97th Air Refueling Squadron [97th ARS]
The 97th Air Refueling Squadron was constituted as the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron (Light) on 20 November 1940. Activated on 15 January 1941, at McChord Field, WA, it was assigned to General Headquarters Air Force (later, Air Force Combat Command), though briefly attached to the 17th Bombardment Group (15 January-7 May 1941) and the 47th Bombardment Group(8 May-13 August 1941).
The squadron was redesignated as the 97th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 14 August 1941 and reassigned to the 47th Bombardment Group. The unit was redesignated as the 97th Bombardment Squadron, Light, on 20 August 1943. During the course of World War II, the squadron deployed to locations in French Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Malta, Sicily, and Italy. Flying B-18 and B-24 aircraft, the squadron flew the DB-7 in 1942 and also transitioned to the A-20 that same year. The squadron conducted antisubmarine patrols, from December 1941-January 1942 and saw combat in MTO, from 28 December 1942-30 April 1945. It converted to the A-26 (later B-26) in 1946. The squadron returned to the United States where it inactivated at Lake Charles AAFld, LA, on 31 March 1946.
The squadron was consolidated on 19 September 1985 with the 97th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium, which was constituted on 2 February 1949 and activated on 1 March 1949 at Biggs AFB, TX. It was assigned to the 97th Bombardment Group (though effectively attached to the 97th Bombardment Wing, from 12 July 1950-15 June 1952). The unit began used the B-29 in 1950 and began using the KB-29 that same year. The squadron was first tasked with the mission of conducting air refueling operations, in 1951. It was reassigned to the 97th Bombardment Wing, ib 16 June 1952 (though attached to Fifteenth Air Force, c. 31 May-10 Jul 1955). The squadron transitioned to the KC-97 in 1954.
It was reassigned to the 4061st Air Refueling Wing, on 1 September 1957; the 9th Bombardment (later, 9th Strategic Aerospace) Wing (though attached to 341st Combat Support Group), on 15 July 1961; and the 28th Bombardment Wing, on 1 Jul 1962. During that period, the squadron was deployed at Upper Heyford, England (15 March-11 June 1952); Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland (21 November-20 December 1954 and c. 31 May-10 July 1955); RAF Greenham Common, England (1 May-9 July 1956); and Goose AB, Labrador (April-1 September 1957). It relocated to Malmstrom AFB, MT, on 1 September 1957. The squadron was discontinued and inactivated, on 15 March 1964.
The squadron was redesignated 97th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, and activated, on 8 October 1964 under Strategic Air Command, at Blytheville (later, Eaker) AFB, AR. The 97th ARS, Heavy, was organized on 23 October 1964 and assigned to the 97th Bombardment Wing, 23 Oct 1964. that same year, the unit converted to the KC-135.
Redesignated as the 97th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991, it was assigned to the 97th Operations Group. It inactivated on 1 April 1992.
The 97th ARS reactivated on 1 October 1992 at Malmstrom AFB, MT, as part of the 43rd Operations Group. It was reassigned to the 92nd Air Refueling Wing's Operations Group, on 1 July 1994, when it relocated to Fairchild AFB, WA.
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