43d Airlift Wing

43d Airlift Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 43d Airlift Wing

caption= 43d Airlift Wing Insignia
dates= 20 November, 1940
country= United States
branch= United States Air Force
role= Tactical Airlift
command_structure= Air Mobility Command
current_commander= Colonel [http://public.pope.amc.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=8695 Timothy Zadalis]
garrison= Pope Air Force Base
motto= Willing, Able, Ready
notable_commanders= David A. Burchinal
Jack J. Catton

The United States Air Force's 43d Airlift Wing is an airlift unit located at Pope AFB, North Carolina.


To provide the Rapid Global Mobility of the United States Air Force


World War II

The 43d trained for bombardment operations during most of 1941. From December 1941-February 1942, the group flew antisubmarine patrols along the New England coast. In 1942, the group was assigned to the Fifth Air Force and was moved to the Southwest Pacific via Cape Town, South Africa, during the months of February and March 1942.

When the 43d arrived in the combat zone it attacked Japanese shipping in the Dutch East Indies and the Bismarck Archipelago from bases in Australia, New Guinea, and Owi Island] between August 1942 and November 1944. The 43d earned a Distinguished Unit Citation (DCU) for missions over Papua, New Guinea from August 1942-January 1943. It used skip bombing to sink Japanese ships during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2-4 March 1943, for which the unit earned a second DUC.

In addition to unit citations, Captain Jay Zeamer, Jr., pilot, and Second Lieutenant Joseph R. Sarnoski, bombardier, each won the Medal of Honor for action while on a photographic mapping mission over the Solomon Islands 16 June 1943. When the mission was nearly completed their aircraft was assaulted by about 20 interceptors. Although painfully wounded, Sarnoski remained at the nose guns and fired at the enemy until he died at his post. Sustaining severe injuries, Zeamer maneuvered the plane until the enemy had broken combat, then directed the flight to a base more than 500 miles away.

The 43d went on to provide support for ground forces on New Guinea and attacked airfields and other enemy installations in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Yap, Palau, and the southern Philippines in 1943 and 1944. The group conducted long-range raids on oil refineries on Ceram and Borneo late in the war. After moving to the Philippines in November 1944, the group attacked shipping along the Asiatic coast and struck factories, airfields, and other installations in China and on Formosa. Additionally, it supported ground forces on Luzon. The unit moved to Ie Shima in July 1945, from which it conducted raids against airfields and railways in Japan and against shipping in the Inland Sea and the Sea of Japan.

Moved without personnel or equipment to the Philippines in December 1945 and inactivated in April 1946.

Cold War

The 43d was reactivated in the United States on 1 October 1946 and redesignated a wing on 7 November 1947. It conducted strategic bombardment training from, 1946-1960, and air refueling, 1949-1960, to meet Strategic Air Command's (SAC) global commitments. Wing personnel established flight records, flying two B-29s around the world in 1948 in 15 days, flying the B-50 Lucky Lady II nonstop around the world in 94 hours and 40 seconds in 1949, and setting a jet endurance record in 1954 by keeping a B-47 airborne for 47:35 hours.

The wing converted to B-58 aircraft, the world's first supersonic bomber, in 1960. From March 1960 to July 1961 it operated a combat crew training school for B-58 aircrews, and from July 1962 until late 1969 it served as one of two SAC B-58 wings with a strategic bombardment mission. During the 1960s the wing established world flight speed records in the B-58. For example, in May 1961, a wing B-58 flew from New York to Paris in 3 hours, 14 minutes, and 45 seconds, establishing a new transatlantic speed record of 1,089.36 mph. During a race in 1962, a wing B-58 flew from Los Angeles to New York at an average speed of 1,214.65 mph. It flew from Los Angeles to New York and back in 4 hours, 41 minutes, and 15 seconds.

The wing also controlled an air refueling squadron from August 1964 until inactivation in January 1970.

Vietnam War

It activated again in April 1970, replacing the 3960th Strategic Wing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. On 1 July 1970, the 43d also assumed tasks formerly handled by the 4133d Bombardment Wing, (Provisional), including a combat mission. The wing employed attached aircraft and aircrews of other Strategic Air Command units to participate in Operation Arc Light combat missions in Southeast Asia from 1 July to mid-August 1970, and again from February 1972 to August 1973.

Following the end of combat operations the 43d provided routing training and ground alert with B-52 and KC-135 aircraft, the latter provided by other SAC units on loan. During 1975 the wing provided logistical and medical support to thousands of Vietnamese refugees evacuated from their homeland and located temporarily at Guam awaiting resettlement in the United States.

1970s - 1980s

The wing trained to remain proficient in strategic and conventional warfare capabilities. Beginning in 1974 it controlled TDY tankers and crews participating in the Pacific (formerly Andersen) Tanker Task Force that supported SAC operations in the western Pacific.

In July 1986 the 43d activated the 65th Strategic Squadron to control the TDY air refueling forces.

Post-Cold War

It conducted refueling operations from 1 June 1992 through 1 October 1996. It assumed an airlift role in April 1997. Crews and aircraft deployed to Europe and Southwest Asia for expeditionary rotations and contingency operations such as the enforcement of no-fly zones over Iraq. It also took part in humanitarian airlift operations and training exercises, often with U.S. Army airborne organizations stationed at nearby Fort Bragg. After terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, elements deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.


*World War II
*Operation Joint Endeavour
*Operation Southern Watch

Previous designations

*43d Bombardment Group, Heavy (1940 – 1946)
*43d Bombardment Group, Very Heavy (1946 – 1947)
*43d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy (1947 – 1948)
*43d Bombardment Wing, Medium (1948 – 1970)
*43d Strategic Wing (1970 – 1986)
*43d Bombardment Wing, Heavy (1986 – 1990)
*43d Air Refueling Wing (1990 – 1994)
*43d Air Refueling Group (1994 – 1997)
*43d Airlift Wing (1997 – Present)


Major command

*Air Force Combat Command (1941)
*United States Army Forces in Australia (1942)
*Far East Air Forces (1945-1946)
*Strategic Air Command (1947-1991)
*Air Mobility Command (1991-Present)

Numbered Air Force

*First Air Force (1941)
*Fifth Air Force (1942-1946)
*Fifteenth Air Force (1946, 1950-1951, 1992-1996)
*Eighth Air Force (1946-1950, 1970-1975)
*Twenty-First Air Force (1997-2003)
*Eighteenth Air Force (2003-Present)

Air division

*36th Air Division (1951-1960)
*19th Air Division (1960-1964)
*825th Strategic Aerospace Division (1964-1970)
*42d Air Division (1970)
*3d Air Division (1975-1990)

ubordinate organizations

43d Operations Group (43 OG)
*2d Airlift Squadron (2 AS)
*41st Airlift Squadron (41 AS)
*43d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (43 AES)
*43d Operations Support Squadron (43 OSS)

43d Maintenance Group (43 MXG)
*43d Maintenance Squadron (43 MXS)
*43d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (43 AMXS)
*743d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (743 AMXS)
*43d Maintenance Operations Squadron (43 MOS)

43d Mission Support Group (43 MSG)
*43d Contracting Squadron (43 CONS)
*43d Security Forces Squadron (43 SFS)
*43d Services Squadron (43 SVS)
*3d Aerial Port Squadron (3 APS)
*43d Logistics Readiness Squadron (43 LRS)
*43d Mission Support Squadron (43 MSS)
*43d Communications Squadron (43 CS)
*43d Civil Engineering Squadron (43 CES)
*43d Comptroller Squadron (43 CPTS)

43d Medical Group (43 MDG)

Bases stationed

*Langley Field, Virginia (1941)
*Bangor, Maine (1942-1942)
*Australia (1942)
*New Guinea (1942-1944)
*Owi, Schouten Islands (1944)
*Tacloban, Leyte (1944-1945)
*Luzon (1945-1946)
*Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona (1946-1960)
**Deployed to RAF Brize Norton, England (March-June 1953)
**Deployed to RAF Fairford, England (September-December 1954)
**Deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (July-October 1957)
*Carswell Air Force Base, Texas (1960-1964)
*Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas (1964-1970)
*Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (1970-1990)
*Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana (1992-1996)
*MacDill Air Force Base, Florida (1996-1997
*Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina (1997-Present)

Aircraft and missiles operated

*B-17 Flying Fortress (1941-1943)
*B-18 Bolo (1941)
*B-25 Mitchell (1941)
*PT-17 Stearman (1941)
*A-29 Hudson (1941)
*LB-30 (1941)
*B-24 Liberator (1943-1946)
*B-29 Superfortress (1946-1950)
*B-50 Superfortress (1948-1954)
*Boeing KB-29 (1949-1953)
*KC-97 Stratotanker (1953-1960)
*B-47 Stratojet (1954-1960)
*B-58 Hustler (1960-1970)
*TF-102 Delta Dagger (1960-1962)
*KC-135 Stratotanker (1964-1990, 1992-1996)
*B-52 Stratofortress (1970-1990)
*KC-10 Extender (1986-1990)
*C-97 Stratofreighter (1970-1972)
*C-118 Liftmaster (1973-1974)
*C-12 Huron (1994)
*C-130 (1997-Present)


External links

* [http://public.pope.amc.af.mil/ Pope AFB Official Website]

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