25th Anniversary of the 53rd Hurricane Hunters being disbanded

Patch of the 53rd WRS

Patch of the 53rd WRS

On June 30, 1991 the Air Force’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (the Hurricane Hunters) was disbanded.  Economic pressures on the Air Force had forced it to cut back on non-combat activities, and that included weather reconnaissance.  The squadron traced its origins back to the formation of the 3rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron in 1944, when weather data was vital to the war effort.  A number of these squadrons were kept after World War II to support American armed forces global activities, and several were dedicated to hurricane and typhoon monitoring.  Over the years, the number of of weather squadrons was pared back, especially with the advent of weather satellites.  Even the 53rd had been temporarily discontinued between 1960-1962.

In 1991, the duties for the 53rd were shifted to an Air Force Reserves airlift squadron, assisted by the NOAA research aircraft (The Navy Hurricane Hunters had been disbanded in 1974).  But the public brought considerable pressure on Congress to reinstate the valued mission of the Hurricane Hunters, and in November of 1993 the 53rd was reinstated as an Air Force Reserve unit.  To this day, the 53rd operates out of Keesler Air Force Base with a mixture of Reserve and Regular Air Force personnel.

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