• USAF Unit hits 29 year constant mission time.
  • 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron still going strong in Qatar
  • The missions have changed but excellence is still the result


Celebrations normally wait for round number years, but the military could no longer contain its joy as they celebrated the “Spy” plane class of the U.S. Known as the Hunters. The 763 ERS has remained in the Area Of Responsibility (AOR) for the full 29 years. That is almost unheard of in military discussions and should be commended.

A report by Defense Blog provided a glimpse of the accomplishment: “10,699 days, 12, 741 missions, and more than 140,000 flying hours” were the words of an elated Lt. Col. David Bonn, Commander of the 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, who could not have been any more detailed and exact about the aircraft’s service to the U.S. military.

However, it was not just the planes but also the men and women of the 763rd ERS that were honored by the USAF. It was a solid amount of time since the assigning of the squadron to the Middle East, which all started during Operation Desert Storm in 1990. The ceremony took place in Qatar, at the Al Udeid Air Base.

Made by Boeing, the Rivet Joint is an adaptation of the Boeing C-135 and is used by notably the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. The aircraft has been modified by several companies, to make them more military ready, upgrading their sensors, and radars to improve the image and signal intelligence.

The U.S. Air Force uses the RC-135 R/V Rivet Joint plane for reconnaissance and geolocation intelligence and also boasts a fantastic communications system.

The aircraft and the squadron were first deployed to the Middle East during the Gulf War for Operation Desert Storm as part of the Instant Thunder Air campaign. It ushered in a new era in U.S. tactical warfare and has continued to be a trailblazer in U.S. Air Force operations against modern-day threats such as extremism and terrorism in the region.

Commander Bonn noted how long it has taken the 763rd squadron to reach this proud milestone moment, recalling non-stop missions by hundreds of crew members for the last 18 years, saluting the 20,000 crew of the past, present, future, for their dedication and service to the squadron and their country.

Their mission of  Intelligence and ISR  is taking an ever-expanding and pivotal role in U.S. military operations. The role of the unit and its aircraft were vital in the fight against ISIS.