50th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper Model
Fly with the 50th Attack Squadron in this handcrafted MQ-9 Reaper model. Each model is carved from wood and painted to provide a piece you’ll love.
Length – 8 inches
Wingspan – 18 inches
The 50th Attack Squadron is a squadron of the United States Air Force, stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, where it operates remotely piloted aircraft. It is assigned to the 432d Operations Group, located at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
Formed in August 1917, as the 50th Aero Squadron, the unit flew observation missions in the American built De Haviland DH-4 over the battlefields of World War I. On 6 October 1918, 1Lt Harold E. Goettler and 2Lt Erwin R. Bleckley, of the 50th Aero Squadron were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
During World War II as the 431st Bombardment Squadron, the unit earned the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Presidential Unit Citation for its services in the Pacific Theatre. The unit was subsequently inactivated on 20 October 1947.
The squadron was reactivated at the United States Air Force Academy on 1 October 1983 and designated the 50th Airmanship Training Squadron. The focus of the 50th changed to the classroom, supporting the instruction of US Air Force Academy Cadets in military strategic studies as the 50th Education Squadron.
World War I
The unit was first organized as the 50th Aero Squadron with 149 men at Kelly Field No. 1, Texas, on 6 August 1917. Moved to Kelly Field No. 2 on 12 September and designated as a school squadron, personnel entering training for engine mechanics and performed field garrison duties. Was moved back to Field No. 1 on 17 November and was designated a service squadron, being equipped with Curtiss JN-4 aircraft and pilots, and entered training for combat service in France.
On 20 December 1917, the 50th transferred from Kelly Field and ordered for overseas duty. It moved to the Aviation Concentration Center, Camp Mills, Garden City, New York and arrived on 3 January 1918. Departed from the United States on transport No. 508 (RMS Carmania on 9 January, arriving Liverpool, England on 24 January. Once in England, the 50th was moved to RFC Harlaxton, Lincolnshire and began advance training prior to being sent to France. Instruction was received in aircraft rigging and engine repair, along with gunnery, radio, photography and aerial bombing.
Combat in France
Departure orders for France were received on 3 July 1918, the squadron departing from the port of Southampton, arriving in Le Havre, France on 14 July. Entered service with the Air Service, AEF at the Air Service Replacement Concentration Barracks, St. Maixent on 17 July. After receiving additional personnel, supplies and equipment, was moved to the combat flying school at the 1st Observation Group School on Amanty Airdrome on 27 July. At Amanty, the squadron received American-built De Havilland DH-4 and after training was received on the DH-4s, the squadron was designated as a Corps Observation squadron and assigned to the I Corps Observation Group. After a short spell at the Behonne depot, the squadron moved to Bicqueley Airdrome on 8 September for combat duty on the front. The squadron adopted the Dutch Girl insignia, trademark of Old Dutch Cleanser. To the fliers of the 50th Aero Squadron, the Dutch Girl meant one thing: “Clean up on Germany.” The insignia was painted on the aircraft, and squadron members wore matching pins above the right breast pocket on their uniforms.
In combat, the mission of the 50th Aero Squadron was general surveillance of the enemy rear areas by means of both visual and photographic reconnaissance. These missions were carried out for the purpose of intelligence-gathering and informing First Army headquarters informed of enemy movements and preparations for attacks or retreats of its infantry forces. The 50th identified enemy activity along roads and railroads, ground stations, various storage dumps and airfields; the numbers of fires and activities of enemy aircraft, and the amount of anti-aircraft artillery was also monitored and reported. Due to the nature of the missions and the depths of enemy area which was penetrated, the missions were carried out at high altitudes, usually between 4,500 and 5,500 meters.
The 50th’s first combat mission was flown on 12 September, being assigned for observation duties in support of the 82d and 90th Infantry Divisions as part of the St. Mihiel Offensive. It flew two artillery surveillance flights to help adjust the artillery barrage on enemy forces for the 90th Division, and also six reconnaissance missions, observing and photographing enemy forces in the rear areas and reporting that information to the 82d Division Commander. The weather during the offensive, however, was extremely poor. Fortunately, the enemy air activity was very slight at the beginning of the offensive, but a day or two afterwards, there was a marked increase in enemy activity. One observer was killed in action, and one plane, with its observer and pilot failed to return during the Offensive.
After St. Mihiel, the squadron moved to the Remicourt Aerodrome in preparation for the next American offensive, in the Argonne Forest. There it joined the 1st and 12th Aero Squadrons. Movement to Remicourt was delayed until 24 September due to weather. On the 26th combat operations began supporting the 77th Division, the 50th Aero Squadron flew its first missions of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive with a complement of 15 pilots, 15 observers, and 16 aircraft. Initially the aircraft flew observation or dropped messages
At the beginning of October, units of the 308th Infantry Regiment were cut off and surrounded by German troops. Able to communicate with division headquarters only by carrier pigeon, the battalion-sized force inadvertently supplied division headquarters with incorrect coordinates of its location. On 2 October the 50th Aero Squadron searched for signs of the cut-off battalion, and on 5 October the division commander, Maj. Gen. Robert Alexander, requested that the 50th Aero Squadron locate and resupply the “Lost Battalion” by air with ammunition, rations, and medical supplies.
On 28 October, the squadron was moved from Remicourt to the new Parois Airdrome near Clermont-en-Argonne, where it continued combat operations until the 11 November Armistice with Germany.
Post World War I duty in France
After the end of hostilities, the air service in France was slow to bring their units back to the United States. Transportation was poor, and many had to wait months to board a ship. The 50th AS was no exception, as it was split into flights and assigned to various locations in France, performing postwar service duties.
With the inactivation of the First Army Air Service, the 50th Aero Squadron was ordered demobilized. It was ordered to report to the 1st Air Depot at Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome on 1 April 1919, to turn in all of its supplies and equipment and was relieved from duty with the AEF. The squadron’s DH-4 aircraft were delivered to the Air Service Production Center No. 2. at Romorantin Aerodrome. There practically all of the pilots and observers were detached from the Squadron. Personnel at Colombey were subsequently assigned to the Commanding General, Services of Supply and ordered to report to the staging camp at Clamecy, France on 9 April. There, personnel awaited scheduling to report to one of the Base Ports in France for transport to the United States. It moved to the port of Marseille, France, 22 April when it boarded the SS Caserta.
Upon its arrival in New York, the squadron proceeded to Scott Field, Illinois, arriving on 27 May where its personnel were discharged and returned to civilian life.