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78th Air Refueling Squadron
78th Air Refueling Squadron.jpg
78th Air Refueling Squadron Patch
Active 25 February 1943 – 15 November 1945
17 July 1947 – 24 March 1954
1 April 1955 – 16 November 1957
8 May 1959 – 1 October 1973
1 November 1981 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aerial refueling
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
4th Air Force
514th Air Mobility Wing
514th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ McGuire Air Force Base
Engagements Operation Overlord
Operation Dragoon
Operation Market Garden
Operation Varsity
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm

The 78th Air Refueling Squadron (78 ARS) is part of the 514th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. It operates the KC-10 Extender aircraft conducting aerial refueling missions as the reserve associate to the 305th Air Mobility Wing.

History[edit | edit source]

Established in early 1943 as a C-47 Skytrain transport squadron under First Air Force, later trained under I Troop Carrier Command in the eastern United States. Deployed to England in late 1943, being assigned to Ninth Air Force in England, IX Troop Carrier Command to participate in the buildup of forces prior to the Allied landings in France during D-Day in June 1944. Began training for participation in the airborne operation over Normandy. Entered combat on D-Day 1944 by dropping paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division near Cherbourg; towed Waco and Horsa gliders carrying reinforcements to that area on the afternoon of D-Day and on the following morning; received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in the Normandy invasion.

Began transport services following the landings in France and intermittently engaged in missions of this type until V-E Day; hauled supplies such as serum, blood plasma, radar sets, clothing, rations, and ammunition, and evacuated wounded personnel to Allied hospitals.

Interrupted supply and evacuation missions to train for and participate in three major airborne assaults. A detachment that was sent to Italy in July 1944 for the invasion of Southern France dropped paratroops over the assault area on 15 August and released gliders carrying troops and equipment such as jeeps, guns, and ammunition; flew a resupply mission over France on 16 August; and then transported supplies to bases in Italy before returning to England at the end of the month.

In September 1944 the group participated in the air attack on Holland, dropping paratroops of 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions and releasing gliders carrying reinforcements.

Moved to France in February 1945 for the airborne assault across the Rhine; each aircraft towed two gliders in transporting troops and equipment to the east bank of the Rhine on 24 March; then the group flew resupply missions to Germany in support of ground forces. Transported supplies to occupation forces in Germany and evacuated Allied prisoners of war after V-E Day. Returned to the US in August Inactivated on 15 November 1945.

It conducted reserve airlift training and transport operations during periods July 1947 – February 1951, December 1952 – March 1954, April 1955 – November 1957, May 1959 – September 1961, and August 1962 – March 1972, during which times it often augmented Military Airlift Command's strategic airlift operations worldwide and took part in domestic training exercises. The squadron also served in an active status from, March 1951 – December 1952 and October 1961 – August 1962. Between April 1972 and October 1973, it performed a special operations role. In November 1981, the 78th began strategic aerial refueling and airlift operations. In December 1989 it refueled aircraft on way to Panama during Operation Just Cause. During Operation Desert Shield in 1990, its crews refueled more than a hundred aircraft on their way from the United States to the Persian Gulf area and delivered passengers and cargo.[1]

Operations and Decorations[edit | edit source]

  • Combat Operations. During World War II, transported personnel and cargo in ETO and MTO and participated in Allied airborne assaults on Normandy, Southern France, the Netherlands, and Germany. In Dec 1989 refueled aircraft on way to Panama during Operation Just Cause. During Operation Desert Shield in 1990, its crews refueled more than a hundred aircraft on their way from the United States to the Persian Gulf area and delivered passengers and cargo.
  • Campaigns. World War II: Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
  • Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: France 5-7 Jun 1944. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Aug 1967-25 Oct 1968; 1 Oct 1984-30 Aug 1986; 1 Oct 1995-30 Sep 1997. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Apr 1966-31 Mar 1972; 26-28 Oct 1972

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted 78th Troop Carrier Squadron on 30 Jan 1943
Activated on 25 Feb 1943
Inactivated on 15 Nov 1945
  • Activated in the Reserve on 17 Jul 1947
Re-designated: 78th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on 26 Jun 1949
Ordered to active service on 1 Mar 1951
Inactivated on 1 Dec 1952
  • Activated in the Reserve on 1 Dec 1952
Inactivated on 24 Mar 1954
  • Activated in the Reserve on 1 Apr 1955
Inactivated on 16 Nov 1957
  • Activated in the Reserve on 8 May 1959
Re-designated: 78th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on 8 May 1961
Ordered to active service on 1 Oct 1961
Relieved from active duty on 27 Aug 1962
Re-designated: 78th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy, on 1 Dec 1965
Re-designated: 78th Military Airlift Squadron on 1 Jan 1966
Re-designated: 78th Special Operations Squadron on 1 Apr 1972
Inactivated on 1 Oct 1973
  • Re-designated: 78th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy (Associate) on 25 Mar 1981
Activated in the Reserve on 1 Nov 1981
Re-designated: 78th Air Refueling Squadron (Associate) on 1 Feb 1992
Re-designated: 78th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 Oct 1994.

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Stations[edit | edit source]

Detachment operated from Tarquinia Airfield, Italy, 20 Jul-23 Aug 1944

Deployed at Donaldson AFB, South Carolina, 14-28 Aug 1960

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

References[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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