39th Airlift Squadron [39th AS]
The 39th Airlift Squadron was activated February 22, 1942, at Duncan Field, TX, as the 39th Transport Squadron.
The squadron arrived at Port Moresby, New Guinea, in January 1943, and began combat operations against the Japanese in the fight for Buna. The 39th received its first Distinguished Unit Citation for delivering food, weapons, ammunition, and troops to the front. The squadron's second DUC was awarded for action on January 30 and February 1, 1943 during the battle for Wau.
The squadron's final campaigns came during the retaking of the Philippines. The squadron was heavily involved in airborne operations during the battle of Luzon and for this, received its third DUC.
Following the war, the 39th was stationed in Japan and began flying the C-54 Skymaster. In September 1948, the squadron was transferred to Germany to support the Berlin Airlift. On September 14, 1949, the 39th was inactivated.
On July 14, 1952, the 39th was activated at Rhein-Main, Germany, and in early 1958, the squadron transitioned to the C-130 Hercules. On July 31, 1972, the squadron moved to Pope Air Force Base, NC.
In 1983, the 39th airdropped troops during the rescue of American students on the island of Grenada. In December 1989, the squadron dropped paratroopers and conducted resupply operations during the invasion of Panama. In early August 1990, the 39th was sent to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from invasion by Iraqi forces, ultimately participating in the infamous "End Run." In 1992, the 39th inactivated at Pope and was activated at Dyess Air Force Base, TX. In 1994, the squadron participated in Operation Uphold Democracy for Haiti.
On April 1, 1997, the 317th Airlift Group reactivated at Dyess under Air Mobility Command. The 39th was transferred to the 317th Airlift Group.
The mission of 39th AS is to maintain quality aircrew and aircraft to mobilize, deploy and provide intratheater airlift worldwide for DoD customers; to support theater commanders' requirements with combat-delivery capability through tactical airland/airdrop operations and humanitarian airlift/aeromedical evacuation, and with 402 authorized squadron members, to provide 28 combat-ready aircrews and maintenance for 14 assigned aircraft.
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