553d Reconnaissance Squadron

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553d Reconnaissance Squadron
553d Reconnaissance Squadron - Emblem.png
Emblem of the 553d Reconnaissance Squadron
Active1942-1945; 1967-1971
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Lockheed EC-121D Warning Star takes off from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in the late 1960s.

The 553d Reconnaissance Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing and stationed at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. It was first active during World War II as the 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron.


Constituted in 1942 as the 10th Photographic Squadron, the squadron conducted replacement training in Oklahoma for aircrew and photographic technicians.[1]

Established as the 553d Reconnaissance Squadron in 1967 at Otis AFB, Massachusetts. Moved to Thailand as an electronic warfare squadron to detect vehicles along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Indochina. If enemy vehicles could be detected then stopped, then a major quantity of enemy supplies into South Vietnam would be halted.

The "electronic fence" concept envisioned using Navy sonobuoys delivered along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by air, with special receivers in the 553d Reconnaissance Wing EC-121 aircraft to pick up the signals. The EC-121 would, when in range, automatically relay the signals picked up to the Infiltration Center at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB. Several target areas along the Ho Chi Minh Trail were outside of the range of the relay equipment; during out of range flights the signals were processed manually by the crew on board the EC-121R, then radioed via High Frequency Single Side Band radio directly to Seventh Air Force Headquarters in Saigon, South Vietnam.


10th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

  • Constituted as the 10th Photographic Squadron on 7 May 1942
Activated on 14 May 1942
Redesignated 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 9 June 1942
Redesignated 10th Photographic Squadron (Light) on 6 February 1943
Redesignated 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 11 August 1943
  • Disbanded on 1 May 1944.[1]
  • Reconstituted on 19 September 1985 and consolidated with the 553d Reconnaissance Squadron as the 553d Tactical Intelligence Squadron[2]

553d Tactical Intelligence Squadron

  • Constituted as 553d Reconnaissance Squadron and activated on 9 February 1967 (not organized)
Organized on 25 February 1967 (not operational until 28 February)[3]
Inactivated on 31 December 1971.
  • Consolidated with the 10th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron as the 553d Tactical Intelligence Squadron[2] (not active under this designation)






  1. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 57. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
  2. ^ a b Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 Sep 85, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
  3. ^ a b Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 287–288. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  4. ^ Ravenstein, pp. 209-211


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

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