512th Airlift Wing [512th AW]
The 512th Airlift Wing, an associate C-5 Air Force Reserve unit is located at Dover AFB, DE. The 512th AW helps maintain, repair and flies the same aircraft as its active duty counterparts. Members of the 512th AW work side-by-side with members of the 436th AW in fulfilling the mission, maintaining and flying the C-5, and working together to form the "Dover Team".
As a way of highlighting its ongoing contributions to freedom around the world and because it is located in the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, the 512th AW was named the "Liberty Wing".
As one of only two Air Force Reserve Associate units flying the C-5, the 512th AW has a unique role in the Air Force. The first C-5 all-reserve aircrew flew out of Dover AFB November 1973.
The 512th AW began as the 512th Troop Carrier Wing Medium, 4 August 1949. Reading Municipal Airport, PA, housed the Wing just short of a year before it was moved to the New Castle County Airport, DE, in April 1950. In March of the following year the Wing mobilized for the first time to help meet Air Force world-wide commitments. The mobilization was short lived, two weeks after the call to active duty, the 512th was demobilized and inactivated 1 April 1951.
In June 1952, the 512th returned to reserve status again at New Castle County Airport. 512th aircrews flew C-46 Commandos throughout the periods of reserve and active status. In 1957, the Wing converted to C-119 Flying Boxcars. After that transition, the Wing moved to the U.S. Naval Station at Willow Grove, PA, in July 1958. While at Willow Grove, The Cuban Missile Crisis thrust the Wing into active service for a month, beginning October 28, 1962.
The 512th Troop Carrier Wing Medium had its name changed to the 512th Troop Carrier Wing in January 1965. That same month the Wing moved to Carswell AFB, TX. Aircrews conducted training and airlift operations in C-124 Globemasters. While based at Carswell AFB, two more name changes occurred. December 1, 1965, the Wing became the 512th Transportation Wing Heavy, and on January 1, 1966, the name was changed to the 512th Military Airlift Wing. In June 1971 the Wing was once again inactivated.
The 512th Airlift Wing, re-designated the 512th Military Airlift Wing (Associate) was activated at Dover AFB, DE, July 1973, to fly the C-5A Galaxy aircraft. Upon activation at Dover AFB, the 512th AW absorbed the personnel of the 912th Military Airlift Group (Associate) stationed at Dover AFB.The 912th Military Airlift Group (Associate) previously assigned to the 514th Military Airlift Wing, McGuire AFB, NJ, moved from Willow Grove Naval Station to Dover AFB, in September 1968. Equipped with C-141 Starlifter aircraft, the 912th became the third associate group in the Air Force Reserve to fly the C-141.
Many missions have been flown by the Citizen Airman of the 512th. Over 1,300 members of the 512th were recalled to active duty during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Fliers, Maintenance Specialists, Aerial Porters, Medical Personnel, and Security Police were deployed around the world as well as stateside for more than a year. In February 1992, the Wing was re-designated the 512th Airlift Wing as part of an Air Force wide reorganization.
The 512th AW has continued to provide support to missions around the world that include humanitarian assistance for Hurricane's Andrew, Inici, and Marilyn, relief supplies on one of the first Western aircraft to fly to the new common-wealth of Independent States, formally the Soviet Union, and other natural disasters. Members of the 512th AW also support and fly daily support missions, among them, the Phoenix Banner Presidential Support Missions.
The mission of the 512th Airlift Wing is to recruit, train, equip and retain a qualified force to augment major commands with people and units to support strategic aircraft during peace and war.
As of January 2001, personel from the 512th Airlift Wing was scheduled to be deployed in support of Aerospace Expeditionary Force Cycle 2 during the year. More than 100 personnel would deploy on mostly two-week rotations to locations which include Spain, Italy, Germany and numerous Southwest Asia locations.
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