55th Wing

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55th Wing
55th Wing.png
55th Wing Insignia
Active June 29, 1948-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Reconnaissance, Electronic Combat
Part of Air Combat Command
Garrison/HQ Offutt Air Force Base
Motto Videmus Omnia - "We See All"
Decorations AF Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.png DUC
Air Force Meritorious Unit ribbon.svg MUA
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
An RC-135 Cobra Ball from the 55th Reconnaissance Wing veers away from a KC-135 Stratotanker after being refueled
A WC-135W Constant Phoenix aircraft performs touch 'n go landing exercises at Offutt

The 55th Wing (55 WG) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command. The wing is primarily stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, but maintains one of its groups and associated squadrons at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona as a geographically separated unit (GSU).

The 55 WG is the only Air Force wing with continuous operations, maintenance, and aircraft presence in the United States Central Command area of responsibility since Operation Desert Storm.[1]

Overview[edit source | edit]

The 55 WG mission is to provide worldwide reconnaissance, real-time intelligence, command and control, information warfare and combat support to U.S. leaders and commanders. One of the wing's units, the 55th Operations Group, operates 46 aircraft, including 13 models of seven different types. It is the largest wing in Air Combat Command and flies the most diverse number of aircraft.

Units[edit source | edit]

  • 55th Communications Group
Provides worldwide command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems, information management and combat support to warfighting and national leadership. It also provides communications technology and support to the 55th Wing and 44 tenant units.
Provides combat-ready EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, crews, maintenance and operational support to combatant commanders. Stationed at: Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
  • 55th Maintenance Group
Provides centralized direction of all maintenance staff functions providing support to world-wide aircraft reconnaissance missions.
  • 55th Medical Group
Serves 50K beneficiaries with extensive outpatient clinic capabilities, in-patient wards, and ancillary support.
  • 55th Mission Support Group
Provides vital mission support for Offutt Air Force Base through engineering, security, mission support, services, supply, transportation, contracting and deployment readiness programs.
ACC's largest group, has operational control over 12 squadrons and two detachments worldwide. It employs 46 aircraft, including 13 models of seven different types.
  • 55th Wing Staff

Flying units and assigned aircraft[edit source | edit]

1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron - E-4B
38th Reconnaissance Squadron - RC-135
45th Reconnaissance Squadron - OC-135, RC-135, TC-135, WC-135
82d Reconnaissance Squadron (Kadena AB, ROK) - RC-135
95th Reconnaissance Squadron (RAF Mildenhall, UK) - RC-135
338th Combat Training Squadron - aircrew training
343d Reconnaissance Squadron - OC-135, RC-135, WC-135

55th Electronic Combat Group (Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona)

41st Electronic Combat Squadron - EC-130H
43d Electronic Combat Squadron - EC-130H

History[edit source | edit]

For additional history and lineage, see 55th Operations Group

The "Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth" has made significant contributions to the defense of the United States of America for more than 50 years. Having won honor and distinction for its combat record since World War II with two Distinguished Unit Citations, the wing has since compiled an admirable record of achievements. Since its inception, the unit has operated around the world, flying a wide variety of aircraft.

Cold War[edit source | edit]

Emblem of the 55th SRW

On November 1, 1950, the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (55 SRW) activated and was bestowed with the awards and honors of the 55th Reconnaissance Group at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. From 1950 to 1954 the Wing's task was to perform strategic reconnaissance, charting photography, precise electronic geodetic mapping, and electronic reconnaissance missions. In 1952, the wing returned to Forbes AFB, Kansas and converted to RB-50s. The wing formally assumed a global strategic reconnaissance mission in 1954 and transited to the RB-47E "Stratojet." The Wing was deployed at Ben Guerir Air Base, in what was then French Morocco, between May and August 1955.

When the mapping and charting functions originally assigned to the 55th Reconnaissance Group were transferred on May 1, 1954, the wing assumed the mission of global strategic reconnaissance, including electronic reconnaissance. It also carried out weather reconnaissance operations until June 1963, and photographic reconnaissance missions until May 1964.

The 55 SRW moved to Offutt AFB, Nebraska, in August 1966. That same year the 55th’s 38th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron assumed responsibility for SAC’s airborne command and control system. The 2d Airborne Command and Control Squadron inherited this mission after activation on April 1, 1970. The 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron, flying E-4A aircraft, transferred to the 55th on November 1, 1975, bringing with it the National Emergency Airborne Command Post, now called the National Airborne Operations Center. The Wing flew reconnaissance operations during the U.S. military operations in Grenada in 1983 and Libya in 1986. On March 1, 1986, the 55 SRW became the host unit at Offutt after the inactivation of the 3902d Air Base Wing.

The Wing ended nearly twenty-five years of continuous Airborne Command Post ('Looking Glass') operations in 1990, assumed a modified alert posture, and continued worldwide reconnaissance. In October 1998, the wing transferred control of the EC-135 LOOKING GLASS mission to the United States Navy's TACAMO aircraft and the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, which flew the EC-135 LOOKING GLASS aircraft, inactivated.

The wing deployed to the Persian Gulf on August 8, 1990, and began 24-hour-a-day reconnaissance of the region for Central Command Commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, under Operation DESERT SHIELD. At the start of Operation DESERT STORM, January 18, 1991, the wing continued to provide real-time information to theater commanders and remains there yet today.

Modern era[edit source | edit]

The 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing became the 55th Wing on September 1, 1991, to reflect the wing’s performance of a diversity of missions. When SAC disestablished and Air Combat Command (ACC) established, the wing transferred to ACC and gained its fifth operational location.

The 55th SRW and the 55th Wing has been awarded the USAF's P. T. Cullen Award five times since 1971 for its contributions to photo and signal intelligence collection.

Lineage[edit source | edit]

  • Established as 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 29 June 1948
Activated on 19 July 1948
Inactivated on 14 October 1949
  • Redesignated 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, on 27 October 1950
Activated on 1 November 1950
Redesignated: 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 16 August 1966
Redesignated: 55th Wing on 1 September 1991.

Assignments[edit source | edit]

Attached to 5th Air Division, 18 May-16 August 1955

Components[edit source | edit]



Stations[edit source | edit]

Aircraft and missiles[edit source | edit]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit source | edit]