459th Air Refueling Wing: Wikis

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459th Air Refueling Wing
459th Air Refueling Wing.png
459th Air Refueling Wing Shield
Active January 26, 1955 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aerial Refueling
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
4th Air Force
Garrison/HQ Andrews Air Force Base
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
GallantryCrossRibbon.jpg RVGC w/ Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel William Cahoon

The 459th Airlift Wing (459 AW) is an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Andrews Air Force Base since 1954.

Contents

Overview

Flying the KC-135 Stratotanker and assigned to Fourth Air Force, the 459 AW's mission is to recruit, train, equip, challenge, mentor and reward the men and women of the unit to provide safe, sustained, outstanding service to ourselves, our communities and nation. If activated, the 459 AW would become part of Air Mobility Command.

Subordinate units of the 459th AW are the 459 OG, 459 OSF, 756 ARS, 459 AES, 459 ASTS, 459 AMDS, 459 AMXS, 459 MXG, 459 MOF, 459 AMS, 459 MXS, 759 LRF, 459 MSG, 459 MSF, 459 CF, 459 LRF, 459 SVF, 459 CES, 459 SFS, 69 APS

The 459th Airlift Wing converted to the air refueling mission on October 1, 2003. This also resulted in a conversion from the C-141 Starlifter to the Boeing KC-135R, and the wing was equipped with eight aircraft. The wing was also reassigned from the 22nd Air Force to the 4th Air Force.

The wing, over the years, is a six-time recipient of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. There are about 1,200 traditional Reservists stationed at the wing. A full-time civilian and Air Reserve Technician staff of about 230 people provide day-to-day administration and management of the 459th.

History

Since its activation, the 459th participated in many exercises and contingencies to include: OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, OPERATIONS NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH, OPERATION NOBLE ANVIL (the American component of OPERATION ALLIED FORCE), OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. As a result of these operations, the Wing has participated in places around the globe to include: Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Bosnia and Kosovo.

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Lineage

  • Established as 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on May 19, 1943
Activated on July 1, 1943
Redesignated 459th Bombardment Group, Heavy, on August 20, 1943
Inactivated on August 28, 1945
  • Redesignated 459th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on March 11, 1947
Activated in the Reserve on April 19, 1947
Redesignated 459th Bombardment Group, Medium, on June 27, 1949.
Ordered to active service on May 1, 1951
Inactivated on June 16, 1951
  • Established as 459th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on December 30, 1954
Group redesignated: 459th Troop Carrier Group, Medium, on December 30, 1954 and became subordinate organization to wing
Activated in the Reserve on January 26, 1955
Redesignated: 459th Military Airlift Wing on July 1, 1966
Redesignated: 459th Tactical Airlift Wing on June 29, 1971
Redesignated: 459th Military Airlift Wing on July 1, 1986
Redesignated: 459th Airlift Wing on February 1, 1992
Redesignated: 459th Air Refueling Wing on October 1, 2003.

Assignments

304 Bombardment Wing, January 25, 1944
Second Air Force, August 13–28, 1945
304 Bombardment Wing (later, 304th Air Division), April 19, 1947
Eighth Air Force, June 27, 1949
Fifteenth Air Force, April 1, 1950 – June 16, 1951
First Air Force, January 26, 1955
Fourteenth Air Force, March 25, 1958
Second Air Force Reserve Region, August 15, 1960
First Air Force Reserve Region, June 24, 1966
Eastern Air Force Reserve Region, December 31, 1969
Fourteenth Air Force, October 8, 1976
Twenty-Second Air Force, July 1, 1993
Fourth Air Force, April 1, 2003 – .

Stations

Components

Groups

  • 459 Troop Carrier (later, 459 Operations)
January 26, 1955 – April 14, 1959
August 1, 1992 –
  • 904 Troop Carrier (later, 904 Military Airlift)
July 1, 1966 – January 26, 1968
June 2 – December 31, 1969
  • 905 Military Airlift (later, 905 Tactical Airlift): February 25, 1972 – April 1, 1974.
  • 907 Tactical Airlift (later, 907 Airlift): October 1, 1989 – October 1, 1994
  • 909 Troop Carrier (later, 909 Military Airlift): January 17, 1963 – September 1, 1975
  • 910 Troop Carrier (later, 910 Tactical Fighter; 910 Tactical Airlift)
January 17, 1963 – July 1, 1966
April 1, 1981 – October 1, 1989. 911 Troop Carrier (later, 911 Military Airlift)
January 17, 1963 – April 21, 1971 (detached April 1–21, 1971)
  • 913 Tactical Airlift (later, 913 Airlift): January 8, 1976 – August 1, 1992.
  • 915 Military Airlift: January 26, 1968 – September 1, 1969.
  • 918 Military Airlift: attached April 1–20, 1971, assigned April 21, 1971 – July 1, 1972
  • 919 Military Airlift (later, 919 Tactical Airlift): July 30, 1971 – December 1, 1974
  • 920 Tactical Airlift: April 25, 1973 – January 1, 1976
  • 927 Tactical Airlift: March 15, 1976 – July 1, 1981.

Squadrons

  • 57 Fighter: May 15, 1947 – June 27, 1949
  • 756 Bombardment (later, 756 Troop Carrier; 756 Airlift; 756 Air Refueling)
July 1, 1943 – August 28, 1945
April 19, 1947 – June 26, 1949
January 26, 1955 – January 17, 1963
September 1, 1975 – .
  • 757 Bombardment (later, 757 Troop Carrier)
July 1, 1943 – August 28, 1945
July 12, 1947 – June 27, 1949
April 8, 1955 – January 17, 1963
July 1, 1943 – August 28, 1945
July 12, 1947 – June 27, 1949
November 16, 1957 – January 17, 1963
  • 759 Bombardment
July 1, 1943 – August 28, 1945
July 12, 1947 – June 16, 1951

Operational History

World War II

The World War II predecessor to the 459th Air Refueling Wing was the 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy). The unit was constituted on May 19, 1943, and activated on July 1, 1943 at Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico. The 459th Bombardment Group was assigned four bombardment squadrons: the 756th, 757th, 758th, and 759th. After training for six months on the B-24 bomber in New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Massachusetts, the 459th Bombardment Group was sent to Giulia Airfield, Italy for the war.

As part of the 304th Wing, Fifteenth Air Force, the 459th Bombardment Group engaged in nearly 200 strategic bombardment missions between March 1944 and April 1945. Targets were oil refineries, munitions, and aircraft factories, industrial areas, airfields, and communications centers in France, Germany, Austria, and other southern and eastern European nations. The 459th Bombardment Group returned home in August 1945, and was inactivated on August 28, 1945, at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota.

Cold War

On April 19, 1947, the 459th Bombardment Group was activated at Long Beach Army Air Field, California. In June 1949, the organization was redesignated the 459th Bombardment Group Medium and transferred to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona where it remained until being inactivated on June 16, 1951.

The Reserve flying mission began at Andrews AFB in the summer of 1954, when the 756th Troop Carrier Squadron was activated and equipped with the C-46 aircraft. Nearly 8 months later, the unit had grown enough to activate its parent organization, the 459th Troop Carrier Group (formerly 459th Bombardment Group) and its parent the 459th Troop Carrier Wing. Later that year, another squadron, the 757th Troop Carrier Squadron was activated at Byrd Field, Richmond, Virginia and assigned to the Group. A third flying unit, the 758th Troop Carrier Squadron, was added in 1957 and equipped with the C-119 "Flying Boxcar" at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania. In November of 1957, the 757th relocated from Byrd Field to Youngstown Municipal Airport, Ohio. On July 1, 1966, the 459th was redesignated 459th Military Airlift Wing and converted to a strategic, long-range mission with the C-124 "Globemaster" aircraft.

In June 1971, the 459th converted to the C-130 "Hercules" and was redesignated as the 459th Tactical Airlift Wing. In December 1974, with the consolidation of all Air Force strategic and tactical airlift resources under a single manager, the 459th's active duty gaining command switched from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command.

In July 1986, the Wing converted to the Lockheed C-141B "Starlifter" aircraft. The conversion resulted in an increase of Wing personnel at Andrews from 900 to a level of almost 1,600.

Post Cold War

In 1992, wing personnel flew supplies to the victims of Hurricane Andrew in Florida; medical equipment and supplies to Minsk, Belarus, as part of Operation Provide Hope; and food, medicine, supplies and medical personnel into Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope.

In 1993, the 459th continued to support Operation Support Hope. The wing provided humanitarian airlift relief in Rwanda and in support of the Cuban refugees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In addition, 459th personnel supported Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti as well as various other significant missions around the globe.

References

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

  • 459 Refueling Group Fact Sheet
  • 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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