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7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2016, 21:05
by Jon
Hi all

*note - corrected heading now that I realized no 7506th SS (which makes more sense)

Looking for history about this little known but fascinating unit. Anything about this unit is helpful.

Did it fly any other C-130s other than 56-0484 (c/n 3092)?
Any one know of a squadron patch?
Based at Rhein-Mein, Germany?
When activated, when disbanded.
Under what command?

Does any one have a photo of 56-0484?

Re: 7506th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 04 May 2016, 14:22
by bobdaley
They had 9 C-130AII and a C-130A support slick
56-0484, 0525, 0528, 0530, 0534, 0535, 0538, 0540, 0541 and slick 54-1637.
They were based at Rhein Main.
The A-II's were replaced in the 70's by BII's
56-0528 3136 was shot down by the Russians in Armenia in 1958 after being meaconed over the Turkish border.

Re: 7506th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 04 May 2016, 21:54
by Jon
Thanks Bob, but aren't those aircraft of the 7406th SS? Is there a connection between these two units other than been 100 numbers different? Or did 7506th SS never exist and should be 7406th SS?

Re: 7506th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2016, 12:37
by bobdaley
Yes those are the numbers for the 7406 Support Squadron.
I have not heard of the 7506 SS

BTW there is a pretty good web page for the 7406 and the 7499 SG that it beonged to.

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 17:35
by northernmusic
Squadron History ~ They flew Top Secret Cold War Spying Missions that gathered photographs and radio communications. Activated at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany on May 10, 1955 and deactivated June 1974. They received their first aircraft (RB50s) in March 1956. The RB50s were replaced with specially configured C130A-II recon aircraft in 1958.

The first C-130A 56-0484 was assigned in March 1958. Other C-130A-II aircraft assigned to the 7406th SS included in order of assignment from July to October 1958: 56-0525, 56-0528, 56-0530, 56-0534, 56-0538,56-0541, 56-0535 and 56-0540.

One of these C-130's (60528) was shot down with the loss of a crew of seventeen (six 7406th flight crew members and eleven USAFSS recon flyers) over Soviet Armenia on Sept 2, 1958, becoming the first C-130 lost to hostile fire. Four Soviet MiG-17 pilots took turns firing on the unarmed C-130 when the American aircraft inadvertently penetrated Soviet airspace while on a recon mission along the Turkish-Armenian border.

C-130 60528 had less than 200 flying hours when it was shot down. On Sept 2, 1997, the National Security Agency dedicated at National Vigilance Park, Fort Meade, Maryland an Aerial Recon Memorial consisting of a refurbished C-130A tail number 57-0453 that has been restored to look identical to C-130A 60528 when it was shot down.

The Aerial Recon Memorial honors all SILENT WARRIORS (all military airborne recon crews) who paid the ultimate price while defending their country. The mission of the 7406th SS was airborne reconnaissance. The 7406th SS owned and maintained the aircraft and provided the flight crews. A separate USAF Security Service squadron provided the recon crew that manned the intelligence collection positions on the aircraft.

C-130B-II aircraft that had previously been assigned at Yokota Air Base, Japan from 1961-1971 were sent to the 7406th at Rhein-Main in 1971--replacing the C-130A-II models that were converted to original 'cargo' configuration and assigned to air national guard units in CONUS.

The 7406th SS continued flying recon missions from Rhein-Main in the C-130B models until June 30th 1973 when the squadron's sister Security Service flying squadron moved to Athens, Greece. The 7406th SS operations remained at Rhein-Main, but flew its operational missions out of Athens, Greece from 1 July 1973 until its last C-130B-II mission was flown on June 13, 1974. The 7406th SS was deactivated in June 1974. (detailed info by Larry Tart)

7406th Support Squadron USAF Rhein-Main patch."Semper Vigilis" is Latin for "Always Vigilant"

For more history see:

The 7406th was my father's squadron. He flew on C-130's from 1965-1970 while we were stationed at Rhein Main.
If anyone reading this knows where I can get a 7406th patch like the one pictured please let me know. Thank you

If you are interested in Germany visit my Facebook page "Germany and Deutschland".
It is loaded with photos and history, and it's always growing.

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 18:45
by northernmusic
Lockheed C-130A-II Hercules 0-60536 (56-0536) flown by the 7406th Support Squadron at Rhein-Main Air Base, Frankfurt, Germany

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 18:55
by northernmusic
Lockheed C-130A-LM Hercules, Tail Number 0-41637 (USAF S/N 54-1637) was flown by the 7406th Support Squadron, Rhein Main Air Base, Frankfurt, Germany from Jan 1961 to Jan 1972. This aircraft was scrapped September 2010.

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 28 Apr 2018, 22:30
by wbh
56-534 , LAC 3142 became N 131HP , 56-538 LAC 3146 became N 130HP , I flew annual check rides on both of them.

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 02 May 2018, 19:44
by Jon
Excellent, thanks for the update guys.

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2018, 00:19
by 130fe
Historical data.
I was a Flight Engineer in the 7406th from 1965 to 1969. There were two squadrons at Rhein- Main. The 7406 with C130A-2. Another squadron, I don’t remember their designation, flew a long wing B-57 set up to fly missions similar to the U-2. We were assigned to the 7499 Wing out of Wiesbaden. The 7499 also had some C-97s for reconnaissance, not sure what squadron number.
Sobering issue. Intel required us to listen to the 1958 shootdown by the Russians. It was actual radio transmissions from the Russian fighters (translated) arguing among themselves who would get the honor for the shootdown. As a result of that meaconing we were under strict orders to navigate by radar only.
We also flew TDY missions out of Athens and we were meaconed several times around Cyprus. When leaving Athens to return to Germany we sometimes had so much fruit and tomatoes on board I added about 4,000 lbs to the performance data! When I returned from Athens, visits from my neighbors picked up looking for fresh fruit and tomatoes!!

We were occasionally bounced by fighters . We were in international air space but the Russians would try to push us away from the reconnaissance area of interest. We were under orders not to deviate from the mission or change course. That got interesting at times; however the biggest danger was the French Air Force! They bounced us much closer than the Russians and tried to see how close they could come while maneuvering around our airplane. We also got bounced by the Swedes and the Germans but they stayed at a safe distance.
We enjoyed hearing the B-57s, as they flew back into controlled airspace and the buffer zone; announcing “descending thru 50,000 ft”. That got everyone’s attention. Back in those days a high altitude airline flight was around 30,000 ft.

Someone mentioned we were listening aircraft plus photo reconnaissance. The only cameras we had were Korean War hand held cameras so we could take pictures of aircraft bouncing us. We did not have any installed high level recon cameras, at least while I was there. We seldom got pictures of who was bouncing us because we couldn’t figure out how to use the camera. Intelligence department got disgusted with us and set up a mandatory camera class. It was a big laugh because the intelligence officers quickly found out they didn’t know how to use them either.

The 7406th was the highlight of my AF career. We flew select crews and I was lucky enough to draw Captain Duane Phares. Best pilot and nicest guy I ever flew with. Regards, George

Re: 7406th Support Squadron

Unread postPosted: 20 May 2018, 00:52
by wbh
Meaconing went on for many years. During Operation Delawar the Soviets would meacon the Siirt RBN. This RBN was on the Turkey - Iran border ,a narrow passage. The idea was to get all or part of our 100 ship formation to stray across the border.We could see the MIG's orbiting in wait.Spooky stuff ! However the giveaway was the signal strength of Siirt . Normally you couldn't receive Siirt until about 20 mies out , but on that day it was rock solid signal from 100 miles or more.