HomeLibraryFact SheetsDisplay

1st Reconnaissance Squadron

The 1st 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 1st 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 1st Reconnaissance Squadron is responsible for training all High-Altitude Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance aircrew for the U-2S Dragon Lady and the RQ-4 Global Hawk.  Aircrew members consist of pilots and mission planners for the U-2S, and pilots and sensor operators for the RQ-4.  Training for all U-2S pilots includes additional qualification in the T-38A Talon, the companion trainer to the U-2S. 

The squadron flies over 5,400 U-2S/T-38A training hours and 2,400 RQ-4 combat support hours annually.  Guided by the 9th Reconnaissance Wing motto “One team – One fight”, the rigorous flying training programs produce 24 U-2S pilots, 48 RQ-4 pilots, and 36 RQ-4 sensor operators annually.  The squadron's outstanding record reflects the dedication and professionalism of the elite group of instructors, enlisted, and civilian members of the squadron.

Pilots and sensor operators who complete the approximately three month RQ-4 training syllabus become experts in high-altitude Remotely Piloted Aircraft operations and are assigned to the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, or the 348th  Reconnaissance Squadron at Grand Forks Air Force Base.  Pilots interested in flying the U-2S apply to the program voluntarily.  They undergo an intensive two-week interview process in which their flying ability, judgment, and professionalism are evaluated over three flights in the TU-2S two-seat trainer.  The applicants who successfully pass the interview process are assigned to the 1 RS where they begin training in the T-38A.  Once they are qualified in the T-38A, pilots will complete the initial and high-altitude mission qualification in the U-2S and are assigned to the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base.


Over 100 active duty airmen, civilians, and contractors are assigned to the 1 RS.  The unit operates the world’s only 5 TU-2S models in existence, and 11 T-38As.  The 1 RS is aligned under the 9th Operations Group, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, California.



The 1 RS is the United States military’s oldest flying unit, first established on 5 March 1913. The squadron has maintained an unbroken heritage from its founding to the present day.  Originally organized in anticipation of a potential breach in security along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, General Pershing directed the 1st Aero Squadron to become the first tactical aviation unit to participate in American military action.  During WWI, the 1st Aero Squadron participated in the four campaigns symbolized by crosses on the 9th Reconnaissance Wing patch.  The 13 crosses on the squadron patch symbolize the 13 “kills” the 1st Aero Squadron won against German aircraft.  While fighting in WWII, the then designated 1st Bombardment Squadron conducted low level incendiary attacks over Japan while flying B-29s, devastating a 15 square mile area of Tokyo.  During the Vietnam War, the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron operated the SR-71 Blackbird.  Flying over 2,000 mph at approximately 80,000 feet, the Blackbird gathered photographic and electronic intelligence products of the Southeast Asian nations involved in the Vietnam conflict. Throughout its history, the 1 RS has flown 47 different airframes while being stationed at 52 locations throughout the world, including 4 stints at sea.


The unit carries the following honors:


Campaign Streamers

Mexico 1916–1917


World War I:






St Mihiel



World War II:


American Theater

Air Offensive, Japan

Eastern Mandates

Western Pacific



Presidential Unit Citation: Vietnam and North Korea – 31 Mar – 31 Dec 1968

Distinguished Unit Citation: Kawasaki, Japan – 15 April – 16 April 1945

                                         Shimonoseki Straits, Japan – 13 May – 28 May 1945


Meritorious Unit Award

1 June 2009 – 31 May 2011


Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

1 July 1967 – 30 June 1968

1 July 1970 – 30 June 1971

1 July 1971 – 30 June 1972

1 July 1973 – 30 June 1974 (with Combat “V” device)

1 July 1975 – 30 June 1977

1 July 1981 – 30 June 1982

1 July 1983 – 30 June 1984

1 July 1985 – 30 June 1986

1 July 1986 – 30 June 1987

1 July 1989 – 30 June 1990

1 September 1991 – 30 June 1993

1 July 1993 – 30 June 1994

1 July 1994 – 30 June 1995

1 June 1996 – 30 May 1998

1 June 1998 – 31 May 2000

1 June 2002 – 31 May 2004

1 June 2005 – 31 May 2007

1 June 2007 – 31 May 2009

1 June 2009 – 31 May 2010

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
The 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group members attended a Defense Innovation Board as a way to foster modernization. The board featured leaders of companies such as Google and Instagram. To read more: https://bit.ly/2JlKVn2 Air Combat Command 25th Air Force
Recce Airmen train to stay proficient across multiple weapon systems to ensure they are fit for the fight at all times and ready for world-wide deployment.
They train, they defend, they pack a mean bite behind their bark and they are always ready! Come take a closer look at what the 9th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handlers do!
2017 was the most active wildland fire season in California history. To make sure 2018 isn't a repeat, the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department has some tips to help keep you and your family safe. To see the tips: https://bit.ly/2ubMyyU
Happy Independence Day from Recce Town, USA!
The 9th Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennel recently completed a new training area. To read more: https://bit.ly/2NkuDyf Air Combat Command 25th Air Force United States Air Force
What you’ve been waiting for! Recce Town USA, lets take you in to the action!
Goood morning Recce Town USA! We are currently gearing up to go live to take you behind the scenes and into the action! Come join us as we get in the chase car and give you a first hand account of what if feels like to be a part of the action chasing a U-2 Dragon Lady landing!
To make sure an RQ-4 Global Hawk is good to go, Non-Destructive Inspection airmen from the 9th Maintenance Squadron must inspect the entire aircraft from wingtip to wingtip. One of the tools for a job like this is an automated scanning devices that speeds up this lengthy process. See it in action! Air Combat Command 25th Air Force United States Air Force
The band Cash Creek performed with lead singer Kaylee Star, a Yuba City native, for Beale's Recce Airmen Friday night. Here are photos of the event, along with a giveaway to some local veterans.
“I’ve been working here for five years so I pretty much manage all three of our locations on base, although I’m typically at the med clinic. I ended up becoming a barista because my mom bought this about six years ago while I was playing football at Sacramento City College. She needed some help so I ended up here. Interacting with people is my favorite part of the job. Every couple of years I develop relationships with new customers and I really like that part. Everyone I deal with puts their lives on the line and I appreciate it. Everyone is respectful and I haven’t really met a bad person. I never used to drink coffee before working here, but I love it now. I love my job. I wake up every day with a smile, which gets a lot bigger after I’ve had my coffee.” Ryan Lewis, Missy’s Mochas barista Hometown: Sacramento, California Everybody has a story...we dare you to tell yours. To see more: http://bit.ly/2pujE9s
Recce Town USA held a Fitness Challenge today to celebrate the reopening of the base track.
Here is just a sneak peak of the RQ-4 non-destructive inspection process. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the highly technical maintenance these Airmen do. Air Combat Command 25th Air Force United States Air Force
It's just another day here at Recce Town, USA! United States Air Force Air Combat Command Airman Magazine Gen. David L. Goldfein CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright 9th RW Commander
Last week you had a chance to see the live ceremony of the Air Force Combat Operations Competition, now lets take a look into what these outstanding Airmen from around the Air Force came to do. The Ammo community here at Beale had the chance to put the best of the best against each other in this grueling competition. Here your chance to take a first look inside bomb building!
As a reminder, the 9 MDG are hosting Facebook Live events on 20 June 2018 from 12-1 pm and 4-5 pm to answer your burning questions about medical care.
#MissionMonday Aerospace and operational physiological technicians from the 9th Physiological Support Squadron maintain and conduct aircrew chamber training for Airmen, other DoD personnel, NASA and supporting agencies stationed on the West Coast of the United States and areas in the Pacific. The training provides the aircrew the ability to experience flight at different altitudes, while learning first hand of decompression sickness, also called the bends. This opportunity gives them a real-world familiarization on how to properly wear an oxygen mask and to control airflow. The technicians instruct and evaluate members doing simple tasks while experiencing low oxygen levels. It requires about 10 technicians to conduct training in the altitude chamber. Inside, they have multiple observers, a lecturer (instructor), recorder, chamber operator, lock operator, crew chief and aerospace physiological officer.
The 9th Munitions Squadron hosted the first-ever Air Force Combat Operations Competition this week. AFCOCOMP pitted some of the best ammo troops across the Air Force against each other in munitions building. To see more about this ground-breaking event: https://bit.ly/2HPDgwN Air Combat Command 25th Air Force United States Air Force Airman Magazine
The Ammo community celebrated its first ever Air Force Combat Operation Competition here at Beale. Seven teams from U.S. Air Force bases all over the world came to spend the past three days competing in grueling heat and simulated deployed environment. Through hard work and discipline the teams came together to show just what the best can do, but even with the best, there can only be one winner. Come join us here and see who won!
Good Day Sacramento came out this morning to check out the ongoing Air Force Combat Operations Competition.