91 Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron
History Notes

Chapter 4, Page 1 of 3

Strategic Shift: Korean War Sacrifices

After the Second World War, the U.S. once again quickly dismantled its military might. While the drawdown had an impact on the 91st, the demands for mapping and charting services continued, undiminished. In April 1946, the 91st was moved to MacDill Field, Florida and then six months later to Howard Field, Panama where it continued to conduct photographic, mapping and charting missions from a variety of bases of operation in Central and South America.

“So Tired”



of the

91st SRS,

enroute on

mission to

North Korea

In March of 1949, the 91st Squadron, now redesignated as the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, was reassigned to McGuire AFB, New Jersey. The unit continued to develop its photographic capability through training and lessons learned from World War II missions. Unfortunately, the 91st, as well as the rest of the Air Force lost many of its skilled technicians and pilots.

Artists drawing


“Tiger Lil”

aircraft mark-up

and nose art.

When North Korean troops invaded South Korea, the U.S. was again caught by surprise. Not only did the U.S. not have the ground troops and military weaponry necessary to stop this invasion but it did not have the air power needed as well. One area particularly deficient was aerial photography and reconnaissance. As one of the best equipped photo reconnaissance units in the USAF, General MacArthur quickly called on the 91st to join the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) fighting on the Korean peninsula. The 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron was moved from McGuire AFB, NJ to Johnson and Yakota ABs, Japan to begin supporting United Nations (UN) troops in Korea.

91st SRS RB-29 “Moon’s Moonbeam” was later renamed “Daijobu” and conducted long-range reconnaissance missions along the Red Chinese and Soviet borders during the Korean War.

The 31st SRS, Stationed at Kadena AB, Okinawa, was simultaneously moved to Japan, to become a part of the 91st SRS. Thus strengthened, the 91st eventually flew the largest number of different airframes in the Korean War and had more assigned personnel than any other flying unit in the Korean War. With over 800 assigned personnel, they had six different types of aircraft assigned, to include: the RB-29, RB-50, RB-45, WB-26, KB-29 and RB-36. (2) Throughout the conflict though, the RB-29 and RB-50s were the workhorses of the unit. The RB-50 was a modification of the high altitude bomber built towards the end of World War II to bomb Japan.

91st SRS,

“Flack Shack,”

was caught by MiGs

near the Yalu and

flew back to crash

land at Yokota.

An RB-29 reconnaissance crew assigned to the 91st SRS lines up for a preflight inspection,

1st Lt. John Marks (now Ret. Maj. Gen) is the third crewman from the right. (3)


1 Planes, Names and Dames, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications, Vol II: 1946-1960, page 12..

2. Air War Over Korea, Larry Davis, Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, page 55.

3. The B-29 Book, Frederick A. Johnsen, Bomber Books, 1978, Back Cover.

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