911th Air Refueling Squadron [911th ARS]
The 911th Air Refueling Squadron traces its lineage to the 16th Aero Squadron, which was organized c. 15 May 1917 at Kelly Field, TX. It was redesignated as the 21st Aero Squadron on 13 June 1917. The squadron operated as a flying training unit from February-c. December 1918, flying Nieuport 27 and Nieuport 80, and also apparently the Avro 504K. The squadron deployed to France before returning home, to Hazelhurst Field, NY, and being demobilized on 14 April 1919.
The squadron was reconstituted, and redesignated 21st Observation Squadron, on 24 March 1923, before being disbanded on 1 October 1933. It was reconstituted, and consolidated (2 December 1936) with the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron which itself was constituted as the 21st Observation Squadron (Long Range, Amphibian), and activated, on 1 March 1935, at Bolling Field, DC, flying the O-38 aircraft. The squadron was assigned to the 2nd (later, 2nd Bombardment) Wing (though the squadron was attached to 2nd Bombardment Group from 1 September 1936; and to the 7th Naval District for operations, September 1939-August 1940).
The squadron was redesignated as the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 September 1936, upon its move to Langley Field, VA. 1936 also saw the unit transition to the OA-4, YOA-5, and B-10 aircraft.
Redesignated as the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron (Long Range) on 6 December 1939, the squadron relocated to Miami Municipal Airport on 9 September 1939 before being reassigned to the 3rd Bombardment Wing, on 15 November 1940 (but attached to Newfoundland Base Command for operations, where it deployed from 1 May-30 August 1941). A few days later, the squadron changed its designation to the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940.
The squadron relocated to McDill Field, Florida c. 3 September 1941, and on 5 September, became attached to the 29th Bombardment Group, to which it became assigned on 25 February 1942. It was redesignated as the 411th Bombardment Squadron (heavy) on 22 April 1942 and as the 411th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 28 March 1944. A few days later, on 1 April 1944, the squadron inactivated. That very same day, the squadron reactivated and became attached to the 29th Bombardment Group. It inactivated again on 10 May 1944 and reactivated on 1 June 1944, as part of the 502nd Bombardment Group. The squadron was briefly attached to the 6th Bombardment Group, from September 1944-January 1945. The squadron inactivated on 15 April 1946 at Northwest Field, Guam, where it had been stationed since 12 May 1945. Prior to that, the squadron had been stationed Pratt AAFld, KS (1 April-10 May 1944); Davis-Monthan Field, AZ (1 June 1944); Dalhart AAFld, TX (5 June 1944); and Grand Island AAFld, NE (26 September 1944-7 April 1945).
During the course of World War II, missions with which the squadron was tasked included: Neutrality, sea search, and weather reconnaissance missions (October 1939-August 1940, June-August 1941); Antisubmarine patrols(January-June 1942); Operational and later replacement training unit (1942-1944); and combat in the Western Pacific (July-August 1945). Aircraft flown at various points by the squadron from 1937 to 1941 comprised the B-18 (1937-1941); the A-17, B-17, Y1OA-8, OA-9, and apparently OA-10 (1939-1941); the B-17 (1939-1943); the A-29 (1941-1942); the B-24 (1943-1944) and the B-29 (1944-1946).
The squadron was consolidated on 19 September 1985, with the 911th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, which was constituted on 28 May 1958 and activated on 1 December 1958 as a unit of the 4241st Strategic Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, NC, and flying the KC-135.
The 911th was reassigned to the 68th Bombardment Wing, on 15 April 1963. The squadron supported air refueling operations in Southeast Asia, from May 1972-July 1973.
Reassigned to the 68th Air Refueling Group (later, 68th Air Refueling Wing), on 30 September 1982, the 911th transitioned to the KC-10 in 1985 and provided air refueling support for the invasion of Panama, in December 1989 and for combat operations in Southwest Asia, from August 1990-March 1992. The 911th became assigned to the 4th Operations Group, on 22 April 1991.
The 911th was redesignated as the 911th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 July 1992.
The 911 ARS relocated to Grand Forks AFB, ND, on 29 April 1994, when it became assigned to the 319th Air Refueling Wing's Operations Group, transitioning, in the process, back to the KC-135 Stratotanker. That same year, the 911th ARS took part, at Eglin AFB, FL, and Edwards AFB, CA, in efforts to complete USAF operational testing on B-2 and C-17 weapon systems among others. The squadron subsequently deployed to Mildenhall RAF Base, United Kingdom, in support of the European Tanker Task Force.
1995 saw the squadron deploy, during the months of January and February, to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, off-loading in the process more than 20 million pounds of fuel to United States' Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and coalition forces aircraft. Thereafter, the 911th provided support, from March to June, to exercises conducted by Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces and Air Mobility Command, while still flying Atlantic and Pacific channel missions transporting cargo to and from Europe and the Pacific Rim. That same year, the squadron provided support of Operation Northern Viking, a multinational exercise testing NATO's ability to defend Naval Air Stations Keflavik, Iceland. That same summer, back in the United States, the 911th ARS supported a Maintainability and Availability Evaluation of the C-17 aircraft.
Following this, the 911th ARS simultaneously provided support to the European Tanker Task Force for Operation Phoenix Illusion (air bridge to Jordan), Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Deliberate Force. The squadron then deployed for two months to Panama for Operations Constant Vigil and Green Clover, in support of counter-drug operations there.
As 1998 ended and 1999 began, the 911th was deployed to Operation Northern Watch, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. As world tension increased, half of the squadron deployed to Moron Air Base, Spain, to support the Kosovo crisis in Operation Allied Force. The remaining half deployed to the desert to support Operation Southern Watch. After 1 month, this half redeployed to RAF Mildenhall to assist with Operation Allied Force.
The mission of the 911th 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 911th 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).
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