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Library > Fact Sheets > 99th Reconnaissance Squadron


Posted 7/17/2012 Printable Fact Sheet
99th Reconnaissance Squadron patch
99th Reconnaissance Squadron patch. In accordance with Chapter 3 of AFI 84-105, commercial reproduction of this emblem is NOT permitted without the permission of the proponent organizational/unit commander.
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The 99th Reconnaissance Squadron is responsible for providing critical intelligence for use by the highest levels of our government. Squadron pilots fly the U-2S aircraft as they continuously train to upgrade from normal aircraft commander status to that of instructor pilot status.

Pilots from the squadron frequently rotate overseas to support the wing's various operating locations. The squadron has one of the highest TDY rates in the Air Force, second only to that of the aircrews supporting the E-3 Sentry AWACS. This high operations tempo could not be effectively maintained without the crew chiefs assigned to the squadron who perform routine maintenance to keep the aircraft flying on a daily basis.

In addition to the military reconnaissance mission, U-2 pilots fly many humanitarian, search and rescue and environmental missions.


Conceived during World War I and baptized in the skies of Baron Von Richtofen (the Red Baron), the 99th has a long and colorful history. Following activation in 1917, the 99th rapidly moved to France to perform corps observation duties with the French 8th Army and the American V Army Corps. Following the war, the squadron returned to the United States and demobilized. Shortly thereafter, the 99th was reconstituted a corps observation squadron performing duties in the Northeastern United States.

In 1928, the 99th moved to Mitchell Field, N.Y., to perform observation duties and participate in aerial demonstrations and maneuvers. In 1940, the squadron moved to the Canal Zone, then on to Trinidad to fly antisubmarine patrols. The squadron moved to Florida in 1942 and started training cadres for bombardment units. In 1944, the 99th flew combat missions in the Western Pacific and carried food and medicine to POW camps. Redesignated a reconnaissance squadron in 1949, and based in California, the 99th flew B/RB-17s and, later, B/RB-29s. The 99th was redesignated a bombardment squadron in 1950, moved to Idaho in 1953, and received B-47s in 1954 making several deployments to England and Guam. In 1966, the 99th again became a reconnaissance squadron and moved to California conducting category I, II and III testing of SR-71 aircraft through 1967. Global Strategic Reconnaissance was flown until 1971 when the squadron inactivated. In November 1972, the 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron activated at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand. The squadron relocated at Beale Air Force Base in 1976 and began flying U-2 missions.

Operational missions include extensive reconnaissance efforts during OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM as well as humanitarian efforts covering fire and earthquake damage in California and Midwestern U.S. floods. 99th personnel are currently temporarily assigned to four overseas detachments.

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