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4th Space Operations Squadron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4th Space Operations Squadron
4th Space Operations Squadron emblem.png
Squadron emblem
Active1941–1946; 1947–1949; 1952–1958; 1992–present
Country United States
Branch United States Space Force
RoleSatellite Operations
Part ofSpace Delta 8
Garrison/HQSchriever Space Force Base
Motto(s)Linking the Forces (since 1994)[1]
EngagementsSouthwest Pacific Theater[1]
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation[1]
John E. Shaw
4th Space Operations Squadron (in use until transfer to the Space Force)
4th Space Operations Squadron.png
4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron emblem (approved 20 January 1956)[2]
4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SAC).png
4th Photographic Mapping Squadron emblem (approved 14 July 1943)[2]
4th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron.png

The United States Space Force's 4th Space Operations Squadron (4 SOPS) is a satellite operations unit located at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. 4 SOPS is part of Space Delta 8 and responsible for command and control of the Milstar/Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Defense Satellite Communications System Phase III, and Wideband Global SATCOM satellite constellations. The 4th Space Operations Squadron's mission is to operate the Space Force's protected and wideband MILSATCOM systems. They provide warfighters global, secure, survivable, strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict. The squadron also operates three mobile constellation control stations at various locations in conjunction with host partners. At higher readiness levels and during exercises, these personnel deploy with U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Northern Command respectively.

Additionally, they provide reliable space-borne communications to national authorities, U.S. and Allied forces. The 4 SOPS' motto "Linking the Forces" reflects the squadron's responsibility to enhance the nation's secure and wideband communications capability for today's military forces. Command and control of satellites is provided through dedicated Extremely High Frequency antennas and the Satellite Control Network.

The multi-satellite constellation links command authorities to high-priority U.S. forces via communications terminals on aircraft, ships, submarines, trucks, and ground sites with encrypted voice, data, teletype, or facsimile communications. They also provide secure high-rate data communications links to the President, Secretary of Defense, theater commanders and strategic and tactical forces worldwide.[3]

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World War II

Established under the 1st Photographic Group in May 1941. Performed aerial mapping primarily over the southwestern United States prior to the Pearl Harbor Attack using Beechcraft F-2 Expeditor variants of the Beechcraft Model 18 which were equipped for the reconnaissance role.

After the United States entry into World War II, flew aerial mapping missions over Western Canada and Alaska, mapping uncharted territory to support the building of the Alaska Highway. Deployed to South America in 1942–1943; mapping locations in British Guiana and Brazil for locations of emergency airfields as part of the development of the South Atlantic Transport Route.

Attached to 13th Air Force in late 1944; engaged in long-range mapping and reconnaissance over combat areas in support of seaborne landings in the Southwest Pacific Area and the liberation of the Philippines. Remained in the Pacific Theater after V-J Day performing reconnaissance mapping flights over Japan, Korea, and China. Unit largely demobilized on Okinawa. Inactivated in early 1946.

Air Force reserve

Active from 1947 to 1949 at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport as a reserve unit. Apparently not fully manned or equipped.[1]

Strategic Air Command

Reactivated in 1952 as part of Strategic Air Command. Mission was to gather intelligence on a global scale. The squadron operated Boeing RB-47 Stratojet medium bombers refitted for aerial reconnaissance and mapping missions. Flew day and night strategic reconnaissance missions over a global scale. Inactivated due to budget reductions in 1958.

Space unit

Activated at Falcon Air Force Station, Colorado in 1992 as a space unit.[1] Four SOPS transferred to the United States Space Force on July 24, 2020, and became part of Space Delta 8.[4]


  • Constituted as the 4th Photographic Squadron on 15 May 1941
Activated on 10 June 1941
Redesignated 4th Mapping Squadron on 13 January 1942
Redesignated 4th Photographic Mapping Squadron on 9 June 1942
Redesignated 4th Photographic Charting Squadron on 11 August 1943
Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, Long Range, Photographic on 15 June 1945
Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, Very Long Range, Photographic on 20 November 1945
Inactivated on 14 April 1946
  • Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic on 5 September 1947
Activated in the reserve on 20 September 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium on 9 May 1952
Activated on 28 May 1952
Inactivated on 1 July 1958
  • Redesignated 4th Space Operations Squadron on 1 April 1992
Activated on 30 April 1992[1]




  • Beechcraft F-2 Expeditor, 1941–1942
  • A-29 Hudson, 1942
  • B-34 Lexington, 1943–1944
  • B-24/F7 Liberator, 1943–1946
  • Unknown, 1947–1949
  • Boeing YRB-47 Stratojet, 1953–1958
  • Boeing RB-47 Stratojet, 1953–1958
  • Boeing B-47 Stratojet, 1953–1958
  • Satellites, 1992–present

List of commanders

  • Lt Col Charles Thompson, March 1992 – June 1993
  • Lt Col Kimber McKenzie, June 1993 – January 1995
  • Lt Col Michael Mantz, January 1995 – August 1996
  • Lt Col Philip Fitzjarrell, August 1996 – March 1999
  • Lt Col Allan Kirkman, March 1999 – February 2001
  • Lt Col Roger Teague, February 2001 – June 2003
  • Lt Col Ronald L. Huntley, June 2003 – June 2005
  • Lt Col John E. Shaw, June 2005 – June 2007
  • Lt Col Tommy Roberts, June 2007 – June 2009
  • Lt Col Douglas A. Schiess, 19 June 2009 – June 2011[5]
  • Lt Col Scott Trinrud, 24 June 2011 – June 2013[6]
  • Lt Col Monte Munoz, 19 June 2013 – July 2015[7]
  • Lt Col Sherman Johns, July 2015 – July 2017
  • Lt Col Armon Lansing, 13 July 2017 – July 2019[8]
  • Lt Col Timothy Ryan, July 2019 – 17 June 2021[9]
  • Lt Col Brian Dea, 17 June 2021 – present[10]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Robertson, Patsy (1 December 2008). "Factsheet 4 Spece Operations Squadron (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b Endicott, pp. 351–352
  3. ^ No byline (13 July 2012). "Schreiver AFB About us: 4th Space Operations Squadron Fact Sheet". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 8 August 2018. (updated February 2018)
  4. ^ a b "4th Space Operations Squadron". Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  5. ^ Foster, SSG Stacy (2009). "Close friends participate in 4th SOPS change of command" (PDF). Vol. 3, no. 25. Schreiver Sentinel. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  6. ^ No byline (24 June 2011). "4 SOPS changes command". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  7. ^ No byline (19 June 2013). "4 SOPS welcomes new commander". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Schriever bids squadron farewell; welcomes 4 SOPS commander".
  9. ^ "4th Space Operations Squadron changes command". Schriever Air Force Base. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Dea assumes command". Schriever Air Force Base. Retrieved 28 June 2021.


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

This page was last edited on 26 January 2023, at 09:56
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