#1320 MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9A Reaper

MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9A Reaper
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£10.00 €11.17 $12.18
43.8 cm x 29.2 cm
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MQ-1B Predator; MQ-9 Reaper
05-3138; 08-4047
2d SOS, 919th SOW
Hurlburt Field, Florida
US - Air Force
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Description

Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1320, 05-3138, MQ-1 Predator, 08-4047, MQ-9 Reaper, 2D Special Operations Squadron, 919th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida. The unit known today as the 2d Special Operations Squadron traces its roots to World War I and the 2d Balloon Company. Part of the Air Service of the American Expeditionary Force, the 2d Balloon Company formed for training in September 1917 at Fort Omaha NE and began flying in France in January 1918, conducting the dangerous duty of spotting targets for front line artillery. The 2d was the first American Balloon Company to support combat operations in France along the Western Front. By the Armistice of 11 November 1918 there were a total of 35 balloon companies and the size of the Air Service totaled 57.508 personnel, of which approximately 17,000 were balloon troops. Over the course of the war, the 2d and the rest of the balloon squadrons logged 1,642 combat ascensions totaling 3,111 hours of observation and were responsible for over 18,000 aerial photographs. Following the war, the 2d and many other of these units were decommissioned. The 2d appeared again when on September 26, 1931 Lt William R. Turnbull requested an Insignia for the newly reconstituted 2d Balloon Company at Ft Bragg, NC. It displayed the blue and gold background colors of the Army Air Corps, the “Caquot” balloon in its natural gray fabric color, and had seven stars representing the major operations in which the 2d participated. His request contains the oldest recorded use of the motto “Semper Vigilans” – Always Vigilant. Over the squadron’s lifetime the squadron was redesignated or reconstituted six times. During the 1950s, the 2d flew strategic support missions using C-54 Skymaster and C-124 Globemaster II aircraft to transport classified equipment and personnel for the Strategic Air Command. Reactivated in March 2009, the 2d Special Operations Squadron (SOS) became the first Air Force Reserve squadron to be assigned a modern MQ-1 Predator Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Combat Air Patrol (CAP). For its first five years, operations were originally carried out from Nellis Air Force Base, NV under the command of its parent unit, the 919th Special Operations Wing based at Duke Field, FL. Operations continued from Nellis Air force Base, NV until 14 June 2014, when the unit transferred to its new home at Hurlburt Field, FL. As part of the move, the squadron transitioned from the MQ-1 Predator to the MQ-9 Reaper. Living up to its rich history and the squadron’s motto “Always Vigilant”, operations continued ceaselessly during the airframe transition and the move was completed without so much as a minute of lost combat support time, in direct testament to the hard work and dedication of the squadron’s leadership, its members, and its civilian contractors. The 2d added a second MQ-9 CAP less than four months after beginning operations from Hurlburt. The 2d SOS has participated in OPERATION COPPER DUNE, OPERATION JUPITER GARRET, OPERATION FREEDOM’S SENTINEL, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, and OPERATION NEW DAWN. They flew the last MQ-1 to leave Iraq on 18 November 2011, ceasing US combat operations in Iraq on the last day of OND. As of February 2015, the 2d SOS has flown over 69,700 hours, completed 2,700 combat sorties, provided intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for 5,830 targets, 2,370 follows, and supported 378 raids resulting in 899 detainees. The laser guided bombs and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles carried by the MQ-1 and MQ-9 supported ground commander’s actions against enemy forces while saving the lives of numerous allied troops in harm’s way.. The aircraft shown are the type R balloon, an MQ-1 and MQ-9. The MQ-1 tail number depicted was the last Predator flown by the 2d SOS and the MQ-9 Reaper tail number is the first one flown on 1 April 2014.

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