20th Operations Support Squadron

The 20th Operations Support Squadron traces its lineage back to Jan. 25, 1943, as the 20th Airdrome Squadron. Airdrome meant airfield. The 20th AS was assigned to the 2nd Air Force for a brief time before being disbanded in April 1944. During that year, however, the squadron had several homes, beginning with Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Kansas., in February 1943; moving to Scott Field, Illinois., in July of the same year; and moving yet again to its final home of Kearney AAF, Nebraska., in November, where it stayed until being disbanded.

The squadron was reconstituted and redesignated the 20th Operations Support Squadron on March 1, 1992, and was activated on March 31, 1992, as part of the 20th Operations Group. The squadron in its present form originally served at Royal Air Force Upper Heyford, England, March 31, 1992, to Jan. 1, 1994, but then moved to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Jan. 1, 1994, where it remains to this day.

The 20th OSS emblem is a “mustang,” or wild horse, recalling the aggressive spirit of the squadron and the lineage of its predecessor units that flew the P-51 Mustang during World War II.

The 20th OSS is responsible for all airfield activities and associated support of the 20th Fighter Wing’s many fighter missions. The 20th OSS is a diverse squadron, consisting of five unique flights: Airfield Operations, Weapons and Training, Current Operations, Intelligence and Weather.

The Airfield Operations Flight provides airfield management and air traffic control service to the 20th FW and 9th Air Force, as well as a myriad of other military and civilian operators. Airfield Management oversees a dual-runway airfield and plays an integral role in providing a safe operating environment for one of Air Combat Command’s busiest airfields. The tower and Radar Approach Control supervise more than 10,000 square miles of airspace that includes areas off the east coast.

The Weapons and Training Flight consists of seven different elements. Weapons and Tactics is responsible for providing tactical employment guidance for F-16C munitions and avionics systems. Airspace Management is responsible for ownership, scheduling and operation of 12 special-use airspace areas, 26 low-level routes and three air-refueling tracks. Poinsett Electronic Combat Range provides electronic warfare and air-to-ground training to combat aircrews of any service, at any time. It is a night-capable range, incorporating approximately 12,500 acres.
Life Support provides emergency egress, hanging harness and combat survival training to the entire operations group. Operations Plans maintains plans and operational instructions for the 20th FW’s combat and peacetime operations. Training designs, implements and monitors wing pilot training plans and syllabi. Finally, the Simulator Element provides operation, scheduling and maintenance of F-16 unit training devices.

The Current Operations Flight manages the maintenance information system and performs quality maintenance analysis in support of the wing mission. It provides the fighter squadrons with the required parts and technical orders to complete all phase inspections on time. In addition, this flight provides quality maintenance and operations scheduling guidelines, along with timely services, to maintain combat-ready forces. This flight also oversees the squadron readiness programs.

The Intelligence Flight provides intelligence support to the wing commander, staff and their fighter squadrons. This flight manages the sensitive compartmented information program and the pilot intelligence training program, maintains the classified intelligence library, and provides system administrative support for the wing’s intelligence computer systems.

Finally, the Weather Flight provides weather support to Shaw AFB, Poinsett Electronic Combat Range and Joint National Guard Base McEntire, South Carolina Support includes routine and special missions, deployments and joint and wing exercises. The flight advises decision makers of significant weather affecting more than 11,000 personnel and $2.4 billion in combat assets and government property.

In addition to its mission here , the 20th OSS deploys personnel around the world in support of various operations, including Operations Northern and Southern Watch, Air Expeditionary Force deployments, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The contributions of the 20th OSS were also instrumental to the 20th FW winning the 2000 Air Force Maintenance Daedalian Award.

(Current as of September 2015)