55th Wing: Wikis


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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 Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg 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 unit is stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

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]



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.


  • 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


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.



  • Established as 55 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 29 Jun 1948
Activated on 19 Jul 1948
Inactivated on 14 Oct 1949
  • Redesignated 55 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, on 27 Oct 1950
Activated on 1 Nov 1950
Redesignated: 55 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 16 Aug 1966
Redesignated: 55 Wing on 1 Sep 1991.


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




  • 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron: 1 Nov 1975-1 Sep 1991
  • 1 Strategic Reconnaissance (Provisional): attached 1 Sep-9 Oct 1948
  • 1 Strategic Reconnaissance: attached 10-26 Oct 1948; attached 14 Jan-1 Jun 1949
  • 2 Airborne Command and Control: 1 Apr 1970-1 Sep 1991
  • 23 Strategic Reconnaissance: attached 1-17 Jun 1949
  • 38 Reconnaissance: attached 6 Jan 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-1 Apr 1970; assigned 1 Apr 1979-1 Sep 1991. 55 Air Refueling: attached 8 Jan 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-18 Feb 1954; assigned 1 Oct 1955-15 Mar 1963 (detached 31 Oct-27 Dec 1956)
  • 45 Reconnaissance ?-Present
  • 82 Reconnaissance: 2 Oct 1991-1 Jul 1992
  • 97 Intelligence: ?-Present
  • 323 Strategic Reconnaissance: attached 19 Sep-10 Oct 1949
  • 338 Strategic Reconnaissance: attached 25 Nov 1950-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-15 Jun 1963; assigned 25 Mar-25 Dec 1967
  • 343d Reconnaissance Squadron: attached 19 Jul-26 Oct 1948; attached 4 Jan 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-1 Sep 1991
  • 390 Intelligence ?-Present
  • 488 Intelligence ?-Present
  • 548 Strategic Missile: attached 1-31 Aug 1964, assigned 1 Sep 1964-25 Mar 1965
  • 922 Reconnaissance: 1 Jun-1 Jul 1992


Aircraft and missiles

  • B/RB-17, 1948-1949
  • B/RB-29, 1948-1949
  • RC-54, 1948
  • B/RB-29, 1950-1951
  • RB-50, 1950-1954
  • EB/RB-47, 1954-1967
  • Atlas, 1964-1965
  • EC-135, 1966-Present
  • KC-135, 1966-Present
  • RC-135, 1967-Present
  • E-4, 1975-Present
  • C-135, 1977-1994
  • NKC-135, 1983-1994
  • TC-135, 1988-Present
  • T-38, 1992-1995
  • WC-135, 1992-Present
  • C-21: 1993-1997
  • OC-135: 1994-Present
  • EC-130, 2002-Present


55th Wing

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.

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.

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.


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

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