349th Air Mobility Wing [349th AMW]
The Wing dates back to November 1943, when it was activated at Sedalia Army Air Field, MO. At the time of activation, it was the 349th Troop Carrier Group, and had five troop carrier squadrons assigned. One of these squadrons, the 312th, is still assigned to the Wing.
In March 1944, the 349th was sent to the European Theater of Operations and began flying combat cargo missions. Flying C-46 "Commandos," the 349th was the first unit to drop paratroopers from both side doors. At one time during the war in Europe, the 349th participated in the largest mass formation of C-46's ever flown in that theater.
When the war in Europe ended, the 349th returned to the U.S. and began preparations to join in the Pacific war. While the Wing was still in the states, Japan surrendered and the war was over. The 349th closed out its active duty in 1946 by training Chinese troops at Bergstrom Air Force Base, TX.
The Wing was again activated on June 27, 1949, at Hamilton Air Force Base, CA, and assigned to 4th Air Force. The "Golden Gate Wing" did not serve during the Korean conflict as a unit - rather its members and equipment were used to supplement other wings that were not up to combat strength.
With the reconstruction of reserve forces on May 26, 1952, the 349th was reorganized as a fighter - bomber wing. It remained as such until 1957, when it was converted to a troop carrier wing. On April 1, 1958, the day-to-day administration of the 349th shifted from the active duty Air Force to the Air Reserve Technician program.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the "Golden Gate Wing" and each of its flying squadrons were called to active duty. This time, they served for one month to airlift troops and supplies to and from the south Florida area.
On June 1, 1966, the gaining command was changed to the Military Airlift Command and conversion to the C-124 "Globemaster" was started. The 349th, like the other reserve troop carrier wings, was completely equipped and ready to move with only a few hours notice as was the case during the Cuban call-up. Only four hours after the first call to report for duty was made, 95 percent of the wing's flying personnel had checked in and were ready to move. This, more than any other single incident, proved the value of the Air Force Reserve "Ready Now" concept and the wing's motto, "In Omnia Paratus," In all things prepared.
A recall to active duty was again initiated on January 26, 1968, in response to the seizure of the USS Pueblo by North Korea. During the Vietnam War, the wing airlifted many thousands of tons of cargo across the Pacific to support U.S. forces throughout the Southeast Asia and Pacific theaters of operations. Upon deactivation in 1969, the 349th moved to Travis Air Force Base, CA, and became the second "Associate" Wing in what was then the Military Airlift Command.
During the Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991, more than 1,750 people from selected units were activated for service in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Although some units and individuals deployed to the Persian Gulf, others deployed to Europe and other overseas locations, while some remained in the U.S. and still others remained at Travis AFB.
On February 1, 1992, the 349th was re-designated the 349th Airlift Wing, deleting the word "military" from its name to conform with the active duty Air Force's reorganization and realignment policies.
In September 1994, the KC-10 "Extender" tanker mission was added to the wing and became an "Air Mobility Wing," the only Air Force Reserve unit at the time to fly three types of aircraft: the C-141 "Starlifter," the C-5 "Galaxy," and the KC-10.
In December 1997, the C-141 was retired from service at Travis. Those remaining "Starlifters" that were not retired were sent to McChord AFB, WA, McGuire AFB, NJ, and the "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|