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21 Special Operations Squadron (AFSOC)

21 Special Operations Squadron

In accordance with Chapter 3 of AFI 84-105, commercial reproduction of this emblem is NOT permitted without the permission of the proponent organizational/unit commander.

Lineage.  Constituted as 21 Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940.  Inactivated on 2 Apr 1946.  Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the 21 Helicopter Squadron, which was constituted on 24 Feb 1956. Activated on 9 Jul 1956. Inactivated on 15 Oct 1957.  Activated on 30 Jun 1967.  Organized on 15 Jul 1967.  Redesignated as 21 Special Operations Squadron on 1 Aug 1968.  Inactivated on 22 Sep 1975.  Activated on 1 May 1988.  Inactivated on 31 Oct 2007.  Activated on 1 Jul 2019.

Assignments.  35 Pursuit Group, 1 Feb 1940–15 Jan 1942 (attached to 24 Pursuit Group, c. 20 Nov 1941–2 Apr 1946).  Eighteenth Air Force, 9 Jul 1956 (attached to 63 Troop Carrier Wing, 9 Jul 1956–30 Jun 1957; 314 Troop Carrier Wing, 30 Jun-30 Aug 1957); Ninth Air Force, 1 Sep–15 Oct 1957 (remained attached to 314 Troop Carrier Wing through c. 8 Oct 1957).  Tactical Air Command, 30 Jun 1967; 507 Tactical Control Group, 15 Jul 1967; 56 Air Commando (later, 56 Special Operations) Wing, 27 Nov 1967; Thirteenth Air Force, 30 Jun–22 Sep 1975 (attached to 656 Special Operations Wing, 30 Jun–22 Sep 1975).  39 Special Operations Wing, 1 May 1988 (attached to Joint Special Operations Task Force, 13 Jan–18 Mar 1991 and 6 Apr–10 Jun 1991); 352 Special Operations Group, 1 Dec 1992–31 Oct 2007 (attached to Joint Special Operations Task Force, 2 Mar–12 Jul 1993).  353 Special Operations Group, 1 Jul 2019-.

Stations.  Moffett Field, CA, 1 Feb 1940; Hamilton Field, CA, 10 Sep–Oct 1941; Nichols Field, Luzon, c. 20 Nov 1941 (air echelon operated from Clark Field, c. 9–c. 15 Dec 1941); Lubao, Luzon, c. 25 Dec 1941; Bataan, Luzon, c. 4 Jan–Apr 1942 (a portion of the air echelon operated from Mindanao, c. 9 Apr–c. 1 May 1942). Donaldson AFB, SC, 9 Jul 1956–15 Oct 1957. Shaw AFB, SC, 15 Jul–27 Nov 1967; Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand, 27 Nov 1967–22 Sep 1975 (air echelon operated from Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, 11–13 Apr 1975; the USS Midway, 20 Apr–2 May 1975; and U–Tapao RTNAF, Thailand, 2–5 May and 14–16 May 1975). RAF Woodbridge, England, 1 May 1988 (deployed at Batman AB, Turkey, 13 Jan–18 Mar 1991; Diyarbkir AB, Turkey, 6 Apr–10 Jun 1991); RAF Alconbury, England, 1 Apr 1992– 17 Feb 1995 (deployed at Brindisi AB, Italy and Incirlik AB, Turkey, 2 Mar–12 Jul 1993); RAF Mildenhall, England, 17 Feb 1995-31 Oct 2007.  Yokota AB, Japan, 1 Jul 2019-.

Aircraft.  Probably P–36, 1940–1941; P–40, 1941–1942. H–21, 1956–1957. CH–3, 1967–1971; CH–53, 1970–1975. MH–53, 1988–2007.  CV-22, 2019-.

Operations.  Combat in the Philippine Islands, 8 Dec 1941–c. 1 May 1942; ground echelon fought as infantry unit in Bataan, 18 Jan–c. 8 Apr 1942. Carried as an active unit but was not operational from the fall of the Philippines until inactivation. Combat in Southeast Asia, Nov 1967–Aug 1973. Airlifted personnel from Saigon, Apr 1975 and airlifted US Marines in rescue of the SS Mayaquez, May 1975. Provided support to coalition forces during Southwest Asia conflict, Jan–Mar 1991 and later.

Campaign Streamers.   World War II: Philippine Islands. Vietnam: Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III; Vietnam Air/Ground; Vietnam Air

Offensive, Phase IV; TET 69/Counteroffensive; Vietnam Summer-Fall, 1969; Vietnam Winter-Spring, 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Southwest Monsoon; Commando Hunt V; Commando Hunt VI; Commando Hunt VII; Vietnam Ceasefire. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait; Iraq: Liberation of Iraq, Transition of Iraq, Iraqi Governance; Kosovo: Kosovo Air.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers.  None.

Decorations.  Distinguished Unit Citations (Philippine Islands): 7 Dec 1941–10 May 1942; 8–22 Dec 1941; 6 Jan–8 Mar 1942.  Presidential Unit Citations (Southeast Asia): 1 Nov 1968–1 May 1969; 1 Oct 1969–30 Apr 1970; 1 Apr 1972–22 Feb 1973.  Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat “V” Device: 1 Sep 1970–30 Apr 1971; 1 Dec 1971–29 Feb 1972; 23 Feb 1973–28 Feb 1974; 24 Jan–2 May 1975; 14 Jan–23 Mar 1991; 1 Aug 2000-31 Jul 2002; 1 Aug 2003-31 Jul 2005.  Gallant Unit Citations: 15 Oct 2001-15 Apr 2002; 12 Feb 2003-12 May 2003.  Meritorious Unit Award: 1 Oct 2005-30 Sep 2007.  Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 24 Mar 1991–31 Jul 1992; 1 Aug 1992–31 Jul 1993; 1 Aug 1994-31 Jul 1996; 1 Aug 1996-31 Jul 1998; 1 Aug 1999-31 Jul 2000.  Philippine Presidential Unit Citation (WWII).  Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: [27] Nov 1967–28 Jan 1973.

Lineage, Assignments, Stations, and Honors through 16 Sep 2020.

Aircraft and Operations through May 2020.

Supersedes statement prepared on 3 Jun 2019. 

Emblem.  Approved on 18 Oct 1967; newest rendition approved on 5 Jun 1996.

Prepared by Margaret Ream.