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18th Reconnaissance Squadron
18th Reconnaissance Squadron.jpg
18th Reconnaissance Squadron Patch
Active 1 March 1943 – 9 November 1945
31 August 1946 – 30 September 1979
3 April 2006 – 24 August 2007
11 December 2009 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Reconnaissance and Surveillance
Part of Air Combat Command
12th Air Force
432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
432d Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Creech Air Force Base
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Belgium Fourragère

MQ-1 Predator UAV

World War II, Early 1950s Emblem
18th TRS Emblem 1960s–1970s

18th TRS RF-4C Phantom – 66-0427 at Shaw AFB, 1977

RF-101C-55-MC (56-0220), assigned to 18th TRS, 460th TRW. This aircraft was shot down by a SAM over North Vietnam on 7 March 1966, killing the pilot

161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron Lockheed RF-80A-5-LO Shooting Star 45-8310, Shaw AFB, South Carolina, 1950

161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron North American P-51D-10-NA Mustang 44-14852 Le Culot Airfield (A-89), Belgium, November 1944.

The 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (18 RS) is a squadron of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the 432d Operations Group, and stationed at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.


The 18th RS conducts intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, operating the MQ-1 Predator UAV.


Activated as part of IV Fighter Command in early 1943, the squadron engaged in the Air Defense of the San Francisco area as well as a RTU until the end of 1943. It trained as a P-51 operational squadron and deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), where it was assigned to IX Fighter Command in England. It operated both as a tactical fighter squadron, providing air support to Allied ground forces in France as well as an air defense squadron, attacking enemy aircraft over Europe.

In August 1944, the squadron was redesignated as the 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron carrying out photo-reconnaissance missions. The unit was inactivated in November 1945.

Reactivated in 1945 at Brooks Field, Texas under the 363d Reconnaissance Group, it trained with the RF-80A Shooting Star. The 18th moved to Langley Field in 1947 when Brooks was transferred to SAC (Strategic Air Command). The squadron was reassigned directly to the Fourteenth Air Force in 1949 when the 363d was inactivated and moved to Shaw AFB, South Carolina.

The unit was reassigned to the 363d when the group was re-activated at Shaw on 2 Apr 1951. It became a training squadron with a mission to provide photographic intelligence training to support both air and ground operations by American or Allied ground forces. Upgraded to the RF-84F Thunderstreak in 1954, it continued training operations until 1957 when it re-quipped with the RF-101C Voodoo.

The squadron was reassigned to the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and deployed to NATO in 1957. It operated from France until 1966, moving to RAF Upper Heyford, England. It remained in the UK until 1970, when it returned to Shaw AFB and was assigned to the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. It was re-equipped with the RF-4C Phantom II at Shaw and performed training for new photo-reconnaissance pilots until 1979 when it was inactivated due to budget reductions.

The 18th was reactivated at Beale AFB, California as an RQ-4 Global Hawk strategic reconnaissance UAV squadron, between 2006 and 2007. It moved to Creech AFB, Nevada in 2009 where it was reactivated as an MQ-1 Predator UAV squadron.[1]


  • Constituted as the 381st Fighter Squadron (Single Engine) on 11 Feb 1943
Activated on 1 Mar 1943
Re-designated as the 381st Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 20 Aug 1943
Re-designated as the 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 25 Aug 1944
Inactivated on 9 Nov 1945
  • Re-designated as the 161st Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo (Jet Propelled) on 9 Jul 1946
Activated on 31 Aug 1946
Re-designated as the 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-Jet on 28 Aug 1948
Re-designated as the 18th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photo-Jet on 10 Oct 1950
Re-designated as the 18th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 Oct 1966
Inactivated on 30 Sept 1979
  • Re-designated as the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron on 14 Mar 2006
Activated on 3 Apr 2006
Inactivated on 24 Aug 2007
  • Activated on 11 Dec 2009



Attached to 10th Photographic Group, 23 Dec 1944 – 3 Jan 1945
Attached to 20th Fighter Wing, 20 Sept 1949 – 2 Apr 1951



Operated from Conflans Airfield (A-94), France, 24 December 1944 – 6 February 1945
  • Venlo Airfield (Y-55), Netherlands, 11 March 1945
  • Gutersloh Airfield (R-85), Germany, 16 April 1945
  • Brunswick/Waggum Airfield (R-37), Germany, 26 April 1945
  • AAF Station Wiesbaden, Germany, 20 May 1945
  • Reims/Champagne Airfield, France, c, 3 Jul – c. 4 Sept 1945
  • Drew Field, Florida 16 Sep – 9 Nov 1945
  • Brooks Field, Texas, 31 Aug 1946
  • Langley Field, Virginia, 1 Nov 1946
  • Shaw AFB, South Carolina, 23 Sept 1949 – 25 May 1959
  • Laon-Couvron Air Base, France, 1 Jun 1959
  • RAF Upper Heyford, England, 1 Sept 1966
  • Shaw AFB, South Carolina, 30 Jan 1970-30 Sept 1979
  • Beale AFB, California, 3 Apr 2006 – 24 Aug 2007
  • Creech AFB, Nevada, 11 Dec 2009 –



  • RF-84 Thunderflash (1954–1957)
  • RF-101 Voodoo (1957–1970)
  • RF-4 Phantom II (1970–1979)
  • RQ-4 (2006–2007)
  • MQ-1 (2009–Present)





 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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