20th Airlift Squadron

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20th Airlift Squadron
Air Mobility Command.svg
F-106 escorting C-141A 1980.jpeg
437th Military Airlift Wing C-141 escorted by F-106s in 1980
Active 1942–1943; 1954–1997
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Strategic airlift
Part of Air Mobility Command
Nickname(s) Double X Squadron[1]
Motto(s) Firmitas per Mobilitatem Latin Strength Through Mobility[2]
Engagements American Defense (World War II)
Southwest Asia Service
Operation Just Cause
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Insignia
20th Airlift Squadron emblem Modified to place on disc as required for squadron emblems)[2] 20th Airlift Squadron - AMC - Emblem.png
Patch with 20th Air Transport Squadron emblem (Approved 5 December 1956) 20th Air Transport Squadron - MATS - Emblem.png

The 20th Airlift Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 60th Operations Group of Air Mobility Command at Travis Air Force Base, California, where it was inactivated on 31 December 1997.

The squadron was first activated in 1942 as the 20th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron and ferried various aircraft on the North Atlantic ferrying route until 1943, when it was replaced by Station 3, North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command in a reorganization of Air Transport Command units.

The squadron was activated again in 1952 as the 20th Air Transport Squadron when Military Air Transport Service (MATS) replaced its Major Command controlled (four digit) airlift squadrons with Air Force controlled squadrons. When MATS turned Westover Air Force Base over to Strategic Air Command, the squadron moved to Dover Air Force Base. It upgraded to jet-propelled Lockheed C-141 Starlifters in 1965, and flew them until it was inactivated in 1997.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The squadron was first activated at Houlton Army Air Base, Maine, a departure station for the North Atlantic ferrying route, in March 1942 as the 20th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron. The squadron was initially assigned directly to Air Corps Ferrying Command, but in June, Ferrying Command organized the 23d Army Air Forces Ferrying Wing to manage its units on the North Atlantic route and the squadron was reassigned to it. In March 1943, the squadron became the 20th Transport Squadron.[2]

The squadron flew and managed the ferrying of various aircraft, including Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses and Lockheed P-38 Lightnings[2][3] and participated in Operation Bolero, the buildup of United States forces in the United Kingdom.[4] On 1 September 1943, the 20th disbanded[2] and combined with support units at Houlton to form Station 3, North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command.[5]

Strategic airlift[edit]

MATS C-54 Skymaster

In 1952, Military Air Transport Service (MATS) replaced its Major Command controlled (four-digit) air transport squadrons with squadrons that had served during World War II. As part of this conversion, the 20th was reconstituted as the 20th Air Transport Squadron[note 1] and absorbed the personnel and Douglas C-54 Skymasters of the 1257th Air Transport Squadron at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts in July 1952.[2][6] The squadron's mission was to provide inter-theater and strategic airlift to Europe, North Africa and Canada.[2]

MATS C-124 Globemaster II[note 2]

The squadron was redesignated the 20th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy, on 18 April 1954, recognizing the squadron's transition into the larger Douglas C-124 Globemaster II.[2][7] The 20th moved to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware on 15 May 1955 and became part of the 1607th Air Transport Group, located at Dover.[2]

When MATS adopted the dual deputy organization, the 1607th Air Transport Group was discontinued and the squadron was assigned directly to the 1607th Air Transport Wing on 18 January 1963.[8] The unit was briefly redesignated as the 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy on 1 January 1965. It returned its designation to the 20th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy, on 1 July 1965 as the squadron transitioned to the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter. The Starlifter brought a mission change to that of providing worldwide airlift, which included support of operations in Southeast Asia.[2]

In January 1966, Military Airlift Command replaced MATS. In this reorganization, the 436th Military Airlift Wing replaced the 1607th Air Transport Wing and the squadron was redesignated the 20th Military Airlift Squadron.[2]

The next changes to the 20th would not take place until August 1973, when the squadron moved to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina and was reassigned to the base's 437th Military Airlift Wing. At Charleston, the squadron provided support for the evacuation of South Vietnam in April 1975.[2] The 20th took a number of contingency operations while located at Charleston, including Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada from October through December 1983. In December 1989, the squadron provided airlift support for Operation Just Cause, the replacement of Manuel Noriega as the ruler of Panama. Starting in August 1990, the squadron deployed to support Operation Desert Shield and its support continued through the Gulf War until December 1991.[2]

On 1 October 1991, the squadron was redesignated the 20 Airlift Squadron and reassigned to the 437th Operations Group. Two years later, the 20th relocated to Travis Air Force Base, California, where it was assigned to the 60th Operations Group as Travis's 60th Wing prepared to transition from an airlift to an air mobility wing the following year.[2][9] The inactivation of the 20th Airlift squadron marked the end of the C-141 Starlifter era at Travis. The last Starlifter left Travis on 16 December 1997 and the squadron was inactivated shortly thereafter.[10]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 20th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron on 18 February 1942
Activated on 1 March 1942
Redesignated 20th Transport Squadron on 19 March 1943
Disbanded on 1 September 1943
  • Reconstituted as the 20th Air Transport Squadron, Medium on 20 June 1952
Activated on 20 July 1952
Redesignated 20th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy on 18 April 1954
Redesignated 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy on 1 January 1965
Redesignated 20th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy on 1 July 1965
Redesignated 20th Military Airlift Squadron on 15 January 1966
Redesignated 20th Airlift Squadron on 1 October 1991
Inactivated on 31 December 1997[11][1]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

  • Houlton Army Air Base, Maine, 1 March 1942 – 1 September 1943
  • Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, 20 July 1952
  • Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, 15 May 1955
  • Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, 1 August 1973
  • Travis Air Force Base, California, 1 October 1993 – 31 December 1997[11][12][1]

Aircraft[edit]

Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 13 November 1967 – 18 December 1967 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1968 – 31 December 1969 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 September 1971 – 30 June 1972 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1982 – 30 June 1984 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1984 – 30 June 1986 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1988 – 30 June 1989 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1989 – 30 June 1990 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 21 September 1989 –31 October 1989 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 November 1993 – 31 July 1995 20th Airlift Squadron[13]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 1995 – 30 July 1997 20th Airlift Squadron[13]
VGCP Streamer.jpg Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm 1 April 1966 – 28 January 1973 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
World War II - American Campaign Streamer (Plain).png American Theater without inscription 1 March 1942 – 1 September 1943 20th Ferrying Squadron (later 20th Transport Squadron)[2]
Streamer AFE.PNG Just Cause 20 December 1989 – 31 January 1990 20th Military Airlift Squadron, Panama[2]
Streamer SAS.PNG Defense of Saudi Arabia 2 August 1990 – 16 January 1991 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]
Streamer SAS.PNG Liberation and Defense of Kuwait 17 January 1991 – 11 April 1991 20th Military Airlift Squadron[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The squadron is not related to the 20th Air Transport Squadron organized at Wheelus Air Base on 1 June 1948 and redesignated 1261st Air Transport Squadron on 1 October 1948. "Abstract, History Wheelus Air Base June 1948". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ Aircraft is Douglas C-124A-DL Globemaster II serial 50-1256

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "History of the "Double X" Squadron". XX Alumini Association. 2007. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Endicott (unpaginated)
  3. ^ "Abstract, Presque Isle and Houlton Miscellaneous Communications, August 1942". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ See "Abstract, Report of the Committee Appointed to Take Necessary Action, May 1942". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 4, 2016.  (title of Abstract incomplete, participation of Houlton and Presque Isle Ferrying Stations)
  5. ^ See "Abstract, Summary of Base History, Station Number 3, Houlton ME Jul 1941 – Jul 1944". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 4, 2016.  (establishment of Station 3 at Houlton)
  6. ^ "Abstract, History 20 Air Transport Squadron Jul–Sep 1952". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Abstract, History 20 Air Transport Squadron Jan–Jul 1954". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Abstract, Chronology of Events 436 Military Airlift Support Wing Dec 1941 – Jul 1965". Air Force History Index. Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ Wilderman, p. 7
  10. ^ Wilderman, p. 9 (end of C-141 operations at Travis)
  11. ^ a b c d Lineage through 1995, including assignments, stations and aircraft in Endicott
  12. ^ Stations 1952–1982 in Mueller, pp. 90, 114, 581
  13. ^ a b "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved May 6, 2016.  (search)

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

Further reading

External links[edit]