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344th Air Refueling Squadron [344th ARS]

The 344th Air Refueling Squadron was first constituted as the 344th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942. It was formally activated on 3 February 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida and assigned to the 98th Bombardment Group on 3 February 1942. The squadron was redesignated as the 344th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 1 July 1943.

During the course of World War II, the squadron deployed to loactions in Palestine (Ramat David, 25 July 1942; St Jean, 21 August 1942), Egypt (Kabrit, 11 November 1942), Libya (Lete, 4 March 1943), Tunisia (Hergla, 24 September 1943) and Italy (Brindisi, 18 November 1943; Manduria, 19 December 1943; Lecce, 18 January 1944-19 April 1945).

The squadron returned to the United States and was redesignated as the 344th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 23 May 1945. The 344th was then assigned to the 444th Bombardment Group, from 10 November 1945 until 27 March 1946, at which point the squadron was inactivated. The squadron had flown the B-24 and the B-29 aircraft.

Reactivated on 1 July 1947, the unit was assigned to the 98th Bombardment Group, 1 Jul 1947 (attached to 98th Bombardment Wing, 1 April 1951-15 June 1952) and based at Spokane AAFld, (later known as Spokane AFB, Fairchild AFB, WA). Its assigned aircraft was the B-29. The squadron was redesignated as the 344th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 28 May 1948. The squadron was deployed to Kadena AB, Okinawa from 22 August to 7 December 1948; Sculthorpe, England, from 25 May to 29 August 1949; and Yokota AB, Japan, c. 5 August 1950 to 14 August 1953. The 344th was then assigned to the 98th Bombardment (later, 98th Strategic Aerospace) Wing, from 16 June 1952. From 1954 on, the 344th was assigned the B-47. Stationed at Lincoln AFB, NE, starting on 24 July 1954, the squadron subsequently deployed to Yokota AB, Japan, from 15 August 1953 until 22 July 1954; and Lakenheath RAF Station, England, from 12 November 1955 to 28 January 1956.

The squadron was inactivated on 25 June 1966.

Redesignated as the 344th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, on 7 May 1986, the squadron was activated on 1 October 1986 and assigned to the 68th Air Refueling Wing, stationned at Seymour Johnson AFB, NC, flying KC-10 aircraft.

The 344th provided air refueling in support of operations in Panama, in December 1989 and air refueling and airlift support in the Southwest Asia Theater, from August 1990 to March 1991.

The 344th was assigned to the 4th Operations Group, on 22 April 1991.

The 344th was redesignated the 344th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 July 1992.

It was reassigned to the 22nd Operations Group, now the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, based at McConnell AFB, KS, on 29 April 1994.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:12:33 ZULU