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19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron

The 19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (1942–1970) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. During World War II and the Cold War; its primary mission was aerial reconnaissance and photo mapping, it subsequently carried out electronic warfare missions during the Vietnam War.

19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron
19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron Emblem
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force


World War IIEdit

The 19th Photographic Mapping Squadron was activated at Colorado Springs AAF on 14 July 1942, as part of the 4th Reconnaissance Group. It was equipped with F-4 Lightnings (P-38Es), the group trained for overseas duty.

Reassigned to the 1st Photographic Group, the squadron transferred to Bradley Field, Connecticut. It deployed to Mexico to perform photographic mapping over Central and South America with long range F-9 and F-7 (B-17F/B-24D) aircraft. It also performed photographic mapping of the United States while assigned to the 11th Photographic Group.

Reassigned to the 311th Reconnaissance Wing, the squadron moved overseas, being attached to the Royal Air Force. It was first deployed to Africa, the squadron photographed airfields and created maps of western and central Africa in support of Air Transport Command, developing logistical supply routes across the dark continent. It was later assigned to Egypt, mapping the Middle East with long-range aircraft including some Navy PBY-5s (OA-10)s, photographing airfields, coastal defenses and ports.

Reassigned to England in April 1945, the squadron took bomb-damage assessment photographs of airfields, marshalling yards, bridges and other targets. It remained in the theater after combat ended, performing photo-mapping of Western Europe.

It was inactivated at Foggia Airfield, Italy in December 1945.

Postwar yearsEdit

It was activated in the reserve at Newark Airport, New Jersey, as part of the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in November 1947.[citation needed] Equipped with RB-26Cs, it performed night photographic missions until being inactivated in June 1949.[citation needed]

Cold WarEdit

Douglas RB-66B Destroyer of 19 TRS based at RAF Sculthorpe, England, in 1957

The 19th was reactivated at Shaw AFB, South Carolina in July 1953 as the 19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, assigned to the Tactical Air Command, part of the Ninth Air Force. It was attached to the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, equipped with RB-26Cs. It trained in the United States until it was deployed to RAF Sculthorpe, England in May 1954. It was assigned to the USAFE (United States Air Force in Europe)'s Third Air Force and attached to the 47th Tactical Bombardment Wing. It re-equipped with RB-45C Tornado jets and performed tactical reconnaissance and photo-mapping missions over Western Europe and North Africa. It also conducted classified deep penetration and reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union.

The squadron upgraded to RB-66B Destroyers and replaced the obsolescent RB-45s from February 1957. It became the primary night photographic reconnaissance squadron of the USAFE, being assigned to bases in West Germany, England and France. It returned to the United States after the French withdrawal from the NATO military alliance in 1966 and became a replacement training unit for RB-66 aircrews.

In 1968, the squadron was re-equipped with EB-66C electronic countermeasures aircraft. The reconnaissance equipment was removed and replaced by electronic jamming equipment. The tail turret was also removed, automatic jamming equipment was fitted in its place. Numerous antennae protruded from the aircraft, and chaff dispensing pods were carried. Redesignated the 19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron and deployed to the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), it was assigned to the 18 TFW first in Japan, later in Okinawa. The unit flew missions over North Vietnam as electronic warfare aircraft, joining strike missions to jam enemy radar installations.

The squadron was inactivated in 1970 at Kadena AB, Okinawa as part of the draw-down of USAF forces in Southeast Asia.


  • Constituted as the 19th Photographic Mapping Squadron on 14 July 1942
Activated on 23 July 1942
Re-designated the 19th Photographic Squadron (Heavy) on 6 February 1943
Re-designated the 19th Photographic Charting Squadron on 11 August 1943
Re-designated the 19th Reconnaissance Squadron (Long Range, Photographic) on 15 June 1945
Inactivated on 15 December 1945
  • Re-designated the 19th Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 8 October 1947
Activated in the reserve on 6 November 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Re-designated the 19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Night Photographic) on 21 April 1953
Activated on 20 July 1953
Re-designated the 19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron on 15 October 1967
Inactivated on 31 October 1970


  • 4th Reconnaissance Group, 23 July 1942
  • 1st Photographic Group, assigned on 11 August 1943, and attached on 19 November 1943
  • 11th Photographic Group, 1 December 1943
  • 311th Reconnaissance Wing, 5 October 1944 – 15 December 1945
Attached to Ninth Air Force, 16 May – 15 November 1945
Attached to 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 20 July 1953
Attached to 47th Bombardment Wing, 7 May 1954
Attached to 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing from 8 January 1958




  • Original source of information: USAF Historical Research Center – Maxwell AFB, Alabama microfilm roll.
  • American Military Aircraft (RB-45, RB-66)
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

External linksEdit