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338th Combat Training Squadron [338th CTS]

The 338th Combat Training Squadron (CTS) performs the initial, difference, requalification, and upgrade training for the largest and most diverse operations group in Air Combat Command. The unit prepares 8 squadrons in 6 different programs to execute worldwide reconnaissance, command and control, and treaty verification missions directed by the NCA, JCS, theater CINCs, MAJCOM commanders and national intelligence agencies.

The 338th Fighter Squadron was activated on September 12, 1942 at Paine Field, Washington. Twenty-two officers and 138 enlisted men trained with P-38's at McChord Field, Washington.

In August 1943, the 338th Fighter Squadron was assigned to Eighth Air Force and moved to England. From its first combat mission (fighter sweep over the Netherlands on October 15, 1943) through its last (fighter escort over Germany on April 21, 1945, the 338th Fighter Squadron escorted bombers; bombed and strafed enemy airfields, railroads, and military installations. The 338th Fighter Squadron flew 343 combat missions with the 55th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force; was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations for protecting bomber formations over enemy territory while destroying 248 aircraft, six trains, and 19 locomotives with P-38's and P-51's.

On March 15, 1947, the 338th Fighter Squadron was designated the 338th Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron flew RB-17's through 1949, photographing numerous islands and land areas in the Western Pacific region.

The 338th Reconnaissance Squadron became the 338th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron on November 1, 1950. Flying RB-29's and RB-50's, the squadron participated in several short-range navigation (SHORAN) projects using electronic equipment and aerial photography over Alaska, the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent countries, Scotland, and Norway.

On September 29, 1954, the 338th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron began conversion to the RB-47's for weather reconnaissance. The squadron flew special photo reconnaissance "Open Skies for Peace" missions for President Eisenhower and daily 4,000-mile weather missions over North America.

During the Cuban Crisis (October 24-26, 1962), the 338th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron Participated in reconnaissance missions performing aerial surveillance of Atlantic Ocean areas.

The 338th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron was last inactivated on December 25, 1967 as the RC-135's were accepted by the 38th and 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadrons.

The training programs of the 338th CTS are primarily divided into three areas. The largest area is the mission qualification training. This program takes graduates of the undergraduate training programs of AETC (e.g., UPT, SUNT) and trains them in the effective operation of the RC/OC-135 airframe and its associated mission. This qualification program also retrains returning crewmembers previously qualified in these missions. Collectively these qualification programs are referred to as CCTS (Combat Crew Training School).

The second largest program is the 338th CTS program to qualify experienced crewmembers as flight instructors. The 338th's Central Flight Instructor Course (CFIC) academically prepares the instructor candidate to teach in the aircraft by exposing them to the Laws of Learning, Student Motivation, and other appropriate courses. In addition, the candidates receive in depth training in their weapon system. The Faculty Training Course (FTC) is the 338th's smallest training program. This course prepares qualified flight instructors for the rigors of instructing in the CTS.

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