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101st Intelligence Squadron

An inner disc of blue, encircled by a white, then black, then gold rings. A seagull in flight, looking to the ground is centered upon the disc.

The 101st Intelligence Squadron is subordinate to and located with the Headquarters, 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Otis Air National Guard Base. Its lineage traces back to the spring of 1921when it was one of the first aero units to be attached to the National Guard. The famed seagull insignia was designed by the distinguished Paul F. Seavey, artist in residence at the renowned Swain School in New Bedford, and was approved for use on Nov. 19, 1924. It is the oldest patch still in use in the U.S. Air Force. Superimposed on the circular insignia is a white seagull, native to New England skies and known for its sturdy build and keen vision. Originally, the seagull symbolically represented the squadron's reconnaissance ability to act as the watchful eye for military ground forces, observing and photographing related activities. Able to endure New England's unpredictable weather, the seagull is steadfast in purpose and courageously persevering in combat. The inner circle of blue originally represented the water of Boston Harbor which surrounds Logan International Airport, the squadron's first home. It now represents the skies of Massachusetts and the Atlantic Ocean which surrounds Cape Cod. The patch is encircled by a gold ring, traditionally the symbol of unity, strength and golden opportunities for development. The golden ring literally and symbolically adds color to the insignia and good fortune to the squadron.

Mission Statement:

In its federal capacity, the 101st Intelligence Squadron operates the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (also referred to as the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system) at Digital Ground Station—Massachusetts (DGS-MA). The 101st is responsible for providing near real-time processing, exploitation, and dissemination of intelligence in direct support of fielded forces and other United States combatant commander requirements.

Additionally, in its domestic role, the 101st provides unclassified imagery analysis and incident awareness and assessment to executive agencies supporting local, state, and federal emergency management requirements. 

Force Structure or Organization:

The squadron is comprised of nearly 230 military and civilian personnel from various intelligence disciplines who serve in a mix of full and part-time capacities to execute federal and state tasking. 

The 101st is directly subordinate to the 102nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group and receives its contingency tasking through its association with the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing of the active duty Air Force.

Functions and Capabilities:

The 101st conducts real-time tactical and national intelligence collection, exploitation, analysis, and reporting operations.  The squadron partners with and directs U-2 Dragonlady, MQ-9 Reaper, and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft in order to develop intelligence products from the data collected and produce cryptologic and imagery products for war fighters and decision makers operating in, or concerned with, the CENTCOM, EUCOM, AFRICOM, and SOCOM areas of responsibility.


The 101st initially formed in 1917 as the 101st Observation Squadron, and the squadron’s distinctive “Seagull” patch remains the USAF’s oldest patch in continuous use.  In 1940, the squadron was relocated from Logan Airport to Otis Field and federalized for service in WWII as the 39th Photo Recce Squadron, subordinate to Ninth Air Force.  In 1992, the 101st Fighter Squadron began flying the F-15C and had several deployments to the CENTCOM area of responsibility in support of operations NORTHERN WATCH and SOUTHERN WATCH.  Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 101st flew more than 3,700 combat air-patrol hours in support of homeland defense mission, OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE.  In 2008, the 101st converted from a flying mission to its current intelligence mission, and since that time, the squadron has provided 24/7 support to intelligence missions as part of operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, and INHERENT RESOLVE.