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As promised, beginning this month we will post a series of articles covering the units of weather reconnaissance.  These will not be all encompassing stories, but rather the standard history data, including lineage, approved emblems, commanders.  Most of the information comes from the Air Force Weather History Office at Offutt AFB, NE, and from the 1987 publication:  Air Weather Service:  Our Heritage 1937 - 1987  by Markus, Halbeisen, and Fuller.

1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron
Air Route, Medium

Official USAF Photo/Illustration, Courtesy of National Museum of the USAF

The emblem of the 1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron was approved on 26 March 1943, when the unit was still the Army Air Forces Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Test) Number One.  

The significance:  The blue background represents the sky, which is the working area of the meteorologist.  The thunderbird portrays the early American Indian's conception of the cause of all thunderstorms.  The clouds, red thunderbolt, and raindrops depict meteorological elements associated with thunderstorms.


16 August 1942:  Constituted as the
Army Air Forces Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Test) Number One.

21 August 1942:  Activated at Patterson Field, Ohio, and assigned to Headquarters Army Air Forces Directorate of Weather, which further assigned it to the 2nd Weather Squadron (Regional Control).

13 April 1943:  Moved to Truax AAF, in Madison Wisconsin.  Assigned to Flight Control Command.

23 June 1943:  Moved to Presque Isle, Maine

6 July 1943:  Assigned to Army Air Forces Weather Wing

21 Dec 1943:  Redesignated as the 30th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Air Route, Medium and assigned to Air Transport Command (ATC)

5 August 1944: 
Redesignated as the 1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Air Route, Medium

5 September 1944:  Moved to Grenier Field, New Hampshire

9 February 1945:  Reassigned to the 311th Photographic Wing, Mapping and Charting

21 Dec 1945:  Inactivated

Official USAF Photo, Courtesy of Air Force Weather History Office
B-25 # 43-36089 of the 1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Air Route, Medium
Note the psychrometer visible on the left side of the nose compartment.

The 1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Air Route, Medium (and its predecessor units) operated from numerous locations during 1943 -1945.  The separate flights (detachments) were given bird names, Duck, Robin, and Eagle Flight.  They even started the weather reconnaissance tradition of naming tracks after birds.  The Redbird, Bluebird, Blackird, and Raven tracks (a modification to the standard Blackbird track) provided broad area synoptic data to help improve forecasts for the thousands of planes moving across the Atlantic. 

The squadron was originally programmed to receive B-24 type aircraft; however, demands by the combatant commanders for more heavy bombers and crews caused a change.  The first aircraft to arrive was a single Lockheed Hudson, which was delivered to Patterson Field for testing.  By April 1943 it was decided to equip the unit with nine modified B-25 light bombers.  They operated from the US East Coast, to Goose Bay, Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland.  Several B-17s were also made available to extend the range of the North Atlantic missions.

In addition, Robin, Eagle and Duck Flights staged from the Azores, Bermuda, British Guiana, and Panama.  In May of 1945, Duck Flight moved to Morrison Field in West Palm Beach, Florida.  From here they assumed the hurricane reconnaissance mission that had been performed in 1944 by the Army Hurricane Reconnaissance Unit, a hand-picked group of B-25 crews.

Commanders and Date of Assignment

21 Aug 1942                1Lt Horace J. Wheeler, Jr.

23 Sep 1942                Capt Arthur A. McCartan

23 Jun 1943                 Lt Col Clark L. Hosmer

14 Aug 1944                 Maj Karl T. Rauk

14 Feb 1945                 Capt Sidney C. Bruce

Official USAF Photos, Courtesy of Air Force Weather History Office

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