73d Bombardment Wing

456th Bombardment Wing

The 456th Wing was a wing of the United States Air Force, active in several different guises from 1952 to 1975.

From October 1952 to July 1956, the 456th was activate as the 456th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, operating C-119 Flying Boxcar transports in both standard airlift and research mission flights, based out of Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina; Shiroi Air Base, Japan; and Ardmore Air Force Base, Oklahoma. In November 1962 the wing was designated the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing and was stationed at Beale Air Force Base, California, flying B-52 Stratofortress bombers and KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft, and operating a Titan I ICBM squadron (1962-1965). In July 1972 the wing was redesignated the 456th Bombardment Wing, Heavy and continued to fly the B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker, but lost the ICBM squadron. The wing was inactivated in September 1975.


456th Troop Carrier Wing (Medium)

The 456th Troop Carrier Wing (Medium) (456 TCW) was activated as part of the Air Force Reserves in October 1952. It was reorganized on 1 March 1955 and assumed control over three tactical squadrons plus three squadron-size detachments manned for self-sufficient operations and having eight specially modified C-119 Flying Boxcars. The 456 TCW participated in Project DRAG NET, part of PROJECT 119L. The wing’s task was to perform aerial recovery of high altitude balloon-borne instrument packages. The 456 TCW was shut down in July 1956.

456th Strategic Aerospace Wing

The 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing (456 SAW) was activated 1 October or November 1962, replacing the 4126th Strategic Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California. The 456 SAW assumed a mission of strategic bombardment training, with B-52s, and air refueling, with KC-135s, as well as controlling a Titan I strategic missile squadron until early 1965. The wing’s bombardment and air refueling squadrons frequently deployed aircraft and crews to meet USAF requirements, often having nearly all of the resources of the wing scattered around the world at various operating locations.

When the 456th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) (456 BW) was shut down on 30 September 1975, it was replaced by the 17th Bombardment Wing, Heavy.

In 1963 the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing was featured as the fictional 904th Strategic Aerospace Wing in the Hollywood film production A Gathering of Eagles.

Lineage and Honors

Bestowed Honors: During its operational service the wing was bestowed with the lineage, honors, and history of the World War II 456th Bomb Group (italicized).

Service Streamers

Campaign Streamers

  • World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley; Air Combat, EAME Theater

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers


  • Distinguished Unit Citation (2): Wiener Neustadt, Austria, 10 May 1944; Budapest, Hungary, 2 July 1944







Aircraft / Missiles / Space Vehicles

See also


  • Ravenstein, Charles A., Air Force Combat Wings 1947-1977, Office of Air Force History (1984), pp. 251-251. ISBN 0-912799-12-9

External links

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