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465th Bombardment Wing
Boeing B-52G-75-BW Stratofortress 57-6475.jpg
Boeing B-52G-75-BW Stratofortress 57-6475 over the skies of Vietnam, 1968.
Active 1943–1945, 1953–1957, 1962–1968
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Bombardment
Part of Strategic Air Command
Motto(s) Checkmate to Aggression
Insignia
465th Bombardment Wing Emblem 465th Bombardment Wing.PNG

The 465th Bombardment Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Strategic Air Command 57th Air Division, stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. It was inactivated on 21 July 1968.

Originally activated in 1943 as the 465th Bombardment Group, a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. The highly-decorated unit served primarily in the Mediterranean, African, and The Middle East Theater of World War II.

Inactivated at the end of the war and allotted to the Air Force Reserve, the group was reactivated as the 465th Troop Carrier Group, Medium during the 1950s. It was assigned to the like numbered 465th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium. In November 1962 the wing was designated the 465th Strategic Bombardment Wing and was stationed at Robins AFB, Georgia as a B-52 Stratofortress Strategic Air Command heavy bombardment wing. The 465th BW conducted strategic bombardment training and air refueling operations until being inactivated in July 1968 when SAC transferred the 19th Bombardment Wing to Robins in a designation-only reassignment.

History[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Activated on 19 May 1943 at Alamogordo Army Airfield, New Mexico as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb group; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Moved to Kerns, Utah for group formation and personnel assignments. Assigned 780th, 781st, 782d and 783d Bombardment squadrons and began initial training in September. Reassigned to McCook Army Airfield, Nebraska in October and received full complement of personnel. Completed training by February 1944 and received deployment orders to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO), being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in Southern Italy. New B-24s for combat operations were assigned to the group from Consolidated and training was completed.

465th Bombardment Group Consolidated B-24H Liberator 41-29347 "Alley Ooop" at Pantanella Airfield, Italy. This plane was lost on July 28, 1944, on a mission over Yugoslavia. (MACR 7106)

465th Bombardment Group making a bomb run, 1944

After training was completed the air echelon was then deployed to Tunisia. Began movement overseas via South Atlantic Route via Morrison Field, Florida, via Trinidad, Brazil, Dakar, Senegal and Marrakesh, French Morocco, then to the Tunisia. Completed training and moved to Pantanella Airfield, Italy in April 1944

Once in Italy the 465th was assigned to the 55th Bombardment Wing of Fifteenth Air Force. Entered combat on 5 May 1944, and served primarily as a strategic bombardment organization until late in April 1945. During this time, the Group attacked marshalling yards, dock facilities, oil refineries, oil storage plants, aircraft factories, and other objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, and the Balkans. On two different missions – to marshalling yards and an oil refinery at Vienna on 8 July 1944 and to steel plants at Friedrichshafen on 3 August 1944 – the group bombed its targets despite antiaircraft fire and fighter opposition, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for each of these attacks. Other operations included bombing troop concentrations and bivouac areas in May 1944 to aid the Partisans in Yugoslavia; attacking enemy troops and supply lines to assist the drive toward Rome, in May to June 1944; striking bridges, rail lines, and gun emplacements prior to the invasion of Southern France in August 1944; bombing rail facilities and rolling stock in October 1944 to support the advance of Russian and Romanian forces in the Balkans; and hitting troops, gun positions, bridges, and supply lines during April 1945 in support of Allied forces in northern Italy.

After V-E Day, was assigned to Green Project which was the movement of troops from Europe to the United States via the South Atlantic Transport Route. B-24s were modified with sealed bomb bays, removal of all defensive armament and internal fuselage equipped with seating to carry approximately 30 personnel. Was assigned to Air Transport Command at Waller Field, Trinidad. Moved personnel from staging area at Atkinson Field, British Guiana to Morrison Field, Florida. Provided air transport until the end of July when the unit was inactivated .

United States Air Forces in Europe[edit | edit source]

The unit was reactivated in the Air Force Reserve as the 465th Troop Carrier Group, Medium on 21 August 1953. Upon activation, the group was assigned the new 465th Troop Carrier Wing. Squadrons assigned to the group were the 780th, 781st and 782d Troop Carrier Squadrons.

465th Troop Carrier Group Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcars taxxing at Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France, 1956

The 465th TCW engaged in training and received Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar transports at Mitchel, and after training was completed the reserve unit was activated and assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe in April 1954, being assigned to the 322d Air Division at Toul-Rosières Air Base, France. The group element was inactivated in September 1954 when the organization adopted the Dual Deputate organization structure, and all operational squadrons were assigned directly to the Wing.

In Europe, the Wing participated in numerous troop carrier and airlift operation's, tests, and exercises in the European area in support of USAFE and NATO, April 1954 – July 1957. At Toul, three additional Lockheed Lockheed C-130A Hercules squadrons were temporarily attached to the wing, the 39th, 40th and 41st TCS.

Funding reductions and the phaseout of the C-119 from Europe led to the wing's inactivation in July 1957. The 780th and 781st squadrons came under the command of the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. The three attached squadrons were inactivated along with the 782d TCS. The 780th and 781st TCS were demobilized and assigned to the Air Force Reserve. They were sent back to the United States in December. On 8 March 1958 they were also inactivated.

Strategic Air Command[edit | edit source]

4137th Strategic Wing

Emblem of the 4137th Strategic Wing

On 1 February 1959, Strategic Air Command (SAC) established the 4137th Strategic Wing (SW) at Robins AFB, Georgia[1] and assigned it to the 822d Air Division as part of SAC's plan to disperse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike. The wing remained a headquarters only until 1 January 1960 when the 64th Aviation Depot Squadron was activated to oversee the wing's special weapons.[1] At the beginning of May the 342d Bombardment Squadron (BS), consisting of 15 Boeing B-52G Stratofortresses moved to Robins from Blytheville AFB, Arkansas where it had been one of the three squadrons of the 97th Bombardment Wing [2] and three maintenance squadrons and a squadron to provide security for special weapons were activated and assigned to the wing.[1]

Two additional squadrons rounded out the wing. In December 1961 the 912th Air Refueling Squadron, flying Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers was activated and assigned to the wing and in November 1962 the 4137th Airborne Missile Maintenance Squadron stood up to maintain the wing's GAM-77 Hound Dog and GAM-72 Quail missiles.[1] Half of the wing's aircraft were maintained on fifteen-minute alert, fully fueled, armed, and ready for combat. The 4137th (and later the 465th) continued to maintain an alert commitment until inactivation. However, SAC Strategic Wings could not carry a permanent history or lineage and SAC looked for a way to make its Strategic Wings permanent.

465th Bombardment Wing

In 1962, in order to perpetuate the lineage of many currently inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records, Headquarters SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue its Major Command controlled (MAJCON) strategic wings that were equipped with combat aircraft and to activate Air Force controlled (AFCON) units, most of which were inactive at the time which could carry a lineage and history.[3]

As a result the 4137th SW was replaced by the 465 Bombardment Wing, Heavy (465th BW),[4] which assumed its mission, personnel, and equipment on 1 February 1963.[5] In the same way the 781st Bombardment Squadron, one of the unit's World War II historical bomb squadrons, replaced the 342d BS. The 64th Munitions Maintenance Squadron and the 912th Air Refueling Squadron were reassigned to the 465th. Component support units were replaced by units with numerical designation of the newly established wing. Under the Dual Deputate organization, all flying and maintenance squadrons were directly assigned to the wing, so no operational group element was activated. Each of the new units assumed the personnel, equipment, and mission of its predecessor.

The 465th Bomb Wing continued to conduct strategic bombardment training and air refueling operations to meet operational commitments of Strategic Air Command, including deployments to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. By 1968, Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) had been deployed and become operational as part of the United States' strategic triad, and the need for B-52s had been reduced. In addition, funds were also needed to cover the costs of combat operations in Indochina. The 465th Bombardment Wing was inactivated on 25 July 1968 and B-52Gs were transferred to the 28th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Wing when the 19th was moved up to Robins AFB from Homestead AFB, Florida in a designation-only move.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

465th Troop Carrier Group

  • Constituted as 465th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 August 1943
Redesignated 465th Bombardment Group, Heavy ca. 25 January 1944
Inactivated on 31 July 1945.
  • Redesignated 465th Troop Carrier Group, Medium and activated on 1 February 1953[6]
Inactivated on 12 March 1957
  • Redesignated 465th Bombardment Group, Heavy on 31 July 1985 (remained inactive)

465th Bombardment Wing

  • Constituted as 465th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on 21 August 1953
Activated on 25 August 1953
Inactivated on 8 July 1957
  • Redesignated 465th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 15 November 1962 and activated
Organized on 1 February 1963
Discontinued and inactivated, on 25 July 1968.[4]

Assignments[edit | edit source]

465th Troop Carrier Group

465th Bombardment Wing

Components[edit | edit source]

465th Troop Carrier Group

465th Bombardment Wing

Groups

  • 313th Troop Carrier Group: attached 25 August – 30 September 1953
  • 465th Troop Carrier Group: 25 August – 26 December 1953 (detached 25 August – 30 November 1953); 1 April 1954 – 12 March 1957

Squadrons

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft flown[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 503–508. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-100921-026.pdf. 
  2. Maurer, Combat Squadrons. pp. 423-424
  3. MAJCON units could not carry a permanent history or lineage. Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). A Guide to Air Force Lineage and Honors (2d, Revised ed.). Maxwell AFB, AL: USAF Historical Research Center. p. 12. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 260–261. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/combat_wings.pdf. 
  5. The 465th continued, through temporary bestowal, the history, and honors of the World War II 465th Bombardment Group. It was also entitled to retain the honors (but not the history or lineage) of the 4137th. This temporary bestowal ended when the wing was inactivated.
  6. Maurer, Maurer, ed (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 340–341. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/af_combat_units_wwii.pdf. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Maurer, Maurer, ed (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 752–753. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/combat_sq_of_the_af_wwii.pdf. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Maurer, Combat Squadrons. p. 753
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 754

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

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


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