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18th Intelligence Squadron
Air Combat Command.png
Active1943–1945; 1951; 1993–2020; 2022–Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleMilitary intelligence
Part ofAir Combat Command
Garrison/HQBuckley Space Force Base, Colorado
Nickname(s)Silver Bullet
Motto(s)America's Silver Bullet
EngagementsGlobal War on Terrorism[1]
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
Major Ryan Laine
18th Intelligence Squadron emblem (approved 24 August 1995)[1]
18th Intelligence Squadron.PNG

The 18th Intelligence Squadron is an intelligence organization of the United States Air Force, located at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado.

The squadron delivers decision advantage through strong mission partnerships to the air component, the joint force, and the United States by growing tactically brilliant Airmen, developing information warfare capabilities, and driving innovation.


World War II

The squadron was originally activated as the 5th Photographic Laboratory Section on 20 October 1943 at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma. While training at Esler Field, Louisiana, it was redesignated as the 5th Photographic Technical Unit on 30 November 1944 and as the 18th Photographic Technical Unit on 29 January 1945.

The 18th moved overseas in the spring of 1945, arriving in Nancy/Azelot Airfield, France, little more than a month before V-E Day, on 22 March 1945. It was inactivated on 27 December 1945 at Bad Kissingen Airfield, Germany. In these early years, the unit served in the United States, France, and Germany.

Strategic Air Command

The 68th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron was activated on 10 October 1951 at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio as an original element of the 68th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, which was located at Lake Charles Air Force Base, Louisiana, and began to equip with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses borrowed from other units. However, before the end of the year, Strategic Air Command decided to change the 68th Wing mission to bombardment and the squadron was inactivated on 10 December 1951.[1][2]

Redesignation and intelligence operations

On 16 October 1984, the 18th Photographic Technical Unit and the 68th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron were consolidated as the 18th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron, but the consolidated unit remained inactive. It was redesignated the 18th Intelligence Squadron on 3 September 1993 and activated on 7 September 1993 at Falcon Air Force Base, Colorado, drawing its personnel and equipment from a detachment of a United States Air Force Security Service unit, which was discontinued.

The squadron's Detachment 1 was organized at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico in June 1995, and moved to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio during the summer of 2000. Detachment 1 was the Air Intelligence Agency's only transportable system conducting radio frequency phenomenology studies. Detachment 1 was discontinued on 8 June 2010 and merged with the 18th Intelligence Squadron, which moved from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California to Wright-Patterson. Assigned personnel provide data in support of Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, and United States Strategic Command missions as well as information critical to the National Security Agency and other national-level organizations.

The squadron provided intelligence for the planning, development, and execution of space control operations. The squadron consisted of a headquarters element at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio[3] and two geographically separated detachments: Detachment 2, Osan Air Base, Korea; and Detachment 4, RAF Feltwell, United Kingdom.[4]

The 18th was assigned to the 544th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, of Twenty-Fifth Air Force of Air Combat Command. Through fixed and mobile sites, it provided scientific and technical collection to National Security Agency, Air Force Materiel Command, and the 21st Space Wing, Passive Space Surveillance mission. Where available, it also provided limited analysis to the entities.[5]

The squadron INactivated during September 2020 and then reactivated as the US Space Force's 73rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron which assigned to Space Delta 7.[6]

On 26 September 2022, the 18th Intelligence Squadron was reactivated as a part of the 544th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group with the headquarters relocating to Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado under the command of Major Ryan Laine.


18th Photographic Technical Unit
Activated on 20 October 1943
Redesignated 5th Photographic Technical Unit on 30 November 1944
Redesignated 18th Photographic Technical Unit on 29 January 1945
Inactivated on 27 December 1945
Consolidated with the 68 Reconnaissance Technical Squadron as the 18th Reconnaissane Technical Squadron on 16 October 1984[1]
18th Intelligence Squadron
Inactivated on 27 December 1951
Consolidated with the 18th Photographic Technical Unit as the 18th Reconnaissane Technical Squadron on 16 October 1984
Activated on 7 September 1993[1]



Component elements

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio,[9] (31 Aug 2000 – 8 June 2010) Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, 7 September 1993 – 31 August 2000



Explanatory noted
  1. ^ Detachments and Operating Locations are not units, but components of a unit. AF Instruction 38-101, Manpower and Organization, Air Force Organization, 31 January 2017, para 4.3.3 Therefore, they have no independent lineage and are not related, even when they have the same name.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Dollman, TSG Davis (18 October 2016). "Factsheet 18 Intelligence Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  2. ^ Ravenstein, p. 108
  3. ^ a b See Johnson, TSG Scott, 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs (1 September 2017). "WPAFB designated historical site still valued after 70 years". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 12 May 2018. "[T]he squadron flag didn't move here until 2010."
  4. ^ Richelson,[page needed]
  5. ^ "Air Intelligence Agency Mission Directive 1520: 18th Intelligence Squadron" (PDF). Air Intelligence Agency. 5 May 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b "73rd ISRS activates, becomes part of U.S. Space Force". Wright-Patterson AFB. US Air Force. 17 September 2020. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Station number in Johnson.
  8. ^ a b c d e No byline (2 January 2008). "544th Intelligence Group". Air Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 17 June 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  9. ^ AIA Spokesman November 2004
  10. ^ "Naval Security Group Station History". 13 July 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2018.


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency.