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32nd Air Refueling Squadron [32nd ARS]

The 32nd Air Refueling Squadron was originally organized as the 32nd Aero Squadron on 13 June 1917 at Camp Kelly, TX. It was assigned to the Third Aviation Instruction Center from September 1917 to January 1919, and provided aircraft repair, from 1917-1918 and flying trainers in France. It was demobilized on 14 April 1919 at Mitchel Field, NY.

The squadron was reconstituted, and redesignated as the 32nd Bombardment Squadron, on 24 March 1923. it activated on 24 June 1932 at Rockwell Field, CA, and was assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, (attached to IV Bomber Command, 22 October-December 1941; and was apparently attached to the 7th Bombardment Group for operations, c. 8-15 December 1941). The squadron was redesignated as the 32nd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 December 1939, and relocated to Albuquerque, NM, c. 4 June until 22 November 1941 (though an air echelon, which was at Hamilton Field, CA, under orders for movement to the Philippine Islands at the time of the Japanese attack on Hawaii on 7 December 1941, apparently moved to Muroc, CA, c. 8 December 1941; and a ground echelon departed San Francisco aboard a ship on 6 December 1941 and returned on 9 December 1941).

The 32nd was reassigned to the Sierra Bombardment Group, on 16 December 1941; to Fourth Air Force, on 17 January 1942; and to Second Air Force, on 16 March 1942 (but attached to the 301st Bombardment Group, from 16-30 March 1942); and to the 301st Bombardment Group on 31 March 1942. The unit was tasked with conducting antisubmarine patrols off the California Coast, from mid-December 1941, and c. late May-c. early June 1942.

The squadron was then redesignated as the 32nd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, c. 6 March 1944; and as the 32nd Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 5 August 1945. It saw combat in ETO and MTO, from 2 October 1942-c. 26 April 1945, operating from locations in England, Algeria, Tunisia and Italy. The 32nd inactivated on 15 October 1945 at Pyote AAFld, TX.

Aircraft operated by the squadron up until then were the C-26, O-27, B-12, and apparently B-3 during the period of 1932-1935; the B-10, B-18, and B-17, successively, during the period of 1935-1941; and B-17E/F/Gs (1942-1945).

It reactivated on 4 August 1946 at Clovis AAFld, NM, and was assigned to the 301st Bombardment Group (though attached to the 301st Bombardment Wing, 10 February 1951-15 June 1952). It was redesignated as the 32nd Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 28 May 1948 and was reassigned to the 301st Bombardment Wing on 16 June 1952. Between 1958 and 1964, the squadron's mission dealt with electronic countermeasures. The squadron was discontinued, and inactivated, on 8 June 1964 at Lockbourne AFB, OH. During that period, the squadron flew the B-29 (1947-1953); the B-47 (1953-1961, 1963-1964); the RB-47 (1958); and the E/EB-47 (1961-1964).

Redesignated as the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, it reactivated, on 23 December 1964 under Strategic Air Command. It organized on 15 March 1965 at Lockbourne (later, Rickenbacker) AFB, and was assigned to the 301st Air Refueling Wing, tasked with conducting air refueling operations worldwide and flying the EC-135 (1965-1966) and the KC-135A (1965-1972, 1972-1979). From c. 10 June-8 October 1972, all personnel and aircraft were on loan to units in the Pacific or other SAC units leaving the squadron unmanned. The squadron deployed most aircraft and personnel to SEA, from October-December 1972, in support of Linebacker II. It inactivated on 30 September 1979.

The squadron reactivated on 1 November 1981 at Barksdale AFB, LA, operating the KC-10. The squadron deployed aircrews and tankers to various locations for air refueling support in Southwest Asia, from August 1990-April 1991. It was redesignated as the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991, at which date it was reassigned to the 2nd Operations Group, and relocated to McGuire AFB, NJ.

The 32nd ARS was reassigned to the 458th Operations Group on 1 June 1992 and to the 305th Operations Group on 1 July 1995.

The 32nd ARS with its KC-10s refueled the F-111s that took part in the bombing of Libya and flew KC-10s in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield/Storm and Southern Watch.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:11:57 ZULU