19th Operations Group: Wikis


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19th Operations Group
Emblem of the 19th Operations Group
Active 1927-1953; 1991-2008;2008-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
C-130Js at Little Rock AFB

The 19th Operations Group (19 OG) the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 19th Airlift Wing, stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

Equipped with the largest C-130 Hercules fleet in the world, the group provides part of Air Mobility Command's Global Reach capability the wing's tasking requirements range from supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, to airdropping supplies and troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas.

The 19 OG is one of the oldest organizations in the Air Force, being a successor organization of the 19th Bombardment Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II. The unit was stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941, suffering numerous casualties and losing most of its B-17 Flying Fortresses in the attack. A small number of its aircraft escaped to fly combat missions in the Philippines; Netherlands East Indies and Papua New Guinea during early 1942. The group was re-equipped with the B-29 Superfortress in 1944 and from Guam, it conducted its first B-29 bombing raid on February 25, 1945, against Tokyo. It's aircraft were identified by a solid black square painted on the tail with an "M" inside.

The group has earned the distinction of being one of the most decorated units in the Air Force. Unit honors include eight Presidential Unit Citations, one Air Force Meritorious Unit Award, ten Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, one Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and one Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.



The 19th Operations Group is composed of five flying squadrons, flying the Lockheed C-130J Hercules:

The Wyoming Air National Guard 153rd Airlift Wing provides operational support and aircraft to the 30th AS and active-duty aircrews. Administratively, the 30th AS reports to the 19th Operations Group, which provides funding, equipment and personnel.


For additional history and lineage, see 19th Airlift Wing


The group's emblem, approved in 1936, shows a winged sword in front of the constellation of Pegasus, indicating both the striking force and navigation capability of the unit.


  • Authorized as 19 Observation Group on 18 Oct 1927
Redesignated 19 Bombardment Group on 8 May 1929
Activated on 24 Jun 1932
Redesignated: 19 Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 17 Oct 1939
Redesignated: 19 Bombardment Group, Very Heavy on 28 Mar 1944
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1944
  • Activated on 1 Apr 1944
Redesignated 19 Bombardment Group, Medium on 10 Aug 1948
Inactivated on 1 Jun 1953
  • Redesignated: 19 Air Refueling Group, Heavy on 31 Jul 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated: 19 Operations Group on 29 Aug 1991
Activated on 1 Sep 1991
Redesignated: 19 Air Refueling Group on 1 Jul 1996.
Inactivated on 30 June 2008.
  • Redesignated: 19 Operations Group and activated on 1 Oct 2008


Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), 1 Apr-19 Dec 1944
Attached to Far East Air Forces Bomber Command [Provisional] for operational control, 8 Jul 1950-1 Jun 1953)


  • 7 Air Refueling: 1 Jun 1992-1 Jan 1993
  • 14 Bombardment: attached 2 Dec 1941-c. 14 Mar 1942
  • 23 Observation: 24 Jun 1932-12 Oct 1938 (detached entire period)
  • 28 Bombardment: 16 Nov 1941-1 Apr 1944; 1 Apr 1944-1 Jun 1953
  • 30 Observation (later, Bombardment): 24 Jun 1932-1 Apr 1944; 1 Apr 1944-1 Jun 1953
  • 32 Observation (later, Bombardment): 24 Jun 1932-16 Dec 1941 (detached 22 Oct-16 Dec 1941)
  • 40 Reconnaissance (later, 435 Bombardment): 14 Mar 1942-1 Apr 1944 (detached c. 17 Jul-c. 24 Sep 1942); 1 Apr-10 May 1944
  • 93 Bombardment: 20 Oct 1939-1 Apr 1944; 1 Apr 1944-1 Jun 1953
  • 99 Air Refueling: 1 Sep 1991-30 June 2008
  • 384 Air Refueling: 1 Jun 1992-1 Jan 1994
  • 712 Air Refueling: 1 Apr 1994-1 Jul 1996
  • 912 Air Refueling: 1 Sep 1991-1 Apr 1994.



  • B-3, 1932-1935
  • OA-4, 1932-1935
  • OA-9, 1932-1935
  • B-10, 1935-1937
  • B-12, 1935-1937
  • B-18, 1937-1940
  • B-17, 1940-1944
  • B-24, 1942
  • LB-30, 1942
  • B-29, 1944-1953
  • KC-135, 1991-2008
  • EC-135, 1991-1997
  • EC-137, 1991-1994
  • C-130J, 2008-Present



The 19th Observation Group was constituted as part of the United States Army Air Corps on October 18, 1927, without personnel or equipment. In 1929 its paper designation was changed to the 19th Bombardment Group, and it came into being with its activation at Rockwell Field, California, in June 1932. Two of its four squadrons, the 23rd and 72nd Bomb Squadrons, were permanently detached for service in Hawaii with the 5th Composite Group. The two squadrons at Rockwell, the 30th and 32nd Bomb Squadrons, were equipped with Keystone B-3A bombers.

The unit flew training missions along the California coast for coastal defense between 1932 and 1935. On March 1, 1935, all aviation combat units of the AAC in the United States were reorganized into General Headquarters Air Force, the first centralized control of the air striking arm of the United States. The 19th BG moved to March Field, California as part of the 1st Wing, commanded by Brig. Gen. Henry H. Arnold.

In 1940, the group was equipped with the new B-17B Flying Fortress, the first production version of the B-17. The unit made aviation history in May 1941 when they flew their B-17s en mass from California to Hawaii, and redeployed to the Philippines between September and November 1941.

World War II

B-17s of the 19th Bombardment Group attacking Japanese-held Lae Airfield, New Guinea on 26-27 June 1942. Boeing B-17E Fortress 41-2633 (Sally) in Foreground. This aircraft was damaged by a storm in April 1945. Afterwards it was flown to Brisbane, Australia for scrapping in May 1945

The unit was stationed at Clark Field when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941, suffering numerous casualties and losing most of its aircraft in the attack. A small number of B-17s on maneuvers with the 93rd Bomb Squadron at Del Monte Field on Mindanao escaped unharmed.

During December 1941, the 19th began reconnaissance and bombardment operations against Japanese shipping and landing parties. By the end of the year, ground personnel joined infantry units defending the Philippines, while the air echelon moved to Australia to transport supplies from there to the Philippines and to evacuate personnel.

The group flew B-17s, B-24s, and LB-30s from Java against enemy airfields, shipping, and ground installations during the Japanese offensive in the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies during early 1942. It participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea, in May 1942, and raided enemy transportation and communications targets as well as troop concentrations during the Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea. The group bombed enemy airdromes, ground installations, and shipping near Rabaul, New Britain in August 1942. Capt. Harl Pease received the Medal of Honor for a mission flown on August 7, 1942.

It served in the continental United States as a replacement training organization at Pyote Army Airfield from January to November 1943. The group was largely unmanned from December 1943 to April 1, 1944, when it was inactivated. The group was activated the same date at Great Bend AAF in Kansas, at the 19th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and began training for B-29 combat missions. Between December 1944 and January 1945 the group deployed to North Field on Guam as part of the 314th Bomb Wing of the Twentieth Air Force.

From Guam, it conducted its first B-29 bombing raid on February 25, 1945, against Tokyo. The group flew 65 raids on the Japanese home islands, bombing strategic targets in Japan, participating in incendiary bomb attacks against Japanese cities, and attacked kamikaze airfields during the invasion of Okinawa in the spring of 1945.

Post/Cold War

In the late 1940s, the 19th conducted sea-search, photographic mapping, and training missions in the western Pacific.When the Korean War broke out in late June 1950, the 19th Bombardment Group was immediately detached from the Wing for combat operations from Kadena AB, Okinawa. From Kadena, the squadrons (28th, 30th 93d) attacked North Korean invasion forces. The first B-29 Superfortress unit in the war, the group on June 28 attacked North Korean storage tanks, marshalling yards, and armor. In the first two months, it flew more than six hundred sorties, supporting UN ground forces by bombing enemy troops, vehicles, and such communications points as the Han River bridges.

At Kadena, the group was initially under the operational control of Twentieth Air Force, after July 8, 1950, it was attached to FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional). Many of the aircraft flown by the 19th Bomb Group squadrons in combat were refurbished B-29s that were placed in storage after World War II, then brought back into operational service.

In the north, its targets included an oil refinery and port facilities at Wonsan, a railroad bridge at Pyongyang, and an airfield at Yonpo. After United Nations ground forces pushed the communists out of South Korea, the 19th BG turned to strategic objectives in North Korea, including industrial and hydroelectric facilities. It also continued to attack bridges, marshalling yards, supply centers, artillery and troop positions, barracks, port facilities, and airfields.

In accordance with organizational change within the Strategic Air Command and later throughout the entire Air Force, the 19th Bomb Group was inactivated on June 1, 1953 and its squadrons assigned directly to the 19th Bomb Wing as part of the Tri-Deputate organization of the wing, which moved its headquarters to Kadena.

Modern era

Reactivated in 1991 as the 19 Operations Group when the 19 Air Refueling Wing implemented the Objective Wing organization.

From January 1992, it provided an EC-137 and crews to support the United States Special Operations Command, and from August 1992 the wing supported the Saudi Tanker Task Force. It provided air refueling support to NATO fighters in Bosnia in September–October 1995. Several KC-135R tankers deployed to Southwest Asia to support Operation Southern Watch, January–March 1996 and to Turkey for Operation Provide Comfort, April–June 1996.

On July 1, 1996, the 19th Air Refueling Wing was inactivated, and its functions turned over to its operations group, redesignated the 19th Air Refueling Group. The 19th ARG consists of four squadrons: 19th Operations Support Squadron (OSS), 19th Maintenance Squadron (MXS), 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), and the 99th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS).

The Black Knights returned to Istres, France, in August 1996 deploying five aircraft and 125 personnel in support of Operation Deny Flight. In December, the group received an inspection from the Air Mobility Command's Quality Air Force Assessment Team. During the inspection, the team found the 19th's leadership, support, and maintenance to be among the best in Air Mobility Command.

Black Knight aircraft and personnel deployed to numerous contingency operations and exercises during 1997 and continued the group's record for success. 1998 proved to be another banner year for the 19th. Most notably, the Black Knights supported Operation Northern Watch, enforcing the United Nation's no-fly zone in northern Iraq; Operation Desert Thunder, US action against Iraqi aggression; and Operation Constant Vigil, US antidrug operations in the Caribbean. The 99th Air Refueling Squadron was named the Air Force Association's Citation of Honor winner for the unit that contributed most to national defense during 1998. Additionally, the 99th won the coveted General Carl A. Spaatz Trophy for 1998--given annually to the "Best Air Refueling Squadron in the US Air Force."

The 19th was off to another record start in 1999 when it earned a rare, perfect "Outstanding" during its Headquarters, Air Mobility Command Operational Readiness Inspection. Additionally, the 19th had just returned from supporting Operation Deliberate Forge and Operation Allied Force, US support for the NATO's Air War over the Former Republic of Yugoslavia -having deployed over three-fourths of its personnel and aircraft to four forward operating locations throughout Europe.

21st Century

Even after the war, the new millennium brought the 19th many new challenges. The Black Knights, although the last home, were the first to reconstitute its forces and prepare for its role as the first on-call expeditionary force for the Air Force's newest Expeditionary Aerospace Force concept. Furthermore, the recognition continued as the 19th received the AMC nomination for USSTRATCOM's Omaha Trophy for DoD's unit that best supported the Single Integrated Operational Plan. Also, the 99 ARS repeated its role as it won the 1999 Spaatz Trophy as well as the AMC nomination for the Citation of Honor Award; the 19 OSS earned the honors of the Best OSS in Twenty-First Air Force; and the 19 AGS not only received the Twenty-First Air Force Maintenance Effectiveness Award, but also dominated the 2000 Rodeo Competition as it brought home the "Best KC-135 Maintenance" Trophy.

19th Air Refueling Group

The group's last designation, the 19th Air Refueling Group, stationed at Robins AFB, Georgia provided worldwide in-flight refueling for combat, logistics, and combat support aircraft of the United States and its allies as directed by the Department of Defense.

The 19th Air Refueling Group was deactivated in June 2008 as a result of realignment due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005.

See also


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Crawford, Capt. William, Jr. and Ted Saucier. Gore and Glory - A Story of American Heroism. Philadelphia: David McKay Company, 1944.
  • Futrell, Robert Frank. The United States Air Force In Korea, 1950-1953. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-91279-971-4.
  • Mitchell, John H. On Wings We Conquer - In Alis vicimus: the 19th and 7th Bomb Groups of the USAF in the Southwest Pacific in the First Year of WW II. Gem Publishers, 1990.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • 19th Bombardment Association. 19th Bomb Group. Turner Publishing, 2000.

External links


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