|25th Space Range Squadron|
|Active||1917–1919; 1921–1946; 1952–1964; 1988–1995; 2004–present|
|Branch||United States Space Force|
|Role||Space range operations|
|Part of||Space Delta 11|
|Garrison/HQ||Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado|
|Lt Col Gerrit Dalman|
|Former 25th Space Range Squadron emblem|
|25th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 15 February 1924)|
|25th Aero Squadron emblem (approved by AEF 19 November 1918)[note 1]|
The 25th Space Range Squadron is a squadron of the United States Space Force. It is assigned to the Space Training and Readiness Delta Provisional at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. The 25th operates the Space Test and Training Range along with the reserve 379th Space Range Squadron.
Currently, the 25th is one of the oldest units in the United States Space Force, its earliest predecessor in the days of the USAAS being organized as the 20th Aero Squadron on 13 June 1917 at Camp Kelly, Texas, and almost immediately redesignated, due to a clerical error, as the 25th Aero Squadron by 22 June. The squadron deployed to France and fought on the Western Front during World War I as a pursuit squadron within the week before the Armistice. The unit was demobilized after the war in 1919.
The squadron's second predecessor was organized as the 25th Squadron (Bombardment) in 1921 as part of the permanent United States Army Air Service, the squadron served in the Panama Canal Zone during the Inter-War period, then as part of Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers. During the Cold War, it was part of Strategic Air Command, equipped with Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bombers until its inactivation in 1964.
On March 31, 2020, it was announced that the 25th Space Range Squadron would be moved to the newly formed United States Space Force. This transfer made the 25th the oldest unit in the USSF.
The 25th Space Range Squadron is responsible for the operation of the Space Test and Training Range, a capability that allows units to exercise space electronic warfare capabilities in a safe, secure, and realistic environment while eliminating the risk of unintended collateral effects.
The 25th has deployed equipment and personnel to support combatant commander operations and large force exercises such as Austere Challenge.
Main article: 25th Aero Squadron
The first predecessor of the squadron was established as the 20th Aero Squadron in June 1917 at Camp Kelly, Texas. A few days later, due to the aforementioned clerical error, it was redesignated the 25th Aero Squadron. After the United States' entry into World War I, the squadron deployed to Europe aboard RMS Carmania, first to England, then to the Western Front in France in late October 1918. it was assigned to the 4th Pursuit Group of the Second Army Air Service in the Toul Sector, but without any airplanes. The squadron finally received some British Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5s, mostly armed with a single fuselage-mounted Vickers machine gun, and flew two missions in November 1918 days before the war ended. The first patrol was uneventful and the other patrol targeted a truck convoy in Metz with 20 lb bombs hand-dropped from their S.E. 5a aircraft. The unit returned to the United States in the spring of 1919 and was demobilized in June.
The 25th Squadron (Bombardment) was organized on 1 October 1921 at Mitchel Field, New York, although it is not clear whether it was equipped before moving to France Field in the Panama Canal Zone in April 1922, where the Panama Canal Department assigned it to the 6th Composite Group. It flew various biplane bombers to defend the Panama Canal. In April 1924, the squadron, now the 25th Bombardment Squadron, was consolidated with the World War I unit. During the 1920s and early 1930s, it participated in various goodwill missions in Latin America, including flights to El Salvador and Nicaragua, from 13 to 19 May 1935; to Guatemala, from 8 to 11 February 1938, and again to El Salvador, from 19 to 22 April 1938. The squadron also flew mercy mission to Chile following the devastating 1939 Chillán earthquake in January and February 1939.
The squadron equipped with Douglas B-18 Bolos and became the 25th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 6 December 1939 . The squadron had an opportunity to put its new, long-legged aircraft to the test in October 1939, when two Peruvian flyers, en route from the United States to Lima, Peru on a long-distance flight, were reported missing between the Canal Zone and Peru. Although eventually found to have made an emergency forced landing in Ecuador, three B-18s of the squadron conducted extensive searches of the area along the 80th meridian some 250 miles to sea. The aircraft carried enough fuel for a flight of 11 hours duration. On 20 November 1940, the unit became the 25th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) in anticipation of the receipt of Boeing B-17E Flying Fortresses. By 25 August 1941, with its pre-war strength at but five B-18s, the Squadron was finally re-equipped with B-17E Flying Fortresses.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron left its long time home at France Field for Rio Hato Airport, Panama. Little more than a month later, it began operations from Salinas Airfield, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (shuttling patrols back and forth) with four of the B-17Es, flying antisubmarine patrols over the Pacific approaches to the Panama Canal. These aircraft being joined by a B-18 by February. The main body of the Squadron left Salinas by 15 February and returned to Howard Field in early 1943, although a detachment was still in Ecuador as late as 30 June.
On 12 May 1943, the squadron was transferred to the 40th Bombardment Group and, the following month, the main body of the squadron, which had been at Howard Field only briefly in the spring of 1943, ended its 21 years of service in the Canal Zone, and moved to the United States.
The 25th was stationed at Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas in July 1943 and remanned with new personnel. It received prototype and early production-model Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombers. It trained under Second Air Force for an extended period due to Boeing technicians making modifications to its B-29 aircraft. It deployed with the new XX Bomber Command as part of the 58th Bombardment Wing to the China-Burma-India Theater, flying to bases in India via South Atlantic ferrying route; across central Africa and Arabia to Karachi. Additional modifications to its B-29s were necessary in India to accommodate very high ground temperatures (115 °F).
From airfields in eastern India, engaged in very long range bombardment raids on Japan. The squadron participated in the first American Air Force attack on the Japanese Home Islands since the 1942 Doolittle raid on 15/16 June 1944, attacking the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata on Kyushu by using its forward staging base at Hsinching Airfield (A-1), China, for refueling. It performed a total of nine missions to Japan, also engaged in very long range attacks against enemy targets in Thailand, Manchuria, Borneo, Formosa, Burma, Malaya, Japanese-occupied China, Singapore, Saigon and Cam Rahn Bay, French Indochina. It also engaged in aerial mining of Japanese-occupied seaports in Thailand, Malaya and French Indochina.
The advance of American forces in the Central Pacific though the Northern Mariana Islands made new airfields available within the effective bombing range of Japan. It moved to West Field (Tinian) in April 1945, becoming part of the new XXI Bomber Command. From the Marianas, it engaged in very long range strategic attacks on Japan, its first mission being on 5 May 1945 against the Hiro Naval Aircraft Factory in Kure. Air attacks over Japan were initially high-altitude daylight bombing missions against industrial, transportation and military targets, largely ineffective due to high upper-level winds dispersing bombs over a wide area. By July, began low-level large area night incendiary raids on urban areas, and dropped mines in Japanese shipping lanes. Continued aerial assaults until the Japanese Capitulation in August 1945, final combat mission taking place on 9/10 August attacking the Hikari Naval Arsenal.
After V-J Day, the squadron dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners in Japan, Korea, and Formosa, and took part in show-of-force missions. The squadron returned to the United States in November 1945 and was inactivated at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona in the fall of 1946.
The squadron was reactivated at Smoky Hill Air Force Base, Kansasin 1952 as Strategic Air Command expanded its bomber force. The 25th initially received what were by then second-line B-29s for training and organization. The propeller-driven B-29s were replaced with new Boeing B-47E Stratojet swept-wing medium bombers in 1954, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. In the 1960s, the B-47 was considered to be reaching obsolescence and was being phased out of SAC's strategic arsenal. The 25th began sending aircraft to other B-47 wings as replacements in early 1964 and was one of the last SAC squadrons equipped with the Stratojet. The squadron inactivated in September 1964 when the last B-47 aircraft was retired from SAC.
The 25th was reactivated in 1988 as a SAC training squadron. From 1988 to 1992, the 25th supervised SAC Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bomber crew training and, from 1992 to 1995, Air Combat Command B-52H and then Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber crew training at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. The squadron provided range control and tactics development via the Strategic Training Route Complex from its Strategic Weapons Center facility. It inactivated again in 1995.
A requirement for a safe and secure space range mission was conceived by Air Force Space Command in 2001. Connecting to its strategic training range and tactics development lineage, the 25th was reactivated at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado as the 25th Space Control Tactics Squadron, taking on this role on 1 July 2004.
In November 2007, the Executioners were redesignated at as the 25th Space Range Squadron and later tested new space control tactics in a secure environment.
Air Force Reserve Command activated the 379th Space Range Squadron in April 2012 as an associate unit, joining the 25th in its range management function.
In 2013, the 25th was transferred back to Air Combat Command and moved under the Nevada Test and Training Range of the United States Air Force Warfare Center.
On 21 June 2017, the 25th celebrated its "Centennial Anniversary" and became one of the first Air Force units to trace its linage over 100 years.
On 24 July 2020 the 25th Range Squadron was transferred to the United States Space Force and assigned to the Space Training and Readiness Delta Provisional.