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45th Reconnaissance Squadron [45th RS]

The mission of the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron is to maintain, operate, and support OC/RC/TC/EC/WC-135 aircraft providing worldwide reconnaissance and treaty support to the National Command Authorities, warfighters, and international treaty members.

Organized on August 17, 1943 as the 423rd Night Fighter Squadron, the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron is one of the most colorful units in the Air Force, with a battle record composed of the great campaigns of three wars, and a peacetime record of vital contributions to world-wide reconnaissance, treaty monitoring, and pilot proficiency training.

The squadron was organized at Orlando Air Base, Florida, and was stationed at Kern County Airport, California, before heading overseas in January 1944. On June 22, 1944, the 423rd was redesignated the 155th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. On December 3, 1945, the 155th was redesignated the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic. The 155th participated in the Normandy invasion in June 1944, landed in France in August 1944, and fought its way across northern France into the Low Countries that winter. In December 1944, the 155th was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. The most notable geographic names associated with the 155th were Chormy Down and Chalgrove, England; Rennes, Chateaudun, and St. Dizier, France; LeCulot, Belgium; and Maastricht, Holland.

The squadron crossed into Germany at Kassel/Rothwestern in early July 1945, and was later stationed at Darmstadt, Furth, and Furstenfeldbruck. On July 1, 1948, the unit was redesignated the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic and inactivated on March 25, 1949.

As the focus of world attention shifted to the growing crisis in the Orient in 1950, the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic was redesignated the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on September 19, 1950 and activated on September 26, 1950 at Itazuke, Japan.

When hostilities erupted December 27, 1950, the 45th was deployed to Taegu, Korea, and served in every major campaign throughout the war. In mid-summer 1951, the squadron shifted its base of operations to Kimpo, Korea. On January 1, 1953, the 45th was redesignated the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic-Jet. The 45th remained at Kimpo until March 1955 when it relocated to Misawa Air Base, Japan.

The 45th remained at Misawa until the overthrow of President Diem of South Vietnam in November 1962. A detachment of the 45th had earlier been deployed to Thailand due to the turmoil in South Vietnam. In December 1962, the unit deployed to Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Saigon, recalling the detachment deployed to Thailand. The unit was redesignated the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on January 1, 1967.

During its nine years in Vietnam, the 45th was involved in most major operations of the war. On May 31, 1971, the unit was deactivated at Tan Son Nhut. On October 5, 1971, the unit was activated at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, replacing the 4th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The 45th participated in various training exercises while at Bergstrom, including a 1973 deployment to RAF Alconbury, England for a NATO exercise dubbed CREEK BEE II. Later, the unit transferred its aircraft to Shaw AFB, South Carolina, and was inactivated on October 31, 1975.

The squadron was activated again on September 8, 1981 as the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Training Squadron. It received the RF-4C aircraft from the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB, South Carolina and began operations at Bergstrom AFB, Texas on April 1, 1982. The unit trained over 600 students and supported numerous operational deployments and exercises until it was inactivated on September 30, 1989, a result of national budgetary reductions.

On July 1, 1994, the squadron was reactivated at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, as the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron. It assumed the mission of the former 24th Reconnaissance Squadron, which was inactivated on June 30, 1994. 45th Reconnaissance Squadron personnel are members of a professional team dedicated to the maintenance, operation, and support of the RC/OC/WC/EC/TC-135 aircraft. Squadron personnel fly world-wide reconnaissance and treaty missions on demand, often on extremely short notice. The 45th Reconnaissance Squadron provides data for the National Command Authorities, theater CINCs, and international treaty members.

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