111th Observation Squadron
(111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron)
The Snoopers

The 111th Observation Squadron was formed on 29 June 1923, as part of the 36th (Texas) Division at Houston. Before World War II, the squadron drilled at home and attended annual training with the 36th Division at Camp Hulen, Palacios, Texas. The squadron emblem, the "Ace-in-the-Hole," was approved in June 1936.

On 25 November 1940, the 111th Observation Squadron was mobilized for World War II with its first active duty station at Brownwood Airport, on the other side of town from the 36th Division at Camp Bowie. The squadron took part in Louisiana and Carolina Maneuvers in 1941. Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, the 111th Squadron departed Texas for its new training base at Daniel Field in Georgia, and an early deployment overseas with the 68th Observation Group.

On 22 September 1942, the ground echelon of the 111th Squadron boarded the Queen Mary in New York for travel to England. In England the 111th Squadron had no aircraft or duties while awaiting the North Africa Invasion. The ground echelon landed at Azew, Algeria on the afternoon of 8 November 1942, and marched inland to Saint Lew the next day. The air echelon flew the squadron's A-20s to Algeria from the United States by way of South America. The 111th squadron quickly moved to Oudja, French Morocco, and began a mission of border and anti-sub patrols. Many of the squadron's pilots also went to the Tunisian front to fly reconnaissance missions for the 12th Air Support Command.

On 7 July 1943, the 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron began flying combat missions for the Seventh Army's invasion of Sicily with the P-51 Mustang aircraft. After Sicily the squadron supported the Fifth Army's invasion of Italy with reconnaissance and naval gunfire spotting. It pioneered spotting for the long range field artillery. In April 1944, the squadron replaced its old P-51s with new P-51Cs. In August 1944, the 111th squadron supported the Seventh Army's invasion of Southern France and followed that army into Northern France. The squadron was in Nuremberg, Germany when World War II ended, and was assigned to the Occupation Air Force.

In 23 months of combat flying, the 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew 7,284 combat sorties, supporting four invasions and participating in a fifth. Squadron pilots shot down 43 enemy aircraft while supporting the ground armies with reconnaissance and long range artillery spotting. The squadron received the Distinguished Unit Citation for combat in February 1945.

The squadron returned to Texas following World War II, but was called to active duty for the Korean War with the 136th Fighter Wing. After flying in Korea for a year with F-84 thunder jets, the 111th returned to Houston and became an interceptor squadron. Today the 111th Fighter Squadron of the 147th Fighter Wing continues to defend the Texas border and the serving the nation flying the F-16 "Falcon."

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