SR-71 Theaters of Operation
Detachments and Operating Locations

The SR-71 Reconnaissance aircraft operated world wide from various locations around the globe. This listing and time frames are not complete but gives the viewer an idea as to the extent the Blackbirds could and did relocate and function as an operational unit. In most cases, the listing does not include bases that the SR-71 may have landed at with mechanical problems. If an  underlined link is indicated, it will take you to a web page with data or photos of the Detachment or Location. If you have any additional information, corrections or photos of any of the operations listed below, an email to me would be appreciated.
Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds

1129th SAS
Groom (Dry) Lake, Nevada, (Special Activities Squadron),
AKA: "Watertown Strip"; "Area 51"; "The Area";"The Ranch";
 "Paradise Ranch"; "Dreamland"
(deployed only operational to Det 1, Kadena AB, Okinawa),
established 1961/62. CIA operated. Unit was deactivated in June 1968,
with A-12's. CIA Operation at Det 1  was called "Black Shield".

"Black Shield" A12 Oxcart  Kadena AB CIA Operations (1967).

1130th ATTG
 Edwards AFB, North Base, California, USAF Flight Test Center (AFFTC),
(Air Technical Training Group), also known as
"Special Projects Branch".
established mid-1969, (belonged to ARDC), CIA operated,
deactivated mid-1974.

4786th TS
Edwards AFB, North Base, California, (Test Squadron),
designated January 16, 1970, (ex SR-71/YF-12 Test Force,
established June 1965) with YF-12 and SR-71.

Det 1
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan

OL-8, OL-ROL-8 (U-2, SR-71), also known as:
OL-RK, (OLRK), then OL-KA, (OLKA), later to Det 1

Detachment 1, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan Webpage 

with the history of first operations

and a link to
20 Images of SR-71 "Tail Artwork"

Detachment 1 Logs courtesy of Paul Crickmore

Det 2
Edwards AFB, California

 September 1, 1995 saw the reactivation of two SR-71A-model jets and one B-model
 pilot trainer aircraft as Beale's Detachment 2 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The planes were
 operated by Air Combat Command.

Det 4
RAF Mildenhall, UK

99th SRS, 9th SRW, established 3/31/1979,
U-2 and SR-71A.
From 1980-1991 only SR-71's flew out of Mildenhall.

Detachment 4, RAF Mildenhall  UK  Webpage with "Operation El Dorado Canyon"

and a link to:
20 Images of Det 4 Photos

Detachment 4 Logs courtesy of Paul Crickmore

Det 5
Eielson AFB, Alaska

Sporadic Operational missions were performed in 1979/80 out of Eielson AFB. Additionally, cold weather performance characteristics were accomplished. In January of 1983 Patrick AFB, Florida became Det 5 (U-2) with 14 enlisted and 4 officers.

Det 51
Palmdale, California

Air Force Plant 42, Lockheed Plant 10,
(ex Site II), 2762th Logistics Squadron, AFLC, U-2 and SR-71,
(before 12/31/1970, operations were part of AFSC),
reorganized in  August 1977 to Det 6.

Det 6
Norton AFB, California

Supply Depot
Palmdale, California, Air Force Plant 42, Lockheed Plant 10,
(ex Site II), 2762th Logistics Squadron, AFLC, (ex Det 51),
U-2 and SR-71

I have one photo of Det 6 on the ramp at Norton..Here
Detachment 6 Logs courtesy of Paul Crickmore

Det 8
Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)

Chagos Archipelago
SR-71 Operations were conducted for a short time in 1978/79 at Diego Garcia.
Link below contains 34 photos of this operation:

SR-71 Diego Garcia Operations

Griffiss AFB, Rome, New York.

Operations was set up for flights during the Yom Kipper War but moved to OL-SB due to adverse weather conditions at Griffiss AFB.

OL-KB (Griffiss AFB) Web page with Operation "Black Knight" in 1973 

during the Yom Kippur War

Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina

SR-71, (used for operational
non-stop reconnaissance flights over Egypt, Israel, and Syria during
the Yom Kipper War 1973/74), Operation "Giant Reach"
OL-SB started on 11 October 1973 and the first mission was flown on 13 October, 1973.

OL-KB (Griffiss) and OL-SB (Seymour-Johnson) information and photos are on the same page. Click here

Bodo AB, Norway

Bodo was an emergency recovery base for the SR-71. There were only two SR-71's land at Bodo for maintenance problems. The following link gives a narration of the first recovery operation at Bodo by Crew Chief Clarence "Skip" Hosler in August, 1981. There is also a photo and news article archive link.

Bodo, Norway SR-71 Operations Web page

Bodo Photo and News Articles page

Warner-Robins AFB, Georgia

SYPO - Senior Year Programs Office

Beale AFB, California
Home of the SR-71

4200th SRW, established January 1, 1965,
with SR-71 and T-38, redesignated 9th SRW, established June 25, 1966,
combining all operational SR-71 and U-2 in March/April 1976.
All SR-71's retired on March 06, 1990 after flying 3,551 missions over a span of 22 years with no losses.  .
Redesignated 9th Wing  in  1990 when SAC became
a part of ACC with U-2 and T-38's.
Redesignated 9th RW on 10/1992), with U-2 and T-38.

4200th Information Page

Beale AFB SR-71 Page (Under Construction)

2762nd LS
Palmdale, California

Air Force Plant 42, (Logistics Squadron),
(belongs to AFLC), U-2 and SR-71

4200th TW
Beale AFB, California

formed 01 January 1965
(Test Wing), with B-52H and D-21B Drones,
with the 4200th TS Beale AFB, California, (Test Squadron), with B-52H and D-21B and 4200th A/SS, Beale AFB, California, (Air/Support Squadron),
with B-52H and D-21B, maybe redesignated to 4200th TS

The D-21B and Project “Senior Bowl” “A” Flight and the 4200th Support Squadron

and on Page Two:

D-21B Drone Image Archive

Credit is given to Andreas Gehrs-Pahl for compiling a large portion of the foregoing information from various sources. Additional data is provided by the author "SR-71 Blackbirds" and the Auburn Files.


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First Created: April 15, 1996 - Last Revised: March 29, 2004
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