Duty our Privilege
Service our Objective
The 548th Reconnaissance Units have a proud history dating back to the Second World War and its heritage continues today with the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG), Beale AFB, California.
The unit was originally constituted on 20 November 1943, as the 6th Photographic Technical Squadron (PTS) and was activated on 1 December of that year at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, under the auspices of III Reconnaissance Command, United States Army Air Corp. In early 1945, the unit deployed to the Pacific Theater. The 6th PTS moved forward with the Allied Campaign against Japan, and provided support from sites on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Morotai Island, and Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. After World War II, the unit remained in Japan, at Yokota Army Air Base and Showa Air Station.
Pacific Theater Photo Lab, 1944
The unit was re-designated the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron (RTS) on 7 January 1950. At the out break of the Korean War in June 1950, the 548th was stationed at Yokota Air Base (AB), Japan, with detachments at Clark AB, Republic of the Phillippines and Kadena AB, Okinawa, United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands. The squadron provided reconnaissance support to the United Nations Command during the entire war. The 548th RTS was inactivated in March of 1960.
548th RTS Commander standing in doorway of quonset hut next to Building 206, Yokota AB Japan, 1951 (Photo by James Landrum, photographer), and Bldg 206 when 67th RTS occupied
The unit was reactivated as the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron (RTS) on 8 October 1965 in support of the Pacific Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The 548 RTS manpower and equipment came from Detachment One 67th RTS, which was deactivated on the same day at Hickam. Det One 67 RTS had been located in two old quonset huts located in the Hawaii Air National Guard area. After it’s activation, the 548 RTS moved into building 206 (The same building number as the 548 RTS, and later the 67 RTS, at Yokota and the AFSC of PI’s), an old 2-story corrugated aluminum former nose dock warehouse, the length of a football field, at the far side of Honolulu International Airport on Keehi Lagoon, with a great view of Honolulu, Waikiki, Punchbowl and Diamond Head. The unit was reorganized as the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Group on 1 October 1967 and on 4 May 1968 officially moved to Hangar Three, across from the PACAF Headquarters.
548th RTS/RTG, Building 206, Honolulu International Airport, Photo 1964
In the spring of 1971, the 67th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, was deactivated due to a reduction in forces in Japan. The mission of the 67 RTS, which at this time was largely the processing and exploitation of Giant Scale SR-71 missions flown from Okinawa, Japan, Church Door U-2 missions flown by the Republic of China, and target material production, was transfered to the 548th, along with many of the 67th RTS personnel.
548th RTG, Hangar 3, Hickam AFB, 1978
The inside of hangar 3 held a two-story facility, with much of the space later certified for TOP SECRET Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). On the first floor was the Photo Lab, Precision Photo Maintenance, Library, Logistics/Supply, Cartographics (In the early days) and other work spaces. The second floor housed the Command Section, Chem Mix, Work Order Control, and the Briefing Room, outside the secure facility, and within the “Green Door” was located Imagery Exploitation, Data Management, Research and Analysis, Target Materials, and the SCI Library and office.
The primary imagery missions processed and exploited by the 548th were Giant Scale (SR-71) missions flown in Southeast Asia (SEA) and along the Korean DMZ, Olympic Meet/Game (U-2) missions flown in SEA, Buffalo Hunter (Firebee Drone) flown in SEA, Bench Box (RF-4C) flown along the Korean DMZ, and National Strategic Reconnaissance Systems (KH-8 and KH-9 Declassified satellite systems and later still classified systems) over the Pacific Command Area. The members of the organization also deployed to Osan AB, Republic of Korea, to support the Senior Gaze (U-2) program, which flew electro-optical missions along the Korean DMZ.
U-2 Dragon Lady
The unit continued their mission in support of PACAF until 3 July 1991 when the group was inactivated with the establishment of the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific (JICPAC), which consolidated the missions of the 548 RTG, Intelligence Center Pacific (IPAC), Camp H.M. Smith, and the Fleet Intelligence Center Pacific (FICPAC), Pearl Harbor.
On 1 August, 1992, the 548th Reconnaissance Technical Group was redesignated the 548th Air Intelligence Group. The 548th Air Intelligence Group was activated at Langley AFB, Virginia, on 27 August 1992. The group was inactivated on 1 October 1994.
On 23 October 2003, the 548th Air Intelligence Group was re-designated the 548th Intelligence Group. The 548th Intelligence Group was activated on 1 December 2003 at Beale AFB, California, as a part of the newly activated 480th Intelligence Wing, Langley AFB, Virginia. On 1 January 2009, it was renamed the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG), under the 480th ISRW at Langley AFB.
The 548 ISRG operates $1-billion Distributed Ground Station-2 and Deployable Shelterized System-Film components of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System. This includes exploitation and dissemination of near-real-time U-2, Global Hawk and Predator imagery and signals data to provide actionable, fused all-source intelligence to theater, joint/combined force and component commanders.
The unit supports six unified command operations plans. The 548 ISRG is comprised of the 9th Intelligence Squadron, the 13th Intelligence Squadron, and the 48th Intelligence Squadron, all at Beale AFB, in addition to the 152nd Intelligence Squadron, Nevada Air National Guard, Reno, Nevada. (Much of this history information is courtesty of The Official Web Site of Beale AFB). The 548 ISRG unit patch retains the 548th heraldry.
The above audio recording is the late Col (ret) Bryon Lee Schatzley, the second Commander of the 548 RTG, speaking at the 2018 dedication of the 548th/67th Bench at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during the reunion in Dayton Ohio. He discusses the design of the unit logo and the early years of the 548th and his career. (Audio courtesy of Dave Belote)
Col Schatzley at the 2010 reunion
The 548th Reconnaissance units honors include a campaign streamer from World War II in the Pacific, service streamer from Korea, 15 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (AFOUA) and two Air Force Meritorious Service awards (MUA).
World War II Pacific
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
548 RTS AFOUA
27 June 1950 to 10 April 1951
11 April 1951 to 28 November 1954
14 October 1954 to 20 June 1956
548 RTG AFOUA
23 January 1968 to 25 March 1968
1 July 1968 to 30 June 1970
30 March 1972 to 15 August 1972
1 February 1974 to 31 May 1975
1 July 1978 to 30 June 1980
1 June 1986 to 31 May 1988
1 April 1989 to 31 March 1991
Detachment One 548 RTG, Osan AB, Korea AFOUA
10 January 1979 to 30 June 1980
548th Air Intelligence Group AFOUA
1 January 1993 to 30 September 1994
548th Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group AFOUA
1 June 2007 to 31 May 2009
1 Jun 2009 to 31 May 2011
1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013
Detachment One 548 ISRG AFOUA
15 July 2010 to 31 May 2011
1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
548th Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group MUA
1 June 2014 to 31 May 2015
548th Intelligence Group MUA
1 June 2004 to 31 May 2006
1 June 2006 to 21 May 2007
548th Reconnaissance Technical Group Commanders
Col Storm C. Rhode
Col Byron L. Schatzley
Col Clark E. Davison
Col Paul A. FitzGerald
Col Walter C. Stevens Jr.
Col Duane E. Vandenberg
Col Dan T. Waddle
Col Kenneth B. Orr
Col Barre E. Smuck
Col Ronald H. Markarian
Col John R. McIntyre
Col James L. Grant
Col Larry L. Benson
Col Herbert J. Boasso
A comprehensive list of the other commanders of the units is not available.