70th Air Refueling Squadron [70th ARS]
The 70th Air Refueling Squadron is a combat-ready reserve KC-10 flying squadron in the 349th Air Mobility Wing. The 70th ARS provides 18 fully qualified KC-10 crews for worldwide aerial refueling and strategic airlift. It is able to stand up as a fully activated squadron in 72 hours.
The unit supports the President, DoD and allied forces as required for wartime, contingencies, regular channel, joint exercises and humanitarian relief. The unit is selectively manned.
The 70th Air Refueling Squadron was initially a member of the 334th Bombardment Wing, flying B-25s during World War II out of Greenville Army Air Base, SC. It was an aircrew replacement training unit from September 1942 - April 1944. In 1955, the 70th came under the Strategic Air Command's umbrella as an air refueling squadron flying KC-97s until 1963. During this time, the squadron operated out of Little Rock AFB, AR, Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland, and Lajes Field, the Azores. The squadron then converted to KC-135s with the 43rd Bombardment Wing in 1964.
In 1970, the 70th joined the 305th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom AFB, IN, where it acquired an additional mission flying EC-135s. The new tasking entailed providing an airborne radio link between SAC's "Looking Glass" airborne command post and the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP), as part of the Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS). The 70th Air Refueling Squadron operated out of Grissom AFB until 1993 when it was inactivated.
On Sept. 1, 1994, the squadron was assigned to the 349th Operations Group, Travis AFB, CA, with the Air Force's newest tanker, the KC-10 Extender. The 70th Air Refueling Squadron's achieved combat ready status approximately one year ahead of schedule and within the shortest time frame of any Air Force Reserve unit.
The first major campaign for the 70th ARS was Operation Sapphire, which involved transporting sensitive cargo from the former USSR. The unit also contributed crews to take part in Operations Southern Watch and Deny Flight, supporting no-fly zones over Iraq. In 1996, the unit supplied numerous crews to support myriad fighters and bombers for the NORAD/PACAF defense exercise Amalgam Warrior. During the International Air Mobility Rodeo '96 competition, the participating members of the 70th ARS reflected the outstanding caliber of personnel that the unit possesses. As part of the Travis Team, the 70th helped garner the Best KC-10 Air Refueling, Best KC-10 Aircrew, and Best Air Refueling Team trophies.
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