USAF Patch Recon 4080 SRW Strategic Reconnaissance Wing U 2 b
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USAF Patch Recon 4080 SRW Strategic Reconnaissance Wing U 2 b

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  • Item #: 1P 02US 4USA 02WIN 1CR 4080WG 05
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USAF Patch 4080 SRW Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Light b U 2 Dragon Lady RB 57D Canberra Laughlin AB Cold War US Asia Dets and OLs 1957 Fully embroidered cut edge 110mm by 100mm four and one quarter inches by three and seven eighth inches.

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Wing History  

4080 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Light was activated on 1 May 1956 at Turner AFB Georgia with 4025 and 4028 SRS Squadron Light equipped with RB 57D Canberra Project Black Knight aircraft as Strategic Air Command SAC's high altitude reconnaissance Wing. 4028 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron Light was allotted to become SACs first U 2 Project Dragon Lady Squadron.  The Wing used a dragons head and a black knight helmet in its emblem. In June 1956 the Squadrons were redesignated 4025 and 4028 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron Weather SRSW.  

Following operational training the Wing deployed RB 57D detachments to Yokota AB Japan as Det 1 and to Eielson AFB Alaska as Det 2 for ELINT operations around the Kamchatka Peninsula. Detachment 1 gathered Electronic Intelligence on Soviet naval and air force operations in the Far East monitored airborne radiation samples from Soviet nuclear tests under Operation Sea Lion and carried out missions over Communist China. The Wing carried out additional missions including classified surveillance programs Sky Shield Toy Soldier and Green Hornet. 

4080 SRW relocated to Laughlin AFB TX on 1 April 1957 and 4028 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron Weather began to receive its Lockheed U 2 Strategic Reconnaissance aircraft in June 1957 and began U 2 Operation Crowflight High Altitude Sampling Program HASP missions to sample radioactive debris in the upper atmosphere following the detonation of Russian Chinese and French Nuclear weapons with deployments to Ramey AFB Puerto Rico as Det 3 and Plattsburgh AFB NY as Det 4. Between March and August 1958 the Wings RB 57Ds Flew air sampling flights from the Marshall Islands Eniwetok Proving Ground to monitor US Nuclear testing program under Operation Hardtack.  

The RB 57D aircraft began to suffer failures with SAC placing several into storage by early 1959 leading to the inactivation of 4025 SRS in June 1959 and the last RB 57s retiring from the Wing in 1960. The Wing was redesignated 4080 Strategic Wing on 15 June 1960. 

The Wing played a major role during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 carrying out U 2 high altitude reconnaissance flights over Cuba taking photos of ballistic missile sites and nuclear storage facilities under construction and while tense negotiations with USSR ongoing the Wing lost a U 2 and pilot Major Rudolf Anderson shot down over Cuba before the crisis was resolved. 

The Wing relocated to Davis-Monthan AFB AZ on 1 July 1963 and following the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963 the HASP program terminated and the sampling U 2 aircraft were refitted for photo and electronic intelligence missions. The Wing was assigned the classified programme Lightning Bug with Ryan AQM-34 Firbee photo reconnaissance drones and DC 130 Hercules drone monitoring aircraft to gather intelligence on Soviet made SA 2 AA Missille systems. In March 1964 4080 SW began reconnaissance over Vietnam deploying a detachment of 4028 SRS U 2E aircraft to Bien Hoa AB Vietnam as Operating Location 20 OL 20 code named  Lucky Dragon. In addition the Wings DC 130 Firbee Drone operation deployed a detachment initially to Kadena AB Okinawa before being relocated to Bien Hoa AB codenamed Blue Springs. The U 2s operated over North Vietnam and the Chinese border gathering electronic signals intelligence SIGINT SAC target information and monitored the Ho Chi Min Trail supply routes from North Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia to South Vietnam. The U 2 Lucky Dragon missions were renamed Trojan Horse then Olympic Torch Senior Book and finally Giant Dragon.  

In July 1965 the OL 20 drone detachment was redesignated 4025 Reconnaissance Squadron and unofficially used the Black Knights emblem from the Squadrons previous activation.  

With SACs change from MAJCON to AFCON wings 4080 SW was redesignated 100 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 25 June 1966 with 4028 SRS U 2s becoming 349 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron and 4025 SRS with its C 130s and BQM-24 Firebees redesignated 350 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. 

This patch dates from 1957.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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