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6th Air Refueling Squadron [6th ARS]

The 6th Air Refueling Squadron traces its lineage to two units which were consolidated on September 19, 1985: The 6th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) and the 6th Air Refueling Squadron. The 6th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) was constituted on 22 December 1939. It was activated on 1 February 1940 at Langley Field, VA and assigned to the 29th Bombardment Group.

Assigned the YB-17 (1940), B-17 (1940-1943) and B-18 (1940-1941) aircraft, the unit conducted antisubmarine patrol missions in the Caribbean, from January to June 1942. The unit transitioned to the B-24 in 1943 and then the B-17 and B-29 in 1944. From 1942-1944, it shifted its mission to operational and later replacement training.

The squadron was redesignated as the 6th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 28 March 1944 and inactivated a few days later on 1 April 1944. It was reactivated that same day and was assigned to the 29th Bombardment Group. The 6th Bombardment Squadron saw combat in the Western Pacific, c. 16 February-15 August 1945, while being stationed at North Field, Guam, starting 17 January 1945. The squadron was inactivated on 20 May 1946.

The 6th was reactivated in the Reserve on 15 June 1947 as part of the Tenth Air Force at Barksdale Field (later, AFB), LA. It was, a few months later assigned to the 482nd Bombardment Group, on 30 September 1947. The squadron inactivated on 27 June 1949. During that period, the squadron flew the AT-6 and AT-11 aircraft.

The 6th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium, was constituted on 6 April 1951. Activated on 10 April 1951 and Walker AFB, NM, it was assigned to the 6th Bombardment Group. It inactivated on 1 August 1951.

Redesignated as the 6th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, on 1 April 1957, it was reactivated on 1 November 1957 at Bergstrom AFB, TX and assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force. The unit was reassigned to the 6th Bombardment (later, 6th Strategic Aerospace) Wing, on 3 January 1958, relocating in the process to Walked AFB, NM, while converting to the KC-135. The unit provided air refueling training from 1959-1962 and worldwide air refueling from 1963-1967, including during the latter period support of tactical aircraft flying in Southeast Asia. The unit was discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 January 1967.

The squadron was reactivated on 3 January 1989 at March AFB, CA, and assigned to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, flying the KC-10 aircraft.

It was redesignated as the 6th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991 and assigned to the 22nd Operations Group. The squadron provided support of deployments to Southwest Asia, in 1990-1991 as part of Operations Desert Shield/Storm and humanitarian airlift to Somalia, in 1992-1993.

It was reassigned to the 722nd Operations Groupon 1 January 1994 and again to the 60th Air Mobility Wing on 1 August 1995, at which point it moved to Travis AFB, CA.

The mission of the 6th Air Refueling Squadron is to mobilize and deploy 12 KC-10 aircraft with over 140 combat-ready personnel and equipment to worldwide forward operating locations.

The squadron is tasked with ensuring global reach for America by generating 24-hour-a-day strategic airlift and aerial-refueling sorties supporting US and allied forces during contingency operations.

The 6th ARS also provides training for 24 aircrews tasked to support Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed missions.

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