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United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978

United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2006 Title United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978
Author Brian Rogers Publisher Midland Publications
Published 2006 ISBN 1-85780-197-0
Format 272 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $44.95


There have been a number of titles looking at the organization and composition of the United States Air Force since its formation in 1947. Most of these titles focus on the years between post-World War II and the Vietnam war though a few have ventured into the 1980s to some degree. If you've been trying to keep up with the proper designation of a given flying unit and what they've flown, you've had to pour through numerous surplus Air Force Magazines to piece the picture together.

Author Brian Rogers to the rescue. Brian started his USAF career in a hole in the ground - a Titan missile silo to be exact. In the early 1980s, he was accepted into pilot training and spent the rest of his career flying the B-52. In his travels, he managed to acquire lots of photos and data that pertain to the problem at hand - who flew what, and when did they get it?

The coverage of this title is as follows::

  • Air Force Wings
    • Air Force Wings
    • Air Force Reserve Wings
  • Air Force Squadrons
    • Airlift Squadrons
    • Air Refueling Squadrons
    • Bomb Squadrons
    • Fighter Squadrons
    • Flight Test Squadrons
    • Flying Training Squadrons
    • Miscellaneous Squadrons
    • Reconnaissance & Air Control Squadrons
    • Rescue, Special Operations, & Helicopter Squadrons
    • Tactical Air Support Squadrons
    • Air Force Reserve Squadrons
  • Air National Guard
    • Air National Guard Squadrons
  • Indexes
    • Tail Marking Index
    • Unit Designator Index

Each squadron is covered by a data table that provides the dates of unit designation changes (remember the changes and reorganization when Tactical Air Command became Air Combat Command, then most of Strategic Air Command's air assets were assimilated into ACC, and then the words Tactical and Strategic were removed from unit designations? All this whilst the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commissions were closing or reoganizing military installations across the country.

If you want to know what the status of any given flying unit in the USAF was between 1978 and about 2004, this title will pick up where others have left off to give you which tail codes belong to which aircraft located at which airbase. Or you can see where a particular squadron transitioned from flying the O-2 Skymaster to the C-5 Galaxy (a small transition) or another also flying the O-2 transitioned into the F-4, then the RF-4, then the KC-135E and currently in the KC-135R (talking about diversity...).

This is a nicely compiled work that provides the aviation historian with a concise timeline of any given USAF squadron in one reference. Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review copy!