|4th Space Operations Squadron|
|Active||1941–1946; 1947–1949; 1952–1958; 1992–present|
|Branch||United States Space Force|
|Part of||Space Delta 8|
|Garrison/HQ||Schriever Space Force Base|
|Motto(s)||Linking the Forces (since 1994)|
|Engagements||Southwest Pacific Theater|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
|John E. Shaw|
|4th Space Operations Squadron (in use until transfer to the Space Force)|
|4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron emblem (approved 20 January 1956)|
|4th Photographic Mapping Squadron emblem (approved 14 July 1943)|
The United States Space Force's 4th Space Operations Squadron is a satellite operations unit located at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. 4 SOPS is part of Space Delta 8 and responsible for command and control of the Milstar/Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Defense Satellite Communications System Phase III, and Wideband Global SATCOM satellite constellations. The 4th Space Operations Squadron's mission is to operate the Space Force's protected and wideband MILSATCOM systems. They provide warfighters global, secure, survivable, strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict. The squadron also operates three mobile constellation control stations at various locations in conjunction with host partners. At higher readiness levels and during exercises, these personnel deploy with U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Northern Command respectively.
Additionally, they provide reliable space-borne communications to national authorities, U.S. and Allied forces. The 4 SOPS' motto "Linking the Forces" reflects the squadron's responsibility to enhance the nation's secure and wideband communications capability for today's military forces. Command and control of satellites is provided through dedicated Extremely High Frequency antennas and the Satellite Control Network.
The multi-satellite constellation links command authorities to high-priority U.S. forces via communications terminals on aircraft, ships, submarines, trucks, and ground sites with encrypted voice, data, teletype, or facsimile communications. They also provide secure high-rate data communications links to the President, Secretary of Defense, theater commanders and strategic and tactical forces worldwide.
Established under the 1st Photographic Group in May 1941. Performed aerial mapping primarily over the southwestern United States prior to the Pearl Harbor Attack using Beechcraft F-2 Expeditor variants of the Beechcraft Model 18 which were equipped for the reconnaissance role.
After the United States entry into World War II, flew aerial mapping missions over Western Canada and Alaska, mapping uncharted territory to support the building of the Alaska Highway. Deployed to South America in 1942–1943; mapping locations in British Guiana and Brazil for locations of emergency airfields as part of the development of the South Atlantic Transport Route.
Attached to 13th Air Force in late 1944; engaged in long-range mapping and reconnaissance over combat areas in support of seaborne landings in the Southwest Pacific Area and the liberation of the Philippines. Remained in the Pacific Theater after V-J Day performing reconnaissance mapping flights over Japan, Korea, and China. Unit largely demobilized on Okinawa. Inactivated in early 1946.
Active from 1947 to 1949 at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport as a reserve unit. Apparently not fully manned or equipped.
Reactivated in 1952 as part of Strategic Air Command. Mission was to gather intelligence on a global scale. The squadron operated Boeing RB-47 Stratojet medium bombers refitted for aerial reconnaissance and mapping missions. Flew day and night strategic reconnaissance missions over a global scale. Inactivated due to budget reductions in 1958.
Activated at Falcon Air Force Station, Colorado in 1992 as a space unit.