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598th Range Squadron

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Country  United States
Part of  Air Combat Command
Role  Range management
598th Range Squadron
Active  1943–1945; 2015–present
Branch  United States Air Force
Engagements  European Theater of Operations

The 598th Range Squadron is an active United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 23d Fighter Group and is stationed at Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida where it replaced Detachment 1, 23d Fighter Group on 22 September 2015. The 598 RANS also operates the Deployed Unit Complex (DUC) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.


It was first activated at MacDill Field, Florida in April 1943 as the 598th Bombardment Squadron. After training in the United States, it transferred to the European Theater of Operations, where it was a component of IX Bomber Command. The squadron served in combat from April 1944 until the end of World War II, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation for an attack on Ediger-Eller, Germany in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. Following V-E Day the squadron remained in France until December 1945, when it returned the United States and was inactivated at Camp Kilmer.

World War II

Media related to 397th Bombardment Group at Wikimedia Commons

The squadron was established at MacDill Field, Florida in April 1943 as one of the original squadrons of the 397th Bombardment Group, a B-26 Marauder medium bomber group. It drew its initial cadre from the 21st Bombardment Group. The squadron trained under Third Air Force at stations in the southeastern United States. After completing its training by participating in the Tennessee Maneuvers, the squadron departed Hunter Field, Georgia for the European Theater of Operations on 13 March 1944.

The squadron was temporarily stationed at RAF Gosfield upon its arrival in England in early April 1944. On the 15th of the month, its parent group displaced the 363d Fighter Group at RAF Rivenhall and flew its first combat mission five days later. In preparation for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, the squadron attacked V-1 flying bomb launch pads, bridges, coastal defenses, marshalling yards and airfields in northern France. On D-Day the squadron attacked strong points and bombed fuel dumps and other objectives to support ground forces throughout the Normandy Campaign.

In July 1944, the squadron attacked German forces near St Lo, France during the Allied breakout there. In August, the squadron moved from England to Gorges Airfield, an Advanced Landing Ground in France. From there it attacked naval targets at Saint Malo and Brest. Once on the Continent, the squadron made frequent moves forward as the Allied forces advanced during the Northern France Campaign. By September the squadron began flying missions into Germany, attacking depots and defended areas.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the squadron struck enemy lines of communications. On 23 December 1944 the unit severed a railway bridge at Ediger-Eller, Germany despite heavy flak and fighter opposition from the Luftwaffe. For this action it was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. The squadron continued to fly missions to support the Allied drive into Germany until 20 April 1945, exactly one year after its first combat mission, having completed 239 combat missions.

After V-E Day the squadron returned to its former base at Peronne Airfield, France and remained there until December, when it returned to the United States. Upon arrival at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey in late December 1945, the squadron was inactivated.

Range management

Media related to Avon Park Air Force Range at Wikimedia Commons

The squadron was redesignated 598th Range Squadron (598 RANS) and activated at the MacDill AFB Auxiliary Field at Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida on 22 September 2015. It replaced Detachment 1, 23d Fighter Group, which had been managing the range previously. The 598 RANS operates both the Avon Park Air Force Range (APAFR) and a Deployed Unit Complex (DUC) located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. The squadron's higher headquarters, the 23d Fighter Group, is located at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.


  • Constituted as the 598th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 March 1943
  • Activated on 20 April 1943
  • Redesignated 598th Bombardment Squadron, Medium c. April 1944
  • Inactivated on 31 December 1945
  • Redesignated 598th Range Squadron
  • Activated on 22 September 2015


  • 397th Bombardment Group, 20 April 1943 – 31 December 1945
  • 23d Fighter Group, 22 September 2015 – present
  • Aircraft

  • Martin B-26 Marauder, 1943–1945
  • References

    598th Range Squadron Wikipedia

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