963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron E-3 Sentry
Fly with the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron in this handcrafted E-3 Sentry model. Each piece is carved from wood and handpainted to provide a piece you’ll love.
Length: 12.3 inches
Wingspan: 17 inches
The 963d Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron was activated, on 8 July 1955 at McClellan Air Force Base, California. The squadron flew the EC-121 Warning Star, which was a military version of the Lockheed Constellation aircraft, until the unit’s inactivation in April 1976.
The inactivation lasted less than a week however, as the Air Force again activated the unit on 5 May 1976 and redesignated it as the 963d Airborne Warning and Control Squadron (963 AWACS). On 1 July 1976, the squadron relocated to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. The squadron was under the command of the 552 AWACW, which reported directly to Headquarters, Tactical Air Command. The squadron began flying the new E-3 Sentry aircraft upon being reactivated. This new airframe is a military version of the Boeing 707 aircraft.
963d aircraft on the flight line
During the 1980s the squadron flew training missions in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East.
In 1990 the squadron deployed to Riyadh AB, Saudi Arabia with the military build-up prior to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
In 1992, the unit (and its superior unit the 552 Wing) came under the authority of the newly formed Air Combat Command. Throughout the early to mid-1990s, 963d aircrews routinely deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey to support the northern Iraqi no-fly zone (Operation Provide Comfort). Crews from the 963d also continued operations in Saudi Arabia on the southern no-fly zone (Operation Southern Watch). They were also deployed to other trouble spots around the world as a modern form of Gunboat diplomacy. On April 14, 1994, an aircraft and crew from the 963d operating out of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey featured prominently in the 1994 Black Hawk shootdown incident.
In 1994, the squadron’s name was redesignated to 963d Airborne Air Control Squadron.
The 963d AACS also participated in the invasion of Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom.