21st Special Operations Squadron Official History

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Lineage
Constituted as 21st Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Inactivated on 2 Apr 1946. Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the 21st Helicopter Squadron, which was constituted on 24 Feb 1956. Activated on 9 Jul 1956. Inactivated on 15 Oct 1957. Activated on 30 Jun 1967. Organized on 15 Jul 1967. Redesignated 21st Special Operations Squadron on 1 Aug 1968. Inactivated on 22 Sep 1975. Activated on 1 May 1988.

Assignments
35th Pursuit Group, 1 Feb 1940-15 Jan 1942 (attached to 24th Pursuit Group, c. 20 Nov 1941-2 Apr 1946). Eighteenth Air Force, 9 Jul 1956 (attached to 63d Troop Carrier Wing, 9 Jul 1956-30 Jun 1957; 314th Troop Carrier Wing, 30 Jun 1957-); Ninth Air Force, 1 Sep-15 Oct 1957 (remained attached to 314th Troop Carrier Wing through c. 8 Oct 1957). Tactical Air Command, 30 Jun 1967; 507th Tactical Control Group, 15 Jul 1967; 56th Air Commando (later, 56th Special Operations) Wing, 27 Nov 1967; Thirteenth Air Force, 30 Jun-22 Sep 1975 (attached to 656th Special Operations Wing, 30 Jun-22 Sep 1975). 39th Special Operations Wing, 1 May 1988 (attached to Joint Special Operations Task force, 13 Jan-18 Mar 1991 and 6 Apr-10 Jun 1991); 352d Special Operations Group, 1 Dec 1992- (attached to Joint Special Operations Task Force 2 Mar-12 Jul 1993).

Stations
Moffett Field, CA, 1 Feb 1940; Hamilton Field, CA, 10 Sep-Oct 1941; Nichols Field, Luzon, c. 20 Nov 1941 (air echelon operated from Clark Field, c. 9-c. 15 Dec 1941); Lubao, Luzon, c. 25 Dec 1941; Bataan, Luzon, c. 4 Jan-Apr 1942 (a portion of the air echelon operated from Mindanao, c. 9 Apr-c. 1 May 1942). Donaldson AFB, SC, 9 Jul 1956-15 Oct 1957. Shaw AFB, SC, 15 Jul-27 Nov 1967; Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand, 27 Nov 1967-22 Sep 1975 (air echelon operated from Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, 11-13 Apr 1975; the USS Midway, 20 Apr-2 May 1975; and U-Tapao RTNAF, Thailand, 2-5 May and 14-16 May 1975). RAF Woodbridge, England, 1 May 1988 (deployed at Batman AB, Turkey, 13 Jan-18 Mar 1991; Diyarbkir AB, Turkey, 6 Apr-10 Jun 1991); RAF Alconbury, England, 1 Apr 1992- (deployed at Brindisi AB, Italy and Incirlik AB, Turkey, 2 Mar-12 Jul 1993).

Aircraft
Probably P-36, 1940-1941; P-40, 1941-1942. H-21, 1956-1957. CH-3, 1967-1971; CH-53, 1970-1975. MH-53, 1988-2006.

Operations
Combat in the Philippine Islands, 8 Dec 1941-c. 1 May 1942; ground echelon fought as infantry unit in Bataan, 18 Jan-c. 8 Apr 1942. Carried as an active unit but was not operational from the fall of the Philippines until inactivation. Combat in Southeast Asia, Nov 1967-Aug 1973. Airlifted personnel from Saigon, Apr 1975 and airlifted US Marines in rescue of the SS Mayaquez, May 1975. Provided support to coalition forces during Southwest Asia conflict, Jan-Mar 1991 and later.

Honors
Service Streamers
None

Campaign Streamers
World War II: Philippine Islands. Vietnam: Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III; Vietnam Air/Ground; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV; TET 69/Counteroffensive; Vietnam Summer-Fall, 1969; Vietnam Winter-Spring, 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Southwest Monsoon; Commando Hunt V; Commando Hunt VI; Commando Hunt VII; Vietnam Ceasefire. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers
None

Decorations
Distinguished Unit Citations (Philippine Islands)
7 Dec 1941-10 May 1942
8-22 Dec 1941
6 Jan-8 Mar 1942

Presidential Unit Citations (Southeast Asia)
1 Nov 1968-1 May 1969
1 Oct 1969-30 Apr 1970
1 Apr 1972-22 Feb 1973

Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat “V” Device
1 Sep 1970-30 Apr 1971
1 Dec 1971-29 Feb 1972
23 Feb 1973-28 Feb 1974
24 Jan-2 May 1975
14 Jan-23 Mar 1991

Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards

24 Mar 1991-31 Jul 1992
1 Aug 1992-31 Jul 1993

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
WWII

Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
[27] Nov 1967-28 Jan 1973

Emblem
Gules, a funnel cloud bendwise Or shaded Sable detailed Brown supporting a devil’s face Buff shaded Brown, highlighted White, detailed Sable; all within a diminished bordure Azure. Approved on 18 Oct 1967 and reinstated in 1996; replaced emblems approved on 5 Jun 1995 and 20 Dec 1941 (24271 A.C.).

Motto
DUSTDEVILS
Approved 18 Oct 1967

John Grove Memorial

John Grove’s legacy lives on and not just in the PAVE LOW world. John helped fund Bless the Children, an international organization helping the poorest children of the world who are living under extreme conditions. He did this with his own retirement check! After his passing, several other caring PAVE guys stepped in to help out. In short, Bless The Children is looking for annual donations in order to provide a minimum of $2000 a month towards his memorial fund.

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