319th Operations Group: Wikis


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319th Operations Group
Emblem of the 319th Operations Group
Active 1942-1945; 1946-1949; 1949-1951; 1955-1957; 1991-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part of 319th Air Refueling Wing
Garrison/HQ Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota
Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker 63-8037 from the 319th Operations Group takes off from McChord AFB, Washington

The 319th Operations Group (319 OG) is the flying component of the 319th Air Refueling Wing, assigned to the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command. The group is stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota.

The group's predecessor World War II unit, the 319th Bombardment Group was the first Martin B-26 Marauder group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during the war. The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations during the war. In 1945, the group was re-equipped with the Douglas A-26 Invader and was deployed to Okinawa, where it flew combat missions over China as part of Seventh Air Force against Imperial Japanese forces until the war's end.

One of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, Donald Kent “Deke” Slayton, flew A-26s from Okinawa as a part of the group's 438th Bomb Squadron in 1945.



The 319 OG (Tail stripe: Grand Forks) provides air refueling of combat and support aircraft around the world through its global mobility operations flying KC-135R/T tankers.


The group consists of the following squadrons:


See the 319th Air Refueling Wing for additional history and lineage


  • Established as 319 Bombardment Group (Medium) on 19 Jun 1942
Activated on 26 Jun 1942
Redesignated: 319 Bombardment Group, Medium on 20 Aug 1943
Redesignated: 319 Bombardment Group, Light on 3 Feb 1945
Inactivated on 18 Dec 1945
  • Activated in the Reserve on 27 Dec 1946
Inactivated on 2 Sept 1949
  • Activated in the Reserve on 10 Oct 1949
Ordered to active duty on 10 Mar 1951
Inactivated on 22 Mar 1951
  • Redesignated: 319 Fighter-Bomber Group on 12 Apr 1955
Activated in the Reserve on 18 May 1955
Inactivated on 16 Nov 1957
  • Redesignated: 319 Bombardment Group, Heavy on 31 Jul 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated: 319 Operations Group on 29 Aug 1991
Activated on 1 Sept 1991
  • Designated as 319th Air Expeditionary Group as a provisional unit when group elements deployed to combat areas anytime after 11 September 2001.



  • 46th Bombardment (later, 46 Bomb) Squadron: 16 Apr 1947–2 Sept 1949; 10 Oct 1949–22 Mar 1951; 1 Sept 1991–1 Oct 1993
  • 50th Bombardment Squadron: 16 Apr 1947–2 Sept 1949; 10 Oct 1949–22 Mar 1951
  • 51st Bombardment Squadron: 8 Jul 1947–2 Sept 1949; 10 Oct 1949–22 Mar 1951
  • 59th Bombardment Squadron: 8 Jul 1947–2 Sept 1949; 10 Oct 1949–22 Mar 1951
  • 437th Bombardment Squadron: 26 Jun 1942–18 Dec 1945
  • 438th Bombardment Squadron: 26 Jun 1942–13 Dec 1945
  • 439th Bombardment Squadron: 26 Jun 1942–18 Dec 1945
  • 440th Bombardment Squadron: 26 Jun 1942–18 Dec 1945
  • 905th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 Sep 1991–1 Jun 1992; 1 Oct 1993–Present
  • 906th Air Refueling Squadron: 30 Jan 1994–Present
  • 911th Air Refueling Squadron: 29 Apr 1994–Present
  • 912th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 Apr 1994–Present


Aircraft assigned

Operational History

World War II

319th Bomb Group B-26 Marauders taking off en-masse from a desert base in North Africa, 1943

The 319th Bombardment Group trained in Louisiana in B-26 Bombers and after completing initial training in November 1942, the group reported to the Mediterranean theater of operations where it was assigned to the Twelfth Air Force.

In Oct and Nov 1942, it moved to Algeria as the first B-26 unit in that theater, entering combat for the first time on 28 November. From then to March 1943, the group bombed German and Italian targets in Tunisia and Libya, including railroads, airfields, harbor installations, and enemy shipping along the Mediterranean Coast. The 319th trained in French Morocco from March, then returned to combat in June 1943, attacking enemy targets on Italian island in the Mediterranean, including Sicily, Sardinia, and Pantelleria. From bases in Algeria and Tunisia, the group supported the Allied invasion of Italy, bombing bridges and marshalling yards during the late summer and early autumn of 1943. In November, it moved to Sardinia, to strike Axis targets in central Italy. Early in 1944, the 319th supported Allied ground forces as they advanced in the Cassino and Anzio areas. Later in the year, the group attacked German supply lines in northern Italy, bombing bridges, marshalling yards, and roads. In March, it earned two Distinguished Unit Citations for raids on marshalling yards in Rome and Florence that damaged enemy communications without destroying cultural monuments. For supporting the Allied ground advance in Italy during April, May, and June 1944, the group earned the French Croix de Guerre. During the summer, it bombed bridges over the Po River in northern Italy to block the stream of German supplies and reinforcements going southward. The 319th Bombardment Group supported the invasion of southern France in August 1944 by attacking coastal batteries, radar stations, and bridges. From Corsica, it hit railroad bridges in Northern Italy and late in the year attacked railroad lines through the Brenner Pass that connected Germany and Austria with Italy.

In January 1945, the 319th returned to the United States, where it began to train with A-26 aircraft for operations in the Pacific Theater. Between May and July 1945, the group moved by ship to Okinawa, and on 16 July flew its first mission against Japan. From then until the end of the fighting in early August, the 319th attacked enemy targets such as airfields and industrial centers on Kyūshū and occupied Shanghai area of China, and shipping around the Ryukyu Islands and in the East China Sea. In November and December 1945, the group returned to the United States.

Cold War

During the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the 319th group served three periods in the continental United States as a reserve organization. It was inactivated in 1957 when its operational squadrons were assigned directly to its parent wing as a result of the Air Force tri-deputate reorganization.

Modern era

The group was reactivated in on 1 September 1991 as the 319th Operations Group and assigned to the 319th Bomb Wing as part of the "Objective Wing" concept adapted by the Air Force. The 319th OG was bestowed the lineage, honors and history of the 319th Bombardment Group, Heavy and its predecessor units.

The 319th Operations Group took control of operational units of the 319th Bomb Wing at Grand Forks AFB, ND. At that time it was equipped with B-1B and KC-135 aircraft. For a brief period between Sep 1992 and Oct 1993, the Group lost its refueling mission. However, in Oct 1993, the 319th Wing was redesignated as an Air Refueling Wing and its bombardment squadron was reassigned. Over the next year, the group gained four air refueling squadrons equipped with KC-135R/T aircraft. It supported worldwide Tanker Task Forces, as well as, combat operations in Southwest Asia, Central Europe, and antidrug operations in Central America by constantly deploying elements to provide air refueling for combat aircraft, 1993-present.

319th Air Expeditionary Group

Emblem of the 319th Air Expeditionary Group

The 319th Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional unit allocated to Air Mobility Command for activation or inactivation anytime after 11 September 2001. It was deployed to a makeshift tent city somewhere in the arid desert of Southwest Asia. From the start of air operations over Afghanistan 7 October, by 2 November 2001 the 319th Air Expeditionary Group [319th AEG] had flown over 150 sorties and more than 1050 hours; pumping over 1.4 million gallons of gas into more than 450 planes.

Keeping jets aloft and providing fuel to the fight – it’s the main reason the 319th Air Expeditionary Group Aircraft Generation Squadron is deployed to ensures the jets keep flying and are fully-prepared to support the air campaign against terrorism. Consisting of crew chiefs, aircraft specialists, maintenance specialists and various support agencies, the AGS is comprised exclusively of personnel from Grand Forks AFB.

Refueling by the Grand Forks (N.D.) Air Force Base's 319th Air Refueling Group is the mission of Base X in Oman, the secret outpost of the US Air Force in a country that wants its cooperation kept quiet. The mission, going on since early in the Afghan war, has become workaday. Base X serves as the forward operating location for US air refueling aircraft in the Middle East. US bombers, crucial during Operation Anaconda in March, are just some of the planes that receive mid-air refueling from KC-135 tankers stationed there.


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.

External links


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