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681st Bombardment Squadron

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Title: 681st Bombardment Squadron  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, United States Army Air Forces in Australia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

681st Bombardment Squadron

681st Bombardment Squadron

26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron Patch
Active 1943-1946; 1947-1949; 1955-1962; 1993-
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Intelligence
Engagements South West Pacific Theater of World War II
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation

The 681st Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 70th Bombardment Wing. It was last stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and was inactivated on 25 June 1962.


Established in early 1943 as the 26th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, trained under Second Air Force. Deployed to Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), initially to Australia, then flying long range unarmed combat aerial photography missions during the New Guinea Campaign from forward airfields in Papua New Guinea with photographic versions of the P-38 Lightning. Moved forward to support Mac Arthur's island hopping campaign to the Netherlands East Indies, then flying missions in support of the 1944-1945 Philippines Campaign. Later moving to Okinawa in August 1945 after the Japanese Capitulation. Flew aerial reconnaissance over Occupied Japan and Korea, inactivating in early 1946.

Reactivated in 1947 in the reserve at Hamilton Field, California, but it is unclear whether or not the unit had any assigned aircraft of personnel. It was inactivated in 1949 due to budgetary reductions.

Reactivated under Strategic Air Command in 1955 as a RB-47 Stratojet reconnaissance squadron flying strategic reconnaissance missions to meet SAC's global reconnaissance commitments from October 1955 – 1962. Flew many long-range clandestine missions with the RB-47, flying many ferret missions around the periphery of Soviet territory, and sometimes inside on penetration flights to map planned routes for B-52s if combat missions over the Soviet Union ever became necessary. Missions flown on a reduced scale after February 1958 when events showed the vulnerability of the RB-47 to Soviet air defenses and the development of the U-2 aircraft. Converted to standard B-47 medium bombers in late 1961 and redesignated as 681st Bombardment Squadron, but inactivated in 1962 prior to becoming combat ready.


  • Constituted as the 26th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 5 February 1943
Redesignated 26th Photographic Squadron (Light) on 6 February 1943
Activated on 9 February 1943
  • Redesignated 26th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron on 11 August 1943
Inactivated on 20 Feb 1946
  • Redesignated 26th Reconnaissance Squadron, Very Long Range (Photographic-RCM) on 3 Ju1y 1947
Activated in the reserve on 1 August 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 26th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium on 14 Jan 1955
Activated on 24 Jan 1955
  • Redesignated 681st Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 25 Oct 1961.
Discontinued and inactivated, on 25 Jun 1962
  • Redesignated 26th Intelligence Squadron
Activated ca. 30 April 1993
Redesignated 26th Air and Space Intelligence Squadron unknown
Inactivated 6 October 2006


  • 6th Photographic (later Photographic Reconnaissance and Mapping; Photographic Reconnaissance; Photographic; Reconnaissance) Group, 9 Feb 1943 (attached to 308th Bombardment Wing after 22 Oct 1945)
  • 308th Bombardment Wing, 21 Nov 1945-20 Feb 1946
  • 70th Reconnaissance Group, 1 Aug 1947-27 Jun 1949
  • 70th Strategic Reconnaissance (later Bombardment) Wing, 24 Jan 1955-25 Jun 1962
  • Unknown ca 1993
  • 502d Air Operations Group, 27 October 2000 - 6 October 2006






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