40th Airlift Squadron
Alongside their sister squadron the 39th, the 40th Airlift Squadron and it's compliment of 14 C-130 Hercules aircraft maintain a high degree of activity and professional dedication to its mission.
The 40th Airlift Squadron was originally activated in Februry 1942 as part of the 317th Troop Carrier Group. Flying C-47 "Skytrains" at Duncan Field, San Antonio Texas, they were known as the 40th Transport Squadron. In July of that year they became the 40th Troop Carrier Squadron. After training for the remainder of the year at several bases throughout the south, the 40th moved to Garbutt Field, Australia in Jan of 1943. Here they flew their first missions in support of World War II, carrying infantry troops into combat areas, providing aerial resupply and evacuating wounded personnel. It was during this time that the squadron received their first Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC).
In October of 1943 the 40th was reassigned to Finschhafen, New Guinea. It was while in New Guinea (1943-44) flying multiple combat missions that the 40th had an active role in what was to be rated one of the finest and most precise airdrops of WWII. The 40th air dropped over 1800 paratroopers behind enemy lines in order to cut supply routes and seize airbases.
In November of 1944, the 40th carried the vanguard of General McArthur's forces to the Philippines. The squadron received it's second DUC for air dropping the 502nd Regiment on Corregidor, which led to the opening of Manilla Bay to allied shipping.
After flying several hundred sorties in support of the WWII, the 40th participated in one of the wars last missions, flying support for the allied representatives who would accept Japan's surrender. The 40th remained in Japan afterwards as part of the occupation force.
In 1948, having transitioned to C-54 aircraft, the 40th moved to Wiesbaden, West Germany to support the Berlin Airlift. After nine years, another aircraft transition (C-119 "Flying Boxcars") and several stations throughout Germany, the squadron was assigned to Evreux, Field France in 1957. The 317th Group was redesignated the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. And it was at this time that the 40th began receiving the aircraft that they have become most known for and are currently flying, the C-130. During the time period spent in France, the 40th aided thousands of earthquake victims in Italy, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Morocco, India, Pakistan, and Yugoslavia.
The squadron returned to the United States in 1964 stationed at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, under the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. Here they played a key role in training aircrews for duty in Southeastern Asia, participated in the Dominican Republic airlift, and again provided assistance to earthquake victims, this time in Peru and Ecuador. After three years at Lockbourne AFB, they were redesignated the 40th Tactical Airlift Squadron, assigned to the 513th Tactical Airlift Wing.
August 31, 1974 brought the 40th to a new base of operations at Pope AFB in North Carolina. Assigned to the 317th Tactical Airlift Group, the squadron performed numerous contingency missions during their tour at Pope. Most notably operation "URGENT FURY" in 1983, the combat support mission that helped to secure freedom for Grenada, and operation "JUST CAUSE" in 1989 during which the 40th flew key C-130 combat operations over Panama. The 40th also had overall mission command responsibilities for the attack on Rio Hato AB, Panama sustaining the heaviest ground to air fire yet encountered by C-130's. In spite of this, the aircrews involved performed flawlessly.
Leading the tactical airlift spearhead for operation DESERT SHIELD in August of 1990, the 40th was the first C-130 unit deployed to the theater. Shortly before operation "DESERT STORM" began they deployed for the evacuation of American citizens from Somalia for operation "EASTERN EXIT". Throughout "DESERT STORM" 40th aircrews augmented those of the 41st Airlift Squadron, and supported the US Army in forward operations.
In July 1993, the 317th TAG was deactivated and the 40th moved to Dyess AFB, Texas, assigned to the 7th Wing (Air Combat Command). In 1997 all of the Air Force's C-130 operations were placed under Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the 317th reactivated at Dyess as the 317th Airlift Group.
Each year since the group's activation, the 40th has deployed in support of rotational commitments in Europe and Southwest Asia, as well as for numerous humanitarian missions and joint service exercises. In 1999 the 317AG's two flying squadrons, 39th and 40th, headed up the first C-130 Air Expeditionary Force deployment, supporting those operations in three locations. The two squadrons share the two 90-day AEF commitments supported by the 317th every 15 months.
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