336th Air Refueling Squadron [336th ARS]
The 336th Air Refueling Squadron is one of the flying squadrons of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, located at March ARB, CA.
The story of the 336th ARS began when the 536th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) activated at Salt Lake City AAB, UT, on November 3, 1942 and became operational in January 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona. To become an operational training unit, personnel and B-24 aircraft were inherited from another squadron. The unit was moved in April 1943 to Pocatello Army Airfield, ID, where status changed to a replacement training unit. After moving to Muroc Army Airfield, CA, in December 1943, the 336th continued training B-24 combat aircrews until inactivated on March 31, 1944.
The 336th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS), Medium, activated in the Reserve on June 26, 1949 and transferred , without personnel or equipment, from Birmingham Municipal Airport, AL, to Mitchell AFB, NY, in October 1949. On May 1, 1951, the squadron was ordered to active service. Flying C-46's, the unit transported U.S. Army Troops, provided aerial resupply of troops in the field and dropped paratroopers. The unit also carried cargo and passengers to locations throughout the United States. On February 1, 1953, the unit was inactivated but was activated in the reserve two months later. To maintain a high level of readiness, the 336th TCS operated C-119s from Mitchell AFB, NY, to airlift tactical units, airborne troops, supplies, equipment and passengers within the United States and overseas. On March 15, 1961, the squadron moved to Stewart AFB, NY, where it continued to fly the C-119s.
On October 1, 1966, the 336th TCS was redesignated as the 336th Military Airlift Squadron (MAS) and completed transition to the C-124 Globemaster aircraft. The squadron soon began flying cargo and personnel on regularly scheduled and special flights to Southeast Asia, Canada, Europe and other parts of the world, in addition to locations within the United States. On January 26, 1968, the unit was ordered to active services again and almost 18 months later, on June 2, 1969, returned to reserve status. On December 31, 1969, the squadron moved to Hamilton AFB, CA. By July 1970, the 336th flew regularly to Hickam AFB, HI, Elmendorf AFB, AK, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Yokota AB, Japan and Vietnam, in addition to various other U.S. flights.
In April 1972, redesignated as the 336th Tactical Airlift Squadron, the squadron soon swapped its C-124s for C-130 aircraft. The squadron began flying training to support forwarded elements preparing for limited warfare, police actions and related operations. For the next few years, the 336th participated in exercises with the U.S. Army in Alaska, Panama and the United States, transporting troops and equipment to forward airfields. From June 1974 to December 1975, C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems aided the U.S. Forestry Service in fighting forest fires in New Mexico, California, and other western states. Operations continued with C-130s until six months after the move to March AFB in 1976.
By June 1976, the 336th had transferred its last C-130B and in September received its first KC-135 "A" model. On October 1, 1976, the unit was redesignated as the 336th Air Refueling Squadron. Re-engineering the KC-135 "A" models to the quieter "E" model began in December 1984 and was completed on September 30, 1986. The first KC-135 "R" landed at March AFB on July 1, 1996 and eight of the "E" models are expected to be re-engineered by April 1997 with the last two to be completed by fiscal year 1998.
Under the Total Force Policy, the 336th took up an Alpha Alert posture on October 1, 1977. On October 1, 1990, a second line of Alpha Alert was assumed by the 336th. All SAC tankers and bombers received the order to stand down from Alpha Alert on September 18, 1991.
The 336th was once again brought to active duty on December 20, 1990 in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Crews flew out of King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The last crewmember was deactivated on May 15, 1991.
As of June 1, 1992, SAC, MAC and TAC were combined to create AMC (Air Mobility Command) and ACC (Air Combat Command) and the 336th became operationally controlled by AMC as an Air Force Reserve asset.
The men and women of the 336th have been involved in various "real world" operations since Desert Storm ended. Some of these operations include Decisive Endeavor (Pisa, Italy) in July-August 1994 and May-June 1996, Operation Restore Democracy (Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico) in September 1994 to support the conflict in Haiti, and Joint Endeavor, a Bosnia support operation in December 1995.
The 336th ARS won the Air Mobility Command General Carl A. Spaatz Trophy in 1980. The squadron was also awarded the World War II American Theater Service Streamer, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (January 68-69 and January 76-October 77) and the Air Force Association (AFA) Reserve Flying Wing of the Year Award.
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