20th RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRONLINEAGEConstituted 20th Transport Squadron, 22 Nov 1940Activated, 15 Dec 1940Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, 5 Jul 1942Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron (Special), 13 Nov 1943Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, 12 Apr 1944Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, 17 Jun 1948Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, 4 Oct 1948Inactivated, 20 Oct 1949Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the unit constituted 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron (Light),and activated, 26 Apr 1965Organized, 8 May 1965Inactivated, 1 Apr 1973Redesignated 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, and activated, 1 Oct 1973Inactivated, 30 Sep 1984Activated, 1 Apr 1990STATIONSFrance Field, Canal Zone, 15 Dec 1940Howard Field, Canal Zone, 19 Feb 1942Albrook Field (later, Albrook AFB) Canal Zone, 9 Jun 1943-20 Sep 1948Bergstrom AFB, TX, 4 Oct 1948Smyrna AFB, TN, 27 Jan-20 Oct 1949Da Nang AB, South Vietnam, 8 May 1965-15 Jan 1973George AFB, CA, 15 Jan-1 Apr 1973Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, 1 Oct 1973Sembach AB, West Germany, 8 Jan 1976-30 Sep 1984Shaw AFB, SC, 1 Apr 1990
ASSIGNMENTSPanama Canal Department, 15 Dec 1940Panama Air Depot, 1 Feb 19416th Air Force Base (later, 6th Air Force Service; VI Air Force Service) Command, 5 Jun 1942Panama Air Depot, 1 Dec 1944Sixth Air Force (later, Caribbean Air Command), 5 May 1945 (attached to 314th Troop CarrierGroup [later, 314th Troop Carrier Group, Heavy314th Troop Carrier Group, Medium], c. Nov 1946-16 Jun 1948)314th Troop Carrier Group, Medium, 17 Jun 1948-20 Oct 1949 (detachment attached to UnitedStates Air Forces in Europe, 1-29 Jul 1948, and to Airlift Task Force [Provisional], 29 Jul-19Oct 1948)Pacific Air Forces, 26 Apr 19652nd Air Division, 8 May 1965 (attached to Tactical Air Support Group Provisional, 6250th, 1 Aug-7Nov 1965)505th Tactical Control Group, 8 Nov 1965 (attached to Tactical Air Support Group Provisional,6250th, 1-8 Sep 1966 and to Tactical Air Support Group Provisional, 6253rd, 9 Sep - 7Dec1966)504th Tactical Air Support Group, 8 Dec 1966366th Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 Mar 19726498th Air Base Wing, 27 Jun 197271st Tactical Air Support Group, 15 Jan-1 Apr 1973601st Tactical Air Support Group, 1 Oct 1973601st Tactical Control Wing, 1 Nov 1975601st Tactical Air Support Group, 1 May 1977-30 Sep 1984507th Tactical Air Control Wing, 1 Apr 1990ATTACHMENTSWEAPON SYSTEMSC-33, 1941C-39, 1941-1944C-49, 1941-1944C-47, 1942-1948, 1949OA-10, 1942-1943, 1943-1945UC-91, 1942-1943C-79, 1942-1943UC-89, 1942-1943C-38, 1942-1943XB-15 (later, XC-105), 1943-1944L-1, 1943-1945BC-1, 1943-1944L-4, 1943-1944UC-61, 1943-1945C-45, 1944-1945C-46, 1945-1947
C54, 1946-1948C-82, 1948-1949CG-15, 1949O-1, 1965-1969O-2, 1967-1973OV-10, 1969-1973O-2, 1973-1974OV-10, 1974-1984ASSIGNED AIRCRAFT SERIAL NUMBERSASSIGNED AIRCRAFT TAIL/BASE CODESUNIT COLORSCOMMANDERS1LT (later, Maj) Harry C Morrison, 15 Dec 1940Cpt Donald K Mumma, 3 Sep 1942Cpt (later, Maj) James W Guthrie, 18 Oct 1942Cpt (later, Maj) Raynold A Berg, 8 Oct 1943Maj Frederick A Sanders, 1944Cpt (later, Maj) Gerald Linscheid, 9 Dec 1944Maj Sidney E Cleveland, 14 Feb 1946Maj Irving R Perkin, May 1947Maj William H Beale Jr, (by Jan 1949)LTC Elmer C Blaha, (by Jul)-20 Oct 19491LT Frederick A Reiling, (by Jun) 1965LTC Sam Pool, (by Dec) 1965LTC Elvadore Ritter, (by Jun) 1966LTC Paul V Greenwade Jr, (by Oct 1967)LTC Herbert W McQuown, 7 Feb 1968Lt Col Benjamin F Starr Jr., 10 Sep 1968LTC Alvin M Welbes, 24 Jan 1969LTC Laurence W Lackey, 24 Nov 1969LTC Hyrum G Keeler, 1 Jun 1970LTC Colvin L Sammons, 15 Mar 1971LTC Ralph W Haymaker, 28 May 1971LTC Lawton C Brown, 25 Oct 1971LTC Gabriel A Kardong, 25 Feb 1972LTC Richard E Leal, 10 Nov 1972-15 Jan 1973None (not manned), 16 Jan-1 Apr 1973LTC George W Grill Jr., 1 Oct 1973LTC Robert B Clayton Sr., 20 Jan 1975Maj (later, Lt Col) Robert E Riggs, 20 May 1977LTC Robert M Staples, 6 Oct 1978LTC Dennis C Torrez, 26 Nov 1980
LTC Thomas M Power, 13 Dec 1982Maj Andrew E Dohany, 15 Apr-30 Sep 1984HONORSService StreamersCampaign StreamersArmed Forces Expeditionary StreamersDecorationsEMBLEMOn a disc divided fesswise nebuly of two, azure (ultramarine) and gules (pimento), the partitionline fimbriated argent, overall palewise a flight symbol or, encircled by 20 mullets of the third, allwithin a diminished bordure of the second fimbriated of the third. Above and below the disc twoscrolls edged gules, the one below inscribed with the words FIRST ON TARGET in letters gules.Significance Ultramarine blue and golden yellow are the official Air Force colors. The blue skyand the color red representing the embattled ground forces protected by the gold flight symbol, allrefer to the tactical squadron's mission to provide Air Force-Army interface and close control oftactical air with accurate placement of air delivered ordnance. The 20 stars symbolize the 20thTactical Air Support Squadron's excellence of performance. (Approved, 25 Jun 1974)EMBLEM SIGNIFICANCEMOTTOFIRST ON TARGETNICKNAMEOPERATIONSThe 20th TASS was activated April 1, 1990, also flying the OV-10A Bronco.20th Tactical Air Support 15 Mar – 27 Jun 1972 (O-2A, OV-10)366th TFW pilots scored 18 aerial victories in Southeast Asia. In 1972, gained the 362nd TEWS,equipped with EC–47N/P/Q aircraft, and 20th TASS, flying O–2A and OV–10A aircraft. Theformer was assigned an electronic countermeasures mission; the latter carried out a forward aircontrol mission.On 8 May 1965 the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS) was activated as part of the 505thTactical Control Group. On 8 September 1966 the unit was assigned to the 6250th Tactical AirSupport Group (Provisional then on 8 December 1966 the squadron became part of the 504thTactical Air Support Group headquartered at Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon.
The squadron was authorized thirty "Cessna L-19 Bird Dog 0-1 Birddog aircraft, however thisallocation proved difficult to fill, since the aircraft were being transferred from other agencies,primarily the Army.Four months before its organization, the Air Force had 20 aircraft required by the TASSs inVietnam. The TASS’s growth was dependent on and linked to the acquisition of the 0-1s fromother agencies. While TASS operations were initiated in August 1965, it wasn’t until the end of theyear that the 20th TASS received its full complement of aircraft.As the Forward Air Controller(FAC) pilots began to arrive, they were provided with familiarization checkouts and theaterindoctrination flights. Upon completion of these requirements, FACs were assigned to support USand Vietnamese Army units. During this period, FACs were given many and varied tactical callsigns.In the latter part of 1965, the 20th TASS was assigned the out-of-country mission, which entailedflying interdiction missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in. Its area of operations (AO) wasdesignated TIGERHOUND. To meet its mission requirements it was necessary to establish anumber of forward operating bases (FOB) to support the operation. Initially, FOBs wereestablished at Khe Sanh, Kham Duc, and Kontum. Eventually, the sites were expanded to includeDa Nang, Dong Ha Airfield, Dak To, and Pleiku.In mid-July 1966, the 20th TASS was assignedanother mission and AO. The new mission was designed TALLY HO. The AO was part of theSTEEL TIGER area located in North Vietnam from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to about 30miles north of the DMZ. The TALLY HO missions were flown from Dong Ha Airfield. Duringthis period, it was decided that all out-of-country tactical call signs would carry the name ofCOVEY.The 0-1, whether by design or accident proved to be an outstanding FAC aircraft. It providedexceptional visibility, was not complicated, and was surprisingly easy to fly. However, as theweapons of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese regulars became more sophisticated, the 0-1’svulnerability was accentuated. This vulnerability was countered by a new FAC aircraft. The newFAC aircraft was the Cessna Skymaster which was a modified Cessna 337. It was an inline dualengine aircraft with one propeller pushing and the other pulling.From late 1966 until late, approximately 350 0-2s were contracted for by the Air Force. The first 02s, to arrive in country were assigned to the 20th TASS. They were then assigned to Dong HaAirfield and Khe Sanh to provide a more substantial FAC aircraft to deal with the improvements inthe enemy’s weaponry. By reading some of the narratives submitted by 0-2 pilots, the reader willbecome acutely aware of the 0-2’s capabilities and limitations. The 0-2 was an interim aircraft, butit filled a void while the OV-10 Bronco was being developed.The 0V-10 was a more sophisticated and durable FAC vehicle: it had greater ordinance carryingcapability, more loiter time, a bit more power, and a greater array of conventional navigation aids
and in-flight instrumentation. The 20th TASS received its first 0V-10s in July 1969. The arrival ofthe 0V-10s to complement the O-2As resulted in the transfer of the 0-1s to other units. By October1969, the 20th TASS, while supporting five US Army and six South Vietnam force locations, aswell as the out-of-country operations, was operating from Da Nang and eleven FOBs.As the US Army began to gradually reduce its presence in and 1973, the 20th TASS beganwithdrawing from its FOBs. In response to the North Vietnamese spring offensive of 1972, the 20TASS reestablished some of its former FOBs. It is notable to mention that in June 1972, the 20thTASS had tripled its pre-invasion sorties. Further, Covey FACs from Da Nang using 0V-10s werea vital and integral part of base defense operations during that year. In January 1973, the 20thTASS ceased operations at its last FOB, and flew its final missions in Vietnam.The 0-2s were turned over to the Vietnamese Air Force, and the 0V-10s were assigned to otherUSAF units in Southeast Asia. On 25 January 1973 the 20th TASS moved, without personnel orequipment, to George AFB, California.The 20th Transport Squadron activated at France Field, Panama Canal Zone, on 15 Dec 1940, buthad only one officer and no airplanes until Feb 1941. The squadron became operational by Mar1941, hauling cargo on local flights with C-33s. In Apr 1941 the 20th received C-39 aircraft, andon 11 May made its first out-of-country flight, to Managua, Nicaragua. Before the end of the year,the squadron was flying to destinations throughout the Caribbean area, Central America, SouthAmerica, and sometimes to the United States, transporting passengers, mail, and supplies insupport of U.S. forces.In Nov 1941, the squadron established a flight at Howard Field to handle local missions and amonth later, another flight at Waller Field, Trinidad. The Howard Field flight ceased operationswhen the squadron moved from France Field to Howard Field in Feb 1942, but the Trinidaddetachment operated, as did a third detachment established in Puerto Rico in Jun 1942, until Dec1943. Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron in Jul 1942. Moved again in Jun 1943, this timeto Albrook Field.The 20th TCS flew many different types of aircraft between 1941 and 1949, several being one of akind, such as the XC-105, the only four-engined aircraft that it possessed during World War II. Italso flew, except for the first half of 1943, OA-10s in emergency rescue missions over the PacificOcean and Caribbean Sea from Jun 1942-Aug 1945. In May 1946 the squadron received C-54aircraft. The 20th TCS moved in Sep 1948 from Panama to Bergstrom AFB, Texas. It left allaircraft and equipment at Albrook, except for a detachment of C-54s that had left Albrook in Jul1948 to participate in the Berlin Airlift. At Bergstrom, the 20th TCS received C-82 aircraft in Nov1948 and began transition training. In early Jan 1949, the squadron's air echelon deployed seven C82s on temporary duty to Kearney AFB, Nebraska, to transport supplies to snowbound ranchersand farmers, while the rest of the squadron moved at the end of Jan to Smyrna AFB, Tenn. The C-
82s and aircrews arrived at Smyrna in late Feb 1949. While at Smyrna, the 20th trained with U.S.Army paratroopers in airborne tactics and carried cargo about the United States. The squadroninactivated on 20 Oct 1949.The 20th Tactical Ai-r Support Squadron organized on 8 May 1965 at Da Nang AB, Republic ofVietnam. It received its first O-lF aircraft in late May and began operations in Aug 1965. Providedvisual reconnaissance and airborne forward air control for tactical offensive operations, and alsogave theater indoctrination flight checkouts in assigned aircraft for newly assigned aircrews inSoutheast Asia. As the squadron expanded its operations, it established several detachments atforward locations throughout South Vietnam. In Jan 1969, received first OV-10A, and in Julytransferred its last 0-1. By Oct 1969, the 20th operated from Da Nang and eleven forwardlocations, supporting five U.S. Army and six South Vietnamese Army forces locations.The U.S. Armed Forces gradually withdrew from South Vietnam in 1970-1972, and the 20thdiscontinued its forward operating locations in 1971 and early 1972. Then, after the NorthVietnamese invaded the south in Apr 1972, the 20th again set up forward operating locations. InJun 1972, it flew three times the missions it had in mar, prior to the invasion. In addition to FAC,liaison, observation, and reconnaissance missions, the 20th, in response to enemy rocket attacks onDa Nang AB during 1972, provided base defense with the OV-10A aircraft equipped with smallbombs, 2.75 inch rockets, and 7.62 mm guns. In Jan 1973, the squadron discontinued its lastforward operating location, flew its last mission, turned its 0-2As over to the Vietnamese Air Forceand its OV-lOAs to other USAF squadrons in Southeast Asia. On 15 Jan 1973 the squadronmoved, without personnel or equipment, to George AFB, Calif, where it remained unmanned untilit inactivated on 1 Apr 1973 .On 1 Oct 1973 the 20th TASS activated at Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, to pro