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46th Tactical Missile Squadron I Troop Carrier Command - Emblem.png5THAF.pngAirdefensecommand-logo.jpg
46th Air Defense Missile Squadron - ADC - Emblem.png
Emblem of the 46th Air Defense Missile Squadron (1959-1972)
Active 1942-1949, 1959-1972
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Troop Carrier, Surface to Air Missile
Role Airlift, Air defense
Size squadron
Motto(s) The First and the Finest

The 46th Tactical Missile Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its was last assigned to the 35th Air Division of Air Defense Command (ADC) at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. It was last active in 1972.


Emblem of the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron

Airlift Operations[]

The squadron was first activated under the 317th Transport Group (later 317th Troop Carrier Group), an element of Air Transport Command (later I Troop Carrier Command) in May 1942[1] as the group expanded from three to four squadrons.[2] The group and squadron equipped with C-47 Skytrains and trained at several airfields in Texas, the midwest and the southeast.[1] It also performed various airlift missions as part of its training.[citation needed] The squadron deployed to Australia, arriving in January 1943[1] as an element of Fifth Air Force.[2] It made numerous flights in unarmed planes over the Owen Stanley Range transporting reinforcement and supplies to Wau, Papua New Guinea, where enemy forces were threatening a valuable Allied airdrome, for which it was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.[2] It performed paratroop drops at Nadzab (the first airborne operation in the Southwest Pacific)[2] and Noemfoor in New Guinea; Tagaytay, Luzon, and Corregidor and Aparri in the Philippines.[1] Also performed cargo airlift, supply and evacuation, and other assigned missions along the northern coast of New Guinea; the Dutch East Indies and in the Philippines as part of MacArthur's island hopping offensive against the Japanese in the Southwest Pacific.[citation needed] This included supplying guerillas in Mindanao, Cebu, and Panay.[2] In April 1945, it bombed Carabao Island with drums of napalm.[2]

The squadron deployed to Okinawa in August 1945 after the Japanese capitulation[1] and became part of the American occupation forces. It replaced its C-47s with longer range C-46 Commando aircraft and moved to Japan and the Korean peninsula during late 1945.[1] Its initial post-war missions included the evacuation of former Allied prisoners of war; later primarily cargo transport missions in the occupied areas of Japan and Korea during the postwar era.[citation needed] The squadron inactivated in 1949 in Japan[1] due to budget constraints; its aircraft being assigned to other units as part of the consolidation.[citation needed]

Cold War Air Defense[]

The squadron was activated as the 46th Air Defense Missile Squadron (BOMARC) in 1959 at McGuire AFB, New Jersey,[3] and stood alert during the Cold War, with IM-99A (later CIM-10) BOMARC surface to air antiaircraft missiles. The squadron was tied into a Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) direction center which could use analog computers to process information from ground radars, picket ships and airborne aircraft[4] to accelerate the display of tracking data at the direction center to quickly direct the missile site to engage hostile aircraft.[5] It trained personnel and prepared for operation of the BOMARC surface-to-air missiles; operated and maintained BOMARC missiles and associated equipment, trained personnel, and maintained a capability to intercept and destroy hostile aircraft until inactivation.[6] The squadron was inactivated on 31 October 1972, one of the last two BOMARC missile squadrons inactivated.[3]

The BOMARC missile site was located 4 miles (6.4 km) east-southeast of McGuire AFB at 40°02′06″N 074°26′29″W / 40.035°N 74.44139°W / 40.035; -74.44139 (46th ADMS). Although geographically separated from the base, it was an off base facility of McGuire and the squadron received administrative and logistical support from McGuire.[7]


The 46th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 46th Air Defense Missile Squadron were consolidated on 19 September 1985 as the 46th Tactical Missile Squadron while remaining inactive.[6]


46th Troop Carrier Squadron

  • Constituted as the 46th Transport Squadron on 30 May 1942[1]
Activated on 15 June 1942[1]
Redesignated as the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 July 1942[1]
Redesignated as the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron (Medium) on 10 August 1948[1]
Inactivated on 1 April 1949[1]
  • Consolidated with the 46 Air Defense Missile Squadron on 19 September 1985

46th Air Defense Missile Squadron

Constituted as the 46th Air Defense Missile Squadron (BOMARC) on 10 Dec 1958
Activated on 1 Jan 1959[3]
Inactivated on 31 Oct 1972[3]
  • Consolidated with the 46 Troop Carrier Squadron on 19 September 1985



  • Duncan Field, Texas, 15 June 1942[1]
  • Bowman Field, Kentucky, 19 June 1942;[1]
  • Lawson Field, Georgia, 10 October 1942[1]
  • Laurinburg-Maxton Airport, North Carolina, 3–12 December 1942[1]
  • Garbutt Field, Australia, 23 January 1943[1]
  • Port Moresby Airfield Complex, Papua New Guinea, 1 October 1943[1]
  • Finschhafen Airfield, Papua New Guinea, 19 April 1944[1]
  • Hollandia Airfield Complex, New Guinea, 5 July 1944[1]


  • Streamer PUC Army.PNG
  • Distinguished Unit Citation[1]
Papua New Guinea, 30 January 1943 - 1 February 1943
Philippine Islands, 16 February 1945 - 17 February 1945

New Guinea
Northern Solomons
Bismark Archipelago

Western Pacific
Southern Philippines

Aircraft and missiles[]

  • C-47 Skytrain, 1942–1945
  • C-46 Commando, 1945–1949
  • IM-99 (later CIM-10) BOMARC, 1959-1972

See also[]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 Maurer, Maurer, ed (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 205. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Maurer, Maurer, ed (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 195–196. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 150. 
  4. Winkler, David F.; Webster, Julie L (1997). Searching the skies: The legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program. Champaign, IL: US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. p. 39. LCCN 9720912. 
  5. Winkler & Webster, p. 3
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kane, Donald, AFHRA Lineage & Honors Statement 46th Tactical Missile Squadron, 2009
  7. 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. p. 412. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 
  8. The streamer inscription would read "Japan", not "Europe."

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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