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483rd Composite Wing
483d Tactical Airlift Wing Insignia
Active 1943–1972
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Composite transport/special ops.
Part of Pacific Air Forces
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg KSMRib.svg Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1945–1945)
  • Korean Service (1953)
  • Vietnam Service (1966–1972)

The 483rd Composite Wing was a tactical airlift and composite wing assigned to Pacific Air Forces during the Vietnam War. It was the host organization at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base South Vietnam from 1970–1972.



The units history can be traced back to the World War II 483rd Bombardment Group, which was a United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It served primarily in the Mediterranean, African, and The Middle East Theatres of World War II.

During the Korean War, the 483d Troop Carrier Group was an airlift organization assigned to Tactical Air Command but attached to Far East Air Forces for duty.



  • Constituted as 483rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943
Activated on 20 September 1943
Inactivated 25 September 1945
  • Established as 483rd Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on 15 November 1952
Activated on 1 January 1953
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 June 1960
  • Redesignated 483rd Troop Carrier Wing, and activated, on 12 October 1966.
Organized on 15 October 1966
Redesignated 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 August 1967
Redesignated 483rd Composite Wing, 1 January 1971
Inactivated on 31 May 1972.


5th Bombardment Wing, 17 March 1944 – 25 September 1945
Attached to: 315th Air Division (Combat Cargo), 1 January 1953 – 30 June 1954
315th Air Division (Combat Cargo), 1 July 1954 – 25 June 1960
834th Air Division, 15 October 1966
Seventh Air Force, 1 December 1971 – 31 May 1972


World War II

  • 815th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945
  • 816th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945
  • 817th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945
  • 840th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945

Korean War

  • 815th Troop Carrier Squadron 1953–1960
  • 816th Troop Carrier Squadron 1953–1960

Vietnam War

  • C-7A Caribou Squadrons, all activated 1 January 1967:
  • C-130B Squadrons (TDY from the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing Clark AB Philippines)
    • 29th Tactical Airlift (Tail Code: QB)
    • 772nd Tactical Airlift (Tail Code: QF)
    • 773rd Tactical Airlift (Tail Code: QG)
    • 774th Tactical Airlift (Tail Code: QW)
  • 20th Special Operations Squadron 1 September 1971
  • 90th Special Operations 1 September 1971 (A-37B Tail Code: CG)
  • 360th Tactical Electronic Warfare 31 August 1971 (EC-47N/P/Q Tail Code: AJ)
  • 361st Tactical Electronic Warfare 31 August 1971 (EC-47N/P/Q Tail Code: AL)
  • 362nd Tactical Electronic Warfare 31 August 1971 (EC-47N/P/Q C-47H Tail Code: AN)


Aircraft Flown

Operational History

World War II

Constituted as 483rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943 and activated on 20 September. Trained with B-17's. Moved to Italy, March–April 1944, and assigned to Fifteenth Air Force.

Began operations in April 1944 and served in combat until late in April 1945, hitting such targets as factories, oil refineries, marshalling yards, storage areas, airdromes, bridges, gun positions, and troop concentrations in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for action on 18 July 1944 when, without fighter escort, the group engaged numerous enemy aircraft in the target area and also bombed the objective, an airdrome and installations at Memmingen.

Assisting the strategic bombardment of enemy industry the group received another DUC for braving fighter assaults and antiaircraft fire to bomb tank factories at Berlin on 24 May 1945. Struck targets in southern France in preparation for the invasion in August 1944. Operated in support of ground force in northern Italy during the Allied offensive in April 1945.

After V-E Day, transported personnel from Italy to North Africa for movement to the US. Inactivated in Italy on 25 September 1945.

Korean War

Activated at Ashiya AB, Japan as the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing on 1 January 1953 and replaced 403rd Troop Carrier Wing, Medium. Assigned to Tactical Air Command but attached to the Far East Air Forces 315th Air Division for duty in the Korean War.

Performed troop carrier and air trans-port operations in the Far East, including landing of troops and cargo in for-ward areas of the combat zone, air transportation of airborne troops and equipment, and air evacuation of casualties. In June 1953, as the Korean war neared an armistice, all wing C-119s airlifted the entire 187th Regimental Combat Team (Airborne) from Japan to Seoul and Chunch'on, South Korea, to preclude enemy breakthroughs. This was the largest mass movement of personnel in the history of combat cargo to that time.

Between April 1953 and September 1954, the wing aided the French Air Force in Indochina by training air-crews, evacuating wounded, and maintaining aircraft. Returned to Ashiya AB, and performed theatre transport duties until inactivated in Japan on 23 June 1960.

Vietnam War

Tong 725 (C-7A 63-9725) of the 535th TAS – October 1971. It is believed that this aircraft was one of 38 transferred to the South Vietnamese Air Force in 1972 after the inactivation of the 483rd TAW.

The 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing was activated on 15 October 1966. With the deactivation of the 12th Tactical Fighter wing. The 483rd TAW became the host wing at Cam Ranh Air Base South Vietnam on 31 March 1970 assigned to the 834th Air Command. The wing was established to receive ex-Army CV-2B "Caribou" light transports. Upon transfer to the USAF, the aircraft was redesignated as C-7A. The 483rd TAW mission was to provide cargo and logistical support to U.S. Army and allied ground forces throughout South Vietnam.

In April 1971 the aerial port at Cam Ranh Air Base moved 80,522 passengers and 10,425 tons of cargo. Also handled were 712 tons of mail and 10,939 Vietnamese travelers.

The unique capabilities of the C-7 for short landing and takeoff made Caribou transports absolutely vital to the war effort. On many occasions the C-7A's flew emergency airlift missions to airstrips and combat areas that no other aircraft could reach. Most notable were those in support of special forces camps in the central highlands.

In June 1968 the wing flew a record 2,420 combat troops in three days between Dak Pek, Ben Het and Dak To.

In August 1968 pinpoint night airdrops were accomplished at Duc Lap, Ha Thanh and Tonle Cham Special Forces camps. Ammunition and medical supplies were parachuted into 75-foot-square drop zones while the camps were under attack.

In June 1969 during the siege of Ben Het more than 200 tons of ammunition, POL, rations, water and medical supplies were airdropped into a 100 x 200-foot zone with every load on target and 100 per cent recovered.

Again in April 1970, the 483rd TAW helped break the siege of Dak Seang. The wing flew 100 air-drop sorties under heavy hostile fire in ten days delivering some 400,000 pounds of vital supplies. When three C-7s were shot down with the loss of all crewmen between 2 April and 6 April, the operation switched to low-level night drops in conjunction with AC-119G Shadow gunships. On 15 May 1970 the 459th TAS ceased operations in preparation for inactivation 1 June as part of the U.S. forces drawdown in Vietnam, and on 31 August 1971 its sister unit at Phut Cat AB, the 537th TAS, inactivated in place, followed shortly thereafter by the 536th TAS at Vung Tau.

During their five years' flying for the 483rd TAW, the C-7A Caribous carried more than 4.7 million passengers, averaging more than one million a year during 1967–1969. At the same time the wing averaged more than 100,000 tons of cargo each year.

On 31 August/1 September 1971, five squadrons from deactivating units were assigned to the 483rd TAW, which was rediesginated the 483rd Composite Wing. All inactivated at Cam Ranh AB between 1 December 1971 and 15 April 1972.

The three remaining C-7 squadrons inactivated in early 1972 (535th TAS on 24 January, 458th on 1 March, and 457th on 30 April). The 483rd Composite Wing was inactivated on 31 May 1972. Most of the C-7 Caribous were transferred to the SVNAF or VNAF.

For its service in Vietnam, the 483rd TAW was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with combat "V" (Valor) device.


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



  • Dye, John T.III. Golden Leaves. Los Angeles, California: Ward Ritchie Press, 1962.
  • Epperson, W.B. and Bernie Yudain (eds). 483rd Bombardment Group (H), Italy, 1944–45. Rome, Italy: Novissima, 1945.
  • Futrell, Robert Frank. The United States Air Force In Korea, 1950–1953. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-91279-971-4
  • Grimm, Jacob L.; Verne H. Cole and Clyde M. Barnes. Heroes of the 483rd: Crew Histories of a Much Decorated B-17 Bomber Group During World War II, With a Tribute to the Men Who Kept Them Flying. Ann Arbor, MI: 483rd Bombardment Group Association, 1997.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-91279-912-9.
  • Stern, Donald E. 483rd Bomb Group (H). Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1994.

External links


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