57th Weapons Squadron
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|57th Weapons Squadron|
Emblem of the 57th Weapons Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
World War II
Activated in late 1942 under I Troop Carrier Command as a C-47 Skytrain troop carrier squadron. Deployed to the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), being assigned to Seventh Air Force in New Guinea. The ground echelon left Baer Field on June 17 and arrived at Port Moresby on July 31.
The 57th TCS moved on August 2 to Dobodura, New Guinea and two days later flew the first mission to Salamaua. Soon after arriving in New Guinea the squadron received the name "Biscuit Bomber" (The name Biscuit Bomber comes from the dropping of food and ammunication to forward locations during WWII). Transported troops, supplies, and equipment to forward bases on New Guinea, New Britain, the Solomon Islands, and the Admiralty Islands. On September 2, nine of the 57th's planes dropped 90,000 pounds of ammunition, food and equipment to allied troops in the area. Until December 23, 1943, the unit made flights to several locations in New Guinea, as well as Port Moresby and Australia. After October 16, the air echelon operated from Port Moresby, with the rest of the squadron moving there on December 20, 1943.
Flew armed B-17F Flying Fortress's from February to May 1944 for the more hazardous missions that involved landing on fields that were under enemy attack. Took part in the first airborne operation in the Southwest Pacific, seizing enemy bases and cutting supply lines at Nadzab, New Guinea, on 5 September 1943. They made the first trip to Morotai Island on October 5, carrying supplies forward and returning with litter patients
Moved to the Philippines in February 1945, and during the next few months most of its missions were supply flights to ground forces on Luzon and neighboring islands. An additional mission took them to Leyte, Philippine Islands on October 31 to haul supplies to the beachhead and return wounded to hospitals. In January 1945 the unit began the transition to C-46 aircraft. It also moved to San Jose, Mindoro, Philippine Islands, on February 18; then to Porac, Luzon on May 19. C-46s flew from Clark Field, 15 miles from the squadron's camp.
Transported cargo to forces in the Ryukyus, June–July 1945. After the war, the 57th was used to help transport the 11th Airborne Division to Okinawa. Also ferried liberated prisoners from Okinawa to Luzon. Moved to Tachikawa AB near Tokyo Japan in September 1945, flying supply missions and courier flights. Operations continued in Japan until January 21, 1946 when the last of the personnel and equipment transferred to other organizations. The 57th Troop Carrier Squadron inactivated on March 25, 1946.
Trained in the Reserve from August 1947 at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, PA, as part of the 375th Troop Carrier Group. The Reservists trained in the C-46 Commando operations until the unit was reactivated on October 15, 1950 due to the Korean War. After a period of intensive training, the group supplied airlift for troop movements throughout the United States. Immediately, the unit moved to Greenville (later, Donaldson) AFB, SC, and began flying C-82 Packet aircraft on operational troop carrier missions in November 1950.
Between February 20 and April 11, 1952, the unit operated on temporary duty from Brownwood Regional Airport, TX, in support of Army maneuvers. On July 14, 1952, the 57th TCS inactivated at Donaldson AFB and activated in the Reserve at Pittsburgh, PA, with new personnel and equipment. The squadron did little training and inactivated on April 1, 1954 due to budget restraints.
Reactivated 1965 as a C-141 Starlifter training squadron at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. The 57th MAS trained aircrew members (Pilots, Navigators, Flight Engineers and Loadmasters) to fly the C-141 turbo-jet transport. They frequently carried cargo and passengers to destinations within the United States on the training flights. The unit also transported cargo and passengers overseas to Japan, West Germany, Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska, usually on weekend missions. In later years, additional destinations included Egypt, South Korea, Italy, the Philippines, Spain and Africa.
On April 21, 1969, the squadron relocated to Altus AFB OK. From there, the squadron took part in numerous humanitarian and operational missions. The squadron regularly flew to Southeast Asia in support of U.S. forces there. Crews and aircraft flew in the Israeli airlift, October–November 1973. In 1975, the 57th flew its first mission to South America. Occasionally the 57th supported the U.S. Army with airdrop missions of paratroopers and supplies.
In December 1979, the unit received the Air Force's first C-141B, and it was given the name “the City of Altus.” In addition to the stretched fuselage, the aircraft was modified for air refueling capabilities. The squadron also supported the Commander in Chief, Military Airlift Command and his staff in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Airlift missions to Beirut, Lebanon began in August 1983, in support of peacekeeping forces there. During Desert Shield, Desert Storm, 32 aircrews from the squadron flew more than 4,300 hours on 640 sorties. Additionally, the squadron flew more than 200 sorties and transported more than 3,100 tons of food and supplies in support of the Somalia relief efforts during Operation Restore Hope.
On July 1, 1993 the squadron came under the Air Education and Training Command. The squadron was the sole source for initial qualifications and advanced training in C-141 strategic airlift aircraft. It was selectively manned to train C-141 aircrew members in airland, aerial delivery and aerial refueling. The 57th flew approximately 2,000 sorties and 8,500 hours annually to provide specialized flight training to over 900 students.
In addition, the squadron maintained world-wide qualification and participates in most national, USTRANSCOM directed airlift operations until the aircraft left the inventory in 2001. Reactivated at McGuire AFB, NJ, in 2003 as a Geographically Separated component of the USAF Weapons School.
Reactivated as a weapons training squadron in 2003 as part of the AMC Weapons School at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, conducting training on the C-17 Globemaster III. School was incorporated into the Nellis AFB USAF Weapons School in 2006, becoming a GSU of the 57th Wing.
- Constituted 57th Troop Carrier Squadron on 12 November 1942
- Activated on 18 November 1942
- Inactivated on 25 March 1946
- Activated in the Reserve on 3 August 1947
- Re-designated 57th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 27 June 1949
- Ordered to active service on 15 October 1950
- Inactivated on 14 July 1952
- Activated in the Reserve on 14 July 1952
- Inactivated on 1 April 1954
- Re-designated 57th Military Airlift Squadron, Training, and activated, on 27 December 1965
- Organized on 8 January 1966
- Re-designated 57th Airlift Squadron on 27 August 1991
- Inactivated on 30 September 2001
- Re-designated 57th Weapons Squadron on 30 May 2003
- Activated on 1 June 2003.
- 375th Troop Carrier Group, 18 November 1942-25 March 1946
- 375th Troop Carrier Group, 3 August 1947-14 July 1952
- 375th Troop Carrier Group, 14 July 1952-1 April 1954
- 443d Military Airlift (later, 443d Airlift) Wing, 8 January 1966
- 443d Operations Group, 1 October 1991
- 97th Operations Group, 1 October 1992-30 September 2001
- USAF Mobility Weapons School, 1 June 2003
- USAF Weapons School, 5 July 2006–Present
- C-47 Skytrain, 1942–1945
- B-17 Flying Fortress, 1944
- C-46 Commando, 1944–1946, 1947–1950, 1953–1954
- C-82 Packet, 1950–1952
- C-141 Starlifter, 1966–2001
- C-17 Globemaster III, 2003–Present
- Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0-89201-097-5
- AFHRA 57th Weapons Squadron Factsheet