774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron

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774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron
774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron - Lockheed C-130H Hercules 93-7313.jpg
101st Airborne Division soldiers make their way to a squadron C-130 Hercules[note 1]
Active1943–1945; 1953–1971; 1972–1993; unknown
CountryUnited States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAirlift
Part of455th Expeditionary Operations Group
Nickname(s)Weasel Squadron[1]
EngagementsMediterranean Theater of Operations
Vietnam War
Global War on Terror
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Insignia
774th Expeditionary Airlift Sq emblem (approved 7 December 1973)[2]774 Expeditionary Airlift Sq emblem.png
Patch with 774th Troop Carrier Squadron emblem (later version)774th Troop Carrier Squadron - TAC - Emblem.png
774th Troop Carrier Squadron emblem (approved 14 September 1953)[3]774 Troop Carrier Sq emblem.png
774th Bombardment Squadron emblem774th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png

The 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron is a provisional United States Air Force unit, assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The squadron provides airlift to forces engaged in the War in Afghanistan.

The squadron was first activated as the 774th Bombardment Squadron during World War II. After training in the United States with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers, it deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, where it participated in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations before inactivating in Italy.

The squadron was redesignated the 774th Troop Carrier Squadron and activated in January 1953, when it assumed the mission, personnel and aircraft of a reserve unit that had been called to active duty for the Korean War and was being released from active duty. The squadron provided airlift during a number of contingency operations, and in 1968, moved to the Philippines, from which its crews and planes rotated to Vietnam to provide airlift support during the Vietnam War. The squadron was reactivated the United States, where it continued airlift operations until inactivating in 1986. It was converted to provisional status as the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in 2001 and assigned to Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate as needed..

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Training in the United States[edit]

The squadron was first activated as the 774th Bombardment Squadron at Geiger Field, Washington on 1 August 1943 as one of the four original squadrons of the 463d Bombardment Group.[2][4] The 774th moved to Rapid City Army Air Base, South Dakota, where it received its initial cadre. On 1 September, the key personnel of the squadron and 463d Group moved to Orlando Army Air Base, where they participated in advanced tactical training with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics. A model crew from the squadron moved to Montbrook Army Air Field to participate in simulated missions with a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. The cadre returned to Rapid City at the end of the month, where the ground echelon of the squadron was filled out and ground school begun.[5]

The squadron moved to MacDill Field, Florida in November and began flight training with the Flying Fortress, although its air echelon was not fully manned until early December. on 2 February, the squadron's ground echelon departed Florida for the Port of Embarkation at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia for shipment to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, while the air echelon ferried their B-17s via the southern ferry route.[2][5]

Combat in the Mediterranean Theater[edit]

Squadron B-17G Flying Fortress[note 2]

The squadron arrived in Italy in March 1944 and flew its first combat mission fromm Celone Airfield on 30 March against an airfield at Imotski, Yugoslavia.[5] It engaged primarily in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. It attacked targets like marshalling yards, oil refineries and aircraft factories in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia.. The squadron was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission against oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania on 18 May 1944.[4] Clouds that obscured the target resulted in Fifteenth Air Force recalling the mission, but the squadron and the rest of the 463d Group did not receive the recall message and was the only unit to continue on,[5] causing major destruction to the target. Although crippled by intense fighter attacks, they also inflicted severe damage on the opposing air defenses. On 24 May 1945, the 463d Group led the 5th Bombardment Wing in an attack against a Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin, Germany. The squadron made a successful attack despite three separate attacks by enemy air defenses, including attacks by German jet fighters.[5] This action earned the squadron its second DUC.[4]

The squadron was occasionally diverted from its strategic mission to perform air support and air interdiction missions. In May and June 1944, it bombed bridges to support the campaign for the liberation of Rome. In August 1944, it struck bridges, gun positions and other targets to support Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France. It hit military airbases, bridges and other tactical targets to support partisan forces and the Red Army advance in the Balkans. During the last months of the war the squadron operated primarily to support Operation Grapeshot, the spring 1945 offensive in Northern Italy.[4]

The squadron flew its final combat mission on 26 April 1945.[5] After V-E Day the squadron transported personnel (primarily soldiers of Fifth Army) from Italy to Casablanca for return to the United States. By early September, the unit had been substantially reduced by transfers to other units and returns of personnel to the United States and it was inactivated in Italy with the end of Project Green in September 1945.[2][5]

Airlift operations[edit]

Activation and move to Ardmore[edit]

C-119 as flown by the squadron

The squadron was redesignated the 774th Troop Carrier Squadron and activated at Memphis Municipal Airport, Tennessee 0n 16 January 1953. At Memphis, it absorbed the mission, personnel and Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars of the 347th Troop Carrier Squadron, a reserve unit that had been mobilized for the Korean War and was being returned to the reserves. In August, the squadron departed the civilian airfield at Memphis for the newly reopened Ardmore Air Force Base, Oklahoma.[2]

463d Troop Carrier Wing C-130A[note 3]

The squadron airlifted equipment and supplies and supported Army airborne exercises. The squadron became one of the first to equip with the new Lockheed C-130A Hercules in 1956. The squadron also operated a Tactical Air Command (TAC)-sponsored flight demonstration team during the late 1950s and early 1960s known as "The Four Horsemen," utilizing four C-130A aircraft.[6] In September of 1957, Tactical Air Command (TAC) converted the 463d Wing to the dual deputy system.[note 4] The 463d Group was inactivated, and the squadron was assigned directly to the 463d Troop Carrier Wing.[2]

In July 1958, president Camille Chamoun of Lebanon was facing an insurgency against his government and requested military assistance from the United States, which implemented Operation Blue Bat. The squadron, along with other elements of the 463d Wing, flew command elements of Nineteenth Air Force and other personnel and equipment of the Composite Air Strike Force to locations in the Middle East.[7] The following month, the squadron provided airlift for the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis.[2]

Operations from Sewart and Langley[edit]

Although Ardmore had only been open for six years, the Air Force decided to close the base again. The inactivation of the 513th Troop Carrier Wing, a Fairchild C-123 Provider unit at Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee,[8] provided room for the 774th and the other operational units of the 463d Wing to move there. The squadron moved to Sewart in November 1958,[2] and soon began replacing its C-130As with C-130B models. While at Sewart, the squadron provided airlift support during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.[2] The squadron was again called on to provide emergency airlift support during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October and November 1962, transporting TAC support forces and materiel to Florida, Army units to stations in the southeastern United States and Marine reinforcements to Guantanamo Bay.[9]

In July 1962, TAC established a Combat Crew Training School at Sewart. Starting with a single squadron, by the spring of 1963, the school had expanded to a full wing, the 4442d Combat Crew Training Wing. As a result of the expansion of the C-130 training unit, the 463d Wing reduced its operations at Sewart and the squadron became nonoperational on 27 December, remaining a paper unit until 1 April 1963, when it was again assigned personnel and equipment at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. From Langley, the squadron deployed crews and planes to support the US response during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in the late summer of 1964.[10] In late April 1965, the squadron participated in Operation Power Pack. Following a military coup in the Dominican Republic, Nineteenth Air Force formed an airlift task force to airlift the 82nd Airborne Division. On 28 and 29 April, the squadron flew C-130s to Pope Air Force Base to join the task force to transport elements of the 82nd Division to San Isidro Air Base. By September, peacekeeping functions had been transferred to Latin American counties' forces and the squadron helped return American forces to the United States.[11]

Vietnam War[edit]

C-130 Hercules taking off from Khe Sanh 1968

While participating in Power Pack, the squadron was also deploying forces to airlift men and material to Southeast Asia. In November 1965, the 463d Wing moved to Mactan Island Airfield, in the Philippines to provide this support full time, and the squadron moved with it.[2][10]

The squadron deployed crews and planes operating combat airlift missions in Vietnam under the operational control of the 315th Air Division.[note 5] The squadron also flew aeromedical evacuation missions. In August 1967, the squadron became the 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron, and in July 1968, the 463d Wing moved from Mactan to Clark Air Base. The 463d began reducing its operations in June 1971[note 6] and was inactivated at the end of the year.[10] The 774th was reassigned to the host at Clark, the 405th Fighter Wing, until inactivating in September 1972.[2]

Operations from Dyess[edit]

On 1 August 1973, the squadron was reactivated at Dyess Air Force Base. The squadron deployed as a unit frequently to Europe, where it came under the operational control of the 513th Tactical Airlift Wing or the 313th Tactical Airlift Group in England or the 322d Tactical Airlift Wing or 322d Airlift Division in Germany. The squadron flew humanitarian missions and participated in exercises. In October 1986, the squadron was inactivated.[2]

Expeditionary operations[edit]

The squadron was redesignated 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, converted to provisional status in 2001, and assigned to Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate as needed. It has been activated at twice to provide theater airlift for United States Central Command. The squadron was active in Kuwait from 2002 to 2003. It was activated again in Kyrgyzstan in 2004, and moved to its present station at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in January 2006.[2] In Afghanistan, it performs airlift and airdrop missions. More unusually, it transports fuel to advanced bases using the wet wing tanks of the squadron's C-130J aircraft to transport the fuel.[1]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 774th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 August 1943
Redesignated 774th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy c. 29 September 1944
Inactivated on 25 September 1945
  • Redesignated 774th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 1 December 1952
Activated on 16 January 1953
Redesignated: 774th Troop Carrier Squadron, Assault on 18 December 1961
Redesignated: 774th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 15 May 1965
Redesignated: 774th Troop Carrier Squadron on 1 January 1967
Redesignated: 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 August 1967
Inactivated on 15 September 1972
Activated on 1 August 1973
Inactivated on 1 October 1986
  • Redesignated 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and converted to provisional status, on 4 December 2001
  • Activated on 20 April 2002
Inactivated on 18 March 2003
Activated on 4 October 2004[2]

Assignments[edit]

320th Expeditionary Operations Group, 20 April 2002 – 18 March 2003
376th Expeditionary Operations Group, 4 October 2004
455th Expeditionary Operations Group, 6 January 2006 – unknown[2]

Stations[edit]

  • Geiger Field, Washington, 1 August 1943
  • Rapid City Army Air Base, South Dakota, August 1943
  • MacDill Field, Florida, 4 November 1943
  • Drane Field, Florida, 3 January 1944
  • Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, 3–12 February 1944
  • Bari, Italy, 10 March 1944
  • Celone Airfield, Italy, 15 March 1944 – 25 September 1945
  • Memphis Municipal Airport, Tennessee, 16 January 1953
  • Ardmore Air Force Base, Oklahoma, 17 August 1953
  • Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee, 15 November 1958 (deployed to Clark Air Base, Philippines, 21 March–19 June 1961, Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France, c. 15 March–20 July 1962)
  • Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, 5 July 1963 – 15 November 1965 (deployed at Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France, January–April 1964)
  • Mactan Isle Airfield, Philippines, 23 November 1965
  • Clark Air Base, Philippines, 15 July 1968 – 15 June 1971
  • Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, 1 June 1972 – 1 October 1993
Deployed to Rhein Main Air Base, Germany, 6 October–16 December 1973, 4 August–15 October 1975, 3 June–7 August 1977; RAF Mildenhall, England, 3 September–16 November 1974, 3 May–7 July 1976, England, 3 March–5 May 1978, 28 September–5 December 1979, 3 February–7 April 1981, 5 April–15 June 1982, 4 August–7 October 1983, 3 December 1984 – 9 February 1985, 9 April–11 June 1986)

Aircraft[edit]

  • Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1943–1945
  • Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, 1953–1957
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules, 1956–1962; 1963–1971; 1972–1993; 2004-present[2]

Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 18 May 1944 Ploesti, Romania, 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 24 March 1945 Berlin, Germany, 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2005-1 September 2006 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2006-30 September 2007 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2007-30 September 2008 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2008-30 September 2009 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2009-30 September 2010 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2009-30 September 2010 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2010-30 September 2011 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2011-30 September 2012 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2012-30 September 2013 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 July 2013-30 June 2014 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2014-30 September 2015 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award 1 October 2014-31 March 2017 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 January 1967-31 May 1968 774th Troop Carrier Squadron (later 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron)[2]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 June 1968-30 June 1969 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron[2]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 July 1970-31 May 1971 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron[2]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 March 2002-31 May 2003 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 July 2004-31 May 2005 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 15 December 1960-1 April 1961 774th Troop Carrier Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1964-15 June 1966 774th Troop Carrier Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 May 1977-15 July 1978 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron[2]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 16 July 1978-30 June 1979 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron[2]
VGCP Streamer.jpg Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm 1 January 1967-31 May 1971 774th Troop Carrier Squadron (later 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron)[2]
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines) Streamer.png Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation 21 July-15 August 1972 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron[2]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Offensive, Europe 11 March 1944–5 June 1944 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Combat, EAME Theater 11 March 1944–11 May 1945 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rome-Arno 11 March–9 September 1944 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Central Europe 22 March 1944–21 May 1945 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Normandy 6 June 1944–24 July 1944 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Northern France 25 July 1944–14 September 1944 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Southern France 15 August 1944–14 September 1944 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png North Apennines 10 September 1944–4 April 1945 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rhineland 15 September 1944–21 March 1945 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Po Valley 3 April 1945–8 May 1945 774th Bombardment Squadron[2]
Streamer gwotE.PNG Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Aircraft is Lockheed C-130H Hercules serial 93-7313 at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Khost Province, Afghanistan. Taken on 23 September 2013. At the time the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron consisted mostly of deployed members of the Wyoming Air National Guard's 187th Airlift Squadron.
  2. ^ Aircraft is B-17G serial 42-31684 "Joker". The plane flew with the 774th Bombardment Squadron from 9 May 1944 until it was downed by an enemy fighter over Blechhammer, while attacking the chemical plants there on 7 July.
  3. ^ Aircraft is Lockheed C-130A-LM Hercules, serial 55-31, taken in 1957.
  4. ^ Under this plan flying squadrons reported to the wing Deputy Commander for Operations and maintenance squadrons reported to the wing Deputy Commander for Maintenance
  5. ^ After October 1966, 834th Air Division assumed operational control over airlift in Vietnam. Ravenstein, p. 258.
  6. ^ The Wing's 772d Tactical Airlift Squadron inactivated in June, and the 773d Tactical Airlift Squadron in October. Ravenstein, pp. 256-258

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cox, SSG Divine (30 December 2017). "774 EAS continues tactical airlift operations in Afghanistan". 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  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 ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba Haulman, Daniel L. (18 May 2018). "Factsheet 774 Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  3. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 748-749
  4. ^ a b c d Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 338-339
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "463rd Bombardment Group (H).5th Wing/15th Air Force "The Swoose Group" 1943-1945: Group History". 463rd Society. 27 December 1961. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Lockheed C-130: The Four Horsemen Demonstrated the Power of the New Aircraft". HistoryNet. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  7. ^ Byrd, p. 16
  8. ^ Ravenstein, pp. 279-281
  9. ^ Russell, p. 40
  10. ^ a b c Ravenstein, pp. 256-258
  11. ^ Warnock, Operation Power Pack, pp. 63-73

Bibliography[edit]

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

Byrd, Daniel A. "Lebanon Crisis: Operation BLUE BAT". In Warnock, A. Timothy (ed.). Short of War: Major USAF Contingency Operations 1947-1997.
Russell, Edward T. "Cuban Missile Crisis". In Warnock, A. Timothy (ed.). Short of War: Major USAF Contingency Operations 1947-1997.
Warnock, A. Timothy. "Dominican Crisis: Operation POWER PACK". In Warnock, A. Timothy (ed.). Short of War: Major USAF Contingency Operations 1947-1997.

External links[edit]