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43d Airlift Wing
43d Airlift Wing.svg
43d Airlift Wing Insignia
Active 1947-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Tactical Airlift
Part of Air Mobility Command
Garrison/HQ Pope Air Force Base
Motto Willing, Able, Ready
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg PUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA w/ V Device
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines).svg PPUC
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel James C. Johnson
Notable
commanders
David A. Burchinal
Jack J. Catton
A 43d Operations Group C-130 flies over the Cape Hatteras lighthouse along the North Carolina coast

The 43d Airlift Wing (43 AW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command Eighteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. The wing is also the host unit at Pope.

The wing is composed of 3,000 personnel from 15 squadrons, providing C-130 Hercules tactical airlift support to the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and US Special Forces Command. It is capable of deploying a self-sustaining war fighting package anywhere in the world at a moment's notice.

The wing has a long and distinguished history. It traces its roots back to the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), which was constituted November 20, 1940, and activated January 15, 1941, at Langley Field, VA, a little more than a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a B-17 Flying Fortress, and later a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. The 43d Operations Group carries the lineage and history of its highly decorated World War II predecessor unit.

Active for over 60 years, the 43 AW was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force throughout the Cold War.

The 43d Airlift Wing is commanded by Colonel James C. Johnson. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Douglas A. Ackerman.

Contents

Units

It consists of the following groups:

Dual Mission: 1) Combat-ready C-130 operations group. On short notice, delivers/resupplies troops in forward battle area via Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System (AWADS) and/or visual procedures. Employs USAF's only tactical aeromedical evacuation squadron. 2) En route aerial support. Principal airfield for joint training/outload of XVIII Airborne Corps/82d Airborne Division. Supports 2 tenant A-10 units.
  • 43d Maintenance Group
Provides quality organizational and intermediate-level maintenance and logistics support for the Air Force's premier tactical airlift wing and two tenant units. Maintains worldwide mobilization capability and provides combat-ready C-130 and A/OA-10 aircraft to support United States national interests anytime, anywhere. Provides wing quality assurance program to ensure workforce qualification.
  • 43d Medical Group
Provides comprehensive medical support to over 3,000 active-duty personnel. Promotes the optimal health and combat readiness of warfighters across the entire spectrum of military operations. Enhances the health and fitness for 20,000 beneficiaries through prevention-oriented programs and population-based healthcare delivery.
  • 43d Mission Support Group
Creates, sustains and protects combat capability for the 43d Airlift Wing and 18th Air Support Operations Group. Provides aerial port, communications, contracting, engineering/fire protection/readiness, force protection/security, personnel, services/MWR, and supply/transportation support to 3,000 personnel assigned to Pope AFB in addition to supporting the XVIII Airborne Corps (41,000 personnel). Delivers superior mission support to generate combat power worldwide.

History

For additional history and lineage, see 43d Operations Group
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Lineage

  • Established as 43d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on November 3, 1947
Organized on November 17, 1947
Redesignated 43d Bombardment Wing, Medium, on August 1, 1948
Inactivated on January 31, 1970
  • Redesignated 43d Strategic Wing on February 4, 1970
Activated on April 1, 1970
Redesignated 43d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on November 4, 1986
Inactivated on September 30, 1990
  • Redesignated 43d Air Refueling Wing, and activated, on June 1, 1992
43d Operations Group activated, on June 1, 1992
Redesignated 43d Air Refueling Group on July 1, 1994
Inactivated on October 1, 1996
  • Redesignated 43d Airlift Wing on March 31, 1997
Activated on April 1, 1997.

Assignments

Attached to: 7th Air Division, c. 10 Mar-5 Jun 1953 and 5 Sep-10 Dec 1954
Attached to: 3d Air Division, 1 Jul-1 Oct 1957
Attached to: 825th Strategic Aerospace Division, 19-31 Aug 1964
Attached to: Air Division, Provisional, 57, 1 Jun 1972-14 Nov 1973

Components

Groups

  • 43d Bombardment (later, 43d Operations): November 17, 1947 – June 16, 1952 (detached August 16 – November 16, 1949; not operational, February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952); June 1, 1992 – July 1, 1994; April 1, 1997 –
  • 453d Operations: June 1, 1992 – July 1, 1994
  • 459th Bombardment: attached June 27, 1949 – June 16, 1951
  • 2d Bombardment: attached November 17, 1947 – December 31, 1948 (not operational).

Squadrons

Attached: February 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952
Assigned: July 19, 1948 – March 15, 1960 (detached October 18 – December 28, 1955); July 19, 1948 – June 16, 1952 (detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952)
  • 60th Bombardment: July 1, 1971 – April 30, 1990 (not operational, July 1, 1971 – c. February 1972)
  • 63d Bombardment: October 1, 1946 – January 31, 1970 (detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952)
63d Bombardment Squadron Provisional: attached June 15, 1972 – June 30, 1975 (not operational, c. November 1973 – June 30, 1975); January 15, 1941 – April 29, 1946; October 1, 1946 – June 16, 1952 (detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952)
  • 64th Bombardment: October 1, 1946 – January 31, 1970 (detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952)
  • 65th Bombardment (later, 65th Strategic): attached February 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952, assigned June 16, 1952 – January 31, 1970 (not operational, March 15 – August 1960); July 1, 1986 – July 1, 1990; January 15, 1941 – April 29, 1946; October 1, 1946 – June 16, 1952 (detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952)
  • 70th Air Refueling Squadron: attached August 19–31, 1964, assigned September 1, 1964 – January 1, 1970
  • 91st Air Refueling Squadron: July 1, 1994 – October 1, 1996; June 1, 1992 – July 1, 1994
  • 97th Air Refueling Squadron: October 1, 1992 – April 1, 1994
  • 307th Air Refueling: attached September 16, 1950 – August 1, 1951 (further attached to 43d Bombardment Group, September 16, 1950 – February 9, 1951); attached September 16, 1950 – February 9, 1951
  • 350th Air Refueling Squadron: October 1, 1993 – July 1, 1994.
  • 403d Bombardment: January 15, 1941 – April 29, 1946; December 1, 1958 – March 15, 1960; May 15, 1960 – January 1, 1961 (not operational)
  • 905th Air Refueling Squadron: July 1 – October 1, 1993
  • 906th Air Refueling Squadron: June 1, 1992 – January 30, 1994
  • 917th Air Refueling: October 1, 1993 – July 1, 1994
  • 4182d Bombardment: April 1, 1970 – January 1, 1971 (not operational)

Stations

Deployed at: RAF Brize Norton, England, c. March 10 – June 5, 1953
Deployed at: RAF Fairford, England, September 5 – December 10, 1954
Deployed at: Andersen AFB, Guam, July 1 – October 1, 1957

Aircraft

B-52D, 1970–1983; B-52G, 1983–1990

References for commands and major units assigned, components and stations:[1][2][3]

Operations

Cold War

The 43d was established on 3 November 1947. It conducted strategic bombardment training from, 1946–1960, and air refueling, 1949–1960, to meet Strategic Air Command's (SAC) global commitments. Wing personnel established flight records, flying two B-29s around the world in 1948 in 15 days, flying the B-50 Lucky Lady II nonstop around the world in 94 hours and 40 seconds in 1949, and setting a jet endurance record in 1954 by keeping a B-47 airborne for 47:35 hours.

The wing converted to B-58 aircraft, the world's first supersonic bomber, in 1960. From March 1960 to July 1961 it operated a combat crew training school for B-58 aircrews, and from July 1962 until late 1969 it served as one of two SAC B-58 wings with a strategic bombardment mission. During the 1960s the wing established world flight speed records in the B-58. For example, in May 1961, a wing B-58 flew from New York to Paris in 3 hours, 14 minutes, and 45 seconds, establishing a new transatlantic speed record of 1,089.36 mph. During a race in 1962, a wing B-58 flew from Los Angeles to New York at an average speed of 1,214.65 mph. It flew from Los Angeles to New York and back in 4 hours, 41 minutes, and 15 seconds.

The wing also controlled an air refueling squadron from August 1964 until inactivation in January 1970.

Vietnam War

It activated again in April 1970, replacing the 3960th Strategic Wing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. On July 1, 1970, the 43d also assumed tasks formerly handled by the 4133d Bombardment Wing, (Provisional), including a combat mission. The wing employed attached aircraft and aircrews of other Strategic Air Command units to participate in Operation Arc Light combat missions in Southeast Asia from July 1 to mid-August 1970, and again from February 1972 to August 1973.

Following the end of combat operations the 43d provided routing training and ground alert with B-52 and KC-135 aircraft, the latter provided by other SAC units on loan. During 1975 the wing provided logistical and medical support to thousands of Vietnamese refugees evacuated from their homeland and located temporarily at Guam awaiting resettlement in the United States.

Post Vietnam era

The wing trained to remain proficient in strategic and conventional warfare capabilities. Beginning in 1974 it controlled TDY tankers and crews participating in the Pacific (formerly Andersen) Tanker Task Force that supported SAC operations in the western Pacific.

In July 1986 the 43d activated the 65th Strategic Squadron to control the TDY air refueling forces.

Modern era

It conducted refueling operations from June 1, 1992 through October 1, 1996. It assumed an airlift role in April 1997. Crews and aircraft deployed to Europe and Southwest Asia for expeditionary rotations and contingency operations such as the enforcement of no-fly zones over Iraq. It also took part in humanitarian airlift operations and training exercises, often with U.S. Army airborne organizations stationed at nearby Fort Bragg. After terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, elements deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.

Operations

References

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

  1. ^ Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129
  2. ^ Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  3. ^ Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links


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