Fact Sheet Display


Operating from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, the 390th Intelligence Squadron ensures information superiority to the "last tactical mile" by providing tailored intelligence to warfighters, combatant commanders and national decision-makers. The unit's airborne cryptologic linguist aircrew, airborne special signals operators, airborne maintenance specialists and information integration officers fly operational reconnaissance missions aboard the RC-135V/W RIVET JOINT in both U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command and augment other 55th Wing requirements as necessary.

The RC-135 is the U.S. Air Force's premier manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. In the run-up to a crisis, the RC-135 conducts intelligence preparation of the battlefield, while during contingencies or war, the unit provides near-real time information awareness to command-and-control assets and direct threat-warning support to tactical aircraft and other warfighters. When tasked, the unit also provides crews aboard the RC-135U COMBAT SENT and RC-135S COBRA BALL.

The 6990th Security Squadron was activated at Kadena on July 15, 1967 by Maj. Gen. (then Lt. Col.) Doyle E. Larson. At that time, it was part of the 6922d Security Wing based at Clark Air Base, Philippines, with operational control vested in the Pacific Security Region, which eventually became the Pacific Electronic Security Division.

The unit's first mission was to provide RC-135 direct support to COMBAT APPLE Operations in Southeast Asia. It additionally provided C-130 direct support from a detachment at Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of South Vietnam. In September 1971, the unit was re-designated the 6990th Security Group and headquartered at Kadena to cope with its expanding cryptologic role in the Pacific theater as well as the addition of communications security responsibilities. The unit's involvement in the Vietnam War continued through April 1975 with participation in FREQUENT WIND Operations, supporting the withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces.

In July 1975, with the cessation of combat support missions and the concurrent reduction of responsibilities, the unit was again designated a squadron. When the U.S. Air Force Security Service became the Electronic Security Command in August 1979, the 6990th was renamed the 6990th Electronic Security Squadron. The reorganization expanded the command's and unit's operational mission to include the use of electronic warfare capabilities for both offensive and defensive combat operations in support of Air Force Command, Control and Countermeasures. During this period, the unit became the workhorse for the command's airborne operations, expanding its role in electronic warfare capabilities through direct participation in theater exercises such as TEAM SPIRIT, held annually in South Korea. This increased responsibility once again elevated the unit to group status on May 1, 1980. On April 1, 1990, due to the restructuring of the unit's tasking, the unit was again designated a squadron.

On Oct. 1, 1993, the 6990th Electronic Security Squadron was re-designated the 390th Intelligence Squadron. The 390th IS currently has 161 assigned personnel with 72 airborne cryptologic linguists, over 89 communicators, maintenance, security forces and administrative personnel, as well as numerous ground cryptologic linguists, intelligence analysts, intelligence officers and a resident civil engineer, comprising a diverse and highly motivated force of professionals to guarantee the success of the RC-135 mission.

The director of operations is responsible for executing flying operations aboard the RC-135, as well as conducting intelligence analysis and reporting. The director of operations also maintains the constant Tactical Surveillance Interaction Center - Kadena that provides tethered communications and intelligence support to U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy reconnaissance missions flying in USPACOM, USCENTCOM and U.S. European Command and is the integrated broadcast service program manager for Southwest Asia.

The Logistics and Communications Support flight provides systems maintenance and communications support to the RC-135. With over 46 members assigned to eight diverse support sections, LS provides full-spectrum information technology services spanning four communications networks at four different classification levels, as well as specialized maintenance support to troubleshoot unique RC-135 intelligence systems, thus keeping the aircraft mission capable at all times for support to PACOM requirements. Finally, Logistics and Communications Support flight plans, budgets and executes the implementation of local and higher headquarters directed ground intelligence systems upgrades necessary for conducting post-mission processing, intelligence modeling and simulation and cryptolinguist proficiency maintenance.