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456th Bombardment Wing: Wikis


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456th Bombardment Wing, Heavy
456th Bombardment Wing.PNG
456th Bombardment Wing emblem
Active 15 October 1952-9 July 1956 (456 TCW)
15 November 1962-30 June 1971 (456 SAW)
30 June 1971-30 September 1975(456 BW)
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part of Eighteenth Air Force, Air Force Reserves (456 TCW)
Fifteenth Air Force, Strategic Air Command (456 SAW and 456 BW)
Equipment C-119 Flying Boxcar {456 TCW)
B-52 Stratofortress, KC-135 Stratotanker (456 SAW and 456 BW)
Titan I missile (456 SAW)
Decorations see "Lineage and Honors" section below

The 456th Bombardment Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Strategic Air Command 14th Air Division, stationed at Beale Air Force Base, California. It was inactivated on 30 September 1975.

Originally activated in 1943 as the 456th Bombardment Group as a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. The highly-decorated unit flew 249 bombing missions from Italy while assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force. Its members earned two Distinguished Unit Citations for valor in combat and participated extensively in the strategic bombing campaign against oil production targets including [Ploieşti, Romania, that resulted in high bomber losses.

Inactivated at the end of the war and allotted to the Air Force Reserve, the group was reactivated as the 456th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, operating C-119 Flying Boxcar transports during the 1950s. In November 1962 the wing was designated the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing and was stationed at Beale Air Force Base, California, flying B-52 Stratofortress bombers and KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft, and operating a Titan I ICBM squadron (1962-1965). In July 1972 the wing was redesignated the 456th Bombardment Wing, Heavy and continued to fly the B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker, but lost the ICBM squadron. The wing was inactivated in September 1975.




456th Troop Carrier Wing (Medium)

The 456th Troop Carrier Wing (Medium) (456 TCW) was activated as part of the Air Force Reserves in October 1952. It was reorganized on 1 March 1955 and assumed control over three tactical squadrons plus three squadron-size detachments manned for self-sufficient operations and having eight specially modified C-119 Flying Boxcars. The 456 TCW participated in Project DRAG NET, part of PROJECT 119L. The wing’s task was to perform aerial recovery of high altitude balloon-borne instrument packages. The 456 TCW was shut down in July 1956.

  • Established on: 15 October 1952.
  • Activated on: 1 December 1952.
  • At: Miami International Airport, Fl.
  • Attached to: Eighteenth Air Force, (Attached to the Strategic Air Command, 1st Air Division (Meteorological Survey) from 25 April 1955 to 26 May 1956).
  • Equipment: C-119s.
  • Inactivated on: 9 July 1956.
  • Redesignated on: 1 October 1972 as 456th Bomb Wing.

456th Strategic Aerospace Wing

The 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing (456 SAW) was activated 1 October or November 1962, replacing the 4126th Strategic Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California. The 456 SAW assumed a mission of strategic bombardment training, with B-52s, and air refueling, with KC-135s, as well as controlling a Titan I strategic missile squadron until early 1965. The wing’s bombardment and air refueling squadrons frequently deployed aircraft and crews to meet USAF requirements, often having nearly all of the resources of the wing scattered around the world at various operating locations.

When the 456th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) (456 BW) was shut down on 30 September 1975, it was replaced by the 17th Bombardment Wing, Heavy.

In 1963 the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing was featured as the fictional 904th Strategic Aerospace Wing in the Hollywood film production A Gathering of Eagles.

Lineage and Honors

  • Established: 15 October 1952 - 456 TCW
  • Activated: 1 December 1952 - 456 TCW
  • Reorganized: 1 March 1955 - 456 TCW
  • Inactivated: 9 July 1956 - 456 TCW
  • Redesignated and reactivated: 15 November 1962 - 456 SAW
  • Organized: 1 February 1963 - 456 SAW
  • Redesignated: 1 October 1972 - 456 BW
  • Inactivated: 30 September 1975 - 456 BW

Bestowed Honors: During its operational service the wing was bestowed with the lineage, honors, and history of the World War II 456th Bomb Group (italicized).

Service Streamers

Campaign Streamers

  • World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley; Air Combat, EAME Theater

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers


  • Distinguished Unit Citation (2): Wiener Neustadt, Austria, 10 May 1944; Budapest, Hungary, 2 July 1944





    • 9th Air Refueling Squadron, 1 January 1970-30 September 1975
    • 744th Troop Carrier Squadron (later Bombardment Squadron, Heavy), 1 March 1955-9 July 1956, 1 February 1963-30 September 1975
    • 745th Troop Carrier Squadron, 1 March 1955-9 July 1956
    • 746th Troop Carrier Squadron, 1 March 1955-9 July 1956
    • 851st Strategic Missile Squadron, 1 February 1963-25 March 1965
    • 903d Air Refueling Squadron, 1 February 1963-30 September 1975



Aircraft / Missiles / Space Vehicles


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
  • 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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