356th Airlift Squadron

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356th Airlift Squadron
356 Airlift Squadron.jpg
356th Airlift Squadron Patch
Active 28 January 1942 – 10 April 1944
7 July 1944 – 15 April 1946
27 June 1949 – 28 January 1950
14 June 1952 – 30 June 2006
9 January 2007 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Airlift
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
4th Air Force
433d Airlift Wing
433d Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Kelly Field Annex
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm

The 356th Airlift Squadron (356 AS) is a United States Air Force Reserve squadron, assigned to the 433d Operations Group, stationed at Kelly Field Annex, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.


The squadron operates the Air Force Reserve's only Formal Training Unit providing initial and advanced C-5 flight qualification for Air Mobility Command, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command aircrews.


Activated in early 1942 as a B-24 Liberator Operational Training Unit (OTU), later becoming a Replacement Training Unit (RTU) for deployed combat units, assigned to II Bomber Command. Inactivated in April 1944 when heavy bomber training ended.

Redgesignated as a B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombardment Squadron under Second Air Force on 1 April 1944 at Dalhart Army Airfield, Texas. Initially equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses for training, due to shortage of B-29 Superfortresses. Moved to Harvard Army Airfield, Nebraska, in August 1944 and equipped with B-29B limited production aircraft.

After completion of training deployed to Central Pacific Area (CPA), assigned to XXI Bomber Command, Northwest Field (Guam) for operational missions. B-29Bs were standard production aircraft stripped of most defensive guns to increase speed and bomb load, The tail gun was aimed and fired automatically by the new AN/APG-15B radar fire control system that detected the approaching enemy plane and made all the necessary calculations.

Mission of the squadron was the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands. Dntered combat on 16 June 1945 with a bombing raid against an airfield on Moen. Flew first mission against the Japanese home islands on 26 June 1945 and afterwards operated principally against the enemy's petroleum industry. Flew primarily low-level, fast attacks at night using a mixture of high-explosive and incendary bombs to attack targets.

Flew last combat mission on 15 August 1945, later flew in "Show of Force" mission on 2 September 1945 over Tokyo Bay during formal Japanese Surrender. Inactivated on Guam 15 April 1946, personnel returned to the United States and aircraft sent to storage in Southwest United States.

It trained for C-54 airlift operations from 1949–1950 and for troop carrier missions from 1952–1967. The squadron airlifted troops and their equipment during the Cuban Missile Crisis, October–November 1962. From 1970–1971 the squadron trained for special operations.

Between 1971 and 2006 it trained for and flew airlift missions, participating in exercises, supporting unit deployments, taking part in special assignment airlift missions, and rotating periodically to Panama. The 356th supported liberation of Kuwait in 1991. It converted from tactical to strategic aircraft in 1992.

Since 2007 the 356th has conducted air crew training for the C-5 Galaxy.

Operations and Decorations[edit]


Emblem of the 356th Bombardment Squadron
  • Constituted 356 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
Activated on 1 Jun 1942
Inactivated on 10 Apr 1944
  • Redesignated 356 Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 27 Jun 1944
Activated on 7 Jul 1944
Inactivated on 15 Apr 1946
  • Redesignated 356 Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 16 May 1949
Activated in the Reserve on 27 Jun 1949
Inactivated on 28 Jan 1950
  • Activated in the Reserve on 14 Jun 1952
Ordered to Active Service on 28 Oct 1962
  • Relieved from Active Duty on 28 Nov 1962
Redesignated: 356 Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 Jul 1967
Redesignated: 356 Special Operations Squadron on 25 Jun 1970
Redesignated: 356 Tactical Airlift Squadron on 26 Jul 1971
Redesignated: 356 Airlift Squadron on 1 Feb 1992
Inactivated on 30 Jun 2006
  • Activated in the Reserve on 9 Jan 2007.


Bases stationed[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]


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

External links[edit]