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301st Air Refueling Wing: Wikis


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301st Air Refueling Wing
Emblem of the 301st Bombardment (later Air Refueling) Wing
Active 1947–1979, 1988-1992
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bomber, Refueling
Part of Strategic Air Command

The 301st Air Refueling Wing is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force being last assigned to the Strategic Air Command at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. It was inactivated on 1 Jun 1992.

A predecessor unit, the World War II 301st Bombardment Group was a highly decorated group flying B-17 Flying Fortresses that served primarily in North Africa and Italy. It operated as part of Eighth, Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces. After the war, the 301st was one of the original units of Strategic Air Command.



See the 301st Operations Group for additional history and lineage prior to 1947


  • Established as 301st Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on 15 Oct 1947
Organized on 5 Nov 1947
Discontinued on 1 Aug 1948.
  • Redesignated: 301st Bombardment Wing, Medium, and activated on 1 Aug 1948.
Redesignated: 301st Air Refueling Wing, Heavy on 15 Jun 1964
Inactivated on: 30 Nov 1979
  • Activated on: 8 Jan 1988
Redesignated: 301st Air Refueling Wing on 1 Sep 1991
Inactivated on: 1 Jun 1992


Attached to: 7th Air Division, 3 Dec 1952—c. 4 Mar 1953
Attached to: 5th Air Division, c. 10 Feb—c. 17 Apr 1954





  • 22d Bombardment Group: attached 18 May-1 Aug 1948; attached 1 Aug-15 Nov 1948; attached Feb-9 May 1949
  • 301st Bombardment (later Operations) Group: 5 Nov 1947-1 Aug 1948 (detached Jul 1948); 1 Aug 1948-16 Jun 1952 (detached 1 Aug 1948—Jan 1949, 15 May-30 Nov 1950; not operational, 10 Feb 1951-16 Jun 1952), 1 Sep 1991-1 Jun 1992


  • 32d: attached 10 Feb 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-8 Jun 1964; assigned 15 Mar 1965— (not operational, c. 9 Jun-8 Oct 1972)
  • 91st: attached 4 May-14 Jun 1964, assigned 15 Jun 1964-1 Jul 1971
  • 301st: attached 10 Feb 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-15 Apr 1958 (detached 20-26 Jun 1955, 10 Jul-18 Sep 1955, 27 Apr-27 Jun 1956, 15 Nov-6 Dec 1956, 27 Dec 1956-28 Feb 1957); assigned 30 Sep 1973-31 Dec 1975
  • 321st: 15 Apr 1958-15 Mar 1965 (detached 11 Apr-13 Jul 1960, 3 Oct 1961—Jan 1962)
  • 352d: attached 10 Feb-20 Sep 1951; attached 20 Dec 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-8 Jun 1964
  • 353d: attached 10 Feb 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-8 Jun 1964
  • 376th: attached 1 Dec 1957-15 Apr 1958
  • 419th: 1 Dec 1958-1 Jan 196
  • 4363d Post Attack Command and Control: attached 15-25 Mar 1965.

Aircraft Flown

Operational history

Activated 5 Nov 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Equipped with B-29 Superfortresses. Conducted strategic bombardment training, 1947–1948, and aerial gunnery training for other SAC organizations, November 1947-January 1948.

Reassigned to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana in 1949, the 301st was one of the first units to conduct aerial refueling operations with the KB-29 tanker version of the Superfortress. The wing converted to the sleek new Boeing B-47 Stratojet in 1953 and traded in its KB-29 tankers for the upgraded Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker.

The mission of the 301st was to train for strategic bombing missions and to conduct aerial refueling. The wing deployed to England in 1953 and to French Morocco in 1954.

It was reassigned to Lockbourne AFB, Ohio on April 15, 1958 where it became an Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) unit and was engaged in various clandestine intelligence missions. Although equipped with the B-47 Stratojet, the 301st added electronic countermeasures activities to other missions in 1958 with the addition of the RB-47 and later EB-47. With these aircraft, the wing soon devoted most of its activity to ECM work. The RB-47 carried out many ferret missions around the periphery of Soviet territory, and sometimes inside.

Became an air refueling wing in April 1964, discontinuing all previous missions. In addition, participated in the post attack command and control system from March 3, 1965 to June 30, 1966.

From around June 9 to October 8, 1972, most of the wing headquarters staff, all tactical aircraft and crews, and most of the maintenance personnel, plus support personnel in various categories, deployed in Southeast Asia (U-Tapao RTNAF), attached to other SAC organizations. A reduced wing headquarters remained in the United States to administer activities of the combat support group and hospital at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio.

From December 19, 1972 to January 18, 1973, the wing repeated previous deployed condition on a smaller scale, with deployed resources forming a provisional air refueling squadron at Clark AB in the Philippines.

The 301st ARW was inactivated on November 30, 1979 in conjunction with SAC turning over Rickenbacker to the Air National Guard. It's KC-135As were sent to various Air National Guard units.

The Wing was reactivated on 8 January 1988 at Malstrom AFB, MT, and assigned to 4th Air Division, Strategic Air Command. It was equipped with KC-135s. It was inactivated on 1 Jun 1992.


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



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