The 374th Airlift Wing is under the United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Fifth Air Force. It is the only airlift wing in PACAF and provides airlift support to all DoD agencies in the Pacific theater of operation. It also provides transport for people and equipment throughout the Kanto Plain and the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The Wing participates in operations involving air, land and airdrop of troops, equipment, supplies, and support or augment special operations forces, when appropriate. It fields a provisional airlift wing or group headquarters (when required) to command airlift resources as units in support of contingencies or exercises. It also supports assigned, attached, and associate units on Yokota Air Base and satellite installations according to higher headquarters' direction.
The 374th Airlift Wing has never been stationed in the United States.
The mission of the 374th Airlift Wing is to provide command and control of subordinate units for the execution of troop, cargo, military equipment, passengers, mail, and aeromedical evacuation/airlift to and from areas requiring such airlift.
.*** Bestowed honors, lineage and history of USAAF World War II 374th Troop Carrier Group, 1952
The 374th AW aircrews have flown a variety of aircraft, including the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando, Douglas C-54 Skymaster, C-124 Globemaster II, Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcar", Lockheed C-130 Hercules, McDonnell Douglas C-9, C-12 Huron, C-21A, and Bell Helicopter Textron UH-1 Huey
The 374th Troop Carrier Group was activated at Brisbane Australia on 12 November 1942 and was assigned to Fifth Air Force. The unit drew its resources from the Air Carrier Service (formerly Air Transport Command) Allied Air Forces, Southwest Pacific Area when it formed. It had four troop carrier squadrons assigned (6th, 21st, 22d, and 33d) from 1942-46.
The 21st and 22d were veterans of the South Pacific Area. During the remainder of 1942 and early 1943, the group employed a large variety of aircraft to perform air transport of troops, cargo, and evacuation of the wounded, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations (DUCs) in Papua.
In January 1943, the group supplied Allied forces during the battle of Wau airstrip, making landings at the airstrip under enemy fire and earning its third DUC. From mid-February to July 1943, the group transported personnel and supplies to three principal areas: Dobodura, where a large base was being constructed; Wau and Bulolo, rear bases for advancing Allied forces; and to patrols skirting Lae and Salamau.
During July and August 1943, the group trained elements of the 375th, 403d, and 433d Troop Carrier Groups with C-47s.
When the campaign against Lae opened on 5 September 1943, the 374th led aircraft of those groups in a drop of US airborne troops and Australian artillery paratroops at Nadzab airdrome. The next day, as vegetation around the captured airdrome still burned, the group landed engineer troops and equipment to repair the damaged runways, and artillery to protect the captured airstrip. After the capture of Lae ten days later, the group flew 303 trips moving large stores of ammunition, supplies, and equipment for use of advancing ground troops.
From October 1943 - May 1944, the 374th maintained an unending flow of troops and equipment, including arms and ammunition, to units scattered throughout Australia and New Guinea areas. It continued to provide these services and in November 1944 commenced cargo and personnel flights to Leyte in the Philippines, which required three days for a round trip. By January 1945, flights in the New Guinea and Australian areas continued, but flights to the Philippines almost ceased until the group moved to Nielson Field near Manila and remained until the end of the war.
The group participated in training maneuvers with army and naval forces in the Pacific Theater until May 1946. From October 1946 to April 1947, the 347th provided troop carrier and air courier services and participated in joint maneuvers in the Pacific.
The 374th Wing operated Harmon Field, Guam from August 1948 though March 1949, and provided troop carrier operations in the Pacific and Far East. It moved to Japan in March 1949, and assumed control over Tachikawa (later, Tachikawa AB), operating this facility until 1 January 1956.
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the 374th was the only air transport group in the Far East. During the war, the combat components of the unit were:
The Wing's assigned and attached components flew a variety of aircraft, including C-54s, C-46s, C-47s, C-119s, and C-124s, performing combat airlift, airdrops, and aeromedical evacuation in Korea throughout the war
The Wing performed routine transport operations. With assigned and attached components, the wing performed combat airlift, airdrops, and aeromedical evacuation in Korea throughout the war. For its work between 27 June and 15 September 1950, transporting vital cargo, personnel and evacuating wounded men, the 374th earned its fourth DUC
It also flew courier flights throughout the Pacific area. In April 1953, the 347th transported the first of several groups of repatriated prisoners of war from Korea to Japan (Operation Little Switch), and subsequently transported United Nations prisoners of war (Operation Big Switch) from North Korea.
Following hostilities, the wing resumed its normal troop carrier and airlift operations in the Far East and Pacific area, including participation in tactical exercises and humanitarian missions.
Beginning in January 1954, the 374th airlifted wounded French troops from Indochina to Japan, en route to France. Principal operations from 1955 until 1958 consisted of numerous mobility exercises, routine theater airlift, and occasional exercises throughout the Western Pacific region. It trained C-46 pilots of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, from November 1954 through May 1955.
Nine years later, in August 1966, it was activated at Naha AB, Okinawa as part of the 315th Air Division, and assumed a mission of airlift to Southeast Asia, as well as intra-theater airlift for elements of the Pacific Command. In addition, the wing supported Army Special Forces training, participated in tactical exercises, and flew search and rescue and humanitarian missions as needed.
The wing had no aircraft from 27 April to 31 May 1971. It was revived with new resources at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base Taiwan and remained heavily committed in support of operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and also continued routine airlift in other areas. One of the wing's humanitarian missions-flood relief in the Philippines-earned it a Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation in 1972.
The wing provided support in March 1973 for Operation Homecoming, the repatriation of American prisoners from Hanoi, North Vietnam. It maintained a forward operating location at Korat RTAFB Thailand until 1976. The 374th participated in Operation Baby Lift (evacuation of Vietnam orphans) and Operation NewLife (evacuation of Vietnamese refugees) in April 1975. During the recovery of the SS Mayaguez from the Cambodians in May 1975, a wing aircraft dropped a 15,000-lb bomb on Koh Tang Island to create a helicopter landing area.
On 31 March 1975, the 374th gained an aeromedical airlift mission in the Far East. In October 1978, it added a tactical airlift group to control the wing's units in Japan and South Korea, and continued controlling aerial port facilities in South Korea until Nov 1983, and then in the Philippines and Japan.
It began supporting US Navy elements in the Indian Ocean area in 1980. From 30 December 1990 through 6 July 1991, the wing deployed C-130s and associated aircrews and support personnel for operations in Southwest Asia, and from 8 June through 1 July 1991 provided airlift and aeromedical airlift for the evacuation of Clark AB, Philippines, after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
In 1996, the 374th deployed portions of the Air Transportable Hospital to Andersen AFB, Guam to assist in Operation Pacific Haven, migrant operations of more than 2000 Kurdish nationals. Deployed to Utapao RTAFB, Thailand from 28 December 2004 though 26 January 2005 as part of Operation Unified Assistance, distributing humanitarian supplies to people and eleven nations devastated by an earthquake triggered tsunami.