Troop Carrier Groups of World War II
The US Army Air Forces troop
carrier mission officially came into existence on April 30, 1942 when
the 50th Transport Wing, a unit that had activated at Wright Field,
Ohio January 14, 1941, transferred out of the Air Service Command into
a new unit named the Air Transport Command. Originally assigned to the
Air Corps Maintenance Command, which became the Air Service Command in
October 1941, the wing's primary mission was to transport aircraft
parts and other technical supplies from the Air Corps depot at Wright
Field to air bases throughout the United States and as far north as
Alaska and as far south as the Canal Zone. When the Army began
developing airborne forces, the 50th Wing was given responsibility for
providing aircraft and crews to transport the fledgling paratroopers to
their drop zones. The Air Transport Command designation was
short-lived. The Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, Mr. Lawrence
J. Pogue, was pressing the White House to form a government airline to
transport military cargo. In response to the pressure from the CAB,
Army Air Forces chief General Henry H. Arnold decided to elevate the
Army Ferrying Command to become a military transport command with the
dual mission of coordinating military contracts with the commercial
airlines and ferrying combat and training aircraft from the factories
to operational units. The new organization was named the Air Transport
Command and the former unit was redesignated as I Troop Carrier
Command. The 50th Wing became the 50th Troop Carrier Wing and its
subordinate units were redesignated as troop carrier groups. Included
in the reorganization were two squadrons that were already active in
combat operations in the Southwest Pacific, the 21st and 22nd Air
Transport Squadrons, which had been activated in February and were
operating as part of the Air Transport Command of the Far East Air
Force in Australia. With the activation of the I Troop Carrier Command,
the Army Air Forces established the troop carrier mission as one of the
four combat missions of the Army Air Forces - bombardment, pursuit or
fighter, reconnaissance and troop carrier. Twenty-eight troop carrier
groups were activated for training and combat service overseas. In 1944
three additional groups with a similar mission was activated as combat
cargo groups, which were scaled-down troop carrier units with fewer
support personnel and whose crews were not trained for paratroop
operations. Troop carrier squadrons were formed for assignment to three
air commando groups that were established to support British special
troops in Burma (one air commando group was assigned to Far East Air
Forces in the Southwest Pacific.)
10th Troop Carrier Goup:
Initially constituted as the 1st Transport Group, the unit was placed
on the inactive list until May 20, 1937 when it was consolidated with
the 10th Observation Group and activated as the 10th Transport Group,
the Army Air Corps premier transport unit. Based at Wright Field, it
operated single-engine C-27 and twin-engine C-33 transports on logistic
routes in the US and to Alaska and the Canal Zone. On April 30, 1942 it
transferred to the I Troop Carrier Command and was redesignated as the
10th Troop Carrier Group. The 10th Group remained in the US as a
training organization until it was disbanded in April, 1944.
60th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
as the 60th Transport Group on December 1, 1940, it was initially based
at Olmsted Air Base, Pennsylvania. The group moved to England in June
1942 with C-47s and was redesignated as the 60th Troop Carrier Group in
July. After training in England, the group departed in November 1942
carrying US paratroopers and dropping them at Oran in North Africa.
Assigned to Twelfth Air Force, the group remained in the Mediterranean
for the duration of World War II and participated in the invasion of
Sicily and the liberation of Greece. It supported partisans in the
Balkans. The group inactivated in July 1945. It reactivated in Germany
on September 30, 1946 and remained in Germany until 1955 when it moved
to Evreux, France. It was one of the groups involved in the Berlin
Airlift. The group inactivated in 1957. In 1965 when the Military
Airlift Command activated, the designation was given to the MAC wing at
Travis AFB, California.
61st Troop Carrier Group: Activated
at Olmsted Air Base, PA, the group moved several times before it went
to North Africa in May 1943 and joined Twelfth Air Force. The 61st TCG
remained in the Mediterranean until February 1944 when it moved to
England to join IX Troop Carrier Command for the invasion of Normandy.
It inactivated after the war, but reactivated in Germany in September
1946. It equipped with C-54s and participated in the Berlin Airlift.
The 61st transferred to the US at the outbreak of the Korean War and
was assigned to MATS. In December 1950 the 61st transferred to Ashiya
AB, Japan and became part of the Korean Airlift from Japan to Korea.
Returned to the US in 1952 and was assigned to Tactical Air Command at
Donaldson AFB, SC with C-124s. It inactivated in 1959. The
lineage now belongs to an air base wing in Los Angelese, California.
62nd Troop Carrier Group: Activated
at McClellan AB, California in December 1940 as the 62nd Air Transport
Group, the 62nd Troop Carrier Group moved to England in the summer of
1942 then went to Tunisia in November and was assigned to Twelfth Air
Force. The 62nd remained in the Mediterranean and partipated in the
invasion of Sicily, airborne operations in Italy and the invasion of
Southern France. It remained in Italy until November 1945, when it
inactivated. It reactivated the following September in the US with TAC.
The 62nd operated C-54 and C-82 and, finally, C-124 transports. In 1959
the 62nd became part of MATS and transferred to McChord AFB, Washington
where it has remained since. The 62nd Airlift Wing is now part of the
Air Mobility Command.
63rd Troop Carrier Group: Activated
in December 1940 at Wright Field, the 63rd became a training
organization at Ft. Benning, Georgia training cadre for new troop
carrier groups and never went overseas. It disbanded in April 1944 and
the designation was alloted to the reserves. The 63rd reactivated at
Floyd Bennet Field, NY in 1949 and transferred first to Altus AFB, OK,
then to Donaldson AFB, SC where it was a TAC C-124 unit before all
C-124s transferred to MATS. When Donaldson closed, the 63rd transferred
to Hunter AFB, SC. When Hunter closed the designation went to a new MAC
unit at Norton AFB, California where it remained until inactivation.
64th Troop Carrier Group: The
fourth of the four groups that activated in December 1940, the 60th
Transport Group was initially assigned to Duncan Field, Texas. The 64th
TCG moved to England in August 1942, then to North Africa in November,
where it dropped troops at Maison Blanche and in the battle for
Tunisia. The 64th remained with Twelfth Air Force, but most of the
group was sent on temporary duty to the China-Burma-India from
April-June 1944. Inactivated after the war, the 64th remained inactive
or without personnel until July 1952 when it was reactivated and
assigned to Tactical Air Command at Donaldson AFB, SC with C-119s. The
64th became sort of a bastardized outfit with the designation given to
a number of C-130 wings. In 1961 it was assigned to Dyess AFB, Texas
with C-130As, but was replaced by the 516th Troop Carrier Wing. When
the 314th Troop Carrier Wing transferred to PACAF from Sewart AFB,
Tennessee in December 1965, the 64th reactivated at Sewart. It
transferred to Little Rock AFB, AR and inactivated in the early 1970s.
89th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
on February 1, 1942. As the 89th Troop Carrier Group, it was a training
group providing transition training for DC-3 and C-47 pilots. Disbanded
in April 1944. Designation alloted to the reserves. Based at Hanscomb
Field, MA. Called to active duty in May 1951 and immediately
inactivated. Became a reserve fighter/bomber group.
313th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
March 2, 1942. Moved to North Africa in May 1943 and was assigned to
Twelfth Air Force. Participated in the invasion of Sicily. Dropped
troops at Salerno. Transferred to IX Troop Carrier Command in England
in February 1944 and remained with Ninth Air Force for the duration of
the war. Inactivated in November 1945 but reactivated in the US with
TAC the following year. Moved to Germany in October 1948 and joined the
Berlin Airlift, which was in progress. The group inactivated in Germany
in September 1949, but reactivated in the US in 1953 with C-119s. The
wing inactivated in 1955. It was reactivated at Forbes AFB, Kansas in
1964 and equipped with C-130Bs. The wing was inactivated at the end of
the Vietnan War.
314th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
in March 1942 and moved overseas to North Africa in May 1943.
Participated in the invasion of Sicily and dropped paratroops at Gela.
Dropped troops and supplies at Salerno. Transferred to England in
February 1944 and joined IX Troop Carrier Command for the invasion of
Normandy. Transferred to the US without personnel or equipment and was
assigned to the Canal Zone 1946-1948. Transferred to Smyrna AFB,
Tennessee in 1948 and equipped with C-82s and C-119s. Assigned to Far
East Air Forces at Ashiya AB, Japan in September 1950 and remained with
315th Air Division until 1954 operating C-119s into and over Korea.
Returned to Sewart AFB, Tennessee in 1954. In 1957 the 314th became the
second TAC troop carrier wing to recieve C-130s. The 314th remained at
Sewart until December 1965 when the headquarters and the 50th Troop
Carrier Squadron transferred to 315th Air Division. The 314th Troop
Carrier Wing was based at Ching Chang Kuan AB, Taiwan from 1966-1971
when it was replaced by the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing (on paper
only.) The 314th designation returned to the US to Little Rock AFB,
Arkansas where it replaced the 64th Tactical Airlift Wing. The 314th
has remained at Little Rock since, although it has undergone several
transitions. It is currently assigned to the Air Force Education and
Training Command and provides training for C-130 personnel.
315th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
February 1942 and moved to England in October-November. Detained
temporarily in Greenland, the group searched for missing aircraft and
dropped survival equipment and supplies to stranded airmen. Served
primarily in the logistical role in England and the Mediterranean until
March 1944 when it began training for airborne operations for the
Normandy Invasion. Inactivated in July 1945. Reactivated in Japan in
June 1952 and equipped with C-46s. Inactivated in January 1955.
Reactivated in Saigon in 1963 as the 315th Air Commando Group operating
C-123s. Redesignated as the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing in 1968. Lt.
Col. Joe M. Jackson became the only troop carrier crewmember to recieve
the Medal of Honor for his actions during the evacuation of Kham Duc,
when he and his crew landed and picked up three stranded airmen who had
been left behind.
316th Troop Carrier Group:
Activated February 1942 and moved to the Mediterranean where it began
operations in November, 1942. Reassigned to IX Troop Carrier Command in
England in February 1944. Returned to the US after the war and
remained active, first at Pope Field, NC then at Greenville, SC. Moved
to Sewart AFB, Tennessee in 1949. Transferred to Ashiya, Japan in 1954
where it remained until troop carrier units were reorganized in the
late 1950s when it was inactivated. The 316th Troop Carrier Wing
reactivated at Langley AFB, Virginia in 1966 and remained there until
1975, when the wing was inactivated. The lineage now belongs to a wing
based at Andrews AFB, MD.
317th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
in February 1942 and was assigned to the Southwest Pacific where it
became part of the Fifth Air Force and the 54th Troop Carrier Wing. The
group had just arrived in Australia when it was assigned to the
resupply of Australian troops at Wau in New Guinea, for which it was
awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. In February 1945 the group
recieved a second DUC for dropping troops on Corregidor. The 317th
remained in the Far East after World War II until it was transferred to
Germany in 1949 to take part in the Berlin Airlift. It was deactivated
after the airlift. The 317th Troop Carrier Wing reactivated at
Rhine-Main, Germany in 1952. It moved to Neubiberg, Germany in 1953 and
was equipped with C-119s. In 1958 the 317th was the first overseas unit
to receive C-130s after it transferred to Eveuex-Fauville AB, France.
In 1960 the wing participated in the UN operations in the Congo and
continued supporting the Congo mission until 1962. In 1963 wing
aircrews and aircraft were deployed to India to assist the Indian Air
Force in operations into the Assam Valley. In June 1964 the 317th
transferred to Lockbourne AFB, OH where it remained until 1972. As
Tactical Air Command began deactivating C-130 units, the wing at
Lockbourne inactivated and the 317th was transferred without personnel
and equipment to Pope AFB, North Carolina. In the early 1990s the 317th
inactivated and was replaced by a composite wing. It reactivated at
Dyess AFB, Texas in 2000 when all C-130 units returned to the Air
349th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
November 1943, moved to the European Theater in early 1945 and joined
the IX Troop Carrier Command with C-46s. Returned to the US after the
war and trained Chinese C-46s for a time, then was deactivated in 1946.
374th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
in Australia in November 1942 as the parent unit for the 6th, 21st and
22nd Troop Carrier Squadrons, which had been operating in the area
since April with a menagerie of aircraft, including C-47s, C-53s,
C-60s, LB-30/B-24s and B-17s. The group recieved three Distinguished
Unit Citations and other decorations in World War II and was the most
decorated Army Air Forces unit of the war. The 374th remained in the
Far East after the war and when the Korean War broke out, it was
operating C-54s. The 374th moved to Japan where the 21st Troop Carrier
Squadron equipped with C-47s while the 6th and 22nd operated C-54s. In
1952 the 374th C-47s were replaced with C-124s. The 374th remained at
Tachikawa AB, Japan with C-54s and C-124s until 1958 when the wing
inactivated. The 21st TCS moved to Naha AB, Okinawa where it equipped
with C-130s and was assigned primarily to classified missions while the
6th and 22nd squadrons transferred to MATS, but retained their troop
carrier identity. The 374th Troop Carrier Wing reactivated at Naha AB,
Okinawa in August 1966 and flew C-130As until 1972 when the Naha unit
deactivated and the 374th designation transferred to CCK AB, Taiwan
where it replaced the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing. In 1973 the 374th
TAW transferred to Clark AB, Philippines where it remained until the
eruption of Mt. Pinatabo forced the closure of the base. The 374th
moved to Kadena AB, Okinawa and from there to Yokota AB, Japan.
375th Troop Carrier Group:
Activated in November 1942, moved to New Guinea and became part of the
54th Troop Carrier Wing. Operated C-47s, C-53s and B-17s, then
converted to C-46s in 1944 before moving to the Philippines. The 375th
moved to Japan after the war and was inactivated in 1946 and assigned
to the reserves. It reactivated in 1950 and equipped with C-82s.
Deactivated at Pittsburgh, PA in 1952. With the activation of Military
Airlift Command in 1966, the 375th reactivated as the 375th
Military Airlift Wing at Scott AFB, Illinois.
403rd Troop Carrier Group: Activated
in December 1942 and moved to the South Pacific for assignment to
Thirteenth Air Force. Remained in the Philippines after the war and
ferried troops to Japan. Inactivated in 1946 and assigned to reserves.
Reactivated in 1951 and sent to Japan with C-119s. Returned to the
reserves in 1953. Now an Air Force Reserve unit at Keesler AFB,
419th Troop Carrier Group:
Activated on Guam in January 1945 as part of Seventh Air Force. The
group had no aircraft and operated air terminals in the Mariannas.
Assigned to the reserves after the war, then reactivated at Scott AFB,
ILL before moving to Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma where it operated C-123s.
Deactivated in 1958 and allocated to the reserves. Became an Air Force
Reserve fighter wing in 1982.
433rd Troop Carrier Group: Activated
February 1943; moved to New Guinea and joined the 54th Troop Carrier
Wing. Moved to Japan in September 1945; deactivated 1946, allocated to
the reserves. Called to active duty in 1950 and sent to Germany with
C-119s. Deactivated in 1952. Activated as reserve unit at Brooks AFB,
Texas. Now assigned to Lackland-Kelly AFB, TX with C-5s.
434th Troop Carrier Group: Activated
February 1943; moved to England October 1943. Trained with the 101st
Airborne Division for operations in Normandy. Returned to the US after
the war and allocated to the reserves. Called to active duty in 1951
with C-47s. Returned to the reserves in 1952. Operated C-119s and
C-124s. Became a fighter wing. Now an aerial refueling wing.
435th Troop Carrier Group:
Activated in February 1943; moved to England. Assigned to reserves
after the war. Recalled to active duty during the Korean War then
returned to the reserves.
The following groups were all activated in the late spring and
summer of 1943 and served in Europe, then were assigned to the reserves.
436th Troop Carrier Group: Activated for one month during the Korean War. Designation given to the Military Airlift Command wing at Dover AFB, Delaware.
437th Troop Carrier Group: Recalled to active duty for the
Korean War and assigned to 315th Air Division with C-46s and C-119s.
Returned to the reserves. Designation given to the Military Airlift
Command wing at Charleston AFB, South Carolina.
438th Troop Carrier Group: Designation given to Military Airlift Command wing at McGuire AFB, New Jersey
439th Troop Carrier Group: Currently assigned to Westover AFB, MA with C-5s.
440th Troop Carrier Group: Currently assigned to Pope AFRB, North Carolina
441st Troop Carrier Group: Currently inactive
442nd Troop Carrier Group: Currently an Air Force Reserve fighter wing.
443rd Troop Carrier Group:
Activated in October 1943; transferred without men or equipment to
India. Operated in the CBI for the duration of the war. Assigned to the
reserves after the war. Recalled in 1951 and remained active until
1953. Designation given to Military Airlift Command training unit at
Altus AFB, OK in December 1965. Inactivated in 1992.
In addition to the troop carrier groups, there were other units that
performed similar tasks, particularly transportation of cargo and
27th Air Transport Group: A
unit of the Eighth Air Force based in England and equipped with a
variety of airplanes to provide logistical support to combat units.
After the D-Day landings, the group moved to France where it performed
combat air cargo operations in support of rapidly advancing ground
troops. Assigned to the reserves after the war as the 516th Troop
Carrier Wing. Activated at Dyess AFB, Texas in 1963 with C-130Es.
Remained active until 1972 when it was replaced by the 463rd Tactical
Combat Cargo Groups: In the
spring of 1944 after all of the alloted troop carrier designations had
been used up, General Henry H. Arnold authorized the formation of four
air transportation units for the purpose of providing air
transportation for British special units operating in the CBI.
Essentially scaled-down troop carrier groups with fewer support
personnel, the new units were given the designation "combat cargo."
1st Combat Cargo Group:
Activated in April 1944 and equipped with C-47s, then moved to the CBI
where it remained for the duration. Redesignated as the 512th Troop
Carrier Group after the war and allocated to the reserves. Now an Air
Force Reserve Associate unit at Dover AFB, Delaware.
2nd Combat Cargo Group: Assigned to Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific. Moved to Japan after the war. Disbanded in 1948.
3rd Combat Cargo Group:
Activated in India in June 1944. Operated in the CBI until the end of
the war. Redesignated as the 513th Troop Carrier Group after the war.
Equipped with C-54s. Served in Germany during the Berlin Airlift.
Assigned to the reserves. Became an aircraft control and warning unit.
4th Combat Cargo Group: Activated in June 1944. Moved to India. Operated in the CBI. Disbanded at the end of the war.