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21st Airlift Squadron [21st AS]

The 21st Airlift Squadron was originally constituted as the 21st Transport Squadron on 7 March 1942, activated on 3 April 1942 and assigned to Air Transport Command, US Army Forces in Australia (later, Air Carrier Service, Air Service Command, Fifth Air Force). That year, the squadron was assigned a mix of aicraft consisting of DC-2, DC-3, C-39, C-40, C-49, C-50, C-53, C-56, C-60, B-17, B-18, and LB-30, later transitioning to the C-47 and then to the C-46 in 1945.

It was redesignated 21st Troop Carrier Squadron on 5 July 1942.

It was assigned to the 374th Troop Carrier Group, from 12 November 1942 to 31 January 1946, though from 2 July-c. 1 September 1944, it was attached to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing. Until its inactivation on 31 January 1946, the unit had been stationed at Archerfield, Australia, 3 April 1942; Port Moresby, New Guinea, 18 February 1943; Archerfield, Australia, 28 September 1943; Nadzab, New Guinea, 26 August 1944; Biak, 14 October 1944; Atsugi, Japan, 20 September 1945; Manila, Philippines, December 1945.

The squadron was reactivated on 15 October 1946 at Harmon Field (later, AFB), Guam, and assigned to the 374th Troop Carrier Group. Its assigned aircraft was the C-46. It was redesignated as the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on 21 May 1948.

From 1947 to 1957, the squadron was attached to a number of different units: Guam Air Materiel Area, Provisional, 1 February-31 August 1947; Twentieth Air Force, 5 March-15 May 1949; 19th Bombardment Wing, 16 May 1949-31 January 1950; Thirteenth Air Force, 1-16 February 1950; 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 17 February-8 June 1950; Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command, Provisional, 16 October 1950-25 January 1951; 374th Troop Carrier Wing, 29 June 1951-27 March 1952; 6122d Air Base Wing, 28 March-14 April 1952; 403d Troop Carrier Wing, 14 April-1 December 1952; 374th Troop Carrier Wing, 3 February 1956-1 July 1957.

The squadron was redesignated as the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on 2 February 1951 and again as the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on 1 December 1952. Its designation was again changed on 18 September 1956 to the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, at which point it was reassigned to the 483rd Troop Carrier Group, 18 September 1956 (though it remained attached to 374th Troop Carrier Wing until 1 July 1957; and was subsequently attached to the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing, from 1 July 1957 until 7 December 1958).

From 1950 to 1958, the 21st was stationed at various bases throughout Japan. The unit took part in airborne assaults on Sukchon/Sunchon, Korea, in October 1950, as well as aerial transportation in the Far East during the Korean War. The 21st continued troop carrier and transport operations in the Far East after 1953.

The following years would see the 21st reassigned to multiple units: the 483d Troop Carrier Wing, on 8 December 1958; the 315th Air Division on 25 June 1960 (attached to Detachment 1, HQ, 315th Air Division, from 25 June 1960-20 October 1964; 6315th Operations Group, from 20 October 1964-7 August 1966); and the 374th Troop Carrier (later, 374th Tactical Airlift) Wing, on 8 Aug 1966.

The 21st furnished aircraft and crews for transport and special operations in Southeast Asia, from 1962-1973.

The unit was redesignated as the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron on 8 Dec 1966 and as the 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 August 1967.

The 21st was stationed at Ching Chuan AB, Taiwan, 31 May 1971; Clark AB, Philippines, 1 November 1973. It flew logistical support and evacuation missions to Cambodia, from 17 March to 12 April 1975, and South Vietnam, from 17 March to 29 April 1975.

The unit was subsequently stationed at Yokota AB, Japan, from 1 October 1989-1 October 1993.

The unit was redesignated as the 21st Airlift Squadron on 1 Apr 1992 when it was assigned to the 374th Operations Group. The 21st AS was reassigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing based at Travis AFB, CA, on 1 October 1993.

The 21st provided airlift in Southwest Asia, from December 1990-July 1991, and evacuation of Clark AB, Philippines, in June-July 1991.

The mission of the 21st Airlift Squadron is to provide mission ready aircrews and personnel in support of America's global reach.

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