459th Air Refueling Wing
|459th Air Refueling Wing|
459th Air Refueling Wing - Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker
AF Ser. No. 62-3556
|Active||1 July 1943 (459 OG)
26 January 1955 — present (459 ARW)
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Reserve Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Joint Base Andrews, Maryland|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
|459th Air Refueling Wing emblem|
|Tail Code||Black/Yellow check tail stripe "Andrews" in yellow|
The 459th Air Refueling Wing (459 ARW) is an Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Fourth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. If mobilized, the Wing is gained by the Air Mobility Command.
The mission of the 459th Air Refueling Wing is to recruit, train and equip its Citizen Airmen to fly and maintain the KC-135 Stratotanker to help the Air Force protect its interests in air and space power.
The wing, over the years, is a six-time recipient of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. There are about 1,200 traditional Reservists stationed at the wing. A full-time civilian and Air Reserve Technician staff of approximately 230 personnel provide day-to-day administration and management of the 459th.
The 459th Air Refueling Wing consists of the following major units:
- 459th Operations Group
- 756th Air Refueling Squadron
- 459th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
- 459th Maintenance Group
- 459th Mission Support Group
- 459th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
- 459th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
World War II
The World War II predecessor to the 459th Air Refueling Wing was the 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy). The 459th Air Refueling Wing is entitled to display the honors of the group by temporary bestowal.
Air Force Reserve
The Reserve flying mission began at Andrews Air Force Base in the summer of 1954, when the 756th Troop Carrier Squadron was activated and equipped with the C-46 aircraft. Nearly 8 months later, the unit had grown enough to activate its parent organization, the 459th Troop Carrier Group (formerly 459th Bombardment Group) and its parent the 459th Troop Carrier Wing. Later that year, another squadron, the 757th Troop Carrier Squadron was activated at Byrd Field, Richmond, Virginia and assigned to the Group. A third flying unit, the 758th Troop Carrier Squadron, was added in 1957 and equipped with the C-119 "Flying Boxcar" at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania. In November 1957, the 757th relocated from Byrd Field to Youngstown Municipal Airport, Ohio.
On 1 July 1966, the 459th was redesignated 459th Military Airlift Wing and converted to a strategic, long-range mission with the C-124 "Globemaster" aircraft.
In June 1971, the 459th converted to the C-130 "Hercules" and was redesignated as the 459th Tactical Airlift Wing. In December 1974, with the consolidation of all Air Force strategic and tactical airlift resources under a single manager, the 459th's active duty gaining command switched from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command.
In July 1986, the wing converted to the Lockheed C-141B "Starlifter" aircraft. The conversion resulted in an increase of wing personnel at Andrews from 900 to a level of almost 1,600.
In 1989, a 459th C-141 was the first aircraft to fly troops and supplies into Howard Air Force Base, Panama during Operation Just Cause; the following year the wing was named the Air Force Reserve Outstanding Unit of the Year by the Air Force Association. In August, 1990 wing aircrews were some of the first reservists activated in Support of Operation Desert Shield and many additional members were called to active service at the start of Operation Desert Storm with many deployed through the summer of 1991.
In 1993, the 459th continued to support Operation Restore Hope and mobilized members in support of the operations in Somalia. The wing provided humanitarian airlift relief in Rwanda and in support of the Cuban refugees at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In addition, 459th personnel supported Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti as well as various other significant missions around the globe.
The 459th has been engaged in the Global War on Terrorism since September 2001. As a result of these operations, the Wing has participated in places around the globe to include: Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Cuba, Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey and Guam. Re-designated in 2003 as an air refueling wing, the 459th is equipped with KC-135Rs.
- Established as the 459th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on 30 December 1954
- Activated in the Reserve on 26 January 1955
- Redesignated 459th Military Airlift Wing on 1 July 1966
- Redesignated 459th Tactical Airlift Wing on 29 June 1971
- Redesignated 459th Military Airlift Wing on 1 July 1986
- Redesignated 459th Airlift Wing on 1 February 1992
- Redesignated: 459th Air Refueling Wing on 1 October 2003
- First Air Force, 26 January 1955
- Fourteenth Air Force, 25 March 1958
- Second Air Force Reserve Region, 15 August 1960
- First Air Force Reserve Region, 24 June 1966
- Eastern Air Force Reserve Region, 31 December 1969
- Fourteenth Air Force, 8 October 1976
- Twenty-Second Air Force, 1 July 1993
- Fourth Air Force, 1 April 2003 – Present
- 459th Troop Carrier Group (later, 459th Operations Group): 26 January 1955 – 14 April 1959; 1 August 1992 – present
- 904th Troop Carrier (later, 904th Military Airlift) Group: 1 July 1966 – 26 January 1968; 2 June – 31 December 1969
- 905th Military Airlift (later, 905th Tactical Airlift) Group: 25 February 1972 – 1 April 1974.
- 907th Tactical Airlift (later, 907th Airlift) Group: 1 October 1989 – 1 October 1994
- 909th Troop Carrier (later, 909th Military Airlift) Group: 17 January 1963 – 1 September 1975
- 910th Troop Carrier (later, 910th Tactical Fighter; 910th Tactical Airlift) Group: 17 January 1963 – 1 July 1966; 1 April 1981 – 1 October 1989.
- 911th Troop Carrier (later, 911th Military Airlift) Group: 17 January 1963 – 21 April 1971 (detached 1–21 April 1971)
- 913th Tactical Airlift (later, 913th Airlift) Group: 8 January 1976 – 1 August 1992.
- 915th Military Airlift Group: 26 January 1968 – 1 September 1969.
- 918th Military Airlift Group: attached 1–20 April 1971, assigned 21 April 1971 – 1 July 1972
- 919th Military Airlift (later, 919th Tactical Airlift) Group: 30 July 1971 – 1 December 1974
- 920th Tactical Airlift Group: 25 April 1973 – 1 January 1976
- 927th Tactical Airlift Group: 15 March 1976 – 1 July 1981.
- 756th Troop Carrier Squadron (later 756th Military Airlift Squadron, 756th Airlift Squadron): 14 April 1959 – 17 January 1963; 1 September 1975 – 1 August 1992
- 757th Troop Carrier Squadron: 8 April 1955 – 17 January 1963
- 758th Troop Carrier Squadron: 14 April 1959 – 17 January 1963
- Andrews Air Force Base (later Joint Base Andrews), Maryland, 26 January 1955 – Present
- 459 Refueling Group Fact Sheet
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- 459th Air Refueling Wing