97th Operations Group: Wikis


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97th Operations Group
Emblem of the 97th Operations Group
Active 1942-1946; 1946-1952; 1991-1992; 1992-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
An Airman from the 305th Aerial Port Squadron, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., helps load a C-17 Globemaster III flown by a crew assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron, Altus AFB, Okla.
97th OG : C-17 Globemasters take off in rapid succession as part of the Mobility Air Forces Exercise

The 97th Operations Group (97 OG) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command 97th Air Mobility Wing. It is stationed at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma

During World War II, the group's predecessor unit, the 97th Bombardment Group was the first VIII Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortress bombardment group to fly a heavy bomber mission from the United Kingdom against the Rouen-Sotteville marshalling yards in France. It launched the attack from RAF Polebrook on 17 August 1942.

On 4 Aug 1946, the 97th became one of the original ten bombardment groups of Strategic Air Command.



The 97th Operations Group is the flying component of the 97th Air Mobility Wing. It plans and executes C-17, KC-135 formal school initial and advanced specialty training programs for up to 3000 students annually. Sustains C-17, KC-135 airland, airdrop and air refueling mobility forces providing global reach for combat and contingency operations. Provides air traffic control and weather forecasting for flying operations.


The 97 OG (tail flash "Altus") consists of the following squadrons:

  • 97th Operations Support Squadron
Activated as the 1709th Training Squadron under the 1707th Air Transport Group in September 1952 at Palm Beach AFB, Florida. Today the squadron provides direct mission support to all operational units assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing. Provides air traffic services, weather, airfield management, intelligence, life support, tactics, flight records, scheduling, and current operations services. Manages and provides administrative support for active duty, reserves, and international students at the command's airlift and tanker training center.
  • 97th Training Squadron Squadron
Manages the 97th Air Mobility Wing's $1.01-billion contracted aircrew training program for more than 350-plus assigned instructors and as many as 2100 C-17 and KC-135 students.
Is one of two Air Education and Training Command KC-135R flying training squadron and provides KC-135R initial and advanced flight qualification
Provides KC-135R initial and advanced flight qualification.
Air Force's formal school for C-5 initial and advanced airland and aerial refueling qualification training. Provides select aircrew instructors to train and produce officer and enlisted aircrew members annually for Air Mobility Command, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. Provides airlift support for peacetime, contingency, and wartime mobility operations.
The nation's only formal C-17 Combat Crew Training School, providing pilot and loadmaster initial qualification and advanced upgrades for all United States active duty, reserve, and guard units


For additional history and lineage, see 97th Air Mobility Wing


  • Established as 97 Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
Activated on 3 Feb 1942
Redesignated 97 Bombardment Group, Heavy, on 30 Sept 1944
Inactivated on 29 Oct 1945
  • Redesignated 97 Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 15 Jul 1946
Activated on 4 Aug 1946
Redesignated 97 Bombardment Group, Medium, on 12 Jul 1948
Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952
  • Redesignated 97 Operations Group on 29 Aug 1991
Activated on 1 Sep 1991
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1992
  • Activated on 1 Oct 1992.


Attached to Yukon Sector, Alaskan Air Command, c. 2-30 Nov 1947
Attached to: 3d Air Division, 4 Nov 1948 – 15 Feb 1949
Attached to: 3d Air Division, c. 26 Jul 1950 – 9 Feb 1951
Not operational, 10 Feb 1951 – 16 Jun 1952




  • 11 Air Refueling: 1 Oct 1992 – 1 Jul 1993
  • 24 Reconnaissance (later, 414 Bombardment: 3 Feb 1942 – 29 Oct 1945
  • 54 Air Refueling: 16 Jan 1998-Present
  • 55 Air Refueling: 28 Oct 1994-Present
  • 56 Airlift: 1 Oct 1992-Present
  • 57 Airlift: 1 Oct 1992 – 30 Sept 2001
  • 58 Airlift: 30 Jan 1996-Present
  • 97 Air Refueling: 1 Mar 1949 – 16 Jun 1952 (not operational 1 Mar 1949 – 23 Jan 1950; detached 12 Jul 1950 – 16 Jun 1952); 1 Sept 1991 – 1 Apr 1992
  • 306 Air Refueling: 1 Oct 1992 – 1 Jul 1993
  • 340 Bombardment (later, 340 Bomb): 3 Feb 1942 – 29 Oct 1945; 4 Aug 1946 – 16 Jun 1952 (detached, 10 Feb 1951 – 16 Jun 1952); 1 Sept 1991 – 7 Jan 1992
  • 341 Bombardment: 3 Feb 1942 – 29 Oct 1945; 4 Aug 1946 – 16 Jun 1952 (detached 10 Feb 1951 – 16 Jun 1952)
  • 342 Bombardment: 3 Feb 1942 – 29 Oct 1945; 4 Aug 1946 – 16 Jun 1952 (detached 10 Feb 1951 – 16 Jun 1952).


Deployed at Mile 26 Air Field [later, Eielson AFB] , Alaska, 2 Nov 1947 – 13 Mar 1948
Deployed at RAF Marham, England, 4 Nov 1948 – 15 Feb 1949
Deployed at RAF Sculthorpe, England, c. 26 Jul 1950 – 9 Feb 1951

Aircraft assigned

  • B-17, 1942-1945
  • B-29, 1946-1950
  • B-50, 1950-1951
  • KB-29, 1950-1951
  • KC-135, 1991-1992
  • KC-135, 1992-1993, 1994-Present
  • C-141, 1992-2001
  • C-5, 1992-Present
  • C-17, 1996-Present

Operational History

World War II

Emblem of the 97th Bombardment Group
B-17 of the 97th Bomb Group in 8th Air Force markings
B-17 of the 97th Bomb Group in 15th Air Force markings

The group was established early in 1942 and initially trained B-17 crews in Florida and flew antisubmarine patrols. Was deployed to England and became first operationally-ready Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress group. Combat operations by the group began on August 17, 1942, when the 97th BG flew the first Eighth Air Force heavy bomber mission of the war, attacking the Rouen-Sotteville marshalling yards in France. The lead aircraft of the group, Butcher Shop, was piloted by the Group Commander, Colonel Frank A. Armstrong, and squadron commander Major Paul W. Tibbets (who later flew the Enola Gay to Hiroshima Japan on the first atomic bomb mission). In the leading aircraft of the second flight, Yankee Doodle, flew General Ira C. Eaker, the commanding general of the Eighth Air Force Bomber Command.

The 97th BG conducted a total of 14 missions from Polebrook, attacking airfields, marshalling yards, industries, naval installations, and other targets in France and the Low Countries.

The group sortied 247 aircraft, dropped 395 tons of bombs on Nazi-controlled territory, and lost 14 aircraft. On October 21, 1942, the 97th Bomb Group was transferred to the Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean theater being assigned first to Twelfth and later (Nov 1943) to Fifteenth Air Force.

From Nov 1942 through May 1943, struck shipping in the Mediterranean Sea and airfields, docks, harbors, and marshalling yards in north Africa, southern France, Sardinia, Sicily, and the southern Italian mainland in a campaign to cut supply lines to German forces in north Africa. Helped force the capitulation of Pantelleria Island in Jun 1943. Bombed in preparation for and in support of the invasions of Sicily and southern Italy in the summer and fall of 1943. From Nov 1943 to Apr 1945, attacked targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece, attacking oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, and other strategic objectives.

Earned a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for leading a raid against an aircraft factory at Steyr on 24 Feb 1944 during Big Week, the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry.

Participated in first shuttle-bombing mission to Russia (Operation Frantic) in June 1944. The group earned a second DUC for a devastating raid against one of the Ploesti oil refineries in Rumania on 18 Aug 1944. Supported Allied forces at Anzio and Cassino by pounding enemy communications, transportation targets, and airfields. Bombed coastal defenses in preparation for the invasion of southern France. Assisted the American Fifth and British Eighth Armies in their advance through the Po Valley of northern Italy until the German surrender in May 1945.

Cold War

The unit was redesignated as the 97th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and was reactivated at Smoky Hill AAFld (later, Smoky Hill AFB), Kansas on August 4, 1946. Assigned to Strategic Air Command and was equipped with B-29 Superfortresses. Operational squadrons of the 97th BG were the 340th, 341st and 342d Bomb Squadrons

The group participated in numerous exercises, operational readiness inspections, and overseas deployments. Deployed to northern Alaska in 1947-1948 to provide a strategic bombing force east of the Bering Straits. Deployed twice to the United Kingdom as part of SAC's forward rotation of B-29 groups to Europe. The group was left unmanned after its second forward deployment to England from 10 Feb 1951 to 16 Jun 1952 when the group was inactivated when the Air Force reorganized its wings into the tri-deputate system.

Modern era

On 29 Aug 1991, the 97th Bombardment Wing was redesignated as the 97d Wing under the "Objective Wing" concept adapted by the Air Force as the lines between tactical and strategic forces blurred. The flying components of the former 97th Bombardment Wing were reassigned to the newly established 97th Operations Group. Upon activation, the 97 OG was bestowed the history, lineage and honors of the 97d Bombardment Group from the 97 Wing.

Between Sep 1991 and Apr 1992 the 97 OG flew aerial refueling missions for the Strategic Air Command. Reassigned to Air Mobility Command, between Oct 1992 and Jul 1993, the group flew strategic airlift and aerial refueling training missions

After 1 Jul 1993, supported Air Education and Training Command by training flying crews with strategic airlift and air refueling aircraft.


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.
  • 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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