in 1983 and Libya in 1986. On 1 March 1986, the 55 SRW became the host unit at Offutt after the inactivation of the 3902d Air Base Wing.
The Wing ended nearly twenty-five years of continuous Airborne Command Post ('Looking Glass') operations in 1990, assumed a modified alert posture, and continued worldwide reconnaissance. In October 1998, the wing transferred control of the EC-135 LOOKING GLASS mission to the United States Navy's TACAMO aircraft and the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, which flew the EC-135 LOOKING GLASS aircraft, inactivated.
The wing deployed a Rivet Joint RC-135 from Hellenikon Air Base, Greece to Riyadh Air Base, Saudi Arabia on 8 August 1990, and began 24-hour-a-day reconnaissance of the region two daus later for Central Command Commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, under Operation Desert Shield. At the start of Operation Desert Storm, 18 January 1991, the wing continued to provide real-time information. In 1996, this operation moved to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. On 9 August 2015, the wing celebrated 25 years of what is believed to be the longest continuous deployment by an Air Force unit.
The 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing became the 55th Wing on 1 September 1991, to reflect the wing’s performance of a diversity of missions. When SAC disestablished and Air Combat Command (ACC) established, the wing transferred to ACC and gained its fifth operational location.
The 55th SRW and the 55th Wing has been awarded the USAF's P. T. Cullen Award five times since 1971 for its contributions to photo and signal intelligence collection.Established as the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 29 June 1948
Activated on 19 July 1948
Inactivated on 14 October 1949
Redesignated 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium on 27 October 1950
Activated on 1 November 1950
Redesignated: 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
on 16 August 1966
Redesignated: 55th Wing
on 1 September 1991
Groups55th Strategic Reconnaissance Group (later 55th Operations Group): 19 July 1948 – 14 October 1949; 1 November 1950 - 16 June 1952; 1 September 1991 – present
55th Electronic Combat Group: 3 February 2003 – present
Squadrons1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron: 1 November 1975 – 6 October 2016
1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Provisional): attached 1 September-9 October 1948
1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: attached 10–26 October 1948; attached 14 January-1 June 1949
2d Airborne Command and Control Squadron: 1 April 1970 – 19 July 1994
7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron: 19 July 1994 – 1 October 1998
23d Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: attached 1–17 June 1949
38th Reconnaissance: attached 6 January 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 1 April 1970; assigned 1 April 1979 – Present.
24th Reconnaissance Squadron, 7 July 1992 – 30 June 1994
45th Reconnaissance Squadron, 1 July 1994 – Present
55th Air Refueling Squadron: attached 8 January 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 18 February 1954; assigned 1 October 1955 – 15 March 1963 (detached 31 October-27 December 1956)
55th Mobile Command and Control Squadron: 1984-29 September 2006
82d Reconnaissance Squadron: 2 October 1991 – present
97th Intelligence Squadron: ?-Present
323d Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: attached 19 September-10 October 1949
338th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: attached 25 November 1950 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 15 June 1963; assigned 25 March-25 December 1967
343d Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (later 343d Reconnaissance Squadron): attached 19 July-26 October 1948; attached 4 January 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 - Present.
390th Intelligence Squadron ?-Present
488th Intelligence Squadron?-Present
548th Strategic Missile Squadron: attached 1–31 August 1964, assigned 1 September 1964 – 25 March 1965
922d Reconnaissance Squadron: 1 June 1992 – 30 June 1994
Topeka Air Force Base (later Forbes Air Force Base), Kansas, 19 July 1948 – 14 October 1949
Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, 1 November 1950
Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, 5 October 1952
Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, 16 August 1966 – present