25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing: Wikis

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25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
25trw.jpg
25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing patch
Active 1940-45, 1965–1966
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Motto Guard With Power

The 25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW) is an inactive United States Air Force wing. Its last duty assignment was at Chambley-Bussieres Air Base, France.

Contents

History

The wing's lineage and honors can be traced not just through its own history, but through the history of two World War II organizations, the 25th Bombardment Group and the 25th Bombardment Group (Reconnaissance).

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Lineage

  • Constituted as 25th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on December 22, 1939.
Activated February 1, 1940.
Redesignated: 25th Bombardment Group (Medium), May 1942
Disbanded on June 20, 1944.
  • Constituted as 25th Bombardment Group (Reconnaissance) on July 17, 1944.
Activated on August 9, 1944
Inactivated on September 8, 1945
  • Established and activated as 25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing on July 1, 1965
Inactivated on October 15, 1966

Major Commands

Squadrons

Attached: 26 Apr-1 Aug 1943
Assigned: 11 Oct 1943-20 Jun 1944
Attached: 1 Nov 1940-25 Feb 1944
Assigned: 25 Feb-20 Jun 1944
Stationed at: Miami AAF, Florida; Deployed to: Carlsen Field, Trinidad
Stationed at: Miami AAF, Florida; Deployed to: Carlsen Field, Trinidad
Stationed at: Miami AAF, Florida; Deployed to: Carlsen Field, Trinidad

Stations

Major Aircraft Assigned

Operational History

Consolidated B-24J-401-CF Liberator Serial 42-50578 of the 652d Bomb Squadron.
Martin B-26G-1-MA Marauder Serial 43-34195 painted black for night recon missions of the 654th Bomb Squadron.
A British de Havilland Mosquito XVI of the 654th Bomb Squadron.
Douglas RB-66B-DL Destroyer Serial 54-0419, converted to EB-66E. of the 25th TRW.

World War II

Constituted as 25th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on December 22, 1939. Activated on February 1, 1940. Operational squadrons were the 10th, 12th and 35th Bombardment Squadrons. Initially trained with A-17As, assigned B-18A/B aircraft when deployed to the Caribbean. With the outbreak of World War II the group's mission was to fly antisubmarine patrols, escort convoys, and served as part of the defense force of the Caribbean area. In 1942, the 417th Squadron was added; in 1943 the 10th squadron was inactivated, being replaced by the 59th.

Returned to the United States in April 1944, and was reassigned to Second Air Force. Re-equipped with B-17s and programmed for overseas deployment to Europe. This deployment was cancelled in June 1944 and the group was disbanded, with planes and personnel being sent to Europe as replacements.

The 25th Bombardment Group (Reconnaissance) was formed at RAF Cheddington, England as the 802d Reconnaissance Group (Provisional) on March 30, 1944, and transferred to Watton on April 12, 1944. On August 9, 1944, the 802 RG(P) was redesignated as the 25th BG(R). Assigned squadrons were:

  • 652d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) (YN/R4) B-17F/G, B-24J
  • 653d Bombardment Squadron (Light) (WX) De Havilland Mosquito XVI
  • 654th Bombardment Squadron (Special) B-25C, (XN) B-26G, A-26, (BA) De Havilland Mosquito XVI

The 652d Bomb Squadron originated as a provisional weather recon unit that was formed on August 31, 1943, and transferred RAF St Eval in Cornwall with B-17 Flying Fortresss on September 8, 1943 for conducting meteorological fights over the Atlantic Ocean. On October 25, 1943 it was formalized at St. Mawgan as Detachment "A" of a newly formed Combat Weather Detachment, 1st CCRC Bovingdon. On November 23, 1943 the unit moved to RAF Bovingdon after flying 231 weather sorties. At Bovington, the squadron was reorganized as the 8th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on March 28, 1944, then transferred to Watton on April 12, 1944.

The 653d and 654th Bomb Squadrons were re-located to Watton from RAF Cheddington on April 12 for special weather recon missions over enemy-occupied territory in advance of bomber formations and visual coverage of target strikes. Pilots for the Mosquitos came from former P-38 Lightning pilots of the 50th Fighter Squadron transferred from the 342d Composite Group based in Iceland.

Both 652nd and 653rd Squadrons flew weather data gathering missions. 652nd flew four-engine aircraft and was known as "Heavy" Weather Squadron, whereas, 653rd flew smaller twin-engine Mosquitoes and known as "Light" Weather Squadron.

From Watton the 25th continued weather flights over the waters adjacent to the British Isles and eventually to the Azores to obtain meteorological data along with night photographic missions to detect enemy activity; and daylight photographic and mapping missions over the Continent.

A B-25 Mitchell assigned to 7th Photo Group was modified for night-photography work, and flown by 25th BG personnel on night photo-recon missions using photoflash bombs.

Also, the group eventually engaged Mosquito aircraft in electronic-countermeasure missions in which chaff was spread to confuse enemy defences during Allied attacks. In November 1944, they began supporting the OSS Joan-Eleanor project flying Mosquito and A-26 aircraft to insert and communicate with secret agents in Holland and Germany. For statistical purposes, Watton classified OSS flights as Redstocking to receive group credit for these missions.

The 25th Bomb Group moved to Drew AAF, Florida during July–August 1945, for transition to A-26 Invaders against Japan, and was deactivated on September 8, 1945.

The group flew a total of 3,370 sorties for the loss of 15 aircraft.

Cold War

The 25th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was activated on July 1, 1965 at Chambley-Bussieres Air Base, France as part of USAFE. Upon activation, the wing absorbed the 19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and 42d Electronic Countermeasures Squadron. The squadrons were transferred from Toul-Rosieres AB, where they operated as a detachment of the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, based at RAF Alconbury, UK.

The 25th flew variants of the B-66 "Destroyers" on photo reconnaissance and electronic warfare missions.

The escalation of the conflict in SE Asia prompted the establishment of Detachment 1 of the 42 ECS at Takhli RTAFB during February, 1966. 5 of its B-66's were sent to Thailand.

On March 7, 1966, French President Charles De Gaulle announced that France would withdraw from NATO's integrated military structure. The United States was informed that it must remove its military forces from France by April 1, 1967.

On May 1, 1966, the 42d was inactivated and the squadrons remaining aircraft were deployed to Takhli RTAFB, with all of its assets in Thailand being assigned to the 41st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (TEWS).

The 19th TRS and its aircraft were reassigned to the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Shaw AFB, South Carolina. On October 15, 1966 the 25th TRW was deactivated.

References

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

  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of October 1, 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of October 1, 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
  • Hagedorn, Dan (1995) Alae Supra a Canalem: Wings Over The Canal, The 6th Air Force and the Antilles Air Command. Paducah, KY: Turner Publ. Co. ISBN 1563111535
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • McAuliffe, Jerome J. (2005). US Air Force in France 1950–1967. San Diego, California: Milspec Press, Chapter 7, Chambley-Bussieres Air Base. ISBN 0-9770371-1-8.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers -1908 to present

External links


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