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26th Space Aggressor Squadron

26th Space Aggressors Squadron patch

26th Space Aggressors Squadron patch

Mission 

The mission of the 26th Space Aggressor Squadron, located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., is to replicate enemy threats to space-based and space-enabled systems during tests and training exercises. By using Global Positioning System and satellite communications jamming techniques, it provides Air Force, joint and coalition military personnel with an understanding of how to recognize, mitigate, counter and defeat these threats. 

The 26 SAS serves to know, teach and replicate a wide array of terrestrial and space threats to the U.S. military's space enablers. The squadron trains the modern warfighter to operate in an environment where critical systems like GPS and SATCOM are interfered with or denied--preparing them for the current and future fights, and guaranteeing U.S. battlefield dominance well into the 21st century.

Background 

The 26 SAS is the oldest squadron in the Air Force Reserve and one of the oldest in the Air Force. It was founded in 1914 by Raynal Bolling as the Army Signal Corps' 1st Aero Company, part of the New York National Guard. In May 1917 it was re-designated the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron. With the United States' involvement in World War I, the squadron was sent to France, arriving on September 17, 1917. On October 1, 1917, the squadron was again re-designated, this time as the 26th Aero Squadron. The 26 AS flew the DH-4 in combat and trained other American combat aviators to fly the same aircraft. The squadron received the World War I Theater of Operations service streamer. 

After the war, the 26 AS went on to become a pursuit squadron, an attack squadron and a bomber squadron flying the DH-4 and other experimental aircraft at Kelly Field, Texas. Re-designated the 26th Attack Squadron in 1923, the squadron adopted the familiar blue and gold "Shield and Fist" designator in 1924 and was inactivated later that same year. In 1930 the squadron was reactivated at Wheeler Field in the Territory of Hawaii as the 26th Bombardment Squadron, where it flew the A-3, PW-9, A-12 and B-18. 

In 1940 the 26 BS, still in the Territory of Hawaii, moved to Hickam Field and transitioned to the B-17 Flying Fortress. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the 26 BS lost 10 personnel when Japanese bombs struck their barracks during the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor and surrounding military installations. Still reeling from the attack, and despite their personnel losses, the squadron was in the air and on patrol December 8. The 26 BS distinguished itself during the Pacific "Island Hopping" campaigns of World War II, initially flying the B-17 and, beginning in 1943, the B-24 Liberator. The squadron was credited with the first sinking of a Japanese submarine by air attack. The 26 BS would ultimately earn 10 campaign streamers in the Pacific Theater of Operations. 

During the Cold War the 26 BS was on the front lines of the nuclear deterrence mission, picking up its first B-36 Peacemakers in 1949, the largest bomber ever operationally flown. The squadron was the last B-36 squadron to win the Fairchild Trophy awarded to the best bomber unit in Strategic Air Command. The squadron transitioned to the B-52 Stratofortress in 1958, flying the "BUFF" until 1968 when the unit was inactivated. 

In 1973, with the creation of the Aggressor program, the squadron was reactivated as the 26th Tactical Fighter Squadron. In 1975 the squadron was re-designated the 26th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron. The squadron initially flew the T-38 as an adversary aircraft before receiving its first F-5s in 1977 when it was re-designated the 26th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron. In 1983 the squadron was re-designated the 26th Aggressor Squadron. With the United States' victory in the Cold War, the squadron was inactivated in 1990.

In the years that followed the end of the Cold War and the inactivation of the 26 AS, the Air Force recognized a need for a wide array of aggressor units--squadrons that could train U.S. and allied forces to recognize and counter the full spectrum of adversary threats. The 527th Space Aggressor Squadron stood up at Schriever Air Force Base as the first unit of its kind in 2000, augmented by a flight of Reserve Space Aggressors. 

That flight continuously expanded to meet the ever-emerging threat and eventually reactivated as the 26th Space Aggressor Squadron as part of the Air Force Reserve on October 1, 2003, exactly 86 years after the squadron's initial "26th" designation, and more than 86 years after its initial tour of duty as a Reserve Aero Squadron. 

Read the full lineage

(Current as of September 2008)