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497th Air Refueling Wing
497th Air Refueling Wing.PNG
497th Air Refueling Wing emblem
Active 1962-1964
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Combat Operations
Role Air Refueling
Garrison/HQ Plattsburgh AFB
Motto PARATI STAMUS - 'We Stand Ready'
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24592 "Dauntless Dolly". Shown is Major Robert Morgan, pilot of the aircraft. He led the first B-29 raid over Tokyo on 24 November 1944.
Crew of the 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24592 "Little Gem", 4 December 1944.
Nose view of 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24599 "Scrapper".
Crew of 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24598 "Waddy's Wagon". It was lost on 9 January 1945.

The 497th Air Refueling Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was assigned to Strategic Air Command, based at Plattsburgh AFB, New York. The unit was inactivated on 15 September 1964

The unit's origins begin with its predecessor unit, the United States Army Air Force 497th Bombardment Group (497th BG) was part of Twentieth Air Force during World War II. The 497th BG engaged in very heavy (B-29 Superfortress) bombardment operations against Japan. It's aircraft were identified by a "A" and a square painted on the tail.




  • Constituted as 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 19 Nov 1943
Activated on 20 Nov 1943
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946
  • Established as the 497th Air Refueling Wing
Activated November 15, 1962 by redesignation of the 4108th Air Refueling Wing
Organized on 1 Jan 1963
Discontinued and inactivated September 15, 1964


Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), 13 Apr-18 Jul 1944


  • 26th Air Refueling Squadron (1 Jan 1963-15 Sep 1964)
  • 380th Air Refueling Squadron (1 Jan 1963-15 Sep 1964)
  • 513th Bombardment Squadron: 1945-1946
  • 869th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1946
  • 870th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1946
  • 871st Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1946
  • 872d Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1946



World War II

The 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) was constituted on 19 November and activated on 20 November 1943 at El Paso AAF, Texas. It was assigned to Clovis AAF, New Mexico for organization and initial training on the B-29. After completion, it was reassigned to Pratt AAF, Kansas on 13 April 1944 where it received new aircraft from Boeing-Wichita.

The 497th was assigned to the 73d Bombardment Wing and it deployed to the Pacific Theater, arriving at Saipan on 17 October 1944. It was assigned to the XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force.

The group began operations in October 1944 with attacks against Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands. Took part in the first attack (24 November 1944) on Japan by AAF planes based in the Marianas. Flew many missions against strategic objectives in Japan; on numerous raids, made its attacks in daylight and from high altitude.

Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 27 January 1945. Although weather conditions prevented the group from bombing its primary objective, the unescorted B-29’s withstood severe enemy attacks to strike an alternate target, the industrial area of Hamamatsu. Awarded a second DUC for attacking strategic centers in Japan during Jul and Aug 1945. Assisted the assault on Okinawa in April 1945 by bombing enemy airfields to cut down air attacks against the invasion force. Beginning on 19 March and continuing until the end of the war the group made incendiary raids against Japan, flying at night and at low altitude to bomb area targets.

Strategic Air Command

497 ARW insignia

The group returned to the United States in November, 1945, being assigned to MadDill Field, Florida. It was assigned to the Third Air Force of Continental Air Forces. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the group turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on 31 March 1946. Many of the assets of the group eventually went to the Strategic Air Command's Fifteenth Air Force 307th Bombardment Group, which was activated at MacDill on 4 August.

On 1 January 1963 the 497th Air Refueling Wing was activated and replaced the 4108th Air Refueling Wing at Plattsburgh AFB, New York, flying KC-97s. It was assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 820th Strategic Aerospace Division. The group supported global air refueling missions of SAC and other USAF needs, as required. The operating squadrons were closely associated with the 380th Bombardment Wing.

The 497th ARW was discontinued and inactivated on September 15, 1964.



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


  • Goforth, Pat E. (ed). The Long Haul: The Story of the 497th Bomb Group (VH). San Angelo, Texas: Newsfoto Publishing Company, 1946.
  • 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 AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-91279-912-9.
  • Thomas, Captain Rowan T. Born In Battle: Round The World Adventures Of The 513th Bombardment Squadron. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John C. Wilson Company, 1944. (republished 1983 by Zenger Publishing Company, ISBN 0-89201-078-9.)


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