709th Airlift Squadron [709th AS]
The 709th Airlift Squadron is one of two flying units assigned to the 512th Airlift Wing.
The Army Air Corp constituted the 709th in World War II on 6 April 1943 and activated it on 1 May 1943 as the 709th Heavy Bombardment Squadron (709th HBS) flying B-17s out of Ephrata AAB, WA. On 1 August 1943 the squadron moved first to Rapid City, SD, then on 1 December 1943, then the 709th HBS deployed overseas to Rattlesen, England. The unit flew combat missions in offensive air campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, the Ardennes, and Central Europe. At the end of the war, 18 August 1945, the unit deployed home to Draw Field FL and was deactivated on 7 November 1945.
During the Berlin Crisis, on 24 October 1947, the newly formed U.S. Air Force reactivated the 709th HBS as a reserve unit at Bergstrom AFB, TX, only to deactivate it on 27 June 1949.
On 1 October 1973, the U.S. Air Force activated the 709th as the 709th Military Airlift Squadron (Associate) AFRES and assigned it to the 512th Military Airlift Wing (Associate) AFRES at Dover AFB, DE, to fly the C-5A/B Galaxy. Since then the unit has flow strategic airlift missions airlifting general cargo, outside cargo, and passengers in support numerous Air Force and Department of Defense airlift operations. These include humanitarian airlifts, unit deployments, Presidential movement logistical support, and contingency airlifts.
Some recent 709th airlifts:
- Disaster Relief - Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew, Armenian Earthquake, PROVIDE HOPE to Russia, PROVIDE COMFORT, many other humanitarian airlifts large and small.
- Contingency Operations - Yon Kippur Israeli Airlift, JUST CAUSE to Panama, DESERT SHIELDS/STORM, RESTORE HOPE to Haiti, Somalia, and Rwanda.
On August 1990, the President activated the 709th MAS for DESERT SHIELD/STORM. The unit was a key part of the aluminum air bridge that airlifted units, supplies and personnel into and later, out of the Persian Gulf region. On 1 June 1992, as part of the post Cold War reorganization of the U.S. Air Force and the Military Airlift Command (MAC) the 709th Military Airlift Squadron was redesigned as the 709th Airlift Squadron (709th AS) and was assigned with its renamed parent wing, the 512th Airlift Wing, to the newly formed Air Mobility Command.
The mission of the 709th Airlift Squadron is to provide the Combat Ready Aircrews to fly C-5A/B Galaxy Aircraft on Global Airlift missions in support of National Command Authorities on overseas airlift missions, Joint Service Exercises, Humanitarian Relief, Presidential movement, and C-5 A/B aircrew training.
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