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21ST AIRLIFT SQUADRON

Posted 11/27/2006 Printable Fact Sheet
 
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21st Airlift Squadron
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The 21st Airlift Squadron was activated at Archer Field, Brisbane, Australia, April 3, 1942, as the 21st Transportation Squadron. Throughout World War II the squadron remained in the New Guinea-Australia theatre airlifting various types of cargo. In July 1942, the unit was redesignated the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron and began flying the C-46 Commando and the C-47 Skytrain.

When the Korean conflict began in October 1950, the 21st was again called into action. The 21st was the first squadron to ferry supplies into marginal dirt strips. The squadron participated in all major engagements in Korea, including the massive airdrops at Sunchon in which 290.8 tons of supplies and 1,093 paratroopers were dropped in three days. During the 1960's the squadron began airlift missions in support of operations in Southeast Asia.

In 1967, the squadron was redesignated the 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron. In 1968, during the siege of Khe San, crews from the 21st performed massive airdrops and assault landing supporting the besieged outpost. Through 1973 and 1974, the "Bee liners" were instrumental in repatriating American POW's to US soil.

During the 80's, the 21st frequently participated in exercises including TEAM SPIRIT, FOAL EAGLE, TANDEM ORBIT, and COPE THUNDER. The 21st has earned five Distinguished Unit Citations, one Presidential Unit Citation, and four Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards. The 21st was selected for the 1991 Military Airlift Command's Outstanding Tactical Airlift Unit Award and best Active Duty Tactical Airdrop Award at the 1993 Rodeo competition.

On Oct. 1, 1993, the 21st was transferred from Yokota AB, Japan to Travis AFB, Calif. On that historic day, the conversion from the C-130 Hercules to the mammoth C-5 Galaxy was made. Since the conversion to the C-5 Galaxy in 1993, the 21st has helped avert conflict between North and South Korea by flying triple aerial-refueling mission carrying Patriot missile batteries directly to South Korea.

They were also involved in several humanitarian missions in 1994 including transportation of tons of badly needed medical supplies and food to disease-ravaged Rwanda, missions in support of the Haitian and Cuban relief efforts, and closer to home, the 21st provided the first C-5 crew to fly critically-needed firefighters equipment to earthquake-stricken Los Angeles. With the awesome combination of the C-5 and aerial-refueling, the 21st delivers heavy and outsized cargo from the cold of Russia to the heat of Indonesia.

Today, the 21st Airlift Squadron continues its long history of service to the nation. On April 3, 2006, the 21st Airlift Squadron celebrated its 64th anniversary. On the same day, the squadron officially transferred from the mighty C-5 Galaxy to America's Premier Airlifter, the C-17A Globemaster III. On Aug. 8, 2006, the 21st will welcome its first C-17, "The Spirit of Solano". With the arrival of that aircraft, the men and women of the 21st Airlift Squadron will continue to uphold the fine tradition of the "Bee liners" as part of the 60th Air Mobility Wing, America's First Choice.

LINEAGE
- Constituted 21st Transport Squadron on March 7, 1942.

- Activated on April 3, 1942. Redesignated 21st Troop Carrier Squadron on July 5, 1942.

- Inactivated on Jan. 31, 1946.

- Activated on Oct. 15, 1946. Redesignated: 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on May 21, 1948

- Redesignated 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on Feb. 2, 1951

- Redesignated 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on Dec. 1, 1952

- Redesignated 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on Sept. 18, 1956

- Redesignated 21st Troop Carrier Squadron on Dec. 8, 1966

- Redesignated 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron on Aug. 1, 1967

- Redesignated 21st Airlift Squadron on April 1, 1992.

AIRCRAFT
1942 -- DC-2, DC-3, C-39, C-40, C-49, C-50, C-53, C-56, C-60, B-17, B-18, and LB-30

1942-1946 -- C-47

1945-1946 -- C-46

1946-1949, 1950, 1952 -- C-46

1946-1950, 1952-1956 -- C-54

1950-1952 -- C-47

1956-1959 -- C-119

1958-1971, 1971-1993 -- C-130

1993 - 2006 -- C-5

2006 - Present -- C-17

ASSIGNMENTS
April 3, 1942 -- Air Transport Command, US Army Forces in Australia (later, Air Carrier Service, Air Service Command, Fifth Air Force)

Nov. 12, 1942-Jan. 31, 1946 -- 374th Troop Carrier Group, (attached to 54th Troop Carrier Wing, July 2-c. Sept. 1, 1944)

Oct. 15, 1946 -- 374th Troop Carrier Group, (attached to Guam Air Materiel Area, Provisional, Feb. 1-Aug. 31, 1947

March 5-May 15, 1949 -- Twentieth Air Force

May 16, 1949-Jan. 31, 1950 -- 19th Bombardment Wing

Feb. 1-16, 1950 -- Thirteenth Air Force

Feb. 17-June 8, 1950 -- 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing

Oct. 16, 1950-Jan. 25, 1951 -- Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command, Provisional

June 29, 1951-March 27, 1952 -- 374th Troop Carrier Wing

March 28-April 14, 1952 -- 6122nd Air Base Wing

April 14-Dec. 1, 1952 -- 403rd Troop Carrier Wing

Feb. 3, 1956 -- 374th Troop Carrier Wing

Sept 18, 1956 -- 483rd Troop Carrier Group, (remained attached to 374th Troop Carrier Wing to July 1, 1957; attached to 483rd Troop Carrier Wing, July 1, 1957-Dec. 7, 1958)

Dec. 8, 1958 -- 483d Troop Carrier Wing

June 25, 1960 -- 315th Air Division, (attached to Detachment 1, HQ, 315th Air Division, June 25, 1960-Oct. 20, 1964; 6315th Operations Group, Oct. 20, 1964-Aug. 7, 1966)

Aug. 8, 1966 -- 374th Troop Carrier (later, 374th Tactical Airlift) Wing

April 1, 1992 -- 374th Operations Group

Oct. 1, 1993 - Present -- 60th Operations Group

STATIONS
- Archerfield, Australia, April 3, 1942
- Port Moresby, New Guinea, Feb. 18, 1943
- Archerfield, Australia, Sept. 28, 1943
- Nadzab, New Guinea, Aug. 26, 1944
- Biak, Oct. 14, 1944
- Atsugi, Japan, Sept. 20, 1945
- Manila, Philippines, December 1945-Jan. 31, 1946
- Harmon Field (later, AFB), Guam, Oct. 15, 1946
- Clark AFB, Philippines, Jan. 27, 1950
- Tachikawa AB, Japan, June 29, 1950
- Ashiya AB, Japan, July 21, 1950
- Brady AB, Japan, Sept. 3, 1950
- Itazuke AB, Japan, Oct. 24, 1950
- Tachikawa AB, Japan, Jan. 25, 1951
- Ashiya AB, Japan, July 26, 1951
- Tachikawa AB, Japan, Oct. 18, 1951
- Ashiya AB, Japan, March 28, 1952
- Tachikawa AB, Japan, Dec. 1, 1952 (deployed at Kisarazu AB, Japan, Nov. 14-20, 1955; advanced party at Naha AB, Okinawa, Aug. 18-Nov. 14, 1958)
- Naha AB, Okinawa, Nov. 15, 1958
- Ching Chuan AB, Taiwan, May 31, 1971
- Clark AB, Philippines, Nov. 1, 1973
- Yokota AB, Japan, Oct. 1, 1989-Oct. 1, 1993
- Travis AFB, Calif., Oct. 1, 1993- Present

RECENT OPERATIONS
- OPERATION SHINING EXPRESS
- OPERATION STABILIZE
- OPERATION PHOENIX SPRUCE
- OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE
- OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
- OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
- JOINT ENDEAVOR
- DECISIVE ENDEAVOR
- BRIGHT STAR
- PITCH BLACK
- PALACE BLITZ
- DEEP FREEZE
- SUPPORT HOPE
- PHOENIX JACKAL
- SEA SIGNAL
- PROVIDE PROMISE
- DENY FLIGHT
- PHOENIX DAGGER
- PHOENIX TUSK
- PHOENIX BANNER
- PHOENIX SILVER
- PHOENIX MOAT
- PHOENIX DART
- JOINT GUARDIAN
- ASSURED RESPONSE
- FREEDOM BANNER, Phoenix Scorpion I and II







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