728th Air Control Squadron
Published May 25, 2007
The 728th Air Control Squadron is a unique squadron with a mission different than any other squadron assigned to the 33d Fighter Wing. The 728th's mission is focused around providing air control (radar) services for combat air operations. Officially, the 728th provides a mobile, combat-rated, senior radar element of the Theater Air Control System for worldwide contingencies. Additionally the 728th provides combat and control of joint air operations by conducting surveillance identification, weapons control, battle management and theater communications data link.
The squadron was activated by the 9th Air Force commander in September 2, 1950 at Turner Air Force Base, Georgia. The unit was then stationed at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina in November 2, 1950 followed by move to Donaldson Air Force Base, South Carolina in January 16, 1954. Shortly after in 12 June, 1956 the squadron was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina before transferring to Eglin Air Force Base Auxiliary Field #3 (Duke Field) in August 15, 1977 as a tenant unit. The squadron was finally relocated to Eglin Air Force Base proper in June 5, 1994.
Since the squadron's creation, the 728th has received 13 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards and has participated in several major command, U.S. Readiness Command and Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercises and deployments throughout the world. During Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM, the 728th fulfilled a vital role in the coalition effort while they were deployed to King Kalib Military City, Saudi Arabia. The 728th also participated in Operation DENY FLIGHT, the suppression of flight activities over Bosnia, while deployed to Jacotente, Italy.
Additionally, the 728th is known for its significant contribution to the fight against illegal narcotics in Central and South America and for currently supporting an ongoing rotation to Kuwait as part of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM.
Following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the 728th supported Operation NOBLE EAGLE providing air surveillance defense for the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Southeast Air Defense Sector, Space Shuttle Endeavour launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and President George W. Bush's 2001 Holiday Retreat at his Crawford, Texas ranch. In supporting NASA's shuttle launch and the President of the United States, the 728th became the first air control squadron ever to undertake such missions.
Currently, the 728th Air Control Squadron is part of the 33d Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and stands poised and ready to provide a Control and Reporting Center in support of tactical air operations throughout the world. The unit reports to the 33d Fighter Wing Commander during peacetime but becomes subordinate to the Ninth Air Force Air Operations Center during contingencies.
The 728th ACS continued their proud combat heritage as being the first air control squadron into Baghdad at the onset of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003. The unit convoyed for over 480 miles with 93 vehicles pulling 70 towed increments support by 246 Demons as they moved from Kuwait to Baghdad International Airport. 728th ACS's convoy to Baghdad was the longest and largest convoy through a combat zone in Air Force command and control history. The squadron has now executed four Iraqi combat tours with stellar success in war against terrorism.