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317th Troop Carrier Group: Wikis

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317th Troop Carrier Group
317thtroopcarriergroup-emblem.jpg
Emblem of the 317th Troop Carrier Group
Active 1942-1949; 1952-1957; 1978-1980
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

The 317th Troop Carrier Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing, stationed at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. It was inactivated on 1 April 1980.

During World War II the group operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater transporting such things as gasoline, ammunition, medicine, rations, communications equipment, construction materials and evacuating wounded personnel during numerous campaigns. Participated in two airborne operations during the 1944-1945 Philippines Campaign. On 3 and 4 Feb 1945 it dropped paratroops south of Manila to seize highway routes to the city, and on 16 and 17 Feb dropped the 502d Infantry Regiment on Corregidor to open Manila Bay to US shipping; received a United States Distinguished Unit Citation for the latter operation, performed at low altitude over small drop zones in a heavily defended area. In addition, the group completed two unusual missions on 12 and 15 Apr 1945 when the group bombed Carabao Island with drums of Napalm. Dropped part of 511th Parachute Infantry 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.

The group remained active in Japan after the war as an occupation unit transporting personnel and supplies within the occupied areas. It was reassigned to Germany during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 using C-54's to transport coal, food, and other supplies to the blockaded city. Later during the 1950s, the group provided intra-theater airlift for USAFE until being inactivated in 1957 and its squadrons being assigned directly to the 317th TCW.

Contents

History

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Lineage

  • Constituted as 317th Transport Group on 2 Feb 1942
Activated on 22 Feb 1942
Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group (Heavy) in May 1948.
Inactivated in Germany on 14 Sep 1949
  • Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) 14 Jul 1952
Activated in Germany on 14 Jul 1952
Inactivated on 12 Mar 1957
  • Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group and activated on 15 Sep 1978
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1980

Assignments

Attached to: 52d Troop Carrier Wing, 22 Feb-3 Dec 1942
Detached 21 Sep 1948-8 Jan 1949
Not operational c. 31 Aug-14 Sep 1949; 8 May 1955-12 Mar 1957; 15-30 Sep 1978

Components

  • 39th Troop Carrier Squadron: 22 Feb 1942-14 Sep 1949; 14 Jul 1952-12 Mar 1957
  • 40th Troop Carrier Squadron: 22 Feb 1942-14 Sep 1949; 14 Jul 1952-12 Mar 1957
  • 41st Troop Carrier Squadron: 22 Feb 1942-14 Sep 1949; 14 Jul 1952-12 Mar 1957
  • 46th Troop Carrier Squadron: 22 Feb 1942-14 Sep 1949

Stations

Aircraft

  • C-47, 1942-1947
  • C-39, C-49, C-60, B-17, LB-30, 1943-1943
  • C-46, 1945-1947
  • C-54, 1947-1948
  • C-119, 1952-1957
  • C-130, 1978-1980

Operations

World War II

The group's humble beginning occurred on February 22, 1942 at Duncan Field near San Antonio, Texas. Eighteen enlisted men and one Captain formed the entire unit. However it wouldn't be long before the 317th tenant squadrons would acquire the venerable Douglas C-47 Skymaster and the familiar drone of rotating props would become forever synonymous with the 317th.

In July of 1942, the Army redesignated the unit the 317th Troop Carrier Group. After receiving several months of training in and around the southern United States, the group had grown into a viable component of America's defense machine. In December of that same year, they departed for Australia in support of World War II.

The Army Air Corp quickly stripped the 317th of their new C-47s upon arrival, and in turn gave them the battered aircraft of the veteran 347th Troop Carrier Group. With an assortment of damaged C-47s, C-60s, and cargo versions of the B-17, the 317th set about their mission.

As the Japanese pounded the airdrome at Wau, New Guinea, the 317th endured monsoon conditions, flying low level supply drops to the Australian Army engaged on the airfield in hand-to hand combat. The mission cost the 317th three aircraft and several men, and for their actions they received their first Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC).

Spear heading a combined airborne-glider offense in June 1945, the 317th released allied elements over northern Luzon (Philippines). Enemy anti-aircraft fire was intense, forcing the group to make repeated passes over the drop zone. Soon the Japanese forces were weakened to the point of defeat. And once again the 317th was awarded the DUC for their outstanding performance.

Cold War

In 1948 with the war finally at an end, the 317th participated in one of the most widely known humanitarian efforts in history, the Berlin Airlift. From May through July the group air-dropped food supplies to the citizens of the Soviet blockaded city. Once the blockade had been lifted and their mission was complete, the 317th inactivated at Rhein Main Air Base, Germany in September.

In July of 1952, the Air Force reactivated the 317th at Rhein Main as the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. It became the first Air Force unit assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Now flying C-119 "Boxcars", the 317th relocated to Neubiberg Air Base near Munich in 1953. Shortly after their arrival at the Bavarian base, newer C-123 transports arrived to compliment the C-119s.

The 317th continued to fly many humanitarian missions and support NATO airborne units throughout Europe. They airlifted life rafts, tents, and emergency food supplies to flood victims in the Netherlands, and aided thousands of earthquake victims in Italy, Greece, Pakistan and Yugoslavia among many others.

Post Vietnam era

Trained aircrews in adverse weather delivery system AWADS) equipment for a C-130 squadron in Europe 1978-1980.

See also

References

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, Office of Air Force History. ISBN 978-0405121944

External links


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