904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron
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|904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron|
904th Air Refueling Squadron Patch
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Engagements||American Theater of World War II
Pacific Theater of Operations
|Decorations||Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
The 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 320th Bombardment Wing at Mather AFB, California, where it was inactivated on 30 September 1986.
The earliest predecessor of the squadron was the 14th Reconnaissance Squadron (later the 404th Bombardment Squadron) which participated in anti-submarine warfare patrols in the Gulf of Mexico before moving to Alaska to participate in combat in the Aleutian Islands, where it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation. After the war, the squadron remained in Alaska until it was inactivated in 1947.
The 904th Air Refueling Squadron was activated at Mather AFB in 1959 and provided air refueling support for its wing's Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses and other USAF aircraft until it was inactivated in 1989. In 1985 the two squadrons were consolidated into a single unit.
In 2002, the consolidated squadron was converted to provisional status as the 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and assigned to Air Mobility Command. There have been no known deployments of the squadron as an expeditionary unit.
World War II
The squadron was first activated as the 14th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) in the Southeast Air District in 1941 and attached to the 44th Bombardment Group. The squadron was equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberators. From 10 June 1941 to 22 April 1942, the unit was associated with the 1st Photographic Group for training. In 1942, the squadron was redesignated as the 404th Bombardment Squadron and assigned to the 44th group. The 404th engaged in antisubmarine patrols in the Gulf of Mexico in early 1942.
The squadron moved to Alaska in July 1942 in response to the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. It flew long-range bombardment missions of enemy targets in the Aleutians during 1942 and 1943. The following year it attacked the Kuril Islands, for which it was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. The squadron remained in Alaska after Japanese forces were driven from the Aleutians, and it flew long-range reconnaissance operations from Shemya Army Air Base until it was inactivated in 1947.
The 904th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy was activated on 1 March 1959 by Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Mather AFB, California, as the air refueling component of the 4134th Strategic Wing. Operating Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, it provided air refueling support to the B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers of its parent wing and other USAF units as directed. The squadron transferred to the 320th Bombardment Wing in 1963 when SAC replaced its Major Command controlled (MAJCON) strategic wings with Air Force controlled (AFCON) bombardment wings that inherited the honors earned by World War II bombardment groups.
The 904th deployed to the western Pacific region to support combat operations of deployed SAC units and tactical aircraft over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1969. The squadron earned two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards during the 1960s. In 1985, the 904th and the 404th Bombardment Squadron were consolidated when the United States Air Force combined inactive units that had served in World War II with squadrons that had been established after the war ended. The squadron was inactivated with its parent wing in 1989 when the B-52G was retired. Its equipment and personnel were reassigned to other units.
In 2002, the squadron was converted to provisional status and assigned to Air Mobility Command as the 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.
404th Bombardment Squadron
- Constituted as 14th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
- Activated on 15 January 1941
- Redesignated 404th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
- Redesignated 404th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy in 1944
- Inactivated on 5 January 1947
- Consolidated with the 904th Air Refueling Squadron as the 904th Air Refueling Squadron on 19 September 1985
904th Air Refueling Squadron
- Constituted as the 904th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 9 February 1959
- Activated on 1 March 1959
- Consolidated with the 404th Bombardment Squadron on 19 September 1985
- Inactivated on 1 October 1989
- Redesignated 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and converted to provisional status on 12 Jun 2002
- Southeast Air District, 15 January 1941 (attached to 44th Bombardment Group)
- 44th Bombardment Group, 25 February 1942 (air echelon attached to 28th Composite Group after c. 12 July 1942)
- 28th Composite Group (later Bombardment Group) c. 21 September 1942
- Eleventh Air Force (later Alaskan Air Command), 20 October 1945 – 5 January 1947
- 4134th Strategic Wing, 1 March 1959
- 320th Bombardment Wing, 1 February 1963 – 1 October 1989
- Air Mobility Command to activate or inactivate anytime after 12 Jun 2002
Awards and campaigns
|Distinguished Unit Citation||1 April 1944 – 13 August 1945||Kuril Islands|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||18 June 1965 – 31 July 1965|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||2 March 1966-1 April 1966|
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 494–495
- Lineage, assignment, and honors information prior to 1963 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 494–495
- AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 15 Jun 1971, p. 476
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 15 Jun 1971
- "Lineage and Honors History: 904th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron Current Through 7 Apr 2003", prepared by Carl E. Bailey, approved by Judy G Endicott, USAF Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
- Smith, Richard K. (1998). Seventy-Five Years of Inflight Refueling: Highlights, 1923-1998. Air Force History and Museums Program. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved August 13, 2013.