SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
“What an alignment of planets, stars, you-name-it, for you to be celebrating this one-hundredth,” said Brig. Gen. John Shaw, Air Force Space Command director of Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analysis.
“There is no other squadron in all of space command that can trace their history like the 25th,” he continued. “None. It goes back to the dawn of airpower.”
The 25th Space Range Squadron traces its history back to World War I; under its first name, the 20th Aero Squadron, which was activated June 13, 1917.
Fast-forward to June 21, 2017, the “Bloody 25th" and their band of new and old “Executioners,” as they fondly call themselves, celebrated their 100th birthday; bringing the past and present together for a night to remember.
The night began with a clamorous social hour, where reviewed 100 years of artifacts-most of them collected only within the last year-for not only the centennial celebration, but for future “Executioners” as well.
“We always knew we were a 100-year squadron, but the stories, and the people before us, weren’t captured yet,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Herter, 25 SRS operations flight chief and lead 25 SRS historian. “So this forced us to gain a better understanding of our past and build that up for the people coming after us.”
Another way the squadron tied itself closely to its past was through the invitation of their two distinguished guests, one of them being Shaw, the 25 SRS previous director of operations, as well as retired Col. Mason Beckett, Jr., former 25th commander during its time as the 25th Strategic Training Squadron.
“I am impressed with the detective prowess of the 25th,” laughed Beckett. “When I retired, I thought I was in an air-tight witness protection program.”
Jokes aside, Beckett provided a detailed recollection of life with the 25 STS, their challenges, their successes and their ties with the present-day squadron.
“It was a new squadron,” Beckett said. “It was a busy time, it was a very interesting and exciting time. I once talked with an individual who said he would love to have the opportunity to stand up a new unit in the Air Force.
“He was fortunate enough to be able to do that, and afterwards he was overheard saying he would never do that again,” he continued. “I would imagine the people who stood up the 25 SRS might share the same sentiment.”
Reestablished as a space squadron in 2004, after years of inactivation, SRS members confirmed the truth to Beckett’s words.
However, the “Executioners” take their heritage and their new mission seriously; reciting their 100-years worth of namesakes and mission objectives during their banquet, and wrapping it all up with a description of their present day goals.
“We’re going to need the 25th to be the place where we can get to the next level of tactics, development and expertise for war that extends to space,” Shaw said. “You guys are going to make this happen in the same way the 25th and its many incarnations over 100 years have been doing.”
All leadership, past and present, made a point of highlighting the efforts dedicated to ensuring the success of the banquet and the squadron. Ensuring the squadron knew their efforts and their legacy would not be fruitless or forgotten.
“I was glad to see the 25th was still in existence,” Beckett said. “It didn’t matter what the mission was, I knew it was probably an important one.”