1st Reconnaissance Squadron Patch – Sew On
A 4″W x 4″H 1st Reconnaissance Squadron Patch of United States Air Force.
The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron (1 RS) is a United States Air Force squadron, assigned to the 9th Operations Group, Beale Air Force Base, California.
The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron is the United States military’s oldest flying unit, first established on 5 March 1913. The squadron has maintained an unbroken heritage of over a century from its founding. Originally organized in anticipation of a potential breach in security along the border between the United States and Mexico, General John J. Pershing directed the 1st Aero Squadron to become the first tactical aviation unit to participate in American military action. The 1st RS has flown 47 different aircraft while being stationed worldwide at 52 locations, including 4 stints at sea
Since 1922 the 1st Squadron has been associated with the 9th Bomb Group and the USAF 9th Reconnaissance Wing, where it continues to be an active flying training unit operating the Lockheed U-2 and the RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance aircraft.
A 1st SRS SR-71B Blackbird sits on the runway after sundown
The SR-71 Blackbird joined the Air Force inventory in 1966. From Beale and several overseas operating locations, the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron conducted worldwide strategic reconnaissance missions, supporting national intelligence gathering requirements.[
The Blackbird‖ carried a crew of two—a pilot and a reconnaissance systems operator (RSO). The SR-71’s versatility included simple battlefield surveillance, multiple-sensor high-performance interdiction reconnaissance, and strategic surveillance over large areas of the world. Flying over 2,000 mph at approximately 80,000 feet, the SR-71 carried sensors with a 45 degree viewing angle on each side that could survey 100,000 square miles in an hour.
The “Last Flight” of a SR-71. In background SR-71 S/N 61-7972. Foreground Pilot Lt. Col. Raymond “Ed” E. Yielding and RSO LtCol. Joseph “JT” Vida March 6, 1990
Following the end of American involvement in Southeast Asia, the 1st turned to more peaceful accomplishment. The most spectacular of these was the SR-71 speed runs from New York to London and from London to Los Angeles. On 14 September 1974, Major James Sullivan, pilot and Major Noel Widdifield, RSO, flew their SR-71 from New York to London in 1 hour, 55 minutes, 42 seconds for an average speed of 1,817 mph. This bettered the old record set by a RAF F-4 Phantom jet of 4 hours, 46 minutes set in 1969. The SR-71 crew of Captain Harold Adams, pilot, and Major William Machorek, RSO, established a record for the London to Los Angeles route when they flew the 5,645 mile leg in 3 hours, 48 minutes on 13 September.
Because of budgetary reasons the Air Force retired the SR-71 in July 1990. But in March 1990, on its final journey from California to Washington D.C. where it became part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution, an SR-71 flown by the 1st SRS made the coast-to-coast trip in a record time of 68 minutes, 17 seconds—at a record speed of 2,242.48 mph. Flying the SR-71, the squadron was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for the period 31 March – 31 December 1968, and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award With Combat “V” Device for the period 1 July 1972 – 30 June 1973. The 1st SRS also received ten Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for the periods 1 July – 30 June of the years 1967–1968, 1970–1971, 1971–1972, 1975–1977, 1981–1982, 1983–1984, 1985–1986, 1986–1987, 1989–1990, and 1991–1993.