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317th Airlift Group
317 Airlift Group crest.png
Official crest of the 317th Airlift Group
Active 1942-
Country  United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part of Air Mobility Command
15th Air Force
Garrison/HQ Dyess AFB
Motto "I Gain By Hazard"
Equipment C-130 Hercules
Decorations Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svgMedal for Humane Action ribbon.svgSouthwest Asia Service ribbon.svgAFEMRib.svgPresidential Unit Citation ribbon.svgOutstanding Unit ribbon.svg
see "Lineage and honors" section below
A C-130 Hercules from the 317th Airlift Group from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, prepares to take off for an airlift mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

The 317th Airlift Group (317 AG) is a United States Air Force unit, stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Assigned to Air Mobility Command (AMC) 18th Air Force, the 313 AG operates as a tenant unit to the 7th Bomb Wing, Air Combat Command (ACC).

The 317 AG is a tactical airlift organization, flying the C-130 Hercules. Since December 2003, the 317th has been in a continuously deployed status in support of the Global War on Terrorism, with elements being deployed into combat areas. It has been engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as well as supporting other Air Expeditionary units around the world.

During World War II, the units predecessor unit, the The 317 Troop Carrier Group was one of the most highly decorated troop carrier units of the United States Army Air Forces. The 317th TCG took part in nearly all of the airlift operations in the Pacific Theater of WWII including Wau, New Guinea, and the "Operation Topside" parachute drops on Corregidor, where the 503rd Parachute Regiment was dropped from 400 feet in groups of six per aircraft, requiring the crews to fly their C-47 "Gooney Birds" over the target at least three times. For both of these operations the 317 TCG was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

It was Colonel John Lackey, commanding officer of the 317 TCG, who became the first American pilot to land in Japan following the capitulation of that country in August 1945.



The 317AG is composed of the following squadrons:

  • 39th Airlift Squadron "Trail Blazers" (C-130H)
  • 40th Airlift Squadron "Screaming Eagles" (C-130H)
  • 317th Maintenance Squadron
  • 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 317th Maintenance Operations Squadron
  • 317th Operations Support Squadron




  • Constituted as 317th Transport Group on 2 Feb 1942
Activated on 22 Feb 1942.
  • Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group in Jul 1942
Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group (Heavy) in May 1948.
  • Established as 317th Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy, on 10 Aug 1948
Activated on 18 Aug 1948, 317th Troop Carrier Group became subordinate unit to wing.
Inactivated on 14 Sep 1949
  • Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on 3 Jul 1952
Activated on 14 Jul 1952
Inactivated on 25 Sep 1958
  • Activated on 13 Mar 1963
Organized on 15 Apr 1963
Redesignated: 317th Troop Carrier Wing on 1 Mar 1966
Redesignated: 317th Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 May 1967
Redesignated: 317th Airlift Wing on 1 Jan 1992
Inactivated on 18 Aug 1993
  • Redesignated 317 Airlift Group on 31 Mar 1997
Activated on 1 Apr 1997.


Attached to 322d Air Division [Combat Cargo], 1 Apr 1954-31 Jul 1955
Attached to 322d Air Division [Combat Cargo], 1 Apr-20 Jun 1964
Attached to Operating Location A, Headquarters Twenty-First Air Force, 31 Dec 1974-30 Jun 1975



  • 317th Troop Carrier (later Tactical Airlift, later Operations): 18 Aug 1948-14 Sep 1949 (detached 21 Sep 1948-8 Jan 1949; not operational, c. 31 Aug-14 Sep 1949); 14 Jul 1952-12 Mar 1957 (not operational, 8 May 1955-12 Mar 1957), 1 Jan 1992-20 Aug 1993


  • 18th: 1 Apr 1965-25 Jun 1967
  • 37th: 15 Sep 1975-1 Oct 1977
  • 39th: attached 8 May 1955-23 Jun 1956; assigned 8 Jul 1957-25 Sep 1958; assigned 15 Apr 1963-31 Jul 1971 (detached c. Feb—c. May 1965, 13 May-18 Jul 1968 and 15 Apr-22 Jul 1969; not operational, 1 Jun-31 Jul 1971); assigned 31 Aug 1971— (detached 12 Dec 1973-17 Feb 1974, 9 Jul-15 Sep 1974, 12 Jul-14 Sep 1975, 12 Apr-14 Jun 1976, 4 Jan-4 Mar 1977)
  • 40th: attached 21 Sep-15 Nov 1948; attached 8 May 1955-11 Mar 1957, assigned 12 Mar 1957-25 Sep 1958 (detached 10 Apr-7 Jul 1957); assigned 15 Apr 1963— (detached 24 Nov 1964-19 Feb 1965, 16 Mar-26 May 1968; not operational, 12-30 Aug 1971; detached 31 Aug-17 Oct 1971, 7 Apr-16 Jun 1973, 4 Mar-7 May 1975, 12 Jan-15 Mar 1976, 4 Oct-15 Dec 1976, and 26 Apr-15 Jul 1977)
  • 41st: attached 8 May 1955-11 Mar 1957, assigned 12 Mar 1957-25 Sep 1958 (detached 15 Mar-7 Jul 1957); assigned 15 Apr 1963-21 Nov 1965 (detached 6 Sep-21 Dec 1964); assigned 31 Aug 1971— (detached 6 Nov 1971-12 Jan 1972, 4 Jun-16 Aug 1972, 5 Feb-14 Apr 1973, 9 Aug-15 Oct 1973, 11 Mar-16 May 1974, 11 Nov 1974-15 Jan 1975, 4 Oct-15 Dec 1975, 13 Jul-10 Sep 1976, and 5 Mar-25 Apr 1977)
  • 46th: attached 18 Aug-30 Sep 1948
  • 52d: attached 15 Apr 1963-31 Mar 1964
  • 780th: 8 Jul 1957-8 Mar 1958
  • 781st: 8 Jul 1957-8 Mar 1958
  • 782d: 8 Jul-20 Dec 1957
  • 4408th Combat Crew Training: 22 Sep 1969-15 Aug 1971




World War II

Formed at Duncan Field, Texas, on February 22, 1942. The group's humble beginning consisted of eighteen enlisted men and one Captain which formed the entire unit. Moved to Australia, Dec 1942-Jan 1943, and assigned to Fifth AF. the 317 Troop Carrier Group (TCG) was the second airlift group to arrive in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II.

Operated in New Guinea for a short time early in 1943. Received a DUC for making numerous flights in unarmed planes over the Owen Stanley Range, 30 Jan-1 Feb 1943 to transport reinforcements and supplies to Wau, New Guinea, where enemy forces were threatening a valuable Allied airdrome.

Exchanged its new C-47’s for a variety of aircraft in New Guinea and began operating from Australia, where the group had maintained its headquarters, Flew troops and equipment to New Guinea, established courier and passenger routes in Australia, and trained with airborne troops.

Equipped with C-47’s and moved to New Guinea in Sep 1943. Took part in the first airborne operation in the Southwest Pacific on 5 Sep, dropping paratroops at Nadzab, New Guinea, to cut supply lines and seize enemy bases. Until Nov 1944, transported men and cargo to Allied bases on New Guinea, New Britain, Guadalcanal, and in the Admiralty Islands. Also dropped reinforcements and supplies to US forces on Noemfoor, 3-4 Jul 1944.

After moving to the Philippines in Nov 1944, transported supplies to ground forces on Luzon, Leyte, and Mindoro, and supplied guerrillas on Mindanao, Cebu, and Panay. Participated in two airborne operations during Feb 1945: on 3 and 4 Feb dropped paratroops south of Manila to seize highway routes to the city, and on 16 and 17 Feb dropped the 502d Regiment on Corregidor to open Manila Bay to US shipping; received a DUC for the latter operation, performed at low altitude over small drop zones in a heavily defended area. Completed two unusual missions on 12 and 15 Apr 1945 when this troop carrier organization bombed Carabo Island with drums of napalm. Dropped part of 511th Regiment near Aparri on 23 Jun 1945 to split Japanese forces in the Cagayen Valley and prevent a retreat to the hills in northern Luzon.

Cold War

Emblem of the 317th Airlift Wing

After end of Pacific War, remained in the theater as part of Far East Air Forces; used C-46 and C-47 aircraft, the latter being replaced in 1947 with C-54's.

317th Troop Carrier Wing was activated in Japan in 1948. Provided troop carrier and courier service in the Far East, 1948. As a result of Soviet blockade of Berlin, moved by ship from Japan to West Germany, Dec 1948—Jan 1949 and reassigned to USAFE.. Participated in Berlin Airlift, 9 Jan-31 Jul 1949.

Became USAFE theater airlift organization. From Jul 1952 to Apr 1957 provided C-119 troop carrier and airlift service in support of USAFE, NATO, and UN, at same time participating in numerous exercises and humanitarian missions. Moved to France in Apr 1957, replacing 465th Troop Carrier Wing on 8 Jul. From Apr 1963 to Jun 1964, provided C-130 airlift in support of USAFE, NATO, and UN.

Reassigned to Tactical Air Command and moved to Ohio in Jun 1964. Became involved in TAC's worldwide C-130 airlift operations, with airborne training a major responsibility.

In May 1967 the unit was redesignated the 317 Troop Carrier Wing and by 1971 it has transferred to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. Provided C-130 replacement training support for PACAF, Oct 1965—Jul 1971 and Aug—Dec 1971. Also provided C-123 combat crew training for the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam crews, Sep 1969—Aug 1971. In 1973 the 371 TCW participated in the evacuation of American POWs from North Vietnam when it flew the Peoples Liberation Front contingent from Saigon to Hanoi for the ceremonies.

Reassigned to Military Airlift Command in December 1974. Pioneered in use of adverse weather aerial delivery system (AWADS) equipment in active combat operations in Southeast Asia, and from Sep 1977 to Jan 1978, trained aircrews in the AWADS for a C-130 squadron in Europe.

The 317th provided airlift, combat control, medical evacuation, and security police support for Operation Urgent Fury, the rescue and evacuation of American citizens from Grenada, October–November 1983.

Between 1983 and 1993, the 317th participated in training exercises, special assignment airlift missions, channel missions for Military Airlift Command and Air Mobility Command, and national airlift competitions. Crews and aircraft of assigned squadrons rotated periodically to England for European providing intra-theater airlift. It has Trained jointly with Army airborne forces from Fort Bragg, NC, tested container delivery system for parachute dropping of heavy equipment, deployed crews and aircraft worldwide as needed, and participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama.

Modern era

After an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, transported troops, equipment, and supplies to Southwest Asia as part of Operation Desert Shield and participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In 1992, the Fighting 3-1-7 took part in humanitarian airlifts to Bosnia (Operation Provide Promise) and Somalia (Operation Provide Relief). It transported relief workers and supplies to Florida after Hurricane Andrew. As the Air Force continued to streamline its operations after the end of the Cold War, the 317th was inactivated at Pope AFB in July of 1993.

Four years after the inactivation, in April of 1997, a transfer of all U.S. based C-130 aircraft to Air Mobility Command (AMC) resulted in the reactivation of the 317th as a group organization. From 1997 to present, deployed personnel and equipment worldwide to provide all phases of combat delivery, air-land, airdrop, airlift maintenance and recovery, operations support and deployable air mobility command and control.

In 2008, the 317 AG again supported Americans providing hurricane relief in Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, transporting patients and ambulatory personnel away from affected areas to temporary shelters. On July 4th, 2009, the men and women of the 317 AG will have been continuously deployed for 2,000 days in service to the United States at home and abroad.

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.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • 317th Airlift Group Factsheet

External links


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