463d Airlift Group

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463d Airlift Group
463aw1.jpg
A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules from Little Rock, Air Force Base, Ark., lands at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., for Rodeo 2007 on 21 July 2007
Active 1 August 1943 – 1 October 2008
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Tactical Airlift
Part of Air Mobility Command
Eighteenth Air Force
Garrison/HQ Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas
Engagements
  • Streamer EAMEC.PNG
    World War II - EAME Theater
  • Streamer VS.PNG
    Vietnam War
  • Streamer AFE.PNG
    Operation Urgent Fury (Greneda)
    Operation Just Cause (Panama)
Decorations
  • Streamer PUC Army.PNG
    Distinguished Unit Citation (2x)
  • AFOUA with Valor.jpg
    Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device (3x)
  • US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
    Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (10x)
  • Vietnam Gallantry Cross - Streamer.jpg
    Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Insignia
Emblem of the 463d Airlift Group 463ag.jpg

The United States Air Force's 463d Airlift Group (463AG) was a tactical airlift unit headquartered in Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. It was inactivated on 1 October 2008.

During World War II as the 463d Bombardment Unit, it was second-to-last B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber group trained in the United States. It was deployed to Southern Italy as part of the Fifteenth Air Force in March 1944.

Mission[edit]

The 463d was a direct reporting unit of over 1,200 Airmen. The unit employed 30 C-130 aircraft that perform airlift missions worldwide. It provided direct support to warfighting combatant commanders with theater combat aerial delivery of personnel and their resupply worldwide.

Units[edit]

The unit comprised eight squadrons: five flying, two maintenance, and one support.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

B-17s of the 463d Bomb Group in formation Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-60-DL Flying Fortress 44-46700 identifiable.
Boeing B-17G-70-BO Fortress 43-37709 dropping bombs over a target.

Constituted as 463d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943. Activated on 1 August 1943. Trained with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses for duty overseas. Moved to Italy, February–March 1944, and assigned to Fifteenth Air Force. Operational squadrons were the 772d, 773d, 774th and 775th Bombardment Squadrons.

Entered combat on 30 March 1944 and operated chiefly against strategic objectives. Attacked such targets as marshaling yards, oil refineries, and aircraft factories in Italy, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing oil refineries in Ploesti on 18 May 1944: when clouds limited visibility to such an extent that other groups turned back, the 463d proceeded to Ploesti and, though crippled by opposition from interceptors and flak, rendered destructive blows to both the target and the enemy fighters.

Received a second Distinguished Unit Citation for leading the wing through three damaging enemy attacks to bomb tank factories in Berlin on 24 March 1945. Also engaged interdiction and support missions. Bombed bridges during May and June 1944 in the campaign for the liberation of Rome.

Participated in the invasion of Southern France in August 1944 by striking bridges, gun positions, and other targets. Hit communications such as railroad bridges, marshalling yards, and airdromes in the Balkans. Operated primarily against communications in northern Italy during March and April 1945.

The "Swoose" Group was commanded by Col. Frank Kurtz, a pre-war Olympic swimmer and pilot of the famed B-17 "The Swoose" in the Pacific during 1941–42.

After V-E Day, transported personnel from Italy to Casablanca for return to the US. Inactivated in Italy on 25 September 1945. Flew 222 combat missions; 91 aircraft lost.

Cold War[edit]

Two C-130 Hercules aircraft of the 463rd get airborne as the remaining 16 aircraft wait on the runway during a Minimum Interval Takeoff at the start of a mass airdrop exercise at Dyess

Redesignated 463d Troop Carrier Group (Medium). Activated at Memphis Airport, Tennessee on 16 January 1953. Assigned to Tactical Air Command and equipped with C-119's. On 1 September, the group was reassigned to Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma.

The 463d Group (later 463d Troop Carrier Wing) airlifted and airdropped troops and cargo to support operations and exercises worldwide, supporting deployments during the following crises: Lebanon (July 1958), Taiwan (August 1958), Berlin (September 1961), Cuba (October–November 1962), the Gulf of Tonkin (August–December 1964), Southeast Asia (February and April–November 1965), and the Dominican Republic (April–September 1965).

The wing moved to Pacific Air Forces in November 1965, being assigned to the 315th Air Division. In PACAF, the wing was responsible for operating a C-130 combat airlift support unit at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam and a detachment at Clark AB, Philippines, through November 1968 which flew transport and aeromedical evacuation missions. In December 1965, began furnishing aircraft and crews to fly missions in Southeast Asia under operational control of the 315th Air Division (to October 1966) and 834th Air Division (October 1966 – October 1971).

Redesignated as the 463d Tactical Airlift Wing in August 1967. The wing ceased aircraft operations in Southeast Asia on 25 October 1971.

Returning to Dyess AFB, Texas in June 1972, the 463d began participating in operations and exercises worldwide for Tactical Air Command (1972–1974). In 1974, all tactical airlift was transferred to Military Airlift Command, then to Air Mobility Command (AMC) in 1992 when MAC was inactivated. The wing's tactical components deployed frequently to Europe, the Pacific, and the Canal Zone to provide air transportation as needed. On 1 November 1991, the wing implemented the Objective Wing organization and was redesignated as the 463d Airlift Wing.

Post Cold War[edit]

The wing was inactivated on 1 October 1993 and its personnel and equipment was absorbed by the incoming 7th Wing at Dyess. The 7th was a composite wing which incorporated Dyess' C-130s, which were transferred from Air Mobility Command to Air Combat Command (ACC).

When the US-based C-130 force was realigned in 1997 from ACC back to AMC, the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB was split into two pieces. The wing and training units went to Air Education and Training Command (AETC). AMC reactivated the unit as the 463d Airlift Group on 1 April 1997 to control the two operational C-130 squadrons.

From Little Rock, the 463d has provided worldwide airlift, delivering combat, humanitarian, and other supplies. On 1 October 2008, the 463d Airlift Group was inactivated and in it place the 19th Airlift Wing was activated.

Lineage[edit]

463d Bombardment Group - Emblem
  • Constituted as 463d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943.
Activated on 1 August 1943
Inactivated on 25 September 1945
  • Established as 463d Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on 1 December 1952.
Activated on 16 January 1953.
Re-designated: 463d Troop Carrier Wing, Assault, on 1 October 1962
Re-designated: 463d Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on 15 May 1965
Re-designated: 463d Troop Carrier Wing on 8 December 1965
Re-designated: 463d Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 August 1967.
Inactivated on 31 December 1971.
  • Activated on 1 June 1972.
Re-designated: 463d Airlift Wing on 1 November 1991.
Inactivated on 1 October 1993.
  • Activated 1 April 1997
Re-designated: 463d Airlift Group on 31 March 1997.
Inactivated on 1 Oct 2008

Assignments[edit]

Components[edit]

Wings

  • 456th Troop Carrier: attached 10 March – 9 July 1956 (not operational).

Groups

  • 309th Troop Carrier Group: attached 8 July 1955 – c. 21 May 1956
  • 419th Troop Carrier Group: attached 9 July 1956 – 25 September 1957
  • 463d Troop Carrier (later, 463d Operations): 16 January 1953 – 25 September 1957; 1 November 1991 – 1 October 1993.

Squadrons

  • 16th Troop Carrier Squadron: attached 14 November 1954 – 8 July 1955
  • 18th Tactical Airlift Training: 1 June – 31 August 1972 (not operational, 25–31 August 1972)
  • 20th Operations: 17 February 1970 – 31 December 1971
  • 29th Troop Carrier (later, 29 Tactical Airlift) Squadron: attached 30 January – 24 March 1966, assigned 25 March 1966 – 31 October 1970 (not operational 1 July – 31 October 1970)
  • 47th Tactical Airlift Squadron: 6 July – 1 August 1973
  • 50th Airlift Squadron: 1 April 1997 – 1 October 2008
  • 61st Airlift Squadron: 1 April 1997 – 1 October 2008
  • 360th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron: 24 November 1972 – 1 July 1973 (not operational)
  • 772d Bombardment (later Troop Carrier; Tactical Airlift) Squadron: 1 August 1943 – 25 September 1945; 16 January 1953 – 25 September 1957; 25 September 1957 – 23 November 1965; 7 February 1966 – 15 June 1971 (not operational 1–15 June 1971); 1 June 1972 – 1 November 1991 (detached 9 July – 15 September 1972; 10 November 1972 – 10 January 1973; 6 May – 4 June 1973; 5 February – 8 April 1974; 5 January – 15 March 1975; 30 November 1975 – 15 January 1976; 3 August – 15 October 1976; 3 November 1977 – 7 January 1978; 3 April – 5 June 1979; 3 August – 5 October 1980; 3 December 1981 – 13 February 1982; 4 April – 7 June 1983; 10 October – 7 December 1985; 5 June – 12 August 1987; 1 August – 13 October 1988; 1 October – 14 December 1989)
  • 773d Bombardment (later Troop Carrier; Tactical Airlift) Squadron: 1 August 1943 – 25 September 1945; 16 January 1953 – 25 September 1957; 25 September 1957 – 31 October 1971 (detached 15 November 1954-19 May 1955 and 3 January – 6 March 1961; not operational 15–31 October 1971); 1 June 1972 – 1 November 1991 (detached 1 June – 8 July 1972; 16 September – 16 November 1972; 23 February – 12 May 1973; 3 July – 16 September 1973; 5 May – 17 July 1974; 3 May – 16 July 1975; 3 February – 9 April 1976; 7 November 1976 – 15 January 1977; 3 August – 5 October 1977; 19 September – 1 December 1978; 3 February – 5 April 1980; 3 June – 14 August 1981; 3 October – 7 December 1982; 8 February – 10 April 1984; 6 April – 4 June 1985; 9 December 1986 – 3 February 1987; 1 February – 16 April 1988; 1 April – 14 June 1989; 2 June – 14 August 1990).
  • 774th Bombardment (later Troop Carrier; Tactical Airlift) Squadron: 1 August 1943 – 25 September 1945; 16 January 1953 – 25 September 1957; 25 September 1957 – 31 December 1971 (detached 21 March – 19 June 1961; not operational 26 December 1962 – 1 April 1963); 1 August 1973 – 1 October 1986 (detached 3 October – 16 December 1973; 3 September – 16 November 1974; 4 August – 15 October 1975; 3 May – 7 July 1976; 3 June – 5 August 1977; 3 March – 5 May 1978; 28 September – 5 December 1979; 3 February – 7 April 1981; 5 April – 15 June 1982; 4 August – 10 October 1983; 5 June – 4 August 1984; 3 December 1984 – 9 February 1985; 5 April – 12 June 1986)
  • 775th Bombardment (later Troop Carrier) Squadron: 1 August 1943 – 25 September 1945; 8 June 1955 – 1 August 1957
  • 4480th Troop Carrier Squadron Provisional: attached 3 January – 1 April 1963
  • 6485th Operations: 1 September – 1 December 1968

Bases Assigned[edit]

Aircraft flown[edit]

References[edit]

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

  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links[edit]