906th Air Refueling Squadron [906th ARS]
The 906th Air Refueling Squadron was constituted as the 16th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940 and activated on 15 January 1941 at Fort Douglas, UT. Assigned to the 3rd Wing (though attached to 42nd Bombardment Group, from 15 January 1941-24 February 1942), the unit began flying in 1941 the B-18 (until 1943) and the B-26 (until 1942).
The squadron was reassigned to the 42nd Bombardment Group, 25 February 1942 (though attached to 28th Composite Group, c. 6 June 1942-) and redesignated as the 406th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 April 1942. That same year, the squadron transitioned to the A-29 aircraft.
The squadron was reassigned to the 41st Bombardment Group, on 12 February 1943 (while remaining attached to the 28th Composite Group to c. 10 October 1943) and was redesignated as the 406th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 1 June 1943. It was reassigned to the Fourth Air Force, on 11 October 1943; and to the Eighth Air Force, on 2 November 1943, at which point its designation changed to 406th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy). The squadron became assigned to the 1st Bombardment Division, on 21 November 1943, but attached to 482nd Bombardment Group, from 4 December 1943-21 February 1944. 1943 saw the squadron deploy to England and transition to the B-25 and the B-24 (which it flew until 1945).
The squadron added the B-17 to its inventory in 1944. The squadron became assigned to VIII Air Force Composite Command, on 26 February 1944 but attached to 801st Bombardment Group [Provisional], from 28 March-5 August 1944. Its designation was changed to 406th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 20 August 1944. Assignments changed again when the unit came under VIII Fighter Command, on 1 October 1944 and under 1st Air Division, on 30 December 1944.
Redesignated as the 406th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 5 August 1945, it was reassigned to the 492nd Bombardment Group, on 5 August, until 17 October 1945 when the squadron was inactivated at Kirtland Field, NM. The squadron's contribution to World War II had ranged from antisubmarine patrols (23 December 1941-4 May 1942) to combat in Northern Pacific (16 June 1942-August 1943) to serving in ETO as a CARPETBAGGER unit (5 January-August 1944), to flying leaflet missions until 9 May 1945.
The squadron was consolidated on 19 September 1985 with the 906th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, which itself was constituted on 9 March 1959 and activated on 1 June 1959 at Minot AFB, ND. Assigned to the 4136th Strategic Wing, the 906th began flying the KC-135A Stratotanker and was tasked with global aerial refueling operations. The 906th was subsequently reassigned to the 450th Bombardment Wing(1 February 1963) and the 5th Bombardment Wing (25 July 1968).
The 906th supported combat operations in Southeast Asia (1968-1975) and Southwest Asia (1990-1991).
It was redesignated 906th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991 while simultaneously being assigned to the 5th Operations Group. It was later assigned on 1 June 1992 to the 43rd Operations Group.
Relocating to Grand Forks AFB, ND, the 906th ARS was reassigned to the 319th Air Refueling Wing's Operations Group on 30 January 1994, becoming in the process part of the USAF's first super tanker wing. In September 1994, crews from the 906th ARS deployed to Robins AFB, Georgia, in support of operations in Haiti, while in October of that same year, the 906th was chosen to act as the lead squadron to support the On Site Inspection Agency. It was tasked with developing an operation plan and launching to support Russian inspectors within a 24 hours timeframe. The following months, in November and December, the 906th ARS deployed once again, with half of the squadron deploying to Istres, France, while the other half deployed to Pisa, Italy, in support of Operation Deny Flight in Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the course of this deployment, 170 sorties were flown and 7 million pounds of fuel off-loaded.
In early 1995, the first element of the 906th deployed to Panama in support of anti-drug operations. The unit also deployed to the Persian Gulf, in November of that same year until January of 1996, in support of Operation Southern Watch.
The mission of the 906th Air Refueling Squadron is to organize, train, and equip KC-135R/T aircrew members as a combat force multiplier for rapid global mobilization, worldwide deployment, aerial refueling, and airlift operations for the US and its allies. The 906th ARS enables Global Engagement by maintaining an all-weather warfighting capability in support of conventional and special operations, contingency taskings, and the nation's Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).
The 906 ARS and its 78 personnel provide continuous global air refueling and cargo airlift capability in support of US and allied warfighting units.
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