499th Air Refueling Wing
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|499th Air Refueling Wing|
499th Air Refueling Wing emblem
|Active||19 November 1943 - 16 February 1946
15 November 1962-25 June 1966
|Branch||United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
|Garrison/HQ||Westover Air Force Base|
The unit's origins begin with its predecessor unit, the United States Army Air Forces 499th Bombardment Group (499th BG) was part of Twentieth Air Force during World War II. The 499th BG engaged in very heavy (B-29 Superfortress) bombardment operations against Japan. Its aircraft were identified by a "V" and a square painted on the tail.
World War II 
The unit was established in late 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, being formed as a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment Group. Thu unit was formed with four bomb squadrons (877th, 878th, 879th and 880th), all being newly-constituted.
It moved to Smoky Hill Army Airfield, Kansas in December 1943 to begin training. Due to a shortage of B-29s, the group was equipped with former II Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortresses already at Smoky Hill which were previously used for training heavy bomber replacement personnel. In the spring of 1944, it finally received newly-manufactured B-29 Superfortresses. In May shortages in aircraft and equipment led to the 880th Bomb Squadron being inactivated, with its personnel being consolidated into other group squadrons (the 880th would be reactivated in August as part of the 383d Bombardment Group).
As a three squadron group, the 499thth was deployed to Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) in September 1944, being assigned to the XXI Bomber Command 73d Bombardment Wing in the Northern Mariana Islands; being stationed at Isley Field, Saipan. Upon arrival the group's personnel were engaged in Quonset hut construction. By mid-October most personnel were able to move into the huts from the initial tents which they were assigned on arrival. The group began operations with attacks in the Truk Islands and on Iwo Jima. Took part in the first attack (24 November 1944) on Japan by AAF planes based in the Marianas. Flew numerous missions in daylight, operating from high altitude to bomb strategic targets in Japan.
Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for striking the Mitsubishi aircraft engine plant at Nagoya on 23 January 1945. In March 1945 the group began to conduct night attacks, flying at low altitude to drop incendiaries on area targets in Japan. Completed a series of attacks against enemy airfields on Kyūshū to aid the Allied assault on Okinawa in April 1945 and received another DUC for this action. The group released propaganda leaflets over the Japanese home islands, July–August, continuing strategic bombing raids and incendiary attacks until the Japanese Capitulation in August 1945.
After V-J Day, the 499th dropped supplies to Allied prisoners, participated in show-of-force missions, and flew over Japan to evaluate bombardment damage. In November 1945 the unit returned to the United States; initially being assigned to Continental Air Forces's Fourth Air Force at March Field, California. However demobilization was in full swing and the group was inactivated on 17 January 1946.
Cold War 
The 499th Air Refueling Wing was established on 15 November 1962 at Westover AFB, Massachusetts. The wing replaced the provisional 4050th Air Refueling Wing on 1 January 1963, assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 57th Air Division, and continued to support SAC bombardment and TAC fighter aircraft with air-to-air refueling. It was equipped with KC-97s, KC-135s. The 499th also flew the EC-135 Looking Glass missions in support of the Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS) for Eighth Air Force. From November 1965 until inactivated wing components operated under a bomb wing at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts. The 499th Air Refueling Wing was inactivated on 25 June 1966.
Supported SAC bombardment and TAC fighter aircraft with air-to-air refueling and occasionally deployed segments of its tanker force overseas to support unit movement and special operations. Also flew EC-135s on a post attack command control system (PACCS) airborne command post mission in support of Eighth Air Force.
- Constituted as 499th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 19 November 1943
- Activated on 20 November 1943
- Inactivated on 16 February 1946
- Established as 499th Air Refueling Wing on 15 November 1962
- Activated on 15 November 1962 Replacing the 4050th Air Refueling Wing
- Organized on 1 January 1963 Retaining at Manpower & Equipment from the 4050th Air Refueling Wing
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 June 1966
- Second Air Force, 20 November 1943-22 July 1944
- Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), 1 December 1943-22 July 1944
- 73d Bombardment Wing, 18 September 1944-16 February 1946
- Strategic Air Command, 15 November 1962
- 57th Air Division, 1 January 1963-25 June 1966
World War II 
- 877th Bombardment Squadron, 20 November 1943-16 February 1946
- 878th Bombardment Squadron, 20 November 1943-16 February 1946
- 879th Bombardment Squadron, 20 November 1943-16 February 1946
- 880th Bombardment Squadron, 20 Nov 1943-10 May 1944
- 17th Photographic Laboratory Squadron
United States Air Force 
- 11th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium (1 January 1963-1 July 1964) Geographicly Separate Unit - KC-97 Dover AFB, Delaware
- 19th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium (15 June 1963-1 July 1964) Geographicly Separate Unit - KC-97 Otis AFB, Massachusetts
- 99th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy (1 January 1963-1 January 1966) KC-135 Westover AFB, Massachusetts
- 303d Air Refueling Squadron, Medium (1 January 1963-15 June 1963) Geographicly Separate Unit - KC-97 Kindley AFB, Bermuda,
- 305th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium (1 January 1963-1 July 1964) Geographicly Separate Unit - KC-97 McGuire AFB, New Jersey
- 384th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium (1 January 1963-25 June 1966) KC-97 Westover AFB, Massachusetts
- Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 20 November 1943
- Smoky Hill AAFld, Kansas, 1 December 1943-22 July 1944
- Isley Airfield, Saipan, Mariana Islands 18 September 1944-9 November 1945
- March Field, California, c. 25 November 1945-16 February 1946
- Westover AFB, Massachusetts (1 January 1963-25 June 1966)
Aircraft flown 
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.