313th Troop Carrier Group

313th Troop Carrier Group


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313th Troop Carrier Group

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 313th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) was a transport unit that took part in the invasion of Sicily, the Salerno landings, the D-Day landings, Operation Market Garden and the crossing of the Rhine.

The group was activated in the US in Mach 1942 and trained with a mix of C-47 Skytrains and C-53 Skytroopers. It moved to North Africa in April-May 1943, too late for the campaign in Tunisia. Instead it began to train for the upcoming invasion of Sicily.

The group's combat debut came on 9 July 1943 when the group dropped paratroops near Gela. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for pressing on through friendly fire during a second mission on 11 July. After these first landings the group was used to evacuate the wounded from Sicily.

In September the Allies landed at Salerno on the Italian mainland. The Germans mounted a determined counterattack against the Salerno beachhead. On 13 September the 313th took part in Operation Giant, dropping part of the 504th Paratroop Regiment, US 82nd Airborne Division, in a drop zone just south of the Sele River. The group carried out a similar mission on the following day, then resumed more normal transport duties.

In February 1944 the group left the Mediterranean and joined the Ninth Air Force in Britain, ready to take part in the D-Day campaign. On D-Day itself it dropped paratroops at Picauville, and flew reinforcements to the same area on 7 June. The group was awarded a second Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in the invasion.

The group took part in Operation Market Garden, dropping paratroops at Arnhem and Nijmegen on 17 September. It then flew reinforcements into the battle on 18 September and 23 September.

In February 1945 the group moved to France, where it converted to the Curtiss C-46 Commando. It used its new aircraft during the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945, dropping paratroops near Wesel on 24 March.

The group returned to the US in August-September 1945 and was disbanded on 15 November 1945.

Books

Pending

Aircraft

1942-45: Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Douglas C-53 Skytrooper
1945: Curtiss C-46 Commando

Timeline

28 January 1942Constituted as 313th Transport Group
March 1942Activated
July 1942Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group
April-May 1943To North Africa and Twelfth Air Force
9 July 1943Combat Debut
February 1944To Britain and Ninth Air Force
Aug-Sept 1945To United States
15 November 1945Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Capt Fred W Nelson: 7Mar 1942
Col James J Roberts Jr: 26 Jun1942
Lt Col William A Filer: 18 Mar 1945
Lt Col Paul W Stephens: 26 Mar 1945
LtCol Carl W Campbell: c. Aug-15 Nov1945

Main Bases

Daniel Field, Ga: 2 Mar 1942
Bowman Field, Ky: 21 Jun 1942
Florence,SC: 4 Aug 1942
Maxton, NC: 13 Dec1942-3 Apr 1943
Oujda, French Morocco: 9 May 1943
Kairouan, Tunisia: 16 Jun1943
Sciacca, Sicily: 23 Aug 1943
Trapani/Milo Airfield, Sicily: 3 Oct 1943
Folkingham, England: 4 Feb 1944
Achiet,France: 28 Feb-5 Aug 1945
Baer Field,Ind: 14 Sep-15 Nov 1945.

Component Units

29th: 1942-1945
47th: 1942-1945
48th: 1942-1945
49th: 1942-1945

Assigned To

1942: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing
1942: 53rd Troop Carrier Wing
1942-April 1943: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing; US Based
April 1943-February 1944: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing; Twelfth Air Force
1944-45: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing; IX Troop Carrier Command; Ninth Air Force


IX Troop Carrier Command

The IX Troop Carrier Command was a United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was with the Ninth Air Force, based at Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina. It was inactivated on 31 March 1946. As a component command of the Ninth Air Force, based in the United Kingdom.


History [ edit | edit source ]

Lineage [ edit | edit source ]

  • Established as 313th Troop Carrier Wing on July 28, 1947
  • Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy and activated on August 23, 1948
  • Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on November 26, 1952
  • Activated on June 15, 1964

Assignments [ edit | edit source ]

    , 15 August 1947 – 26 August 1948 23 August 1948 , 25 October 1948 , 5 November 1948
  • 1st Air Lift Task Force, 18 November 1948 – 20 January 1949 , 1 February-25 August 1953

Stations [ edit | edit source ]

    , Texas, August 15, 1947 – October 22, 1948 , Germany, November 9, 1948 – January 20, 1949 , New York, February 1 – August 25, 1953 , Kansas, October 1, 1964 – September 30, 1973.

Components [ edit | edit source ]

  • 313th Tactical Airlift Group: 15 August 1947 – 26 August 1948 23 August 1948 – 20 January 1949 1 February-25 August 1953
    : 1 October 1964 – 1 February 1966
  • 38th Tactical Airlift Squadron: 1 July 1969 – 15 November 1971 (not operational, 1 July-31 December 1969 detached 4 November 1970-12 January 1971 and 9 September-15 November 1971) : 1 October 1964 – 6 July 1973 (detached 26 July-19 November 1965, 25 January—c. 23 June 1966, 2 September— c. November 1966, c. January-25 March 1967, 27 September-4 December 1969, 16 February-19 March 1970, 5 June-11 August 1970, 3 May-12 July 1971, 6 December 1971 – 14 February 1972, 3 August-20 October 1972, 31 December 1972-11 February 1973)
  • 48th Tactical Airlift Squadron: 1 January 1965 – 25 June 1967 (detached c. 17 November 1965—c. 28 January 1966, 23 June— September 1966, c. November 1966—c. January 1967) 15 November 1971 – 6 August 1973 (detached 3 April-28 June 1972 and 3 October-30 December 1972).

Aircraft [ edit | edit source ]

Operational history [ edit | edit source ]

Activated in Austria on September 30, 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe and equipped with C-47 and C-54 aircraft.

Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US on June 25, 1947 and assigned to Tactical Air Command. Trained with gliders and C-82’s. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group, (Heavy) in July 1948.

Moved to Germany, October–November 1948, and joined United States Air Forces in Europe for participation in the Berlin airlift. Transported cargo such as coal, food, and medicine into West Berlin from November 1948 to September 1949. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Special) in February 1949. Inactivated in Germany on September 18, 1949.

Trained in troop carrier operations, 1953. Trained to become proficient and to maintain combat readiness in tactical airlift operations, 1964–1973. Frequently deployed tactical squadrons or segments thereof on a global basis to support airlift requirements of overseas commands. Participated in tactical exercises and disaster relief on a regular basis. Last C-130 transferred on August 6, 1973. Thereafter, until inactivation, the wing assisted in the closure of Forbes AFB.


313th Airlift Squadron

The 313th Airlift Squadron is located at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. It is part of the 446th Airlift Wing and operationally flies the C-17 Globemaster jet transport. The mission of the 313 AS consists of airlift, aerial delivery, and aerial refueling on a worldwide basis. The majority of the airlift mission is conducted in the Pacific and Alaska however, missions are also flown to Europe, Africa, and South America.

Constituted as the 313th Troop Carrier Squadron October 23, 1943 at Sedalia Army Air Field, Missouri, the squadron was activated November 1, 1943.

As part of the 349th Troop Carrier Group, the squadron soon transferred to the European Theater. The 313 TCS was located at Barkston, England, and later at Roye Army Airfield, France, where it participated in aerial transportation flying the C-53 and C-47.

Following World War II, the unit was deactivated September 1946. It was activated into the Reserve in 1949.

Following a short recall to active service in 1951, the squadron was redesignated as the 313th Fighter-Bomber Squadron May 26, 1952. The 313 FBS was located at Hamilton AFB, Calif., and flew the T-6, F-51, T-28, T-33, and F-80 as part of the 349th Fighter Bomber Group.

Redesignated as the 313th Troop Carrier Squadron September 1, 1957, the unit transferred to Portland International Airport, Oregon. The squadron flew the C-46 and the C-119 Flying Boxcar, and in September 1958 flew the first Reserve mission outside the continental United States taking a R-33 engine to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The squadron was ordered to active service for a month in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. It became part of the 939th Troop Carrier Group in 1963 and was redesignated the 313th Tactical Airlift Squadron July 1, 1967.

July 25, 1968, the squadron transferred to McChord AFB, Wash., where it was redesignated as the 313th Military Airlift Squadron as part of the 939th Military Airlift Group. At McChord, it flew the C-141A Starlifter and with a global strategic mission, 313th aircrews saw much service providing airlift to Southeast Asia.

The 313th Military Airlift Squadron was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in June 1970 and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm in January 1973. A second Air Force Outstanding Unit Award was awarded June 1974 following participation in Operation Nickel Grass in defense of Israel. It became part of the 446th Military Airlift Wing in July 1973.

The 313th Airlift Squadron has also received numerous safety awards and has recently completed 39 years and more than 168,000 hours of accident-free flying.

Lineage: Constituted as 313 Troop Carrier Squadron on 23 Oct 1943. Activated on 1 Nov 1943. Inactivated on 7 Sep 1946. Redesignated 313 Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 10 May 1949. Activated in the Reserve on 27 Jun 1949. Ordered to active duty on 1 Apr 1951. Inactivated on 2 Apr 1951. Redesignated 313 Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 26 May 1952. Activated in the Reserve on 13 Jun 1952. Redesignated 313 Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 1 Sep 1957. Ordered to active duty on 28 Oct 1962. Relieved from active duty on 28 Nov 1962. Redesignated: 313 Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 Jul 1967 313 Military Airlift Squadron (Associate) on 25 Jul 1968 313 Airlift Squadron (Associate) on 1 Feb 1992 313 Airlift Squadron on 1 Oct 1994.

Assignments: 349 Troop Carrier Group, 1 Nov 1943-7 Sep 1946. 349 Troop Carrier Group, 27 Jun 1949-2 Apr 1951. 349 Fighter-Bomber (later, 349 Troop Carrier) Group, 13 Jun 1952 349 Troop Carrier Wing, 14 Apr 1959 939 Troop Carrier (later, 939 Tactical Airlift 939 Military Airlift) Group, 11 Feb 1963 446 Military Airlift (later, 446 Airlift) Wing, 1 Jul 1973 446 Operations Group, 1 Aug 1992-.

Stations: Sedalia AAFld, MO, 1 Nov 1943 Alliance AAFld, NE, 20 Jan 1944 Pope Field, NC, 11 Mar 1944 Baer Field, IN, 7-15 Mar 1945 Barkston, England, 3 Apr 1945 Roye/Amy Airfield, France, 18 Apr-13 Jul 1945 Bergstrom Field, TX, 17 Sep 1945-7 Sep 1946. Hamilton AFB, CA, 27 Jun 1949-2 Apr 1951. Hamilton AFB, CA, 13 Jun 1952 Hill AFB, UT, 14 Oct 1955 Portland Intl Aprt, OR, 16 Nov 1957 McChord AFB, WA, 25 Jul 1968-.

Commanders: 1Lt Mathieu T. Slater, 1 Dec 1943 Capt William H. Corwin, 4 Dec 1943-1945 Unkn, Oct 1945-7 Sep 1946. Unkn, 27 Jun 1949-2 Apr 1951. Unkn, 13 Jun 1952-Jun 1955 Lt Col Henry L. Knoll, by Jun 1955 Lt Col Benton M. Clay, by Dec 1955 Lt Col Gilbert G. Tipton, by Dec 1957 Col Vernon E. Acker, by Jun 1959 Lt Col Leonard E. Ranton, by Jun 1963 Lt Col Herbert F. Mellor, by Dec 1963 Lt Col Edmund G. Hepner, 18 Oct 1970 Lt Col Donald G. Turner, by Sep 1971 Lt Col Howard H. Bauer, by 1 Jul 1973 Lt Col Lawrence D. Luedke, by Jun 1975 Lt Col Nile E. Woltman, 15 Oct 1975 Lt Col Lawrence D. Luedke, by Dec 1977 Lt Col Theodore M. Tochterman, 14 Dec 1981 Lt Col Ronald P. Huffman, 5 Jul 1983 Lt Col George H. Suter, 4 Feb 1985 Lt Col Robert A. Stewart, 1 May 1986 Lt Col William E. Thomlinson, 18 Nov 1989 Lt Col Charles P. Little, 17 Aug 1992 Lt Col Bruce K. McRae, 16 Oct 1993 Lt Col Roger S. Parsons, 30 Jun 1997 -unkn Lt Col Eric Newhouse, 1 Jan 2006 Lt Col Richard O. Grayson, May 2008 Lt Col Tony Angello, Oct 2011-. (Need help completing list. )-

Aircraft. Principally C-53, 1943-1944 C-47, 1944, 1945-1946 C-46, 1944-1946. C-46, 1949-1951 T-7, 1949-1951 T-11, 1949-1951. T-6, 1952-1954 F-51, 1952-1954 T-33, 1953-1956 F-80, 1954-1956 F-84, 1956-1957 C-46, 1957-1958 C-119, 1958-1968 C-141, 1968- 1999 C-17, 1999 -.

Service Streamers: World War II: American Theater EAME Theater.

Campaign Streamers: Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers: None.

Decorations: Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 23 Dec 1964-22 Jan 1965 1 Jul 1969-30 Jun 1970 1 Jul 1973-30 Jun 1974 1 Sep 1982-31 Aug 1984 1 Aug 1990-31 Jul 1992. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 25 Jul 1969-28 Jan 1973.


313th Troop Carrier Group

Personnel prepare to board a C-47 Skytrain (serial number 42-100646) of the 313rd Troop Carrier Group at Nordholz. Image via John Quincy.

A C-46 Commando (N3-A, serial number 44-77541) of the 313rd Troop Carrier Group with a B-17 Flying Fortress. US Air Force Photo. Written on slide casing: 'Thurliegh.'

A C-47 Skytrain (serial number 42-100646) of the 313rd Troop Carrier Group, takes off from Nordholz. Image via Stan Wyglendowski.

C-47 Skytrains of the 313th Troop Carrier Group line up for take off at Folkingham. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'C-47s, 313 TCG, Folkingham, Sept 1944. D. Benfield. Air 9th Endpapers.'

A C-46 Commando of the 313th Troop Carrier Group at Folkingham. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'C-46, 313 TCG, Folkingham. D. Benfield.'

CG-4A Waco gliders of the 313th Troop Carrier Group at Folkingham. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'D. Benfield Photo. CG-4A. Folkingham. 313TCG.'

A C-46 Commando (N3-A, serial number 44-77541) of the 313rd Troop Carrier Group with a B-17 Flying Fortress. US Air Force Photo. Written on slide casing: 'Thurliegh.'

Extract from Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) for 2nd Lieutenant James F Claussen of the 313th Troop Carrier Group researched by historian Bill Beigel. The file contains copies of primary documents that discuss the return of personal effects, circumstances and causes of death, and memorialisation of the fallen airman. If you require access to the full, unedited file please contact Bill Beigel via his website, www.ww2research.com, or the AAM Team at [email protected]

Crew of the Lady Katy - May 1944

Constituted as 313th Transport Group on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 2 Mar 1942. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group in Jul 1942. Trained for overseas duty with C-47’s and C-53’s.

Moved to North Africa, Apr-May 1943, and assigned to Twelfth AF. Trained for the invasion of Sicily and entered combat on the night of 9 Jul 1943 by dropping paratroops near Gela. Although attacked by ground and naval forces while carrying reinforcements to Sicily on the night of 11 Jul, the group completed the mission and received a DUC for the performance. Transported supplies and evacuated wounded in the Mediterranean area until late in Aug when the group moved to Sicily for the invasion of Italy. Dropped paratroops of 82d Airborne Division south of Salerno on the night of 13 Sep 1943 and flew a reinforcement mission the following night.

Resumed transport activities in the theater until Feb 1944, and then joined Ninth AF in England. Prepared for the invasion of France and on D-Day 1944, released paratroops near Picauville dropped reinforcements over the same area on 7 Jun, being awarded second DUC for its part in the invasion.

Dropped paratroops near Arnheim and Nijmegen on 17 Sep during the airborne attack on Holland and released gliders carrying reinforcements to that area on 18 and 23 Sep. Moved to France, Feb-Mar 1945, and received G 46‘s for the airborne assault across the Rhine dropped paratroops of 17th Airborne Division near Wesel on 24 Mar.

When not engaged in airborne operations the group evacuated wounded personnel and ex-prisoners of war, and also transported cargo such as ammunition, gasoline, medical supplies, and food until after V-E Day. Returned to the US, Aug-Sep 1945. Inactivated on 15 Nov 1945


Activated in late 1943 as a C-47 Skytrain troop carrier squadron, trained under I Troop Carrier Command in the United States. Was not deployed until the spring of 1945 to England, being assigned to the IX Troop Carrier Command, Ninth Air Force. Was not used in combat operations, however did transport supplies and equipment to the front-line ground forces primarily into Germany and evacuated casualties to rear areas. Returned to the United States in September 1945 and was a transport squadron for Continental Air Forces until its inactivation in September 1946.

Redesignated as the 313th Troop Carrier Squadron September 1, 1957, the unit transferred to Portland International Airport, Oregon. The squadron flew the C-46 and the C-119 Flying Boxcar, and in September 1958 flew the first Reserve mission outside the continental United States taking a R-33 engine to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The squadron was ordered to active service for a month in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. It became part of the 939th Troop Carrier Group in 1963 and was redesignated the 313th Tactical Airlift Squadron July 1, 1967.

July 25, 1968, the squadron transferred to McChord AFB, Wash., where it was redesignated as the 313th Military Airlift Squadron as part of the 939th Military Airlift Group. At McChord, it flew the C-141A Starlifter and with a global strategic mission, 313th aircrews saw much service providing airlift to Southeast Asia.

The 313th Military Airlift Squadron was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in June 1970 and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm in January 1973. A second Air Force Outstanding Unit Award was awarded June 1974 following participation in Operation Nickel Grass in defense of Israel. It became part of the 446th Military Airlift Wing in July 1973.

The 313th Airlift Squadron has also received numerous safety awards and has recently completed 39 years and more than 168,000 hours of accident-free flying.


Contents

World War II

Trained for overseas duty with C-47's and C-53's. Moved to North Africa, April–May 1943, and assigned to Twelfth Air Force.

Trained for the invasion of Sicily and entered combat on the night of 9 July 1943 by dropping paratroops near Gela. Although attacked by ground and naval forces while carrying reinforcements to Sicily on the night of II Jul, the group completed the mission and received a DUC for the performance. Transported supplies and evacuated wounded in the Mediterranean area until late in Aug when the group moved to Sicily for the invasion of Italy. Dropped paratroops of 82d Airborne Division south of Salerno on the night of 13 September 1943 and flew a reinforcement mission the following night.

Resumed transport activities in the theater until February 1944, and then joined Ninth Air Force in England. Prepared for the invasion of France and on D-Day 1944, released paratroops near Picauville dropped reinforcements over the same area on 7 June, being awarded second DUC for its part in the invasion.

Dropped paratroops near Arnhem and Nijmegen on 17 September during the airborne attack on the Netherlands and released gliders carrying reinforcements to that area on 18 and 23 September Moved to France, February–March 1945, and received C- 46's for the airborne assault across the Rhine dropped paratroops of 17th Airborne Division near Wesel on 24 March as part of Operation Varsity.

When not engaged in airborne operations the group evacuated wounded personnel and ex-prisoners of war, and also transported cargo such as ammunition, gasoline, medical supplies, and food until after V-E Day.

Returned to the US, August–September 1945. Inactivated on 15 November 1945.

Cold War

Activated in Austria on 30 September 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe Army of Occupation and equipped with C-47 and C-54 aircraft was assigned to Tulln Air Base, becoming host unit.

Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US on 25 June 1947 and assigned to Tactical Air Command. Trained with gliders and C-82's. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group, (Heavy) in July 1948. Moved to Germany, October–November 1948, and joined United States Air Forces in Europe for participation in the Berlin airlift. Transported cargo such as coal, food, and medicine into West Berlin from November 1948 to September 1949. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Special) in February 1949. Inactivated in Germany on 18 September 1949.

Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Medium), Activated in the US on February 1953. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Trained with C-119's. Inactivated on 8 June 1955 when 313th Troop Carrier Wing converted to Tri-Deputate organization and assigned all operational components directly to the wing.

Reactivated in 1978 at RAF Mildenhall, England to manage Military Airlift Command activities at the aerial port, operating a terminal that handled C-5 Galaxy and C-141 Starlifter flights to and from the United States. Also hosted the "Bravo" squadron at Mildenhall that operated 16 C-130E/H Hercules transports on a rotational basis from the United States. Inactivated in 1992 as part of the inactivation of MAC, mission taken over by USAFE.

Lineage

  • Constituted as 313th Transport Group on 28 January 1942
  • Activated on 30 September 1946
  • Re-designated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) and activated on 1 February 1953
  • re-Designated 313th Tactical Airlift Group and activated on 15 June 1964
  • Re-designated 313th Tactical Airlift Group and activated on 15 September 1978

Assignments

    , 2 March 1942 – 24 April 1943
    , 9 May 1943 , 4 February 1944 – 5 August 1945 , 14 September – 15 November 1945
    , 25 June 1947 , 28 July 1947 – 18 September 1949 1 February 1953 , 25 August 1953 – 8 June 1955 , 15 September 1978 – 1 February 1992

Stations

    , Georgia, 2 March 1942 , Kentucky, 21 June 1942 , South Carolina, 4 August 1942 , North Carolina, 13 December 1942 – 24 April 1943 , French Morocco, 9 May 1943 , Tunisia, 16 June 1943
  • Sciacca Airfield, Sicily, 23 August 1943
  • Trapani/Milo Airfield, Sicily, 3 October 1943 (AAF-484), England, 4 February 1944
  • Achiet Airfield (B-54), France, 28 February – 5 August 1945 , Indiana, 14 September – 15 November 1945 , Austria, 30 September 1946 – 25 June 1947 , Virginia, 25 June 1947 , Texas, 15 July 1947 – 22 October 1948 , Germany, 9 November 1948 – 18 September 1949 , New York, 1 February 1953 , Tennessee, 2 October 1953 – 8 June 1955 , England, 15 September 1978 – 1 February 1992

Components

    (27), 2 March 1942 – 22 September 1945 30 September 1946 – 18 September 1949 1 February 1953 – 8 June 1955 (N3), 2 March 1942 – 22 September 1945 30 September 1946 – 18 September 1949 1 February 1953 – 8 June 1955 (5X), 2 March 1942 – 22 September 1945 30 September 1946 – 18 September 1949 1 February 1953 – 8 June 1955 (H2), 2 March 1942 – 22 September 1945 30 September 1946 – 18 September 1949 1 February 1953 – 8 June 1955

Aircraft


D-Day Heroes Braved Flak to Secure Allied Victory

”Into the Night”: Matt Hall’s illustration depicts Douglas C-47s of IX Troop Carrier Command dropping paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions over Normandy at 1 a.m. on D-Day—June 6, 1944.

Troop Carrier Command played a vital role in Normandy and beyond, rapidly putting boots on the ground behind enemy lines with massive airlifts.

On the eve of D-Day 75 years ago, two U.S. Army colonels made a bet. Lieutenant Colonel Charles Young, 39-year-old commander of the Ninth Air Force’s 439th Troop Carrier Group, was confident that he could put the paratroopers of his “lift” within 300 yards of the desired landing zone in Normandy. Colonel Robert Sink, who led the 506th Para­chute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division, was skeptical. He took the bet: five Brit­ish pounds.

That exchange during the final briefing for Operation Overlord represented the intimate relationship between the Army Air Forces’ Troop Carrier Command and the airborne soldiers TCC delivered to drop zones around the world.

If any World War II combat aviation unit remains unappreciated to this day, it’s Troop Car­rier Command. While the Marine Corps’ “Black Sheep,” the AAF’s Tuskegee Airmen and the Women Airforce Service Pilots continue to receive accolades, TCC’s war-winning contribution is largely overlooked. Yet Troop Carrier Command fought a truly global war, and the numbers are remarkable: about 30 major combat operations by 21,800 paratroopers, not counting glider infantry or OSS agents.

TCC’s workhorse was the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, including about 380 C-53 Skytrooper personnel transports. A typical Skytrain combat load was 18 to 22 paratroopers, while C-53s accommodated 28 soldiers. Derived from the legendary 1935 DC-3 airliner, the “Gooney Bird” remains one of history’s most significant aircraft.


Paratroopers board a C-47 on July 9, 1943, to participate in the Allied invasion of Sicily. (Keystone/Getty Images)

The U.S. Army formed a test parachute unit in May 1940 but did not establish TCC for two years. Though separate from Air Transport Command, TCC also ferried aircraft and delivered supplies alongside ATC throughout the war. Nonetheless, TCC quickly developed doctrine and methods to deliver airborne infantry behind enemy lines. Paratroopers were only half the equation, however, as equipment, procedures and tactics for towing gliders also were developed.

America’s first three airborne operations were flown during November and December 1942 to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, involving 938 jumps by the 509th PIR. The first two North African drops were classic airborne airfield seizures, while the third, involving just 32 men, blew up an important bridge. From there, troop carrier assignments grew in scope and size.

In July 1943 the Allies launched Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. On the night of July 9, elements of the 82nd Airborne Division aboard 226 Skytrains launched from Tunisia to secure roads and high ground inland from the port of Gela. It was the first major airborne operation ever mounted by U.S. armed forces, and the 2,700 troopers encountered serious problems. Because of navigation errors and high winds, parachutists were scattered along 50 to 60 miles of coastline, and only part of one battalion landed near its objective. Nonetheless, the outnumbered sky soldiers held on until relieved.

On the 10th the U.S. and Royal navies landed some 170,000 troops to seize the vital island dominating the central Mediterranean. Luftwaffe aircraft attacked the invasion fleet, sinking three vessels and setting sailors’ nerves on edge. The Navy gunners tended to shoot at any airplanes in sight, with poor command and control.

Because Gela had been secured, the drop originally scheduled for July 10 was postponed until the night of July 11. Allied air commanders had already issued warnings to their naval counterparts, alerting ships to the change in schedule.

But, as seems inevitable in the military, some people did not get the word. And to complicate matters, the Luftwaffe launched its heaviest effort against the task force shortly before midnight on the 11th, just ahead of the C-47s.

Inbound that night, observing radio silence while flying nine-plane V formations, 144 C-47s cruised at 400 feet, the preferred drop altitude. The first two formations flew the briefed course and dropped their troopers as planned on Sicily’s southern coasts.

As the following vees approached the beach, one nervous or uninformed gunner opened fire. Today’s phrase is “firing contagion.” Once a single shooter opens up, so does everybody.

A Coast Guardsman aboard the transport SS Leonard Wood said, “We shot down many planes but had no knowledge of whose they were.” The official AAF history concluded, “The slow-flying majestic columns…were like sitting ducks.” And like wingshot fowl, plane after plane coughed flame, came apart and dropped into the water.

Pilots faced drastic decisions: turn back, drop their troops prematurely or attempt a night ditching. Eventually eight C-47s succeeded in returning to Tunisia with soldiers safely aboard.

By the time the reckoning was completed, the ghastly toll included 23 transports shot down, crashed or ditched, with 318 troopers killed or wounded and 60 airmen dead. More than half the surviving C-47s sustained battle damage.

Theater commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s report noted, “[T]he briefed flight path followed the battle front for about 35 miles and the anti-aircraft gunners on ship and shore had been conditioned by two days of air attack to shoot at sight.” Naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, “It seemed incredible that the Air Force would lay on so hazardous a flight at low level—over an assault area heavily committed in combat, where enemy raids had been frequent for two days—and for no sound purpose.”

Beneath a full moon on the night of June 5, 1944, the Skytrains climbed away from the English coast, southbound for Normandy. Ninth Air Force troop carrier strength had grown dramatically in six months: from fewer than 250 crews in January 1944 to 1,115 in May.


Paratroopers in a C-47 await takeoff on the night of June 5, 1944. (National Archives)

In its combat debut, IX Troop Carrier Com­mand had about 1,200 transports and 1,400 gliders to deliver the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions on D-Day. The lifters represented 14 groups, each with four squadrons. In all, the Americans and British delivered about 24,000 troopers by transports and gliders.

Weather was a problem. Cloud decks over the Channel and France obscured checkpoints, and coastal fog blocked many drop zones. Nonetheless, Skytrain crews pressed ahead, many encountering lethal flak. Approaching its DZ, the 435th Group had three planes blown apart within minutes.

Meanwhile, Colonel Bob Sink’s 506th PIR jumped into Drop Zone C about four miles inland. Lieutenant Colonel Young and the 14 Skytrains of his serial put nearly all their troopers on target—one snagged a tree behind the house designated as Sink’s command post.

One of Young’s navigators, Lieutenant Robert Dains, recalled: “Our group put up an 81-ship formation for the mission. We were the 79th plane. I had a pretty good view of the show up ahead. When we crossed the French coast we encountered a cloud deck. Some planes went above the clouds. We stayed below so I could see the checkpoints to hit the drop zone. Suddenly there were paratroopers in the air all around us. A plane above the clouds had dropped his troopers. Thank God we didn’t hit any.

“A machine gun position directly ahead began firing at the flight ahead of us. He hit the lead plane it nosed up, its landing lights flashing, and fell off on the left wing, crashing in a ball of fire on the ground. All I could see protruding from the fireball were wing tips and empennage.

“Then our time came to come under fire from the machine gun position. He was firing green tracers and was walking them back toward our plane. They were coming up the right side of the plane. I thought we were going to get it. The copilot threw up his arms to protect himself. I had a flak helmet and flak suit on. I ducked my head down, waiting for the impact. The tracers were so close they lit up the cockpit with a green flow, then stopped. We didn’t get a scratch. Another second and the shells would have penetrated the gas tanks. I wouldn’t be here to tell this story.”


C-47A 43-15665 of the 434th Troop Carrier Group, en route to Normandy with parapacks under its wings, later became the first airplane to land on the North Pole, on May 3, 1952. (National Archives)

Eleven of the U.S. TCC groups lost 20 aircraft, including four of Lt. Col. Young’s 439th Group. However, after the 506th Infantry returned to England in July, an officer appeared at the 439th’s field at Upottery. Because most of Sink’s command element had landed within 200 yards of the goal, the paratrooper handed Young a £10 note from Bob Sink—twice the amount of the bet.

Troop carriers also contributed to Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944. Three TCC wings with 396 planes from Italy delivered some 5,600 troopers into the Riviera, surely the most glamorous venue of the war. The drop included a parachute regiment, two independent battalions and a glider infantry battalion plus artillery and engineers. The Americans also carried the British 2nd Parachute Brigade, with three battalions. Despite overcast and fog, the C-47 crews delivered their cargos accurately. The airborne force subsequently covered Seventh Army’s right flank while driving on Nice, secured at month’s end.

Three months after D-Day, Operation Market Garden was supposed to shorten the European war. But the September 17-25 air-ground assault into Holland encountered one snag after another, resulting in a bitter defeat for British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, who had organized the effort.

The First Allied Airborne Army lifted 36 battalions of infantry by 1,274 U.S. and 164 RAF C-47s and Dakotas, plus more than 3,100 gliders. But the transports could only deliver 60 percent of the ground forces in one mission. On the first day 90 percent of the Ninth Air Force planes dropped paratroopers, flipping to 90 percent gliders on the second day.


Operation Market Garden, the airborne assault on Holland and Belgium had over 1,400 C-47s, plus more than 3,100 gliders deliver 36 Battalions of infantry. Unlike the dark of night drops during D-Day, these missions were flown in daylight. (National Archives)

Troop Carrier Command delivered nearly 90 percent of its paratroopers within 1,000 yards of their drop zones, and 84 percent of the gliders. That record contrasted vividly with the drop at Nor­mandy, where some troopers landed up to 12 miles off course.

Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence McMurtry of the 15th Troop Carrier Squadron, 61st Group, recounted: “We took off from Barkston Heath at 1150 hours. No difficulties were experienced as all planes easily assumed formation. Weather was excellent on the run in and return home—a factor that measured immeasurably in delivering our troops with minimum of inconvenience to them. Very few cases of sickness in flight were reported, and all airborne troops were dropped.

“The good weather conditions and adequate briefing enabled all planes to reach our DZ on schedule and very effective blue smoke positively identified our DZ. All aircraft—18 C-47s—reported dropping on the DZ.

“Heavy and light flak was experienced at four miles from the DZ. Several planes were hit and one had to be grounded when it reached home base. We suffered no casualties and all our aircraft returned by 1645 hours.

“Several planes experienced difficulties releasing supply bundles and radio silence was broken to inform these planes of their failure to release. One aircraft made a second pass but the bundle would not release. Ten bundles were returned. Cause of the trouble was: inexperience in attachment of bundles on the part of the airborne troops.”

TCC lost 27 C-47s on the first day and 17 on the second, with 21 more lost through the 25th—a total of 65 transports. But those losses were sustainable, and operations continued.

After Overlord and Market Garden, airborne commitments expanded. By 1945 the strength of a troop carrier group’s four squadrons was 80 to 110 aircraft, with 128 crews among 1,837 personnel.

The Rhine was the prize on March 24, 1945, as the Allies launched Operation Varsity, crossing into Germany. Airborne forces were committed to secure bridges and areas on the east bank around Wesel while amphibious units crossed over. However, nine months after D-Day, the Allies still lacked enough airlift. Consequently, the U.S. 13th Airborne Divi­sion was dropped from the plan, and the operation proceeded with the 17th (9,400 men) and the British 6th (7,200 men). The total airlift constituted more than 1,600 transports and 1,300 gliders.


Paratroopers of the 17th Airborne Division get ready to board their new Douglas C-46 planes of the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing for Operation Varsity, March 24, 1945. (National Archives).

The TCC groups operated near Paris, where the 17th Division was camped. Wesel, the target area, lay 270 miles northeast. The 17th was lifted in part by 226 C-47s and 72 new Curtiss C-46 Commandos towing more than 900 gliders, while 750 RAF Dakotas towed another 420 gliders. Coordination was important: Most U.S. serials cruised at 140 mph, passing under Dakotas towing Airspeed Horsa gliders at 115 mph.

Varsity was the first European operation for the C-46, and the last. Though bigger and faster than the C-47, with superior altitude (irrelevant to airborne ops), the Commando was maintenance intensive, with a succession of post-production modifications from the trouble-plagued Curtiss company. Lieutenant Colonel William Filer’s 313th Troop Carrier Group was the only unit to fly C-46s in ETO combat.

Almost 900 U.S. fighters swept the region, establishing air superiority. Meanwhile, observers on the ground noted that the procession extended almost 200 miles, taking 2½ hours to pass overhead.

Unlike most previous airborne operations, in Varsity the troop carriers flew at low level in daylight, within range of German light and medium anti-aircraft guns. Anticipating battle damage, many C-47s were retrofitted with self-sealing fuel tanks, but the C-46s retained standard equipment. That probably accounted for the heavy C-46 losses: 19 of 72 Commandos, more than one in four.

Captain Victor Anderson of the 61st Troop Car­rier Group carried 16 British troopers in his Sky­train. “It was after completing my second pass at the DZ and on my turn to the left…that I received concentrated small arms fire,” he remembered. “One of the shells penetrated the cockpit on the right side and shot out a gauge, releasing hydraulic pressure. The point of penetration was to the right and below the copilot’s seat. Before takeoff, the copilot, 2nd Lt. James A. Oien, and I noticed two extra flak suits in our aircraft. We used them to improvise additional armor by placing them under the seats and the two sides of the cockpit. It was that portion of the flak suit that Lt. Oien placed to the right of his seat and next to the side of the cockpit that ultimately stopped the shell, thus preventing a possible casualty. The shell was recovered and shows to be a German .30-caliber.” Landing in France, Anderson’s crew found hits in the elevator, rudder, belly and creased main gas lines.

In addition to the 19 Commandos lost by the 313th Group, the 315th wrote off seven Skytrains. In all, 30 U.S. transports were lost from nine groups. Varsity remains the largest single-drop airborne operation of all time, delivering 16,600 sky soldiers in transports and gliders.

Given the island-hopping nature of the Pacific War, airborne operations were essential to supporting Allied amphibious landings. The first Pacific operation of note occurred in New Guinea on September 5, 1943. General Douglas MacArthur provided a battalion of the 503rd PIR to seize Nadzab ahead of an Australian brigade en route to capturing the strategic Markham Valley. The 317th Troop Carrier Group had trained with the 503rd PIR in Australia, forming a strong team. Flying in daylight, the 317th contributed 24 of the 84 aircraft, leading elements of the 375th and 403rd groups. Captain Herbert Waldman, a 24-year-old statistician from New York, reported looking down the runway at Port Moresby and seeing “Skytrains as far as the eye could see—an amazing sight!”

Weather delayed takeoff, but at length the procession crossed the Owen Stanley Range beneath an umbrella of P-38s, P-39s and P-47s, while B-25s and A-20s prepared to suppress Japanese defenses. Douglases droned over the target at 400 feet, slowing from 155 to 100 mph.


Crewmen inspect flak damage to the 317th Troop Carrier Group C-47 ”Jungle Skipper” upon its return from dropping paratroopers over Corregidor Island on February 16, 1945. (U.S. Air Force)

Maintaining tight formations, the aircrews delivered a concentration of 1,700 paratroopers into Nadzab’s tall grass. There was no opposition from enemy aircraft or AA guns. MacArthur observed the drop and messaged, “Gentlemen, that was as fine an example of discipline and training as I have ever witnessed.”

The next significant Pacific airborne op came 10 months later at Noemfoor Island off New Guinea’s northwest coast. On July 3-4, 1944, troop carriers delivered two battalions of the 503rd PIR in Operation Table Tennis, reinforcing amphibious forces already ashore.

Japan had owned the Philippine Islands since May 1942, but the archipelago remained a vital U.S. interest. American forces returned to the Philippines in overwhelming strength in October 1944, with combat lasting into June 1945. A small but important objective was Corregidor Island near the entrance to Manila Bay.

The veteran 317th “Jungle Zippers” delivered troopers into Corregidor’s two square miles, a challenging terrain with ravines and 500-foot cliffs. Planners selected two small drop zones, each assigned two troop carrier squadrons.

Fifty-one Skytrains of the 317th delivered 2,000 troopers in four waves on February 16 and 17, 1945. Owing to the extremely small targets, transports only dropped six to eight troopers per pass to keep them concentrated on the ground. Thus, most planes made three passes through groundfire to complete delivery.

Half the aircraft took hits, and despite the low drops, 12 troopers were killed in their chutes. But the mission succeeded, with Corregidor secured 10 days later.

Troop Carrier Command stood down in late 1945, but airborne assault operations continued in the Korean War. Transport planes flew 19 missions totaling 7,000 jumpers, with two major opera­tions in 1950 and 1951.

During the Cold War the troop carrier mission passed to Air Mobility Command. Today it belongs to Air Combat Command, heir to a historic legacy seven decades old.

Frequent contributor Barrett Tillman is the author of more than 40 books on military history, including D-Day Encyclopedia. Further reading: Into the Valley: The Untold Story of USAAF Troop Carrier in World War II, by Col. Charles H. Young and World War II Army Airborne Troop Carriers, by David Polk.

This feature originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of Aviation History. Subscribe here!


Contents

Lineage

  • Constituted as 313th Transport Group on 28 Jan 1942
  • Activated on 30 Sep 1946
  • Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) and activated on 1 Feb 1953

Assignments

    , 2 Mar 1942-24 Apr 1943
    , 9 May 1943 , 4 Feb 1944-5 Aug 1945 , 14 Sep-15 Nov 1945
    , 25 Jun 1947 , 28 Jul 1947-18 Sep 1949 1 Feb 1953 , 25 Aug 1953-8 Jun 1955

Stations

    , Georgia, 2 Mar 1942 , Kentucky, 21 Jun 1942 , South Carolina, 4 Aug 1942 , North Carolina, 13 Dec 1942-24 Apr 1943 , French Morocco, 9 May 1943 , Tunisia, 16 Jun 1943
  • Sciacca Airfield, Sicily, 23 Aug 1943
  • Trapani/Milo Airfield, Sicily, 3 Oct 1943 (AAF-484), England, 4 Feb 1944
  • Achiet Airfield (B-54), France, 28 Feb-5 Aug 1945 , Indiana, 14 Sep-15 Nov 1945 , Austria, 30 Sep 1946-25 Jun 1947 , Virginia, 25 Jun 1947 , Texas, 15 Jul 1947-22 Oct 1948 , Germany, 9 Nov 1948-18 Sep 1949 , New York, 1 Feb 1953 , Tennessee, 2 Oct 1953-8 Jun 1955.

Components

  • 29th Troop Carrier Squadron (27), 2 Mar 1942-22 Sep 1945 30 Sep 1946-18 Sep 1949 1 Feb 1953-8 Jun 1955
  • 47th Troop Carrier Squadron (N3), 2 Mar 1942-22 Sep 1945 30 Sep 1946-18 Sep 1949 1 Feb 1953-8 Jun 1955
  • 48th Troop Carrier Squadron (5X), 2 Mar 1942-22 Sep 1945 30 Sep 1946-18 Sep 1949 1 Feb 1953-8 Jun 1955
  • 49th Troop Carrier Squadron (H2), 2 Mar 1942-22 Sep 1945 30 Sep 1946-18 Sep 1949 1 Feb 1953-8 Jun 1955

Aircraft

Operations

World War II

Trained for overseas duty with C-47's and C-53's. Moved to North Africa, Apr-May 1943, and assigned to Twelfth Air Force.

Trained for the invasion of Sicily and entered combat on the night of 9 Jul 1943 by dropping paratroops near Gela. Although attacked by ground and naval forces while carrying reinforcements to Sicily on the night of II Jul, the group completed the mission and received a DUC for the performance. Transported supplies and evacuated wounded in the Mediterranean area until late in Aug when the group moved to Sicily for the invasion of Italy. Dropped paratroops of 82d Airborne Division south of Salerno on the night of 13 Sep 7943 and flew a reinforcement mission the following night.

Resumed transport activities in the theater until Feb 1944, and then joined Ninth Air Force in England. Prepared for the invasion of France and on D-Day 1944, released paratroops near Picauville dropped reinforcements over the same area on 7 Jun, being awarded second DUC for its part in the invasion.

Dropped paratroops near Arnheim and Nijmegen on 17 Sep during the airborne attack on Holland and released gliders carrying reinforcements to that area on 18 and 23 Sep. Moved to France, Feb-Mar 1945, and received C- 46's for the airborne assault across the Rhine dropped paratroops of 17th Airborne Division near Wesel on 24 Mar. When not engaged in airborne operations the group evacuated wounded personnel and ex-prisoners of war, and also transported cargo such as ammunition, gasoline, medical supplies, and food until after V-E Day.

Returned to the US, Aug-Sep 1945. Inactivated on 15 Nov 1945.

Cold War

Activated in Austria on 30 Sep 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe Army of Occupation and equipped with C-47 and C-54 aircraft was assigned to Tulln Air Base, becoming host unit.

Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US on 25 Jun 1947 and assigned to Tactical Air Command. Trained with gliders and C-82's. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group, (Heavy) in Jul 1948. Moved to Germany, Oct-Nov 1948, and joined United States Air Forces in Europe for participation in the Berlin airlift. Transported cargo such as coal, food, and medicine into West Berlin from Nov 1948 to Sep 1949. Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Special) in Feb 1949. Inactivated in Germany on 18 Sep 1949.

Redesignated 313th Troop Carrier Group (Medium), Activated in the US on Feb 1953. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Trained with C-119's. Inactivated on 8 Jun 1955 when 313th Troop Carrier Wing converted to Tri-Deputate organization and assigned all operational components directly to the wing.


Contents

The 29th Weapons Squadron conducts graduate-level instruction in weapons and tactics employment with the Lockheed C-130J Hercules. [5] A detachment of the squadron at Rosecrans Field performs the same mission for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130H crews. [6]

World War II Edit

The squadron was activated as the 29th Transport Squadron in March 1942 as the original squadron of the 313th Transport Group. The group was expanded from a headquarters and a single squadron in June, when the 47th, 48th, and 49th Transport Squadrons were activated to fill out the 313th. [7] [8] The 29th trained under Air Transport Command (later I Troop Carrier Command) and equipped with Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft and other military models of the Douglas DC-3, including the C-53 Skytrooper in the southeastern United States. [2] [8]

Mediterranean operations Edit

The squadron, now named the 29th Troop Carrier Squadron, moved to Oujda Airfield, French Morocco after the Operation Torch landings. It performed airlift of supplies and personnel to ground forces advancing through Algeria into Tunisia as part of Twelfth Air Force. The unit also evacuated wounded personnel to rear areas. [8]

The 29th, along with the 47th and 48th Squadrons of the 313th Group, took part in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Although blown far off course on the first airdrops on the island by strong winds, the squadron managed to drop their paratroops near Avola, where they were able to assist British forces in seizing that town. [9] Two days later, 11 July 1943, the squadron was part of a formation of troop carrier units of the 52d Troop Carrier Wing bringing reinforcements, planning to drop paratroops near Gela. Planes of the 313th Group led the stream of troop carriers. However, attacks in the Gela area by enemy aircraft had sunk two ships and forced other ships in the invasion force to disperse. The heaviest enemy attack came at 2150 hours. Fifty minutes later, the first 313th Group aircraft approached the drop zone. The 48th was able to successfully make its drop on Farello Airfield. Mistaking the troop carriers for another enemy attack, ships of the assault force and antiaircraft units ashore began a heavy fire on squadron's C-47s as they departed. Of the 144 planes of the 52d Wing that participated in the mission, 23 were shot down and an additional 37 were heavily damaged. [10] [11] For its completion of this mission the squadron earned its first Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC). [2]

It moved to Sicily for Operation Avalanche, the invasion of Italy. It dropped paratroopers of 82d Airborne Division south of Salerno on the night of 13 September 1943 and flew a reinforcement mission the following night. [8]

European operations Edit

In February 1944, the squadron moved to RAF Folkingham, England, where it became part of IX Troop Carrier Command and began training for the assault on the continent of Europe. On D-Day the squadron dropped paratroopers near Picauville, Normandy and dropped reinforcements the following day. The squadron's efforts during Operation Overlord earned it a second DUC. [8]

On 17 September, the squadron participated in Operation Market Garden, the airborne assault on the Netherlands, when it dropped troopers near Arnhem and Nijmegen. In February 1945, the squadron moved to Achiet Airfield in France, where it began converting to Curtiss C-46 Commandos in preparation for Operation Varsity, the airborne assault across the Rhine. On 24 March 1945 it dropped elements of the 17th Airborne Division near Wesel. [8]

The squadron continued to operate from Achiet during 1945, performing transportation of personnel and supplies within Europe. It evacuated wounded and former prisoners of war and brought gasoline, ammunition to forward areas. After V-E Day, it continued to transport medical equipment and other supplies. In September, the squadron's personnel returned to the United States and it was inactivated on arrival at the Port of Embarkation. [2] [8]

In August 1945 the squadron returned to the United States, and was inactivated at the Port of Embarkation in September. [2]

Army of Occupation and Berlin Airlift Edit

The squadron was activated at Capodichino Airport near Naples, Italy at the end of September 1946, absorbing the mission, personnel and equipment of the 305th Troop Carrier Squadron, which was simultaneously inactivated. [12] It once again was equipped with C-47s. The squadron briefly moved to Tulln Air Base, Austria in the spring of 1947. [2]

The squadron transferred without personnel and equipment to the States in June 1947. At Bergstrom Field, Texas it trained with Fairchild C-82 Packets and gliders. The squadron departed Bergstrom for in late October 1948 for Germany, arriving in early November to reinforce airlift units in Operation Vittles, the Berlin airlift as winter approached and the demand for supplies increased. Operating from a Royal Air Force base because of congestion at United States Air Forces Europe bases in Germany, the unit used Douglas C-54 Skymasters to transport cargo including coal, food, and medicine into West Berlin. As airlift forces in Europe were reduced following the lifting of the Soviet blockade, and faced with President Truman’s smaller 1949 defense budget, the Air Force was required to reduce the number of its groups to 48. The squadron was inactivated in September 1949. [8] [13] [14]

Cold War Edit

The squadron was activated at Mitchel Air Force Base, New York in February 1953, assuming the personnel and Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars of the 335th Troop Carrier Squadron, an Air Force Reserve unit that had been called to active duty for the Korean War and was transitioning to the C-119 from the Curtiss Commando. [15] The squadron trained to maintain combat readiness in tactical airlift operations. It was inactivated on 8 June 1955. [2]

Vietnam War Edit

The squadron was reactivated at Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas in 1964, flying Lockheed C-130 Hercules. [2] In March 1965, the 29th became the first combat-ready unit of Tactical Air Command at Forbes. It then assumed a commitment to rotate aircraft to the Panama Canal Zone. The squadron frequently deployed to support airlift requirements of overseas commands, participate in tactical exercises and disaster relief. [ citation needed ]

In December 1965 the squadron left Forbes for Clark Air Base, Philippines, arriving in late January 1966 to perform theater airlift in Southeast Asia as part of 315th Air Division. [2] The unit deployed aircraft and crews to provide intra-theater airlift for United States military civic actions, combat support and civic assistance throughout the Republic of Vietnam, particularly from the C-130 operating location at Tan Son Nhut Airport outside Saigon. [ citation needed ] In May 1969, the unit assumed the Commando Vault mission, dropping a 10,000-pound bomb designed to clear helicopter landing zones out of jungle from its cargo bay. [2] The squadron was inactivated in October 1970 [2] and its remaining aircraft and crews were distributed among the 463d Tactical Airlift Wing's other squadrons.

The squadron was reactivated in April 1971 at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and began training with C-130s. Shortly after becoming combat ready, in November its mission, equipment and personnel were transferred to the 38th Tactical Airlift Squadron and the 29th was inactivated. [2]

Weapons system training Edit

The squadron was redesignated the 29th Weapons Squadron and reactivated in June 2003 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas as part of the USAF Mobility Weapons School and equipped with C-130 Hercules. The squadron was reassigned to the USAF Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in 2006. [2] In August 2014 the squadron established a detachment at Rosecrans Field, Missouri to conduct the Weapons Instructor Course for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve aircrews flying the C-130H. This allowed the elements at Little Rock the ability to focus primarily on the C-130J. [6]


Watch the video: Hitler finds out the 313th Troop Carrier Group passed the Normandy Border


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