305th Air Mobility Wing

305th Air Mobility Wing

The 305th Air Mobility Wing (305 AMW) is a United States Air Force airlift and air refueling wing under the operational control of the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 305 AMW is also the host unit at McGuire Air Force Base in central New Jersey.

The 305th Air Mobility Wing extends America's global reach by generating, mobilizing and deploying C-17 and KC-10 aircraft to conduct strategic airlift and air refueling missions.

The Wing's motto is "Can Do," a description formulated in World War II when the 305th earned its reputation as courageous, innovative warriors.

Units

The following squadrons make up the 305th Mission Support Group (305 MSG):

  • 305th Aerial Port Squadron
  • 305th Civil Engineer Squadron
  • 305th Communications Squadron
  • 305th Contracting Squadron
  • 305th Logistics Readiness Squadron
  • 305th Mission Support Squadron
  • 305th Security Forces Squadron
  • 305th Services Squadron

The following squadrons make up the 305th Operations Group (305 OG):

The following squadrons make up the 305th Maintenance Group (305 MXG):

  • 305th Maintenance Operations Squadron
  • 305th Maintenance Squadron
  • 305th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

History

Lineage

  • Established as 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942.
    • Activated on 1 Mar 1942.
    • Redesignated 305th Bombardment Group, Heavy, on 20 Aug 1943.
    • Inactivated on 25 Dec 1946.
  • Redesignated 305th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 11 Jun 1947.
    • Activated on 1 Jul 1947.
    • Inactivated on 6 Sep 1948
  • Established as 305th Bombardment Wing, Medium, on 20 Dec 1950.
    • Activated on 2 Jan 1951
    • Redesignated: 305th Air Refueling Wing on 1 Jan 1970
    • Redesignated: 305th Air Refueling Wing, Heavy, on 1 Feb 1978
    • Redesignated: 305th Air Refueling Wing on 1 Sep 1991
    • Redesignated: 305 Air Mobility Wing on 1 Oct 1994.

Bases assigned

Aircraft operated

Operational history

World War II

Constituted as 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for duty overseas with B-17's. Moved to RAF Grafton Underwood England, Aug-Oct 1942, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The Group was assigned to the 40th Combat Wing at RAF Thurleigh. The group tail code was a "Triangle G".

It's operational squadrons were:

  • 364th Bomb Group (B-17F) (WF)
  • 365th Bomb Group (B-17F) (XK)
  • 366th Bomb Group (B-17F) (KY)
  • 422nd Bomb Group (B-17F) (JJ)

At Grafton Underwood, the group began combat on 17 November 1942 and attacked such targets as submarine pens, docks, harbours, shipyards, motor works, and marshalling yards in France, Germany, and the Low Countries.

During December 1942, the group was transferred to RAF Chelveston. During the winter of 1942/43, the 305th was commanded by Colonel Curtis LeMay and pioneered many of the techniques of daylight bombing used by the USAAF over Nazi-controlled Europe. These fundamental procedures and techniques were later adapted to the B-29 Super Fortresses which fought the war to its conclusion in the Pacific.

The 305th BG bombed the navy yards at Wilhelmshaven on 27 January 1943 when heavy bombers of Eighth AF made their first penetration into Germany. Through mid-1943, the group attacked strategic targets as submarine pens, docks, harbors, shipyards, motor works, and marshaling yards in France, Germany, and the Low Countries.

The 305th BG received the Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on April 1943 when an industrial target in Paris was bombed with precision in spite of pressing enemy fighter attacks and heavy flak.

During the second half of 1943, the unit began deeper penetration into enemy territory to strike heavy industry. Significant objectives included aluminum, magnesium, and nitrate works in Norway, industries in Berlin, oil plants at Merseburg, aircraft factories at Anklam, shipping at Gdynia, and ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt.

A second Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded to the 305th for withstanding severe opposition to bomb aircraft factories in central Germany on 11 January 1944. The unit participated in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944.

In addition to bombardment of strategic targets, the 305th BG often flew tactical interdictory missions and supported infantry units. Prior to the Normandy invasion in June 1944, it helped to neutralize enemy installations such as V-weapon sites, airfields, and repair shops. On D-Day, 6 June, the unit bombed enemy strongholds near the battle area. During the Battle of Normandy the 305th attacked enemy positions in advance of ground forces at St Lo in July 1944 and struck antiaircraft batteries to cover the airborne invasion of Holland in September.

The 422nd Bomb Squadron became a specialist unit in the summer of 1943, taking part in experimental night bombing missions with the B-17 and carrying out leaflet dropping sorties in the darkness. In 1944, the squadron extended its activities to pathfinder techniques using the H2X airborne radar.

The 305th took part in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by bombing military installations in the battle zone, and supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

After V-E Day, the 305th moved to St Trond Air Base, Belgium in July, 1945 and Chelveston was returned to the RAF in October 1945. The 305th Bomb Group became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe, performing occupation duty at Lechfeld Air Base, Germany, December 1945 - 25 December 1946.

The group was inactivated in Germany on 25 December 1946.

1st Lt William R Lawley Jr and 1st Lt Edward S Michael, pilots in the 364th Bomb Squadron, each received the Medal of Honor for similar performances on 20 February and 11 April 1944, respectively.

In each case a B-17 was severely damaged by fighters after it had bombed a target in Germany, crew members were wounded, and the pilot himself was critically injured; recovering in time to pull his aircraft out of a steep dive, and realizing that the wounded men would be unable to bail out, each pilot flew his plane back to England and made a successful crash landing.

Cold War

The 305th Bombardment Group was not operational during brief periods of activation as a B-29 unit between July 1947 and September 1948 and between January 1951 and June 1952.

MacDill AFB

On 2 January 1951 the 305th Bombardment Wing was activated at MacDill AFB, Florida and the wing took charge of the Group's former flying squadrons. Initially training with the Boeing B-29 and B-50 Superfortress, the 305th received its first Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker later that year. Following this, the group began training heavily in its new dual mission of strategic bombardment and aerial refueling.

In June 1952, the wing became the second Strategic Air Command (SAC) wing to receive the Boeing B-47A Stratojet bomber. Operational squadrons of the wing were the 305th, 364th, 365th and 366th Bombardment Squadrons, while the 306th Bombardment Squadron was intended to act as a training unit to prepare future B-47 crews. The B-47As were primarily training aircraft and were not considered as being combat ready, since most of them were unarmed and were initially without almost any of their vital electronic components

In 1953, the 305th was upgraded to the B-47B production Stratojet and the wing began operational strategic bombardment and refueling missions from MacDill. The wing deployed overseas three times, once to England (Sep-Dec 1953) and twice to North Africa (Nov 1955-Jan 1956 and Jan-Mar 1957), in keeping with its mission of global bombardment and air refueling operations. The wing's deployments marked the first overseas deployment of the B-47B.

Two wing B-47s set speed records on 28 Jul 1953 when one flew from RCAF Goose Bay, Labrador, to RAF Fairford, England, in 4:14 hours and the other flew from Limestone AFB, Maine, to RAF Fairford in 4:45 hours.

In 1955, SAC upgraded the 305th to the B-47E, the major production version of the Stratojet.

Bunker Hill AFB

In May 1959, the 305th Bomb Wing with B-47's was reassigned to Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana and assumed responsibility for operating the base. Later that same year, the first Boeing KC-135A Stratotankers were assigned to the unit, replacing the propeller-driven KC-97s that had difficulties keeping up with the B-47 jet aircraft.

In September 1960, the 305th became the second USAF wing selected to receive the Convair B-58A Hustler. The first aircraft was received on 11 May 1961. Two months later, the first TB-58A trainer arrived. Three squadrons (364th, 365th and 366th) were equipped with B-58As, and the wing was declared operationally ready in August 1962.

A wing B-58 set a new speed record on 16 Oct 1963 by flying from Tokyo, Japan, to London, England (via Alaska and Greenland), in 8:35 hours at an average speed of 938 mph.

In a little-known attempt to increase the flexibility of the B-58 as a weapons system, experiments were carried out in April 1964 under a program known as Operation Bullseye to see if the B-58 could carry and deliver conventional bombs. In coordination with Republic F-105Ds and McDonnell F-4C/Ds, sorties were flown using B-58s as lead ships and pathfinders and as independent strike aircraft. It was demonstrated that the B-58 could carry iron bombs on the wing root bomb racks that had earlier been added to accommodate four Mk. 43 nuclear weapons. Iron bombs of varying weights up to 3000 pounds were dropped, usually from low altitudes and at speeds of 600 knots. Almost all of the drops were visual, with the AN/ASQ-42 system rarely being used. However, the fear that the B-58's integral wing tanks would make it vulnerable to ground fire during low altitude delivery lead to the abandonment of the program.

The wing operated a B-58 combat crew training school, Aug 1965 - Dec 1969, and gained an Boeing EC-135 Post-Attack Command Control System (PACCS) mission with the 3d PACCS squadron in mid-1966.

After 26 years of bearing the name Bunker Hill, the base was renamed Grissom AFB on May 12 1968 after Lieutenant Colonel Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, USAF, a native of Mitchell, Indiana who was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. Having later commanded the Gemini 3 mission in 1965, Colonel Grissom was assigned as commander for the first manned Apollo mission, but was killed with the rest of his crew during a fire in his Apollo 1 capsule during a pre-launch rehearsal on Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy, Florida in January 1967.

The active service life of the B-58 was destined to be rather short. Phaseout of the B-58 fleet was ordered by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in December 1965, since it was felt that the high-altitude performance of the B-58 could no longer guarantee success against increasingly-sophisticated Soviet air defenses. At that time, Secretary McNamara also announced that the FB-111A would be built. McNamara proposed that a SAC variant of the new F-111, to be designated FB-111A, along with improvements in the Minuteman and Polaris missiles and modernization of the subsonic Boeing B-52, would enhance strategic deterrence and make the B-58 superfluous to the needs of the USAF.

The first B-58s to go into long term storage was B-58A 59-2446, which flew to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona on 5 November 1969. Once underway, the B-58 retirement program moved relatively rapidly. The retirement was completed on 16 January 1970, when the 305th Bomb Wing's last two B-58s (55-0662 and 61-0278) were flown to Davis-Monthan AFB for storage.

Air Refueling Mission

With the loss of its bombardment squadrons, the 305th Bomb Wing was converted to an inflight-refueling wing using KC-135As and was redesignated as the 305th Air Refueling Wing on 1 Jan 1970.

From the early 1970s the wing supported worldwide tanker task forces by deploying KC-135 aircraft to Europe, Alaska, Greenland, and the Pacific. In 1975, the 3d ACCS was inactivated and its specialized EC-135s were transferred to the 70th Air Refueling Squadron.

The wing provided tanker refueling support to units involved in the Invasion of Grenada (Oct 1983) and the restoration of democracy in Panama (Dec 1989). From Aug 1990 to Jun 1991 deployed personnel and aircraft to provide refueling support for air operations to and in Southwest Asia. The 305th Wing also delivered food to the Kurds in Northern Iraq, Apr-May 1991. It was redesignated the 305th Air Refueling Wing, Heavy on Sep 1, 1991

The 1993 BRAC directed realignment of Grissom AFB to the Air Force Reserve and the 305th ARW phased out operations there in 1994. The KC-135R equipped 70th and 305th ARS were inactivated. In addition, the EC-135G/L radio relay aircraft as part of the PCCS system were retired.

Subsequently, the 70th ARS was reactivated at Grissom on 1 Sep 1994 as an Air Force Reserve KC-135 squadron as part of the Air Force Reserve's 434th Air Refueling Wing.

Post Cold War

On 1 June 1992, the 305th was realigned to Air Mobility Command and redesignated as the 305th Air Mobility Wing.

It was moved without personnel or equipment to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, replacing the 438th Airlift Wing on 1 October 1994. At McGuire, the wing controlled three squadrons of Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transports and Douglas KC-10 Extender tankers.

The 305th AMW is currently on active duty at McGuire AFB, New Jersey with over 55 years of service.

References

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to Present

External links

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