509th Weapons Squadron

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509th Weapons Squadron
Fairchild-kc135.jpg
KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to Fairchild AFB
Active 1943–1944; 1948-1965; 1966-1994; 2003-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Advanced Air Refueling Training
Part of USAF Weapons School
Garrison/HQ Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington
Engagements World War II - American Campaign Streamer (Plain).png
World War II (American Theater)
Southwest Asia Service Streamer.png
1991 Gulf War (Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation of Kuwait)
Decorations AFOUA with Valor.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (with Combat "V" Device)
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (6x)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross - Streamer.jpg
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Insignia
509th Weapons Squadron emblem 509th Weapons Squadron.png
509th Air Refueling Squadron emblem (approved 15 September 1957)[1] 509th Air Refueling Squadron.png

The 509th Weapons Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the USAF Weapons School, stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

The 509th Weapons Squadron is a Geographically Separated Unit of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The mission of the squadron is to provide Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker instructional flying.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The squadron was first activated as the 609th Bombardment Squadron, one of the four original squadrons of the 400th Bombardment Group, at Pyote Army Air Base, Texas, in March 1943. The group was equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberators and served under Second Air Force as an Operational Training Unit (OTU) at several bases in the southwestern United States until the end of the year.[1][2] The OTU program involved the use of an oversized parent unit to provide cadres to “satellite groups".[3]

The unit moved to Charleston Army Air Field, South Carolina in late December, where it became part of First Air Force and changed its mission to that of a Replacement Training Unit (RTU). RTUs units were likewise oversize units, but their mission was to train aircrews prior to their deployment to combat theaters.[3] However, the Army Air Forces found that standard military units, based on relatively inflexible tables of organization, were proving less well adapted to the training mission. Accordingly, it adopted a more functional system in which each base was organized into a separate numbered unit.[4] while the groups and squadrons acting as RTUs were disbanded or inactivated.[5] This resulted in the 609th, along with other units at Charleston, being disbanded in April 1944 and being replaced by the 113th AAF Base Unit (Bombardment (Heavy)), which assumed the squadron's mission, personnel, and equipment.[1][6]

Cold War[edit]

The 509th Air Refueling Squadron was activated at Roswell Air Force Base, New Mexico and assigned to the 509th Bombardment Group.[1] The squadron was the second air refueling unit in the United States Air Force, and was activated only three weeks after the 43d Air Refueling Squadron. The squadron initially equipped with Boeing KB-29M Superfortress tankers. These aircraft carried a system of hoses, reels, winches and fuel pumps to transfer fuel to the receiver aircraft. A power-driven reel for the refueling hose was installed in the rear fuselage at the position where the lower aft turret had been located prior to its removal. The KB-29M also had a cable and associated winch (known as the contact line) that was used to assist in the setup of the connection between the two aircraft.[citation needed]

Although the hose refueling system proved to be feasible, in practice the system had the disadvantage in taking a long time to make the contact and engage the hoses. Once contact was made, the rate of fuel transfer was slow, and the hoses provided a lot of aerodynamic drag which limited the airspeed. Consequently, the hose system was used for only a few years before it was replaced by the Boeing-developed flying boom system installed on the KB-29L.[citation needed] While flying the KB-29 the squadron deployed to RAF Upper Heyford, England from June to September 1952.[1]

In 1954, the squadron converted to the Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker, deploying once again to the United Kingdom with the KC-97 for most of the first four months of 1956, this time to RAF Lakenheath. The squadron moved to Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire in January 1958, but was not joined there by the rest of the 509th Bombardment Wing until July.[1][7] The squadron was inactivated in 1965 as the 509th phased down in preparation for inactivation.[1][note 1]

The squadron was activated again in June 1966, with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, when the 509th wing expanded its refueling capability by adding a second squadron of tankers to those of the 34th Air Refueling Squadron at Pease.[1] It continued to fly the KC-135 until inactivated in 1994.[1][8]

Weapons training[edit]

The squadron was activated in 1994 at Fairchild Air Force Base as the 509th Weapons Squadron.[1]

Lineage[edit]

609th Bombardment Squadron

  • Constituted as the 609th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 15 February 1943
Activated on 1 March 1943
Disbanded on 10 April 1944
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 509th Air Refueling Squadron as the 509th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 19 September 1985[9]

509th Weapons Squadron

  • Constituted the 509th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 30 June 1948
Activated on 19 July 1948
Discontinued and inactivated on 25 June 1965
  • Redesignated 509th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy and activated, on 8 August 1966 (not organized)
Organized on 2 October 1966
  • Consolidated with the 609th Bombardment Squadron on 19 September 1985
Redesignated 509th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991
Inactivated on 1 October 1994
  • Redesignated 509th Weapons Squadron on 30 May 2003
Activated on 1 Jun 2003[9]

Assignments[edit]

  • 400th Bombardment Group, 1 March 1943 - 10 April 1944
  • 509th Bombardment Group, 19 July 1948
  • 509th Bombardment Wing, 16 Jun 1952
  • 817th Air Division, 5 January 1958
  • 509th Bombardment Wing, 8 July 1958 - 25 June 1965
  • Strategic Air Command 8 August 1966 (not organized)
  • 509th Bombardment Wing, 2 October 1966
  • 416th Bombardment Wing, 1 July 1990
  • 416th Operations Group, 1 September 1991
  • 380th Operations Group, 1 June 1992 - 1 October 1994
  • USAF Mobility Weapons School, 1 June 2003
  • USAF Weapons School, 5 July 2006 – Present[9]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

  • Consolidated B-24 Liberator, 1943-1944
  • Boeing KB-29 Superfortress, 1948-1954
  • Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker, 1954-1965
  • Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, 1966-1994[9]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Explanatory note

  1. ^ Although the decision to inactivate the wing was reversed and it instead converted from B-47s to B-52s, a new KC-135 squadron became the wing's refueling element. Ravenstein, pp. 276-277

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bailey, Carl E. (2007-12-19). "Factsheet 509 Weapons Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 285
  3. ^ a b Craven, & Cate, Vol. VI, Men & Planes. p. xxxvi
  4. ^ Goss, p. 75
  5. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 7
  6. ^ See Mueller, p. 89
  7. ^ Ravenstein, pp. 276-277
  8. ^ See Mueller, p. 470
  9. ^ a b c d e Lineage, including assignments, stations and aricraft in Bailey, AFHRA Factsheet except as noted

Bibliography[edit]

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

  • Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L, ed. (1955). The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. LCCN 48003657. 
Goss, William A. (1955). "The Organization and its Responsibilities, Chapter 2 The AAF". In Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L. The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. LCCN 48003657. OCLC 704158. 

Further reading

External links[edit]