44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron
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|44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron|
Emblem of the 44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Versatility and Dependability|
|Engagements||European Theater of World War II
Mediterranean Theater of Operations
|Decorations||Distinguished Unit Citation|
The 44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron is a provisional United States Air Force unit attached to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. It was last known to be stationed at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where it engaged in air refueling operations in support of United States Air Forces Central.
The earliest predecessor of the squadron was the 44th Troop Carrier Squadron, which served in the European Theater of World War II and the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during World War II, where it earned three Distinguished Unit Citations. After the war, it served briefly as an airlift unit in the United States and Hawaii.
The 44th Air Refueling Squadron served with Strategic Air Command (SAC) from 1953 to 1964 with Boeing KC-97 Stratotankers, at Chennault AFB, Louisiana and Selfridge AFB, Michigan. The two squadrons were consolidated into a single unit in 1985.
World War II
The 44th Transport Squadron was activated in June 1942 under I Troop Carrier Command at Patterson Field, Ohio. It trained at various stationd in the southeast and Texas with Douglas C-47 Skytrain transports. The squadron, by now the 44th Troop Carrier Squadron, deployed to Egypt in November 1942 as part of President Roosevelt's decision to aid the Western Desert Air Force of the Royal Air Force. There it became part of the newly established Ninth Air Force, headquartered in Cairo.
The 44th transported supplies and evacuated casualties in support of the British Eighth Army, operating from desert airfields in Egypt and Libya. It was reassigned in May 1943 to the Twelfth Air Force in Algeria, where it supported United States Fifth Army forces in the Tunisian Campaign. The squadron began training for the invasion of Sicily. It dropped paratroops over the assault area of the island on the night of 9 July. It carried reinforcements to Sicily on 11 July and received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for carrying out that mission although severely attacked by ground and naval forces. It dropped paratroops over the beachhead south of the Sele River on the night of 14 Sep 1943. The squadron remained in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations until February 1944, when it again joined Ninth Air Force in England. It became part of IX Troop Carrier Command, participating in the buildup of forces prior to the Allied landings in France..
The Squadron engaged in combat operations by dropping paratroops into Normandy near Ste-Mere-Eglise on D-Day (6 June 1944) and releasing gliders with reinforcements on the following day. The unit received a third DUC and a French citation for these missions.
After the Normandy invasion the squadron ferried supplies in the United Kingdom. The squadron also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals. It dropped paratroops near Nijmegen and towed gliders carrying reinforcements during Operation Market Garden, the airborne attack on the Netherlands. In December it participated in the Battle of the Bulge by releasing gliders with supplies for the 101st Airborne Division near Bastogne.
The squadron returned to the United States in May, 1945, becoming a domestic airlift squadron for Continental Air Forces. It was reassigned VI Air Service Area Command in Hawaii in September 1945, where it operated until being inactivated in early 1946.
The 44th Air Refueling Squadron was established as a Strategic Air Command KC-97 Stratotanker squadron, providing aerial refueling for Boeing B-47 Stratojets of the 44th Bombardment Wing. With the retirement of the B-47 at Chennault AFB in 1960, the squadron moved to Selfridge AFB, Michigan as part of SAC 4045th Air Refueling Wing. It was inactivated in 1964.
The squadron was converted to provisional status and reactivated as the 44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, an Air Combat Command McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender air refueling squadron in 2002 as part of the Global War on Terrorism.
44th Troop Carrier Squadron
- Constituted as the 44th Transport Squadron on 30 May 1942
- Activated on 15 June 1942
- Redesignated 44th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 July 1942
- Inactivated on 25 March 1946
- Consolidated with the 44th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 19 September 1985 as the 44th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy (remained inactive)
44th Air Refueling Squadron
- Constituted as the 44th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 13 February 1953
- Activated on 20 April 1953
- Discontinued and inactivated on 15 December 1964
- Consolidated with the 44th Troop Carrier Squadron on 19 September 1985 as the 44th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy (remained inactive)
- Redesignated 44th Air Refueling Squadron on 9 Sep 1994 (Remained inactive)
- Redesignated 44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, and converted to provisional status, on 25 Jan 2002.
- 316 Transport Group (later, 316 Troop Carrier Group), 15 June 1942
- I Troop Carrier Command, May 1945
- VII Air Service Area Command, attached 3 August 1945 – 25 March 1946
- 44th Bombardment Wing, 20 April 1953
- 4045th Air Refueling Wing, 1 June 1960
- 500th Air Refueling Wing, 1 January 1963 – 15 December 1964
- Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate at any time after 25 Jan 2002.
- 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, 25 January 2002 - unknown
- Douglas C-47 Skytrain, 1942-1945
- Curtiss C-46 Commando, 1945-1946
- Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker, 1953-1964
- McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender, 2002-undetermined
Operations and Decorations
- Combat Operations. Included airborne assaults on Sicily, Normandy, Holland, and Germany; aerial transportation of personnel (including casualties), supplies, and equipment in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) and European Theater of Operations (ETO), Nov 1942-Apr 1945.
- Campaigns. World War II: Egypt-Libya; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe.
- Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, 25 Nov 1942 – 25 Aug 1943; Sicily, 11 Jul 1943; France, [6-7] Jun 1944.
- Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 Sep 85, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
- The squadron was programmed for allotment to the reserves and activation under the 931st Air Refueling Group at McConnell AFB, Kansas on 1 October 1996. This action was delayed to 1 October 1997, then rescinded entirely
- Station number in Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Coles, Harry C., (1945) Ninth Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign to 23 January 1943, USAF Historical Study No. 30
- Coles, Harry C., (1945) Participation by the Ninth and Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign, USAF Historical Study No. 37
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- 44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron Factsheet