United States of America

Brief history
The United States Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense, has three subordinate military departments: the Department of the Air Force, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Army . In total, over 2.13 million active duty soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and civilian workers, and over 1.1 million national guardsmen and members of the army, navy, air force, and marine reserves are make the US Defence the largest employer in the world.

The Department of Defense is allocated the highest level of budgetary resources among all Federal agencies. This means that more than 50 percent of the total annual Federal discretionary budget is allocated to the defense department.

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a department of the federal government, founded in response to the September 11 attacks. Its primary responsibilities are protecting the United States of America and its territories from and responding to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S Coast Guard are the agencies using aircraft and heliopters taken up in the Scramble databases.

United States Air Force

Brief history
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on 18 September 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947. It is the most recent branch of the U.S. military to be formed, and is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. As of 2012 the USAF operates more than 5,500 manned aircraft and 300+ UAVs. To stay the worlds leading Air Force, improvements of systems is a continious proces. The last ten years saw the retirement of the C-130E, C-141B and the F-117A, while new aircraft like the C-130J, C-17A, F-22 and F-35 were introduced or are planned to do so in the near future. Also the USAF is affected by budget cuts, resulting in early retirement of aircraft, units being disbanded and base closures around the world.

History
Many things have happened since the first flights of Wright brothers from that small grass strip In Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in December 1903. The military very soon expressed their interest in these heavier-than-air vehicles and the forerunner of the current USAF was founded on 1 August 1907 as the Aeronautical Division of the US Army Signal Corps. The first aircraft, a Wright Military Flyer, was accepted on 2 August 1909 and at the end of the month the Signal Corps leases some land at College Park (MD) for their first airfield.

At first only used as reconnaissance aircraft soon the aircraft are equipped with small guns and bombs to do some more damage to possible enemies. Only a few years later these aircraft see their first wars. In March 1916 the 1st Aero Squadron goes south for punitive actions against Mexico and Pancho Villa. In the same month the Escadrille Americaine, later renamed Lafayette Escadrille, was formed by American volunteers in France to help out in World War I. Soon after being renamed US Army Air Forces on 20 June 1941 their biggest challenge yet started in December 1941 when the United States declared war on Japan and joined World War II. Thousands and thousands of airmen flew even more missions over Europe, Africa and Asia and successfully beat the suppressors. The War ended by dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki leading to Japans surrender on 2 September 1945.

Cold War
The development of new aircraft leaped in WWII. The German engineers developed a lot of sophisticated equipment and the US, and other forces had a good look at them. This all helped to get the first North American XP-86 Sabre jet aircraft in the air on 1 October 1947 from Muroc Dry Lake, California. The relationship with the Soviet Union worsened at the end of the forties. Thousands and thousands of aircraft, like F-80s, F-84s, F-86s, F100s, B-47s and B-52s, were manufactured to deter the Russians. The US had a strong presence in Europe with many airbases in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It did not take al long time before the Korean war stood at the doorstep which lasted from June 1950 to July 1953.


Photo: Melchior Timmers

Next was Vietnam. Many words have been spoken about this war which was a very bad experience for the US military. Politics did not allow the military to do their job and the American population questioned why their sons had to fight in a strange country so far away. More than 8500 aircraft were lost by all US services and many servicemen were killed or captured.

The eighties saw the introduction of a lot of new hardware. President Reagan reinstated the B-1 program and hundreds of F-15's and F-16's were delivered. During that decade another "sneaky" aircraft was developed, the F-117 stealth fighter. A few years later its big brother, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber followed.

It took the American military a long time to get over the political Vietnam "conflict". They were given the chance in 1990 when the "Mother of all Dictators" invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Within days dozens of US planes were flown to Saudi Arabia which started an air campaign to bomb the Iraqi invaders. This time no political intervention and General Norman Schwarzkopf was given a free hand during 'Desert Storm'. Because of that and the Coalition Forces outclassed Iraq by state-of-the-art equipment and far better training this resulted in a quick liberation of Kuwait.

After the Cold War
In the same period there was a small revolution in the Soviet Union. The communist party had to step down and more liberal people came to power. The relationship with the US improved eventually leading to a large reduction of the US forces and closure of many US bases in Europe. The USAF had to rethink their strategy as a large tank fighting battle over central Europe was no longer a current scenario. Now they have to prepare for fighting simultaneously at two locations anywhere on the globe. This was evident at the end of the nineties when the US still had a strong presence in the Middle East and President Milosovic of Yugoslavia ordered the slaughtering of the Albanian population in the province of Kosovo. The UN ordered intervention and the biggest deployment since "Desert Storm" went to the Balkan.

A devastating blow hit the US on 11th September 2001 when fanatics destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon by using commercial airliners as cruise missiles. Many people were killed and a worldwide hunt for the attackers began. It was soon clear that Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organisation were behinds this and the US started to hunt them down by starting a large air campaign over Afghanistan. After approximately two months most terrorists were killed, captured or had fled the country so a new government could take their place.

Now
Because of all the deployments the moral among the troops became low. Many servicemen were away from home for more than 120 days a year, which is not good for family life! That is why the Expeditional Air Force (EAF) was introduced. Now everybody knows in advance when the have to deploy and for how long. Also the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command are involved in the EAF to release the regular forces. Modernization of the fleet is underway, although because of skyrocketing prices of new military hardware not everything desired can be bought. The last C-141 Starlifter was retired in 2006 and the final C-17A Globemaster IIIs have been seen on the productionline. More and More C-5A Galaxies are sent to the Boneyard, while a total of 52 C-5A/B/Cs will be converted to C-5M Super Galaxy.


Photo: Melchior Timmers

All the MH-53Js are retired as well and awill be replaced by the CV-22B, of which the first thirty are currently delivered. AFSOC C-130J's are delivered (MC-130J, HC-130J) to replace the older MC-130P and HC-130Ns. The first AC-130J have been noted as well and will be operational in 2014.

All the T-6A Texan II have been delivered to the Air Education and training Command marking the end for the T-37B Tweety Bird.

The tanker problem has finally been solved. An initial order of 193 KC-767, a militarizd B767was awardded to Boeing, to rpelacing the aging KC-135R fleet. The final F-22As have been delivered in 2012 and the frist F-35 Joint Strike Fighters are delivered to Eglin AFB 33rd FW and Edwards AFB 31st TES. Nellis AFB will receive the first F-35As in 2013 as well. C-130J delivery continues replacing the C-130E and oldest C-130Hs, at the moment only a few C-130Es are still operational.

Budget Cuts
In 2012 the largest USAF budget cuts in history were announced cancelling the C-130 Avianics Modernization Program, a program that intended to update the remaining C-130H fleet. Also retiring the newly acquired C-27Js is forseen and no less than five A-10 Squadrons will be deactivated and there A-10Cs retired.

United States Navy

Brief history
US Navy Naval Aviation started its long and proud history at 8 May 1911 with the acquisition of two Curtiss aircraft. Those early aircraft were based in 1914 at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where they were used in an evaluation program with the Fleet. Since that early start, the Naval Aviation has grown to a wide fleet of aircraft and helicopter. Based on aircraft carriers and ships or deployed to airbases on the mainland, the navy aircraft are deployed to theaters worldwide to conduct missions in support of national and international operations.

The navy and marine corps have a distinct relationship. In the operational environment, as an expeditionary force specializing in amphibious operations, Marines often embark on Navy ships in order to conduct operations from beyond territorial waters. Marine units deploying as part of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operate under the command of the existing Marine chain of command.

History
The first interest of the US Navy in aviation already dated back to 1908. Navy officers at Fort Meyers (VA) looked to the usefulness of the Wright Flyer in navy service, however, it never came that far. Two years later, in 1910, civilian Eugene Ely made the first take-off in a fixed-wing aircraft, as a sales demonstration, from the battleship USS Birmingham.

Naval Aviation started its long and proud history at 8 May 1911 with the acquisition of two Curtiss aircraft. Those early aircraft were based in 1914 at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where they were used in an evaluation program with the Fleet. Submarine hunting and artillery spotting where the first tasks of Naval Aviation. In 1916 the Naval Flying Corps was established and by 1914, the start of World War I, the navy aircraft inventory grew to over 50 aircraft.

After the war development continued and the first flying boats entered service. The aircraft carrier fleet started in 1927 with the USS Lexington and the USS Saratoga. By 1941 the aircraft inventory grew to some 5200 aircraft and the Navy accomplished an important task during World War II. Several battles were since then fought, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and the Persian Gulf war. The US Navy was also involved in several political conflicts like Libanon and Libya. Of course we can't forget all the human relief- and natural disaster missions like Somalia and Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.

Modernization of the Naval Aviation still continues, older aircraft get replaced by modern advanced types and upgrades are in process. The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), designated as F-35, is in full swing and this aircraft will replace the oldest F/A-18A/Bs. The EA-6B Prowlers are being replaced by EA-18 Growlers of which the first squadrons already are operational. The T-6 Texan II is the replacement for the T-34 Turbo Mentor, while the logistic fleet received the C-40A Clippers (Boeing 737) to replace the C-9B/DC-9 Skytrains II's.

Carriers
Of course we can't forget the aircraft carriers of the US Navy. The twelve supercarriers, divided among the Pacific and Atlantic fleets, could be found all over the world. The large warships are carrying some 90 aircraft and helicopters.

This third-largest and interesting air arm is constantly under "construction". Squadrons are being transferred, redesignated, established and disestablished or being equipped with new aircrafts and helicopters. Carriers are performing Mediterranean and West-Pacific cruises. They are part of large international operations as Operation Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom and maybe they are one of the most interesting and spectacular places to be on in the world of aviation.

Scramble presents you on this page the complete and current Order of Battle of the United States Navy including the current status of the carriers, the Carrier Air Wings and their squadrons on board and, as far as information goes, future deployments. When we have information about future plans about bases and squadrons we try to publish this within the framework. Of course we like to know every detail, so if you know something about the squadrons, bases and carriers which isn't mentioned in our Order of Battle, please don't hesitate to inform us, please send your information to: usn@scramble.nl.

 

United States Marine Corps

Brief history
The inventory of the US Marine Corps consists of attack and fighter aircraft as well as observation, transport and early warning aircraft. The flying units are all mainly dedicated to supporting the USMC ground forces and occasionally to augment US Navy units if necessary. They are, like the US Navy, part of the Naval Aviation and have their own command. The first aircraft in USMC service was a B1 which came on strength on 22 May 1912 and was based at Tampico, Vera Cruz.

The navy and marine corps have a distinct relationship. In the operational environment, as an expeditionary force specializing in amphibious operations, Marines often embark on Navy ships in order to conduct operations from beyond territorial waters. Marine units deploying as part of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operate under the command of the existing Marine chain of command.

History
The institutional founding of what was to become the United States Marine Corps took place on10 November 1775. This was even before the birth of the United States themselves (4 July 1776!) and nobody even thought of flying aircraft. Since 1775 the Marines serve a proud tradition with a lot of historic fights and battles. The first battle fought was the Revolutionary War with a succesfull assault on Nassau in the Bahamas. From then on the Marines could be found anywhere in the world. The first battle overseas was a fight against pirates and the barbary pirates in the Mediterranean kept them exceptionally busy. After World War One the Marines carried out their first major ground action against Japan on the island of Guadalcanal. When World War Two was over, the Marines went to battle in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf an recently the Balcan and Gulf of Aiden.

The Marine Corps exists of three major air components: Amphibious Assault (the USMC "business card"), Close Air Support (to supports its ground troops) and Airmobile (Helicopter) Assault (to deliver groundtroops into enemy territory). Especially the latter is one of the world's most mobile and well-armed forces. Where the President of the USA would call the US Navy and ask "Where are the carriers?" the US Marines are waiting for a "Rescue 911"-call from this president for expeditionary operations or even armed interventions.

The inventory of the USMC consists of attack and fighter aircraft as well as observation, transport and early warning aircraft. The flying units are all mainly dedicated to supporting the USMC ground forces and occasionally to augment US Navy units if necessary. They are, like the US Navy, part of the Naval Aviation and have their own command. The first aircraft in USMC service was a B1 which came on strength on 22 May 1912 and was based at Tampico, Vera Cruz.

At this moment "the Corps" has a big and strong aircraft inventory which is larger than most countries' complete outfit. Spread over three active wings and one Reserve Marine Air Wing the squadrons are normally shore-based. They often deploy aboard LHA- and LHD-Amphibious Assault Ships (as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit-Special Operations Capable) and they also take part in regular six month land-based deployments all over the world or operate as part of a US Navy Carrier Air Wing.

The USMC inventory has seen some changes lately. Most important of those is the introduction of the MV-22B Osprey. These tiltrotors are replacing the CH-46E Sea Knights and already replaced the CH-53D Sea Stallions. The USMC acquired the F-35B as the succesor of the older F/A-18s and AV-8Bs. Furthermore, the Bell UH-1 Huey and AH-1 Cobra are being replaced/updated by new models which feature more powerfull engines, fourbladed rotors and"glass" cockpits.

The Ships
Nine Amphibious Assault Ships are on strength and on budget with the US Navy but manned by the USMC. These form their own Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and usually deploy together with a Carrier Battle Group (therefore not being part of the CBG) during regular six-month deployments. A few aircraft or helicopters from USMC squadrons may also be found aboard Landing Dock Ships (LSDs) as deployed detachment. These are not included in our presentation of the order of battle.

The Scramble homepage informs you about the current status of the assault ships, although this information is very hard to get compared to information on the US Navy carriers. We try to give an actual status of the Marine Expeditionary Units and the squadrons of the Aviation Combat Element aboard these big ships. We also try to give information about (future) deployments, depending on the amount of information we have.

On these web pages Scramble presents the complete and current order of battle of the United States Marine Corps. Wherever we have the information we mention future plans concerning bases and squadrons within the framework. Of course we like to know every detail, so if you know something about the squadrons or bases not mentioned in this extensive order of battle, please do not hesitate and inform us.

United States Army

Brief history
When the United States Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947, the US Army developed its light planes and rotary wing aircraft to support its ground operations. The Korean War and Vietnam War proved the growing capabilities of these aviation assets to perform a variety of missions not covered by the Air Force. In recognition of the demonstrated increasing importance of aviation in army operations, aviation became a separate branch on 12 April 1983.

History
After the creation of the Army Air Forces, the army ground forces retained the use of light aircraft for artillery forward observation and reconnaissance in June 1942. When the United States Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947, the army developed its light planes and rotary wing aircraft to support its ground operations. The Korean War and Vietnam War proved the growing capabilities of these aviation assets to perform a variety of missions not covered by the air force. In recognition of the demonstrated increasing importance of aviation in army doctrine and operations, aviation became a separate branch on 12 April 1983.

The mission of US Army Aviation is to find, fix, and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver, and to provide combat, combat support and combat service support in coordinated operations as an integral member of the combined arms team. US Army bases can be found throughout the world with big concentrations in Europe and Asia.

The current fleet of helicopters consists of UH-1, MH-6, CH-47, UH-60, OH-58, UH-60, TH-67 and UH-72s. These are being kept up-to-date with modification programs. For support en troop transport the army uses C-12, C-20, C-23, C-26 and C-37 aircraft.

Below a review of the unit designations within the US Army:

Platoon (PLTN). This is the smallest unit within the Army Aviation. A Blackhawk platoon consists mostly of up to four helicopters. The boss ussually is a First Lieutenant.

Company (Com) / Troop (Trp) A company is a collection of platoons, comparable to a flight within the USAF. An Apaches unit consists of eight airframes. Three for scout/reconnaissance and five for attack purposes. Troop is the Cavalry name for a company. The boss is a Captain or Major.

Battalion (Bn) / Squadron (Sqn) This is comparable to a squadron with the USAF. An attack unit normally consist of five companies. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) arranges ground support, fuel and paperwork. Normally there are three flying companies (AH-64A) and an Aviation Unit Maintenance (AVUM) company for small maintenance. A General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) has about the same composition, but they fly the Blackhawk. C Company mostly has a special task with their Electronic Warfare EH-60As and Command and Control UH-60A(C)s. A Command (CMD) and Assault (ASLT) battalion normally consist of two companies with Blackhawks. Squadron is the Cavalry name for a battalion.

Brigade (BDE) / Group (GRP) A collection of three to five battalions is called a Brigade. This is comparable to a wing with the USAF. A Brigade is self supportive and can deploy as such. Aviation Groups have a specific task.

Division (DIV) A division consists of two or three land brigades (tanks and other vehicles), one aviation brigade, a artillery brigade and a support command division. A division consist of about ten to 18 thousand soldiers.

Corps (CORPS) A corps has no own troops but consists of units which are necessary to reach a specific goal.

Currently the overview of the US Army Army Aviation is not available, but all known aircraft and helicopters can be found in the US Army database

United States Coast Guard

Brief history
The United States Coast Guard operates approximately 204 fixed and rotary wing aircraft and is a service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission (with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters) and a federal regulatory agency mission. It is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Its fleet consist of MH-60s, MH-65s, HC-130s, HU-25s, HU-144s and VC-37s operating from 24 different Coast Guard Air Stations and is the federal agency responsible for maritime SAR operations.

NASA

Brief history
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the US civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958, replacing its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

U.S. space exploration efforts have since been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.

Ever since its early years, NASA also has former air force and navy aircraft in its inventory, next to ‘civil’ aircraft like B747s and Gulfstreams. This results in (jet) aircraft wearing NASA’s civil registration markings. Currently NASA operates F/A-18s, F-15s, F-16s and T-38s as training and chase aircraft. For reconnaissance and research the agency uses WB-57s, U-2s and MQ-4s.

As usall all known aircraft and helicoters can be found in the NASA database

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