- 19th Airlift Wing
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=19th Airlift Wing
dates= 24 Jun 1932 — present
Air Mobility Command
Little Rock Air Force Base
nickname= "Black Knights"
motto= "In Alis Vincimus (On Wings We Conquer)"
* World War II: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
* Korean Service (1950-1953)
* Global War on Terrorism (2001-2008)
The 19th Airlift Wing is the latest organization to share the history of one of the oldest organizations in the
United States Air Force. The group is a Air Mobility Commandunit of the United States Air Force, based at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas
The unit stood up on 1 October 2008.
The 19th Air Refueling Group, one of the oldest organizations in the United States Air Force, served in
World War II. Its honors and history were bestowed on the 19th Bomb Wing in 1953 to preserve its history. In turn its accrued honors were bestowed on the 19th ARG when it took over the mission of the inactivated 19th Air Refueling Wing in 1996. The 19th Air Refueling Wing served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm; and the 19th ARG in Operation Enduring Freedom. The group has earned the distinction of being one of the most decorated units in the Air Force. Unit honors include eight Presidential Unit Citations, one Air Force Meritorious Unit Award, ten Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, one Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and one Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
* Authorized as 19th Observation Group on
18 Oct 1927.
* Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group on
8 May 1929. Activated on 24 Jun 1932.
* Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on
17 Oct 1939;
* Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on
28 Mar 1944. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1944. Activated on 1 Apr 1944.
* Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group (Medium) on
10 Aug 1948. Inactivated on 1 Jun 1953.
* Redesignated 19th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) (SAC)
25 Jul 1968
* Redesignated 19th Air Refueling Wing (SAC)
1 Oct 1983
* Redesignated 19th Air Refueling Group (AMC)
1 Jul 1996
* Inactivated 28 May 2008
* Reactivated as 19th Airlift Wing, 1 October 2008
United States Army Air Corps
* Rockwell Field, CA
24 Jun 1932 - 25 Oct 1935
* March Field, CA
25 Oct 1935 - 7 Jun 1941
* Albuquerque Field, NM
7 Jun - 29 Sep 1941
* Clark Field, Philippines
26 Oct 1941 - 24 Dec 1941
* Batchelor Field,
24 Dec 1941 - 30 Dec 1941
* Singosari Field,
30 Dec 1941 - 2 Mar 1942
United States Army Air Forces
* Melbourne APT, Australia
2 Mar 1942 - 18 Apr 1942
* Garbutt Field, Australia
18 Apr 1942 - 18 May 1942
* Longreach APT, Australia
18 May 1942 - 26 Jul 1942
* Mareeba Field, Australia
26 Jul 1942 - 30 Nov 1942
* Townsville APT, Australia
30 Nov - 2 Dec 1942
United States Army Air Forces(Continued)
* Pocatello AAB, ID, 9 Dec 1942 - 3 Jan 1943
* Pyote AAB, TX, 3 Jan 1943 - 1 Apr 1944
* Great Bend AAFld, KS, 1 Apr 1944 - 26 May 1944
* Dalhart AAFld, TX, 26 May 1944 - 23 Aug 1944
* Great Bend AAFld, KS, 23 Aug 1944 - 11 Dec 1944
Fort Lawton, WA, 11-19 Dec 1944 United States Air Force
* North Field
(later, North Guam AFB; Andersen AFB),
16 Jan 1945 - 1 Jun 1953
Kadena AB, Okinawa, 1 Jun 1953-28 May 1954
* Pinecastle AFB, FL, 11 Jun 1954 - 1 Jun 1956
Homestead AFB, FL, 1 Jun 1956 - 25 Jul 1968
Robins AFB, GA, 25 Jul 1968 - 28 May 2008
Little Rock AFB, AR, 1 Oct 2008 -
Major Commands Assigned To
* IX Corps Area, 24 Jun 1932 - 19 Sep 1941
* IV Bomber Command, 19 Sep 1941 - 23 Oct 1941
* United States Air Forces in the Far East, c. 23 Oct 1941 - 16 Nov 1941
V Bomber Command, 16 Nov 1941 - Mar 1942
* U. S. Army Forces in Australia, c. Mar 1942 - 18 Apr 1942
* Allied Air Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, 18 Apr 1942 - Sep 1942
V Bomber Command, Sep 1942 - 1 Apr 1944
Second Air Force, 1 Apr 1944 - 15 May 1946
Twentieth Air Force(FEAF), 15 May 1946 - 8 July 1950
* Far East Air Forces Bomber Command (Provisional) for operational control, 8 Jul 1950-1 Jun 1953
Strategic Air Command, 11 Jun 1954 - 1 Jun 1992
Air Mobility Command, 1 Jun 1992 - Present
Major Aircraft assigned
Keystone B-3A, 1932-1935
* Martin B-10/B-12, 1935-1937
* Douglas B-18 Bolo, 1937-1940
* Boeing B-17C/E/F Flying Fortress, 1940-1944
* Consolidated B-24/LB-30 Liberator 1942.
* Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 1944-1954.
* Boeing B-47 Stratojet, 1954-1961
* Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker, 1955-1961
* Boeing B-52D/H Stratofortress, 1962-1972, 1973-1983
* Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, 1962-1972, 1973-1996, 1996-2008
Boeing EC-135, 1984-1996
* Boeing EC-137, 1991-1994
The 19th Observation Group was constituted as part of the
United States Army Air Corpson October 18 1927, without personnel or equipment. In 1929 its paper designation was changed to the 19th Bombardment Group, and it came into being with its activation at Rockwell Field, California, in June 1932. Two of its four squadrons, the 23rd and 72nd Bomb Squadrons, were permanently detached for service in Hawaii with the 5th Composite Group. The two squadrons at Rockwell, the 30th and 32nd Bomb Squadrons, were equipped with Keystone B-3Abombers.
The unit flew training missions along the
Californiacoast for coastal defensebetween 1932 and 1935. On March 1, 1935, all aviation combat units of the AAC in the United States were reorganized into General Headquarters Air Force, the first centralized control of the air striking arm of the United States. The 19th BG moved to March Field, Californiaas part of the 1st Wing, commanded by Brig. Gen. Henry H. Arnold.
In 1940, the group was equipped with the new B-17B Flying Fortress, the first production version of the B-17. The unit made aviation history in May 1941 when they flew their B-17s en mass from California to
Hawaii, and redeployed to the Philippinesbetween September and November 1941.
World War II
The unit was stationed at
Clark Fieldwhen the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941, suffering numerous casualties and losing most of its aircraft in the attack. A small number of B-17s on maneuvers with the 93rd Bomb Squadron at Del Monte Fieldon Mindanaoescaped unharmed.
During December 1941, the 19th began
reconnaissanceand bombardment operations against Japanese shipping and landing parties. By the end of the year, ground personnel joined infantryunits defending the Philippines, while the air echelon moved to Australiato transport supplies from there to the Philippines and to evacuate personnel.
The group flew B-17s,
B-24s, and LB-30s from Javaagainst enemy airfields, shipping, and ground installations during the Japanese offensive in the Philippinesand Netherlands East Indiesduring early 1942. It participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea, in May 1942, and raided enemy transportation and communications targets as well as troop concentrations during the Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea. The group bombed enemy airdromes, ground installations, and shipping near Rabaul, New Britainin August 1942. Capt. Harl Peasereceived the Medal of Honorfor a mission flown on August 7, 1942.
It served in the continental United States as a replacement training organization at Pyote Army Airfield from January to November 1943. The group was largely unmanned from December 1943 to
April 1, 1944, when it was inactivated. The group was activbated the same date at Great Bend AAF in Kansas, at the 19th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and began training for B-29combat missions. Between December 1944 and January 1945 the group deployed to North Field on Guamas part of the 314th Bomb Wing of the Twentieth Air Force.
From Guam, it conducted its first B-29 bombing raid on
February 25, 1945, against Tokyo. The group flew 65 raids on the Japanese home islands, bombing strategic targets in Japan, participating in incendiary bomb attacks against Japanese cities, and attacked kamikazeairfields during the invasion of Okinawain the spring of 1945.
The 19th Bombardment Wing was formed in 1948 from resources of the former North Guam Air Force Base Command (Provisional). The 19th BW, with the 19th Bomb group as its operational flying unit, operated
Andersen AFBand maintained proficiency in B-29s. In May 1949, headquarters 20th Air Force moved from Guam to Kadena AB, Okinawaand it's former staff was assigned to the 19th Bomb Wing.
At Andersen, the wing assumed responsibility for administering two active and one semi-active bases plus an assortment of communication, weather, radar, rescue and other facilities and units including the Marianas Air Material Area, a wing size unit. Many of the units and facilities were inactivated with a few months.
In October 1949, the 19th Wing again became subordinated to the 20th AF and the remaining units in the Marianas and Bonin Islands were transferred to other organizations. From October 17, 1949 until June 28, 1950, the wing continued B-29 training, operation of Anderson AFB and some rescue and reconnaissance missions.
When the Korean War broke out in late Jun 1950, the 19th Bombardment Group was immediately detached from the Wing for combat operations from
Kadena AB, Okinawa. From Kadena, the squadrons (28th, 30th 93d) attacked North Korean invasion forces. The first B-29 Superfortressunit in the war, the group on June 28 attacked North Korean storage tanks, marshalling yards, and armor. In the first two months, it flew more than six hundred sorties, supporting UN ground forces by bombing enemy troops, vehicles, and such communications points as the Han River bridges.
At Kadena, the group was initially under the operational control of
Twentieth Air Force, after July 8, 1950, it was attached to FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional). Many of the aircraft flown by the 19th Bomb Group squadrons in combat were refurbished B-29s that were placed in storage after World War II, then brought back into operational service.
In the north, its targets included an oil refinery and port facilities at Wonsan, a railroad bridge at
Pyongyang, and an airfield at Yonpo. After United Nationsground forces pushed the communists out of South Korea, the 19th BG turned to strategic objectives in North Korea, including industrial and hydroelectric facilities. It also continued to attack bridges, marshalling yards, supply centers, artillery and troop positions, barracks, port facilities, and airfields.
In accordance with organizational change within the
Strategic Air Commandand later throughout the entire Air Force, the 19th Bomb Group was inactivated on 1 June 1953 and its squadrons assigned directly to the 19th Bomb Wing, which moved its headquarters to Kadena.
In May 1954, the Wing was reassigned from the Far East Air Force to Pinecastle AFB,
Floridaand Strategic Air Command, turning in its war-weary and obsolete B-29s at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, en route. At Pinecastle, the Wing began receiving brand-new Boeing B-47 Stratojets They were assigned to the 28th, 30th, and 93rd Bomb Squadrons on June 1, 1953.
The wing also gained an air-refueling unit with the 100th Air Refueling Squadron which was attached to the wing from 2 February 1955 until 16 August 1956. In February 1956, the 19th Air Refueling Squadron was permanently assigned to the wing. Both flew Boeing KC-97 Stratotankers.
Early in 1955, the wing deployed to
Sidi Slimane AB, French Morocco, January-April 1956, and to Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, May-July 1957. From July 1957 to April 1961, the wing maintained a portion of its tactical resources on overseas alert. It's B-47s were then phased out.
The 19th was transferred to
Homestead AFBon 1 June 1956 from Pinecastle. At Homestead, the wing consisted of one squadron in Florida (28th BS), and four geographically dispersed squadrons:
* 30th Bomb Squadron (1956 - 1 Jan 1962, assigned to 4133d Strategic Wing,
Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota)
* 93d Bomb Squadron (1956 - 1 Aug 1961, assigned to 4239th Strategic Wing,
Kincheloe AFB, Michigan)
* 525th Bomb Squadron (9 Jan 1961 - 15 Mar 1961, assigned to 4136th Strageic Wing,
Minot AFB, North Dakota)
* 526th Bomb Squadron (9 Jan 1961 - 1 June 1961, assigned to 4139th Strategic Wing,
K. I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan)
The Wing converted to the B-52H Stratofortress and
KC-135aircraft in 1961-1962. However, most of its aircraft were reassigned. SAC was then in the process of establishing Strategic Wings and the 19th lost four squadrons to them. This left the 19th with one squadron of B-52Hs (29th BS). At Homestead, the wing won the Fairchild Trophy in the SAC bombing and navigation competition for 1966.
The 19th was moved without personnel or equipment to
Robins AFB, GA, in mid-1968, it absorbed resources of the 465th Bombardment Wing and converted to the B-52G. At Robins, the 19th furnished B–52 and KC–135 aircraft and crews to other SAC organizations involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia. In 1972, the wing deployed virtually all its aircraft and crews for combat operations, leaving headquarters at Robins minimally staffed. In November 1973, the wing returned from deployment and resumed normal operations. The 19th Bomb Wing won the Omaha Trophy as the "outstanding wing in SAC" for 1981.
The 19th Bomb Wing ceased operations, losing it's B-52s and was redesignated as the 19th Air Refueling Wing (Heavy) on on 1 October 1983. The 19th ARW undertook worldwide aerial refueling missions for various operations and exercises and supported the European Tanker Task Force. It flew aerial refueling missions supporting Grenada operations (Operation Urgent Fury), 23-24 Oct 1983. Beginning in 1984, it provided two EC-135 aircraft and crews to support the
United States Central Commandin Southwest Asia.
With conversion to KC-135R aircraft, the wing started supporting the Pacific and Alaska Tanker Task Forces in Mar 1988 and the Caribbean Tanker Task Force in Mar 1990. It flew aerial refueling missions for the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause), 18-21 Dec 1989 and deployed resources to Southwest Asia, Aug 1990-Mar 1991, providing aerial refueling, cargo, and command, control and communications support.
It was redesignated the 19th Air Refueling Wing on 1 September 1991. The 19th Operations Group was activated at the same time as the flying component of the wing.
From Jan 1992, it provided an EC-137 and crews to support the
United States Special Operations Command, and from Aug 1992 the wing supported the Saudi Tanker Task Force. It provided air refueling support to NATOfighters in Bosnia in Sep-Oct 1995. Several KC-135R tankers deployed to Southwest Asia to support Operation Southern Watch, Jan-Mar 1996 and to Turkeyfor Operation Provide Comfort, Apr-Jun 1996.
On 1 July 1996, the 19th Air Refueling Wing was inactivated, and its functions turned over to its operations group, redesignated the 19th Air Refueling Group. The 19th ARG consists of four squadrons: 19th Operations Support Squadron (OSS), 19th Maintenance Squadron (MXS), 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), and the
99th Air Refueling Squadron(ARS).
The Black Knights returned to
Istres, France, in August 1996 deploying five aircraft and 125 personnel in support of Operation Deny Flight. In December, the group received an inspection from the Air Mobility Command's Quality Air Force Assessment Team. During the inspection, the team found the 19th's leadership, support, and maintenance to be among the best in Air Mobility Command.
Black Knight aircraft and personnel deployed to numerous contingency operations and exercises during 1997 and continued the group's record for success. 1998 proved to be another banner year for the 19th. Most notably, the Black Knights supported
Operation Northern Watch, enforcing the United Nation's no-fly zone in northern Iraq; Operation Desert Thunder, US action against Iraqi aggression; and Operation Constant Vigil, US antidrug operations in the Caribbean. The 99th Air Refueling Squadron was named the Air Force Association's Citation of Honor winner for the unit that contributed most to national defense during 1998. Additionally, the 99th won the coveted General Carl A. Spaatz Trophy for 1998--given annually to the "Best Air Refueling Squadron in the US Air Force."
The 19th was off to another record start in 1999 when it earned a rare, perfect "Outstanding" during its Headquarters, Air Mobility Command Operational Readiness Inspection. Additionally, the 19th had just returned from supporting
Operation Deliberate Forgeand Operation Allied Force, US support for the NATO's Air War over the Former Republic of Yugoslavia-having deployed over three-fourths of its personnel and aircraft to four forward operating locations throughout Europe.
Even after the war, the new millennium brought the 19th many new challenges. The Black Knights, although the last home, were the first to reconstitute its forces and prepare for its role as the first on-call expeditionary force for the Air Force's newest Expeditionary Aerospace Force concept. Furthermore, the recognition continued as the 19th received the AMC nomination for
USSTRATCOM's Omaha Trophy for DoD's unit that best supported the Single Integrated Operational Plan. Also, the 99 ARS repeated its role as it won the 1999 Spaatz Trophy as well as the AMC nomination for the Citation of Honor Award; the 19 OSS earned the honors of the Best OSS in Twenty-First Air Force; and the 19 AGS not only received the Twenty-First Air Force Maintenance Effectiveness Award, but also dominated the 2000 Rodeo Competition as it brought home the "Best KC-135 Maintenance" Trophy.
19th Air Refueling Group
The group's last desigation, the 19th Air Refueling Group, stationed at Robins AFB, Georgia provided worldwide in-flight refueling for
combat, logistics, and combat support aircraftof the United States and its allies as directed by the Department of Defense.
The 19th ARG stood down in June 2008 as a result of realignment due to
* Assigned from: Twentieth Air Force, Far East Air Forces Bomber Command on 11 June 1954.
* At: Pinecastle AFB, Florida.
* Assigned to: Strategic Air Command, Second Air Force. (Attached to the 813th Air Division (Provisional) from 11 June to 14 July 1954).
* Reassigned to: Second Air Force, 813th Air Division on 15 July 1954. (Attached to the 5th Air Division from 7 January to 11 April 1956).
* Changed equipment in: 1955 to B-47s, KC-97s
* Moved to: Homestead AFB, Florida, on 1 June 1956
* Reassigned to: Second Air Force, 823d Air Division on 1 June 1956. (Attached to the 5th Air Division from 8 May to 7 July 1957).
* Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 823d Air Division on 1 January 1959
* Changed equipment in: 1962 to B-52s, KC-135s.
* Moved to: Robins AFB, Georgia, on 25 July 1968.
* Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 57th Air Division on 25 July 1968.
* Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 823d Air Division on 2 July 1969.
* Reassigned to: Second Air Force, 823d Air Division on 31 March 1970.
* Reassigned to: Second Air Force, 42d Air Division on 30 June 1971.
* Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 42d Air Division on 1 January 1975.
* Changed to air refueling wing on 1 Oct 1983, support worldwide aerial refueling missions for combat aircraft in various operations and exercises
Pacific Air Forces
Strategic Air Command
Air Mobility Command
314th Air Division
Fifth Air Force
Twelfth Air Force
United States Air Force In South Korea
* Futrell, Robert Frank (1983) The United States Air Force In Korea, 1950-1953, Maxwell AFB, Alabama Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0912799714
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell
* [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/rso_index.html] Air Force Historical Research Agency
* [http://www.robins.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123100795 'Mission Complete' 19th Air Refueling Group mission ends at Robins]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/agency/19bw.htm 19th Bomb Wing (Heavy) Strategic Air Command (SAC) on GlobalSecurity.org]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usaf/19arg.htm 19th Air Refueling Group Air Mobility Command (AMC) on GlobalSecurity.org]
* [http://www.19thbg.org 19th Bombardment Association] (Includes extensive photo album)
* [http://www.kmike.com/NoSweat/Pages/19thBomb.htm 19th Bombardment Group Association]
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