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99th Reconnaissance Squadron

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.

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.


The 99th Reconnaissance Squadron (99 RS) mission is to employ High Altitude Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance to execute effective and sustained U-2 operations globally. 

The 99 RS is one of four reconnaissance squadrons assigned to the 9th Operations Group, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, California. The 99 RS is responsible for providing critical intelligence for use by the highest levels of our government.


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.


Organized as 99th Aero Squadron on 21 August 1917. Redesignated: 99th Aero Squadron (Corps Observation) on 11 March 1918; 99th Aero Squadron on 24 May 1919. Demobilized: 9 June 1919. Reconstituted and organized as 99th Corps Observation Squadron on 2 July 1919. Redesignated: 99th Squadron (Observation) on 14 March 1921; 99th Observation Squadron on 25 Jan 1923. Inactivated on 31 Jul 1927. Activated on 9 Nov 1928. Re-designated: 99th Bombardment Squadron on 1 Mar 1935; 99th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 6 Dec 1939; 99th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 Nov 1940; 99th Bombardment Squadron, (Very Heavy) on 28 Mar 1944. Inactivated on 20 Oct 1948. Redesignated and Activated: 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 1 May 1949. Redesignated: 99th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 1 Apr 1950; 99th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 2 Oct 1950; 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron on 25 Jun 1966. Inactivated: 1 Apr 1971.  Activated: 1 Nov 1972. Redesignated: 99th Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 Sep 1991-.


Post Headquarters, Kelly Field, 21 August 1917; Aviation Concentration Center, 3 November 1917; 2d Aviation Instruction Center, 12 December 1917; First Army Observation Group, 11 March 1918; Attached to 3d Artillery Observation School, c. 1 Apr-31 May 1918; V Corps Observation Group, 1 July 1918; Air Service Headquarters, AEF, 13 Dec 1918; 1st Air Depot, AEF, 19 February 1919; Advanced Section Services of Supply, 5 March 1919; Post Headquarters, Mitchell Field, 24 May 1919; Eastern Department, 25 May-9 Jun 1919; 2 July 1919; III Corps Area, 20 August 1920; District of Washington, c. Jan 1922; 8th Division, Air Service, 24 May 1923; Air Corps Training Center, Jun-31 Jul 1927; 9th Observation (later, 9th Bombardment) Group Attached 9 Nov 1928, Assigned 15 Feb 1929–20 Oct 1948; 9th Strategic Reconnaissance (later, 9th Bombardment) Group, 1 May 1949, Attached to 9th Bombardment Wing, 10 Feb 1951–15 Jun 1952; 9th Bombardment (later, 9th Strategic Aerospace; 9th Strategic Reconnaissance) Wing, 16 Jun 1952–1 Apr 1971; 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, 1 Nov 1972–30 Jun 1976, Attached to Air Division Provisional, 17th,   1 Nov 1972–1 Jan 1975; 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, 30 Jun 1976; 9th Operations Group, 1 Sep 1991-


Kelly Field, Texas, 21 Aug 1917; Aviation Concentration Center, Garden City, New York, 3-14 Nov 1917; Tours Aerodrome, France, 12 Dec 1917; Haussimont Aerodrome, France, 11 Mar 1918; Amanty Aerodrome, France, 31 May 1918; Luxeuil-les-Bains Aerodrome, France, 1 Jul 1918; Flight operated from Corcieux Aerodrome, 19-24 Jul 1918; Flight operated from Dogneville Aerodrome, 24 Jul-26 Aug 1918; Souilly Aerodrome, France, 7 Sep 1918; Foucaucourt Aerodrome, France, 20 Sep 1918; Parois Aerodrome, France, 4 Nov 1918; Belrain Aerodrome, France, 31 Nov 1918; Chaumont-sur-Aire Aerodrome, France, 13 Dec 1918; Chaumont Aerodrome, France, c. 25 Dec 1918; Flights operated from Prauthoy Aerodrome, Bourbonne-les-Bains Aerodrome, and Montigney-le-Roi Aerodrome, France, until c. 1 Feb 1919; Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome, France, 19 Feb 1919; Sadirac, France, 5 Mar-8 May 1919; Mitchel Field, New York, 24 May 1919; Hazelhurst Field, New York, 25 May-9 Jun 1919; Mitchel Field, New York, 2 Jul 1919; Camp Alfred Vail, New Jersey, Jul 1919; Bolling Field, DC, 17 Aug 1919; Kelly Field, Texas (1927); Mitchel Field, New York (1928–1940); Río Hato, Panama (1940–1941); Piarco Field, Trinidad (1941); Zandery Field, Surinam (1941–1942); Orlando Air Base, Florida (1942–1943); Montbrook Army Air Field, Florida (1943); Kissimmee Army Air Base, Florida (1943–1944); Brooksville Army Airfield, Florida (1944); Orlando Air Base, Florida (1944); Dalhart Army Air Field, Texas (1944); McCook Army Airfield, Nebraska (1944); North Field, Tinian (1944–1946); Clark Field, Luzon (1946–1947); Harmon Air Force Base, Guam (1947–1948); Travis Air Force Base, California (1949–1953: Detachment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, c. 7 August – 17 September 1950; Detachment at: Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, 9 April – 19 June 1951; Detachment at: Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, 17 June – 22 September 1952); Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho (1953–1966:  Deployed: RAF Fairford, England, 23 May – 9 July 1955; Deployed: Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, c. 4 October 1957 – c. 12 January 1958); Beale Air Force Base, California (1966–1971); U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand (1972–1976); Beale Air Force Base, California (1976–)


Sopwith 1½ Strutter, 1918; Salmson 2A2, 1918-1919; DH-4 and SE-5 (1919–1927); O-1, O-11, O-25, OA-2, O-31, Y1O-35, O-38, O-39, Y1O-40, O-40, and O-43 (1928–1936); B-10 (1936–1938); OA-4 (1937); B-18 Bolo (1938–1942); OA-8 and P-12 (1939); P-40 Warhawk (1941–1942); B-25 Mitchell and B-26 Marauder (1943); B-17 Flying Fortress (1943–1944); B-29 Superfortress (1944–1946, 1946–1947, 1949–1954); B/RB-17 (1949–1950); RB-29 (1949–1950); B-47 Stratojet (1954–1966); SR-71 Blackbird (1966–1971); DC-130 (1972–1975); CH-3 Sea King (1972–1975); U-2 Dragon Lady (1972–present); T-38 Talon (1976–present); SR-71 (1994-1997)


Combat as corps observation unit with French Eighth Army and American V Army Corps, 22-23 Jun, Sep-Nov 1918; school squadron with V Army Corps Infantry Liaison School, Jul-Sep 1918, during which time one flight of unit, operating in Vosges region of Alsace and Lorraine, participated in combat with French XXXIII Corps and American 5 Division, Jul-Aug 1918. Antisubmarine patrols and reconnaissance of Vichy French fleet at Martinique, Dec 1941-Oct 1942. Trained cadres for bombardment units, Feb 1943-Feb 1944.  Combat in Western Pacific, Jan-Aug 1945.  Unmanned, Apr 1947-Oct 1948.  Global strategic reconnaissance, 1967-1971 and 1972-present, including Southeast Asia, Nov 1972-Jun 1973; Grenada, 1983; Panama, 1989; and Southwest Asia, 1990-1991.   Supported global war on terrorism; flew reconnaissance, humanitarian, search and rescue, and environmental missions, 2001-.


Service Streamers. None.

Campaign Streamers. World War I: Lorraine; Alsace; St Mihiel; Meuse-Argonne. World War II: Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Offensive, Japan; Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific. Vietnam: Vietnam Ceasefire. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait; Ceasefire.  Kosovo: Air Campaign.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Kawasaki, Japan, 15-16 Apr 1945; Japan, 13-28 May 1945.  Presidential Unit Citation: 31 Mar-31 Dec 1968.  Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with "V" Device: 1 Nov 1972-28 Jan 1973; [29 Jan]-30 Jun 1973.  Meritorious Unit Award: 1 Jun 2009-31 May 2011.  Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Jan 1957-31 Jan 1958; 1 Jul 1967-30 Jun 1968; 1 Jul 1970-1 Apr 1971; 1 Jul 1975-30 Jun 1976; 30 Jun 1976-30 Jun 1977; 1 Jul 1981-30 Jun 1982; 1 Jul 1983-30 Jun 1984; 1 Jul 1985-30 Jun 1986; 1 Jul 1986-30 Jun 1987; 1 Jul 1989-30 Jun 1990; 1 Sep 1991-30 Jun 1993; 1 Jul 1993-30 Jun 1994; 1 Jul 1994-30 Jun 1995; 1 Jun 1996-31 May 1998; 1 Jun 1998-31 May 2000; 1 Jun 2002-31 May 2004; 1 Jun 2005-31 May 2007; 1 Jun 2007-31 May 2009; 1 Jun 2011-31 May 2012.  Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Nov 1972-28 Jan 1973.

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