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43d Electronic Combat Squadron

43d Electronic Combat Squadron
43d Electronic Combat Squadron EC-130H Compass Call
Active 1917-1919; 1935-1936; 1940-1946; 1954-1959; 1986-1991; 1992--present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
43d Electronic Combat Squadron emblem (approved 5 November 1987)[1] 125px

The 43d Electronic Combat Squadron (43 ECS) is a United States Air Force unit. Its current assignment is with the 55th Electronic Combat Group, being stationed as a tenant unit at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona as a geographically separated unit from its parent, the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

The squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, its origins dating to 17 August 1917, when it was organized at Kelly Field, Texas. It later served in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. The squadron saw combat during World War II, and became part of Tactical Air Command during the Cold War.


Along with the 41st ECS, the unit accomplishes the Compass Call mission, providing vital capabilities in the realm of electronic warfare for the Air Force and are poised for immediate deployment to specific theater contingencies. The unit’s combat mission is to support tactical air, ground and naval operations by confusing the enemy’s defenses and disrupting its command and control capabilities.

The squadron flies the EC-130H aircraft, a specially configured version of the Air Force’s proven C-130 transport. To execute its unique missions, the aircraft were modified with electronic countermeasures systems, specialized jamming equipment, the capability to aerial refuel, as well as upgraded engines and avionics. Modifications made to the aircraft vary between the two squadrons, to help each squadron meet its specific mission-oriented needs.


The 43rd ECS has a long and varied history beginning Aug. 17, 1917, as the 86th Aero Squadron. It served as part of the zone of advance in France during the latter part of World War I. Then in 1935, it was an observation squadron operating as part of the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama. Beginning Dec. 7, 1941, the squadron conducted patrols over the Hawaiian islands.

The squadron then switched yet again. As a combat mapping squadron, the unit's aircrews flew over Japanese held islands photographing and mapping the terrain and enemy positions. The 86th prepared the way for the taking of the Marshall Islands, Wake, Saipan. Guam, and Iwo Jima. Finally, in 1944, the squadron made the first photographic mosaics of Tokyo. The squadron was redesigned as the 43rd Reconnaissance Squadron (Long Range Photographic) in 1945 then was inactivated in 1946.

In January 1954, the 43rd was again activated, this time at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. The squadron was initially equipped with the Martin RB-57 Canberra. However, once the Air Force received enough Douglas RB-66B Destroyer to equip more than a single squadron, the squadron transitioned to the Destroyer.[2] It accomplished a night photographic mission. The unit was inactivated in 1959.

Redesigned, the 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron, the unit was activated June 6, 1986, at Sembach Air Base, Germany. It served in Europe until 1991, then came to Davis-Monthan AFB and the 355th, May 1, 1992, as the sister squadron to the 41st. The 43rd earned a combat streamer for its duties in World War I and six more for missions flown in the Pacific during World War II.


86th Aero Squadron

  • Organized as the 86th Aero Squadron on 17 August 1917
Demobilized on 26 May 1919
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 86th Observation Squadron on 1 December 1936[1]

43d Electronic Combat Squadron

  • Constituted as the 86th Observation Squadron and activated on 1 March 1935
Inactivated on 1 September 1936
  • Consolidated with the 86th Aero Squadron on 1 December 1936
  • Activated on 1 February 1940
Redesignated 86th Observation Squadron (Medium) on 26 February 1942
Redesignated 86th Observation Squadron on 4 July 1942
Redesignated 86th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bomber) on 31 May 1943
Redesignated 86th Combat Mapping Squadron on 13 November 1943
Redesignated 43d Reconnaissance Squadron, Long Range, Photographic on 16 June 1945
Inactivated on 22 February 1946
  • Redesignated 43d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night-Photographic on 14 January 1954
Activated on 18 March 1954
Redesignated 43d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photo-Jet on 8 April 1956
Inactivated on 18 May 1959
  • Redesignated 43d Electronic Combat Squadron on 6 June 1986
Activated on 1 October 1986
Inactivated on 31 July 1991
  • Activated on 1 May 1992[1]




See also

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  1. ^ a b c d e f "Factsheet 43 Electronic Combat Squadron". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 2007-12-18. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Knaack, p. 419


12px This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links