The 606th Tactical Control Squadron, the "Inspectors of the Skies," was constituted Dec. 5, 1945, and activated Dec. 15 at Biggs Field, Texas. This unit, redesignated the 606th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron Jan. 30, 1946, was manned by only a few people until December 1946. It moved with the 502d Group and the 9th Air Force to Shaw Field, S.C., Jan. 13, 1947.
The squadron established a tactical air direction center at Shaw Field and operated a number of radars, including a CPS-4, CPS-5, MPQ-2, TPS-1B and TPS-10. Two months after the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the 606 ACS moved to Pusan, Korea. The squadron left Shaw Air Force Base Aug. 27 for San Francisco, sailing aboard the General Howza Sept. 8 and arrived at Pusan Sept. 24. Radar equipment was shipped separately from New Orleans to Pusan.
In connection with the United Nations offensive into North Korea Nov. 13, 1950, led by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, UN commander in the Far East, a detachment of the 606th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron moved northward to Sinanju Airfield. From Nov. 21-29, the detachment operated a TPS-1B search radar and a CPS-4 height finder at the site near Sinanju Air Field, close to the battle line. The 606th provided early warning of communist air attacks and directed B-26s for support of friendly ground forces during periods of darkness.
The detachment at Sinanju received a three-hour notice Nov. 29, 1950, to evacuate southward. It returned hastily to Taegu, and then the entire squadron moved back to Pusan. In early January 1951, the 606th moved an MPS-5, a CPS-1 and a TPS-10A to a new site on top of a mountain near Pusan East Air Base, and by Jan. 9 it was again operational. In March 1951, the 606th moved from Pusan to Inchon and established itself at Pyongtask. It began operating an MPS-5, a CPS-4, and a GPS-1 there March 18. Almost every night, the 606th directed B-26s and F-7Fs to enemy troop concentrations, supply dumps and motor convoys.
Hostilities ceased in Korea July 27, 1953. The 606th remained near Kimpo Air Base with detachments at Chunchon and Songgumri. In April 1954, this detachment was discontinued, and in June a detachment was established at Kangnung airdrome. The squadron moved from Kimpo to Kangnung Oct. 20, 1954, retaining the detachment at Chunchon. At the Knangnung site, the squadron operated an MPS-7 search radar and a TPS-10D height-finder radar. By 1956, an MPS-14 and an MPS-8 had replaced the TPS-10D. The squadron was inactivated in Knangnung Oct. 1, 1957.
About six years later, the 606th was activated and assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe with assignment to the 86th Air Division (Defense) on or about Jan. 8, 1964.
The 606 ACS has been stationed at numerous bases while assigned to USAFE. The unit served with the 86th Air Division (Defense) from Jan. 15, 1964 to July 1, 1974, and at Dobraberg, West Germany, where it was then inactivated. On March 15, 1977 it was reassigned the 600th Tactical Control Group and later the 601st Tactical Control Wing at Basdahl, West Germany. On Nov. 1, 1992, the 606th Tactical Control Squadron moved to Bitburg Air Base, Germany, and became the 606 ACS under the 36th Fighter Wing. A year after arriving at Bitburg AB, the unit was then assigned to its current wing, the 52d Fighter Wing, at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, Jan. 1, 1994.
The unit began a six-month deployment Feb. 23, 1994, to Aviano Air Base, Jacotenente, and Vincenza, Italy, in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT and PROVIDE PROMISE, where the unit maintained a 24-hour a day air picture for 179 days. During this deployment, the unit controlled more than 9,600 aerial refueling missions.
With the closure of Bitburg AB, the unit then moved to its current assignment at Spangdahlem AB Sept. 30, 1995.
In 1999, the 606 ACS deployed a convoy of 88 vehicles, 800 short tons of equipment and more than 100 troops more than 1,600 miles in a record-setting five days to Lecce, Italy, in support of Operation ALLIED FORCE. Upon completing its mission, the unit redeployed home, completing the longest overland convoy in Air Force history.
The 606 ACS deployed 113 people in August 2000 to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, in support of Air Expeditionary Force 9 and Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. The 606 ACS was the first USAFE air control squadron tasked to support OSW. During this deployment, the unit successfully tracked more than 3,500 allied aircraft, controlled more than 2,400 air-refueling sorties and supported nine response options to Iraqi violations to the no-fly zone restrictions.
The 606 ACS deployed for Air Expeditionary Force 10, December 2001 to February 2002 to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While there, the unit controlled more than 1,600 allied aircraft, performed refueling control for more than 1,000 aircraft and supported three response options against Iraqi military targets.
Additionally, it supported 24/7 link connectivity to provide the air picture from the Afghan area of operations and provided back-up air operations center duties during a Combined Air Operations Center power loss.
The squadron deployed to Kirkuk Air Base, Northern Iraq, in May 2003. As the first operational American air control squadron on Iraqi soil, the unit played key roles controlling battle space for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and supporting Operations PENINSULA STRIKE, DESERT SCORPION, DESERT SIDEWINDER and IVY SERPENT. Toward the deployments end, the squadron topped their achievements by controlling the entire battle environment during the U.S. Forces surrounding, and eventual deaths, of Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay.
The 606 ACS deployed to Marnewaard, The Netherlands in September 2005 for Exercises HOLLAND FLAG and FALCON GUARD. While there, the unit trained in site defense and convoy tactics in the Marnehuizen Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) Area.
From January to September 2006, the squadron deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan to support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The unit also supported Operations KURBACH and MOUNTAIN LION, while additionally providing key command and control during Operation MOUNTAIN THRUST, the largest ground offensive in Afghanistan since 2002. As the Afghan theater's only air control squadron, the unit controlled over 17,800 combat sorties supporting 936 Troops in Contact missions resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 anti-coalition militants.
From January to September 2008, the 606 ACS deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar to provide Air Defense for the Arabian Gulf. The squadron integrated US Army PATRIOT battalions and US Navy ballistic missile defense ships with US Air Force Air Defense and Command and Control assets. As the Regional Air Defense Commander, the unit protected over 8,000 coalition personnel and $15 billion coalition assets supporting Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM.
The unit returned to Kandahar Airfield in May 2009, again in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The squadron relieved the Royal Australian Air Force, and transitions tactical command and control, using long haul remote capabilities, from Afghanistan to Qatar until they returned in October 2009. During the deployment, the air control squadron employed the Battlefield Command and Control Center (BC3), controlled over 2,000 combat sorties and supported 600 ground battles that resulted in the eradication or capture of over 450 anti-coalition militants.
The 606 ACS will celebrate its 65th Anniversary on December 15th, 2010 and is currently deployed on its third Air Expeditionary Force rotation to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan and Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar to support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and the Air Defense of the Arabian Gulf.
The 606 ACS is a self-contained mobile combat unit with Airmen covering more than 21 specialties that maintains over $170M worth of equipment including the TPS-75 RADAR, a Priority Level 4 Resource. The unit provides daily command and control to the 52d Fighter Wing's two flying squadrons in addition to the occasional control of NATO AWACS from Geilenkirchen AB and visiting aircraft from around the USAFE Theater.
The unit's decorations include two Distinguished Unit Citations (Korea), three Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations and twelve Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (one with Valor).