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9th Reconnaissance Wing

9th Reconnaissance Wing Shield

9th Reconnaissance Wing Shield

Mission

The 9th Reconnaissance Wing is responsible for providing national and theater command authorities with timely, reliable, high-quality, high-altitude reconnaissance products. To accomplish this mission, the wing is equipped with the nation's fleet of U-2 and RQ-4 reconnaissance aircraft and associated support equipment. The wing also maintains a high state of readiness in its expeditionary combat support forces for potential deployment in response to theater contingencies. The 9th Reconnaissance Wing is composed of more than 4,500 personnel in four groups at Beale and multiple overseas operating locations.

History

On May 1, 1999, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing celebrated the 50th anniversary of its activation at Fairfield-Suisun (present-day Travis) AFB, Calif. The wing's lineage and honors history extends back even further. Soon after the 9th Bombardment Wing activated, the 9 th Bombardment Group inactivated and the group's lineage and honors passed on to the wing. The group stood up at Mitchel Field, New York, on Aug.1, 1922, as headquarters for the 1st (the oldest Air Force squadron) and 5th Squadrons. The 99th Squadron joined the group on Nov. 9, 1928.

In March 1916, the 1st Aero Squadron, with Capt. Benjamin D. Foulois as commander, supported General "Black Jack" Pershing's punitive expeditions into Mexico. Pancho Villa had raided Columbus, New Mexico, and Pershing pursued and hoped to capture him. On March 16, 1916, Capt. T.F. Dodd, with Capt. Foulois as observer, flew the first American aerial reconnaissance mission in combat. (The wavy line in the middle of the wing's emblem represents the Rio Grande River and the 1st Aero Squadron's operations in 1916).

Both the 1st and the 99th Aero Squadrons flew in World War I. Between 12 and 15 September 1918, they joined the great air armada of 1,481 airplanes in a massive air offensive in the St. Mihiel sector of France. The squadrons also participated in the Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, and Meuse-Argonne combat operations. (The four black crosses on the wing's emblem commemorate these air battles).

In World War II, the 9th Bombardment Group fought in the Pacific Theater. On April 15-16, 1945, 339th Group B-29s flew 1,500 miles, low-level to avoid detection, over water, at night, to attack heavily-defended Kawasaki, Japan. Enemy searchlight, anti-aircraft guns, and flak boats destroyed four of the group's 33 bombers and damaged six others. But the attack demolished Kawasaki's strategic industrial district. The group earned a Distinguished Unit Emblem (DUE) for its actions. The unit won another DUE the following month for mining the Shimonoseki Straits and the waters around Honshu and Kyushu blocking Inland Sea traffic and isolating important Japanese ports.

After its activation in 1949, the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing's 1st , 5th , and 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadrons flew RB-29s and RB-36s on visual, photographic, electronic and weather reconnaissance missions. The Air Force redesignated the wing the 9th Bombardment Wing on April 1,1950. In 1953, the wing moved from Fairfield-Suisun AFB to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. There, B-47s replaced the B-29s. The wing's B-47s were an integral part of the Strategic Air Command's (SAC) nuclear deterrent force until 1966. In November 1955, the wing displayed SAC's ability to strike anywhere in the world by flying nonstop from Mountain Home AFB to New Zealand, a distance of 8,300 miles.

The 9th returned to its roots on June 25, 1966, when the Air Force redesignated the wing the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and transferred it to Beale AFB. The wing would fly the new SR-71 "Blackbird," a supersonic, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. Flying above 80,000 feet at more than 2,000 mph, the SR-71 could survey over 100,000 squares miles in an hour. The airplane quickly became operational and began flying missions throughout Southeast Asia. Rescuers used SR-71 photos to plan the raid on Son Tay prison to free American prisoners-of-war. After the Vietnam War, the SR-71 established a level-flight-at-altitude record at 85,131 feet and a straight-course speed record of 2,194 mph.

On July 1, 1976, the U-2 joined the SR-71 in the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing giving the unit two of the most unique aircraft in the world. The "Dragon Lady" had gained national and international recognition with flights over the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and Southeast Asia. The U-2 was the perfect complement to the SR-71. The Blackbird could penetrate highly-defended areas, take a "quick look," and depart at high speeds. The Dragon Lady could spend more time "on-station" and furnish a "long look" at the desired target. The U-2 was also much less expensive to fly. In 1989, the Air Force decided the SR-71 was too expensive to operate and retired the Blackbird on January 1, 1990. Although it made a brief revival in the mid-90s, today the aircraft is again retired.

The U-2, meanwhile, continued to prove its worth. In 1990-91, the wing deployed the largest contingent of U-2s ever to Saudi Arabia to support Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM. The Dragon Lady tracked Iraqi troop and armor buildups, assessed bomb damage, and monitored a massive oil spill in the Persian Gulf. U-2 pilots alerted ground stations of Scud missile launches and guided fighter aircraft to destroy Scud launchers. After the Gulf War, the U-2 stayed in Saudi Arabia to monitor Iraqi compliance with the peace agreement. In 1998, the Dragon Lady set a weight-to-altitude record and in 1999 won the Collier Trophy, aviation's most coveted award.

In 2001, the historic 12th Reconnaissance Squadron joined the wing as the parent unit for the RQ-4 Global Hawk. An unmanned, remotely piloted high-altitude reconnaissance platform, the Global Hawk can linger over a target for 24 hours. In 2008, Beale received the Block 20 model. This adds another weapon to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing's vital role in our nation's defense. Today, the U-2 furnishes the National Command Authorities critical information on which to base important decisions. To do this, the wing operates permanent detachments and temporary operating locations at critical sites around the world.

Today, Beale AFB is home for the U-2 Dragon Lady, T-38 Talon and RQ-4 Global Hawk.

At any given moment, day or night, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, there is probably a 9th Reconnaissance Wing aircraft flying an operational mission somewhere in the world.

Patch Origins

Shield: Per pale vert and sable a pallet wavy argent fimbriated, Or, over all on a fess of four crosses patee of the second (sable).

Crest: On a wreath of the colors (argent and vert) a rattlesnake entwined about a prickly pear cactus all proper.

Motto: Semper Paratus (Always Ready).

Significance: The shield, in black and green, represents the old colors of the Air Service parted by a wavy line representing the Rio Grande River. On the gold band are four black crosses representing four WWI offensives, Aisne-Marne, Champagne-Marne, Meusse-Argonne, and St. Mihiel, in which squadrons later assigned to the 9th Wing fought. The crest recalls the service in Mexico.

Social Media

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Yesterday members of Beale came together for a speed networking event as part of Women's Equality Day. The focus of the event was to foster small group conversations on a variety of topics, such as the inclusion of men and women across the armed forces, progress that has been made, and how we can improve in the future. 25th Air Force 9th RW Commander Gen Mike Holmes
If you need to talk to someone or elevate an issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to us, 9th RW Commander, 9th RW Command Chief, or even our leadership at ACC. We may not always have the answer or be able to directly help, but we can find the people or organizations that will make sure you have what you need to be your best self. Service before self does not mean service instead of self. When you are at your best, we are all better for it. When you can’t get there yourself, we will be here to help carry the load.
#PortDawgs are a pivotal part of how Recce Town makes our mission happen.
Beale sheet metal Airmen have been restoring a vertical stabilizer to serve as a memorial to Lt. Col. Ira Eadie. Eadie passed away after a U-2 crash September 20, 2016. The vertical stabilizer was salvaged from the crash and after being refurbished it will be put on display in his honor. The official unveiling date and time has yet to be determined. 9th RW Commander
Staying mobile is key in today’s Air Force, good thing Recce Town has an exceptional Individual Deployment Readiness Center team keeping the mission going.
An amazing turnout in an amazing effort to help veterans. The Yuba Sutter Stand Down is still going on, stop by if you get a chance. Do you know all the benefits that veterans can receive?
Another #MissionMonday to kick off your week! The 9th Medical Group's Dental Flight works tirelessly to keep Recce Town's teeth sparkling clean. Clean teeth keep Airmen across the base healthy and fit to fight.
Beale Airmen have been members of the local community for a long time. Being part of the Yuba Sutter Stand Down really is veterans helping veterans both retired and active. The event will be held August 21-23 at the Cotton Rosser Pavilion in Marysville’s Riverfront Park. For more information visit: http://www.yubasutterveteransstanddown.org/
In response to the CSAF-directed Resilience Tactical Pause, Airmen from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing Staff Agency, alongside the Community Support Coordinator took time engaging each other to grow connections to one another, and to help prevent interpersonal and self-directed violence. In all the Air Force is taking a day to actively seek feedback on resiliency. If there is any feedback that you would like to submit regarding issues or information in your work environment, please send it to usaf.resilience@mail.mil #RTP #ResilienceTacticalPause
When brand new U-2 crew chiefs come to Beale they don't start with the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Instead they begin learning how to work on the U-2 at the 372nd Training Squadron Det. 21. The detachment then molds them into the great Recce crew chiefs you see everyday. To read more: https://bit.ly/31LB5Vp Air Education and Training Command
Sad to see a Col. Werner and family leave Recce Town. Good luck on your next adventures. Warm welcome to Col. Heather Fox, the new 9th Operations Group commander, and her family to Team Beale. ECHO VICTOR!
#ICYMI we recently passed the U-2s 64th anniversary of its first flight. Still going strong! Follow the link below to get more info on the Dragon Lady’s first flight... 👇👇👇 Lockheed Martin 9th RW Commander 9th RW Command Chief https://www.businessinsider.com/anniversary-of-u2-spy-plane-accident-first-flight-in-1955-2019-8
Can you hear me now?
The Airman and Family Readiness Center partnered with Operation Homefront to host this year's back to school brigade. The event helps offset the cost of school supplies for military families by providing them with learning essentials.
The Dragon Lady's roar can be heard far and wide. Thanks to the propulsion shop. The U-2 engine maintenance they do goes a long way in keeping Recce Town flying. To read more: https://bit.ly/2MhgV0Q
Since its beginning, Recce Town has been sending it. What have you done to #SendIt for the mission? #U2dragonlady