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320th Special Tactics Squadron
320th STS trains for personnel recovery 150710-F-PJ289-190.jpg
Squadron personnel training for personnel recovery
Active
  • 1943–1945
  • 1992–present
Country United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Special Operations Force
Role Special Operations
Part of
Garrison/HQ Kadena Air Base
Engagements
Decorations
Insignia
320th Special Tactics Squadron emblem (approved 9 December 1994)[1] 320th STS.jpg

The 320th Special Tactics Squadron (320th STS) is a Special Tactics unit of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command, based at Kadena Air Base.

The 320th was originally constituted in 1943 during World War II as an aircraft warning unit, the 320th Fighter Control Squadron. The squadron was sent to the Pacific at the end of 1943 and served there until its inactivation and disbandment after the end of the war. It was reconstituted and reactivated in 1992 at Kadena as the 320th Special Tactics Squadron. Initially with the 720th Special Tactics Group, it was soon transferred to the 353d Special Operations Group.

History

World War II

The 320th STS was originally constituted as the 320th Fighter Control Squadron, an aircraft warning unit, during World War II on 30 March 1943. It was activated on 1 April, part of the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics at Orlando Army Air Base. After completing air defense training, it became part of the Orlando Fighter Wing on 1 November. Between 20 November and 11 December, the 320th staged at Camp Stoneman, then was shipped to Guadalcanal, where it arrived on 30 December, becoming part of XIII Fighter Command. Between 24 July and 14 November 1944, the squadron was attached to the 13th Air Warning Group (Provisional). On 30 September, it was moved forward to Toem, and on 15 December the 320th relocated to Wakde. The squadron relocated to Biak on 11 February 1945, then to Mindoro on 22 February. On 1 March, it moved to Puerto Princesa, and was under the 85th Fighter Wing's operational control between 1 April and 1 June. The 320th was transferred to the 85th Fighter Wing on 15 June, but was under the operational control of the Thirteenth Air Force until 14 July. In October it was transferred to XIII Fighter Command, and on 29 October moved to Luzon. The squadron became part of XIII Bomber Command on 2 November and left Luzon for Vancouver Barracks on 30 November. After arriving at Vancouver Barracks on 14 December, it was inactivated on 18 December. The 320th was disbanded on 8 October 1948.[1]

Special Tactics Squadron

The squadron was reconstituted and redesignated as the 320th Special Tactics Squadron on 20 February 1992, and activated at Kadena Air Base with the 720th Special Tactics Group on 31 March. The 320th included Combat Controllers, Pararescuemen, Combat Weathermen, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists.[2] On 1 January 1993, it was transferred to the 353d Special Operations Group.[1]

During Operation Unified Assistance, the relief effort after the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the squadron's combat controllers surveyed airfields for the reception of humanitarian relief. 320th STS personnel deployed alongside United States Army Special Forces to the War in Afghanistan. On 28 February 2006, squadron Master Sergeant David Beals' team was ambushed during a convoy operation, trapping the entire team in the insurgent kill zone. Beals was credited with saving the lives of the entire team by repulsing the attack with his Humvee's M240 machine gun and 40mm grenades from his M203 grenade launcher, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device. On 26 September 2008, squadron personnel cooperated with the 1st Special Operations Squadron and 31st Rescue Squadron to rescue two crewmen injured in a crane accident aboard container ship Occam's Razor. A joint team of pararescuemen and combat controllers landed on the vessel from an MC-130H Combat Talon II and evacuated the men to a hospital on Guam. Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, in Operation Tomodachi, the relief effort, pararescuemen from the 320th flew numerous search and rescue missions.[3]

Lineage

  • Constituted as 320th Fighter Control Squadron on 30 March 1943
Activated on 1 April 1943
Inactivated on 18 December 1945
Disbanded on 8 October 1948
  • Reconstituted and redesignated 320th Special Tactics Squadron on 20 February 1992
Activated on 31 March 1992[1]

Assignments

Stations

Awards and campaigns

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Combat "V" Device 2 September 2004 – 1 September 2006 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w/Combat "V" Device 1 October 2006 – 30 September 2008 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 June 1993 – 31 May 1995 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 September 1995 – 31 August 1997 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 16 October 1998 – 31 May 2000 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 13 October 2000 – 1 September 2002 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 2 September 2002 – 1 September 2004 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August – 30 September 2010 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
Streamer PPUC.PNG Philippine Presidential Unit Citation 17 October 1944 – 4 July 1945 320th Fighter Control Squadron[1]
Streamer PPUC.PNG Philippine Presidential Unit Citation 31 January – 31 July 2002 320th Special Tactics Squadron[1]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer APC.PNG New Guinea 24 January 1943 – 31 December 1944 320th Fighter Control Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG Luzon 15 December 1944 – 4 July 1945 320th Fighter Control Squadron[1]
Streamer APC.PNG Southern Philippines 27 February 1945 – 4 July 1945 320th Fighter Control Squadron[1]

References


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