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19th Operations Group
19 Air Refueling Wg.png
Emblem of the 19th Operations Group
Active 1927–1953; 1991–2008;2008–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

C-130Js at Little Rock AFB

The 19th Operations Group (19 OG) is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 19th Airlift Wing, stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

Equipped with the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the group provides part of Air Mobility Command's Global Reach capability. Tasking requirements range from supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, to airdropping supplies and troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas.

The 19 OG is one of the oldest organizations in the Air Force, being a successor organization of the 19th Bombardment Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II.

As part of the Far East Air Force, the unit was stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked on 8 December 1941, suffering numerous casualties and losing most of its Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses in the attack. A small number of its aircraft escaped to fly combat missions in the Philippines; Netherlands East Indies and Papua New Guinea during early 1942.

In March 1942, the group was re-established in Australia, as part of the Fifth Air Force. From far-flung bases in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, the group carried out missions over Japanese-held areas in New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies.

After moving to Guam in 1944, the group was re-equipped with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and conducted its first raid with B-29s on 25 February 1945, against Tokyo.

The group has earned the distinction of being one of the most decorated units in the Air Force. Unit honors include nine Presidential Unit Citations, two Air Force Meritorious Unit Awards, ten Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, one Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and one Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Units[edit | edit source]

The 19th Operations Group is composed of seven flying squadrons, flying the Lockheed C-130 Hercules:

Heraldry[edit | edit source]

The group's emblem, approved in 1936, shows a winged sword in front of the constellation of Pegasus, indicating both the striking force and navigation capability of the unit.

History[edit | edit source]

19th Bombardment Group - Emblem

The 19th Observation Group was constituted as part of the United States Army Air Corps on 18 October 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-3A bombers.

The unit flew training missions along the California coast for coastal defense between 1932 and 1935. On 1 March 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, California as 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 on the night of 13–14 May 1941 when they took 21 B-17s from California to Hawaii to transfer them to the 11th Bomb Group, landing on schedule within 30 minutes of each other and in the order they took off. The 19th BG redeployed two squadrons (the 30th and 93d) to the Philippines between 16 October and 4 November 1941. The 26 bombers, traveling individually and at night on their longest leg, flew a trans-Pacific route from Hamilton Field, California; to Hickam Field, Hawaii; Midway Island; Wake Island; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia; and Clark Field, Luzon, a distance of over 10,000 miles, nearly all of it over water. The route had been pioneered between 5 and 12 September 1941 by the 14th Bombardment Squadron, which was attached as the group's third squadron after its arrival. The 28th Bombardment Squadron, a squadron that had long been based in the Philippines with the 4th Composite Group (being broken up and disbanded), but now rostered by pilots fresh out of flight training, was also attached to the group as its fourth squadron and began transition training to the B-17. The 19th BG had an inventory of 6 B-17C and 29 B-17D, although one B-17D was out of commission during its entire overseas service when it broke off its tail in a collision with a parked aircraft while landing after its flight from the United States on 12 September.

World War II[edit | edit source]

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