96th Airlift Squadron

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96th Airlift Squadron
96th Airlift Squadron.jpg
96th Airlift Squadron Patch
Active 25 May 1943 - 18 October 1945
6 March 1947 - 4 May 1951
15 June 1952 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Airlift
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
22nd Air Force
934th Airlift Wing
934th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Minneapolis-St Paul Joint Air Reserve Station
Nickname(s) Flying Vikings
Engagements Operation Overlord
Operation Dragoon
Operation Market Garden
Battle of Bastogne
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
C-130H showing the squadrons Flying Vikings banner

The 96th Airlift Squadron (96 AS) is part of the 934th Airlift Wing at Minneapolis-St Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minnesota. It operates C-130 Hercules aircraft supporting the United States Air Force global reach mission world wide.


Fly C-130H cargo aircraft, both airdropping and airlanding cargo and people.


Activated in July 1943 as an I Troop Carrier Command C-47 Skytrain Squadron. After training in the United States, at various bases, sent to Baer Field, Indiana for final equipping with aircraft, personnel and other equipment. Deployed to Ninth Air Force in England, assigned to IX Troop Carrier Command in February 1944 during the build-up prior to the Invasion of France.

During the D-Day Invasion, the squadron dropped paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division in Normandy, subsequently flying numerous missions to bring in reinforcements and needed supplies. During the airborne attack on The Netherlands (Operation Market Garden, September 1944), the squadron dropped paratroops, towed gliders, and flew resupply missions. Later participated in the invasion of southern France in August 1944. The squadron supported the 101st Airborne Division in the Battle of the Bulge by towing gliders full of supplies near Bastogne on 27 December 1944. In addition, its units participated in the air assault across the Rhine River in early 1945 (Operation Varsity) and later flew numerous freight missions to carry gasoline, food, medicine, and other supplies to allied ground forces during the Western Allied invasion of Germany in April 1945 near Wesel. 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 transported displaced persons from Germany to France and Belgium after V-E Day. Remained in Europe during the summer of 1945, inactivating as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe, October 1945.

Reactivated in the reserve as a C-46 Commando troop carrier squadron in Minneapolis, Minnesota during 1947. Was federalized as a result of the Korean War in 1951, squadron personnel and aircraft being sent to active-duty units as fillers, inactivated as an administrative unit a few days later.

Reactivated after the Korean War as a reserve fighter-bomber squadron for Tactical Air Command in 1952 initially equipped with F-51 Mustangs, later upgraded to F-80 Shooting Star jet aircraft. Re-designated back to a troop carrier squadron in 1957 under TAC's Eighteenth Air Force. Carried out theater transport operations and supported Air Force and Army units with troop carrier missions. Was activated during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, carried Army units to South Florida in preparation of a possible invasion of Cuba. Returned Army personnel to home stations after situation was normalized and returned to reserve service.

The squadron flew airlift missions worldwide, including to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and to Southwest Asia during the Gulf War. It has also participated in training exercises, some involving the dropping or landing of airborne troops, and flew numerous humanitarian airlift missions.

Operations and Decorations[edit]

  • Combat Operations: During World War II, airborne assaults on Normandy, Southern France, Holland, and Germany; relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in Dec 1944; transportation of cargo and personnel in ETO and MTO. Flew airlift missions worldwide, including to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict
  • Campaigns: World War II: Normandy; Northern France; Rome-Arno; Southern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
  • Decorations: Distinguished Unit Citation: France, [6-7] Jun 1944. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Oct 1988-30 Sep 1990; 1 Jul 1994-30 Jun 1996; 30 Sep 1998-1 Oct 2000. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 14 Feb-11 Mar 1968.


  • Constituted 96th Troop Carrier Squadron on 25 May 1943
Activated on 1 Jul 1943
Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945
  • Activated in the Reserve on 6 Mar 1947
Re-designated: 96th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 27 Jun 1949
Ordered to Active Service on 1 May 1951
Inactivated on 4 May 1951
  • Re-designated: 96th Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 26 May 1952
Activated in the Reserve on 15 Jun 1952
Re-designated: 96th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 8 Sep 1957
Ordered to Active Service on 28 Oct 1962
Relieved from Active Duty on 28 Nov 1962
Re-designated: 96th Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 Jul 1967
Re-designated: 96th Airlift Squadron on 1 Feb 1992.





 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]