Library Fact Sheets
728TH AIR CONTROL SQUADRON|
Printable Fact Sheet
(Editor's note: A fact sheet for Air Force CRCs can be found on the 552nd Air Control Group website.)
Constituted in August 1950, the 728th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (AC&W) was activated on 2 September 1950 at Turner AFB, Albany, Ga., under Ninth Air Force. Initial equipment included the AN/TPS-1B light weight, transportable, early warning radar along with the AN/CPS-1 long range, fixed, early warning radar. The initial communication used consisted of the AN/TRC-7 portable short range, two-channel radios. The squadron completed its first exercise, Operation SICILY, later that year at Fort Bragg, NC.
In November, the 728th moved to Pope AFB, NC where the Air Force (AF) split the unit and created a separate squadron, the 729 AC&W. In May 1951, 9AF assigned 26 pilots to the 728th and two days later Major Carl Leo, 728 AC&W Commander, flew the unit's first air intercept mission against a pilot returning from a cross country trip. By the end of the year, additional equipment included the TPS-10, height finder and the CPS-5, air transportable search radar.
The unit moved to Donaldson AFB, S.C., in 1954 and then to Shaw AFB, S.C., two years later. By this time the 728th employed the MPS-11 heavy search radar, MPS-14 height finder radar, TPS-1D backup search radar, MPS-8 height finder backup radar, and the GPX-17 backup search radar. In July 1958, the squadron deployed to Adana, Turkey. and participated in Operation BLUE BAT as part of Composite Air Strike Force-Bravo. The 728th deployed the MPS-14 and provided surveillance, identification, interception, and control of 19th Air Force directed missions. In all, 728th personnel controlled 768 intercepts during the 90-day deployment.
Redesignated the 728th Tactical Control Squadron (TCS) in 1964, the "Demons" furnished radar surveillance for a designated area in support of the Tactical Air Control System (TACS), provided control for air defense of assigned area(s), accomplished assigned tactical strike missions and ground support, afforded navigational assistance and assisted other aircraft during emergency situations, and equipped and manned the Tactical Air Control Center (TACC) during wartime and designated exercises. Throughout the remainder of the 1960s the squadron participated in exercises in Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and various classified locations.
In 1970 the Demons became the first unit in Tactical Air Command with the TPS-43 as its primary radar. The TPS-43 provided solid state, highly mobile radar with both height finding and search capability. The 728 TCS moved to Eglin Auxiliary Field #3 (Duke Field), Fla., on 15 August 1977. In 1979, the 728th became the first TCS to deploy to Korea during Exercise TEAM SPIRIT 79. The Demons deployed a two-cell configuration of the TSQ-91 control and reporting center along with a TYC-10 message processing center. During the exercise, two Lieutenants from the 728th became the first females to control aircraft over Korean airspace. Total flying activity included 654 intercepts, 498 DACTs, 12 refuelings, 246 Close Air Support, and 250 other events.
During the 1980s, the 728 TCS deployed to southwest Asia for Exercise PROUD PHANTOM in Egypt and Operation ELF-ONE in Saudi Arabia. They returned to Korea in 1984 for Exercise TEAM SPIRIT. The Demons also participated in several local and CONUS exercises, many involving the 33 TFW at Eglin AFB, Fla.
The 728 TCS returned to southwest Asia in Support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in 1990/1991. The unit received campaign streamers for the Defense of Saudi Arabia and the Liberation and Defense of Kuwait during these operations. Redesignated the 728th Air Control Squadron (ACS) on 1 Nov 1991, the AF assigned the Demons to the 33d Fighter Wing the following May. Deteriorating buildings and a lack of storage space hastened the squadron's move to its new facilities at Eglin AFB on 5 June 1994.
Throughout the rest of the 1990s, the Demons participated in almost every US military contingency including Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, RESTORE HOPE, SUPPORT SOVEREIGNTY, SUPPORT JUSTICE III & IV, CORONET MACAW, STEADY STATE, DENY FLIGHT, DESERT CALM and ALLIED FORCE.
Following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the 728th provided support for Operation NOBLE EAGLE. The unit provided air defense surveillance for North American Aerospace Defense Command's southeastern sector, the launch of the space shuttle Endeavor, and President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, TX. The 728 ACS deployed 285 airmen and 2.7 million pounds of equipment to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).
The Demons experienced their first casualty of OIF on 13 May, near Diwaniyah, Iraq. Staff Sergeant Patrick L. Griffin, Jr., died as a result of wounds received from an unexploded ordinance while on a 387 mile convoy movement from Kuwait to Baghdad. The Demons named their deployed bivouac "Camp Griffin" in honor of the fallen comrade. Three months after their return in November 2003 form Iraq, the unit was again engaged in multiple deployments in support of both the Vice President and President of the United States.
The 728th is continuously lauded for its meritorious service in the execution of the Iraqi air war. These dedicated airmen have produced staggering combat numbers to include the deployment of 1,249 combat ready warriors and the control of 126,284 aircraft. The last five OIF combat tours finds the Demon's involved with a major portion of aerial combat events as reflected by these stellar achievements: 45,680 air refuelings, over-watch for 38,611 Army convoys, control of 16,096 close air support sorties, direct support to 1,731 troops in contact events with the enemy forces, involvement with 706 Special Forces missions, and the execution of 11 combat search and rescue missions.
The squadron once again proudly returned from war in September 2010 completing their seventh combat deployment to control the skies of Iraq. In 2011 they were tasked with their first and now final missiona in suport of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, sending Airmen to Afghanistan, Qatar and Kuwait.
The 728th's Demon's proud heritage includes two Meritorious Unit Awards and 14 Outstanding Unit Awards (one with valor).
As directed by Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC) Special Order GB-77, effective 1 May 2008, HQ 552d Air Control Group (ACG) was activated at Tinker AFB, OK and assigned to the 552d Air Control Wing. The order also directed that the 728 ACS was relieved of their present assignment under the 33rd Operations Group, Eglin AFB, FL and reassigned to the 552 ACG. This reorganization consolidated all four ACC CRCs under the direction of a single air control group within the Air Forces' premier air control wing.
On May 17, 2013, the 728th ACS was inactivated.The remaining Airmen and equipment at Eglin were named Detachment 1, 552nd ACG and will continue to draw down the squadron.
(Current as of May 2013)