Iraklion Air Station - Crete

IAS Main Gate, circa 1965
The entrance to Iraklion AS as it appeared in 1965. The signage above the guard house identifies the site in both English and Greek, the language of the host nation.

The first base chapel, a Quonset hut, sits off to the right. (Jack Clark photo)

Home | 1950's photos | 1960's photos | 1970's photos | 2003/5 photos

Some History

In the Fall of 1948 the United States Air Force gained its own intelligence organization, the USAF Security Service (USAFSS), bringing it to parity with the Army and its Army Security Agency and the Navy with its Naval Security Group.

From an initial cadre of less than 200 personnel the USAFSS had reached an authorized force of over 16,000 when in October 1954 a detachment of its 34th Radio Squadron Mobile at Wheelus Field, Libya, established Iraklion Air Station (IAS) on the north shore of Crete.

From the truly primitive accommodations of plywood Dallas huts and single communal latrine, the site evolved into a most hospitable assignment. The evolution of structures on the station through the 1950's, 60's and 70's--and their post-Cold War demise--is chronicled in photographs on the pages which follow.

The buildings were not the only things that evolved over the 39-year active life of IAS. The operational units serving there, and the Air Force itself, changed to no lesser degree. The remainder of this page summarizes those changes.

Operational Units

The operational units--those performing the primary mission--at Iraklion Air Station were, in chronological order:

  • Detachment 2, 34th Radio Squadron Mobile (RSM)
    - From October 1954

  • 6938th Radio Squadron Mobile (RSM)
    - From 8 March 1955

  • 6930th Radio Group Mobile (RGM)
    - From 1 April 1958
    - Relocated to IAS from Wheelus Field, Libya
    - Exchanged resources on paper with the 6938th RSM, which relocated to Wheelus Field, Libya

  • 6931st Security Group (SG)
    - From 1 July 1963
    - The 6931st SG was a redesignation of the 6930th RGM
    - Inactivated 1 October 1978

  • 6931st Security Squadron (SS)
    - From 1 July 1974
    - Organized subordinate to the 6931st SG

  • 6931st Electronic Security Squadron (ESS)
    - From 1 October 1979
    - The 6931st ESS was a redesignation of the 6931st SS
    - Inactivated 30 September 1993
NOTE: Information pertaining to dates of the 6938th RSM's existence at IAS and at Wheelus is meager. I'd like to hear from anyone with more details.

Air Force Command Chronology

Units at Iraklion Air Station were subordinate to these Air Force commands:

  • U.S. Air Force Security Service (USAFSS)
    - Until 31 July 1979

  • U.S. Air Force Electronic Security Command (USAFESC)
    - 1 August 1979 to 30 September 1991

  • Air Force Intelligence Command (AFIC)
    - 1 October 1991 to 30 September 1993
On 1 October 1993, the Air Force Intelligence Command was reorganized as the Air Intelligence Agency (AIA).

On 1 February 2001 the Air Intelligence Agency was made subordinate to the Air Combat Command.

On 7 May 2007, the Air Intelligence Agency was redesignated the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (Air Force ISR Agency), reporting to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A2).

In today's Air Force, the 31st Intelligence Squadron (IS), activated on 2 October 1995, traces its lineage to the 6931st SG/SS/ESS.


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Last updated 2 September 2009