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6th Operations Group: Wikis


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6th Operations Group
Emblem of the 6th Operations Group
Active 1919-1948; 1951-1952; 1996-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Boeing KC-135R-BN Stratotanker 62-3552 assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, 91st Air Refueling Squadron, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., flies a training mission over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, Florida.

The 6th Operations Group (6 OG) is the operational flying component of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

The mission of the 6 OG is the planning and executing global aerial refueling, combatant commander airlift, and specialized missions for US and allied combat and support aircraft. The group extends US global power and global reach through employment of a mix of KC-135R and C-37 aircraft.

The 6th Operations Group is a successor organization of the 6th Group (Composite), one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II. During World War II, the 6th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), was a B-29 Superfortress group assigned to Twentieth Air Force flying bombardment operations against Japan. It's aircraft were identified by a "R" inside a Circle painted on the tail.



  • 6th Operations Support
Provides airfield operations management, air traffic control, weather services, intelligence support, combat tactics development and training, mission development, and manage aircrew training support operations. Manage flight records and KC-135R simulator training.
Operates the KC-135R Stratotanker. The KC-135R is a long-range tanker aircraft capable of refueling a variety of other aircraft in mid-air, anywhere in the world and under any weather condition. MacDill KC-135’s have supported US military operations all over the world including refueling coalition aircraft during the war in Bosnia.
Operates three C-37A aircraft utilizing highly experienced crews to provide global airlift on special assignment missions directly supporting the Combatant Commanders of U.S Central Command, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Joint Forces Command, and U.S. Strategic Command.


For additional history and lineage, see 6th Air Mobility Wing


The group's emblem, approved in 1924, reflects its origins with a ship sailing through the Gaillard Cut and an airplane flying overhead.


  • Established as 3 Observation Group, and organized, on 30 Sep 1919
Redesignated: 6 Group (Observation) on 14 Mar 1921
Redesignated: 6 Group (Composite) in Jun 1922
Redesignated: 6 Composite Group on 25 Jan 1923
Redesignated: 6 Bombardment Group on 1 Sep 1937
Redesignated: 6 Bombardment Group (Medium) on 6 Dec 1939
Redesignated: 6 Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 12 Dec 1940
Disestablished on 1 Nov 1943. Reestablished, and consolidated (29 Jun 1944) with the 6 Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, which was established on 28 Mar 1944
Activated on 1 Apr 1944
Inactivated on 18 Oct 1948
  • Redesignated 6 Bombardment Group, Medium on 20 Dec 1950
Activated on 2 Jan 1951
Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952
  • Redesignated: 6 Strategic Group on 31 Jul 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated: 6 Operations Group on 1 Jul 1996
Activated on 1 Oct 1996.


Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), c. 19 May-18 Nov 1944




  • During 1917-1919 period, included JN-4, R-3 (R-9), and R-4
  • During 1919-1931 period, included JN-4, DH-4, HS2L, OA-1, O-2, NBS-1, P-12, SE-5, MB-3, and PW-9.
  • During 1928-1932 period, included LB-5, LB-6, and LB-7
  • During 1930-1936 period, included OA-4. O-19 1930-1937
  • B-3 1931-1936
  • B-6 1936-1937
  • B-10, 1936-1939
  • B-18, 1938-1943
  • B-17, 1941-1943
  • LB-30, 1942-1943
  • B-24, 1942-1943
  • A-17, 1942-1943
  • L-4, 1943
  • RB-17, 1943. B-17, 1944
  • B-29, 1944-1947
  • KC-135, 1996-Present
  • EC-135, 1997-2003
  • CT-43, 1997-2001
  • C-37, 2001-Present



The 3d Observation Group was activated on September 30, 1919 as the 3d Observation Group at France Field in the Panama Canal Zone to provide protection for the Panama Canal area, participating in maneuvers, flying patrol missions, photographing the canal area, staging aerial reviews and making good-will flights to Central and South America.

In 1921 the group was redesignated the 6th Group (Observation) and in 1922, the 6th Group (Composite). The 6th flew such aircraft at the Curtiss R-4, DeHavilland 4-B, SE-5A, MG-3A, Piper L-4, P-12B and Martin B-10 and Douglas B-18 Bolo aircraft.

In 1937, as the mission of the 6th moved toward bombardment, the War Department renamed it the 6th Bombardment Group. They continued to operate in the Canal Zone under the VI Bomber Command of the Sixth Air Force at Rio Hato AB, Albrook Field and Howard Field until October 31, 1943, when it inactivated.

World War II

On April 19, 1944, the 6th Bombardment Group was reactivated at Dalhart AAF, Texas. Equipped first with Boeing B-17G Flying fortress aircraft, crews were later trained in Boeing B-29 Superfortress aircraft at Grand Island AAF, Nebraska for deployment to the Pacific Theater.

By December 28, 1944 the 6th had deployed to North Field, Tinian, under Twentieth Air Force, from where it entered combat by flying navigational escort for a major attack force bound for Iwo Jima. The 6th then struck Tokyo and other major Japanese cities and facilities during daylight high-altitude bombing raids, with crippling, non-stop incendiary raids which destroyed lines of communication, supply, and numerous kamikaze bases.

On May 25, 1945, the 6th flew a low-altitude night mission through alerted enemy defenses to drop incendiary bombs on Tokyo, for which they received their first Distinguished Unit Citation.

In addition to incendiary raids, the 6th also participated in mining operations. By mining harbors in Japan and Korea in July 1945, the group contributed to the blockade of the Japanese Empire earning their second Distinguished Unit Citation. The 6th's final WWII mission came on August 14, 1945, with the dropping of 500-pound general purpose bombs on the Marifu railroad yards at Iwakuni.

With the war over, the 6th dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners of war and took part in show-of-force flights over Japan.

Postwar/Cold War era

In January 1946, the 6th Bombardment Group relocated to Clark Field, Luson, Philippines, and in June 1947, to Kadena AB, Okinawa, where it inactivated for a second time on October 18, 1948.

During a brief period of activation between 2 Jan 1951 and 16 Jun 1952, the group had only one officer and one airman assigned. The group was inactivated as part of the Tri-Deputate organization as all operational flying squadrons were assigned directly to the 6th Bombardment Wing.

Current era

Activated on 1 Oct 1996 with an air refueling mission as part of the Objective Wing structure of the 6th Air Refueling Wing.

Elements deployed to Southwest Asia in Jul 1998 to refuel aircraft engaged in no-fly operations over northern Iraq. After Jan 2001, the group also provided airlift for the commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command. It also refueled fighters providing security over the southeastern United States as part of homeland security after terrorist attacks against the United States in Sep 2001. Since 2001, personnel and aircraft deployed around the world to fulfill air refueling and aeromedical missions.

The 6th has twice won the Air Mobility Rodeo Best Air Mobility Wing Award; in 2000 and 2005.


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 Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • 6th Operations Group Factsheet

External links


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