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10th Air Force
5320th Air Defense Wing
India Air Task Force
American Volunteer Group
China Air Task Force
Eastern Air Command
North Burma Air Task Force
1st Air Commando Gp5th Fighter Sq (Commando)
6th Fighter Sq (Commando)
10th Air Jungle Rescue Detachment
72nd Airdrome Sq
164th Liaison Sq (Commando)
165th Liaison Sq (Commando)
166th Liaison Sq (Commando)
284th Medical Dispensary (Avn)
285th Medical Dispensary (Avn)
309th Airdrome Sq
319th Troop Carrier Sq (Commando)
326th Airdrome Sq
1st Liaison Gp (Provisional)5th Liaison Sq
19th Liaison Sq
71st Liaison Sq
115th Liaison Sq
2nd Air Commando Gp1st Fighter Sq, Commando
2nd Fighter Sq, Commando
127th Liaison Sq
155th Liaison Sq
156th Liaison Sq
236th Medical Dispensary (Avn)
317th Troop Carrier Sq (Commando)
327th Airdrome Sq
328th Airdrome Sq
340th Airdrome Sq
342nd Airdrome Sq
7th Bombardment Gp9th Bombardment Sq
11th Bombardment Sq
22nd Bombardment Sq
436th Bombardment Sq
492nd Bombardment Sq
493d Bombardment Sq
8th Photographic Reconnaissance Gp2nd Combat Camera Unit
3d Photo Technical Unit
7th Photo Technical Sq
9th Photographic Reconnaissance Sq
10th Combat Camera Unit
17th AAF Photo Intelligence Det
20th Tactical Reconnaissance Sq
24th Combat Mapping Sq
40th Photographic Reconnaissance Sq
958th Engineer Co (Avn) Topographic
12th Bombardment Gp81st Bombardment Sq
82nd Bombardment Sq
83d Bombardment Sq
434th Bombardment Sq
33d Fighter Gp58th Fighter Sq
59th Fighter Sq
60th Fighter Sq
51st Fighter Gp16th Fighter Sq
25th Fighter Sq
26th Fighter Sq
36th Fighter Control Sq
51st Fighter Control Sq
322nd Fighter Control Sq
449th Fighter Sq
80th Fighter Gp88th Fighter Sq
89th Fighter Sq
90th Fighter Sq
459th Fighter Sq
311th Fighter Gp385th Fighter Sq
528th Fighter Sq
529th Fighter Sq
530th Fighter Sq
341st Bombardment Gp11th Bombardment Sq
22nd Bombardment Sq
490th Bombardment Sq
491st Bombardment Sq
OTHER UNITS:96th Fighter Control Sq
426th Night Fighter Sq
427th Night Fighter Sq

10th Air Force


Combat Units of WWII; AFHRA, Maurer Maurer, editor:
Air Force Historical Studies Office  (Adobe Acrobat file)

Lineage:  Established as 10 Air Force on 4 Feb 1942. Activated on 12 Feb 1942. Redesignated Tenth Air Force on 18 Sep 1942. Inactivated on 6 Jan 1946. Activated on 24 May 1946. Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 Sep 1960. Activated on 20 Jan 1966. Organized on 1 Apr 1966. Inactivated on 31 Dec 1969. Redesignated Tenth Air Force (Reserve), and activated in the Reserve, on 8 Oct 1976. Redesignated Tenth Air Force on 1 Dec 1985.

Assignments:  Air Force Combat Command, 12 Feb 1942; U.S. Army Forces in China-Burma-India Theater, 5 Mar 1942; Army Air Forces, India-Burma Sector, 21 Aug 1943 (attached to Eastern Air Command, 15 Dec 1943-1 Jun 1945 and further attached to Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command, 15 Dec 1943-20 Jun 1944); Army Air Forces, India-Burma Theater, 27 Oct 1944; Army Air Forces, China Theater, 6 Jul 1945; U.S. Army Air Forces, China Theater, 25 Aug 1945; Army Service Forces, Seattle Port of Embarkation, 5-6 Jan 1946. Air Defense Command, 24 May 1946; Continental Air Command, 1 Dec 1948-1 Sep 1960. Air (later, Aerospace) Defense Command, 20 Jan 1966-31 Dec 1969. Air Force Reserve (later, Air Force Reserve Command), 8 Oct 1976-.

Major Components

Commands:  IX Air Service Area: 19 Mar-1 Jul 1948. X Air Force Service: 1 Feb-20 Aug 1943. XXI Air Force Service: 19 Mar-1 Jul 1948. Karachi American Air Base: 13 Feb-20 Aug 1943.

Divisions:  20 Air: 1 Apr 1966-31 Dec 1967. 24 Air: 19 Nov-1 Dec 1969. 25 Air: 15 Sep-1 Dec 1969. 26 Air: 19 Nov-1 Dec 1969. 27 Air: 15 Sep-19 Nov 1969. 28 Air: 1 Apr 1966-19 Nov 1969. 29 Air: 1 Apr 1966-15 Sep 1969. 30 Air: 16 Dec 1949-1 Sep 1950; 1 Apr 1966-18 Sep 1968. 31 Air: 1 Jul 1968-31 Dec 1969. 73 Air: 1 Jul 1948-27 Jun 1949. 96 Air: 1 Jul 1948-27 Jun 1949. 322 Air: 1 Jul 1948-27 Jun 1949. 323 Air: 1 Jul 1948-27 Jun 1949.

District:  2 Air Reserve: 1 Dec 1951-1 Apr 1954.

Regions:  Fourth Air Force Reserve: 1 Jul-1 Sep 1960. Fifth Air Force Reserve: 1 Jul-1 Sep 1960.

Groups:  3d Combat Cargo: 1944-1945. 7th Bombardment: 1942-1945. 12th Bombardment: 1944-1945. 33d Fighter: 1944-1945. 80th Fighter: 1943-1945. 311th Fighter: 1943-1944. 341st Bombardment: 1942-1944. 443d Troop Carrier: 1944-1945.

Stations:  Patterson Field, OH, 12 Feb-Mar 1942; New Delhi, India, 5 Mar 1942; Barrackpore, Calcutta, India, 16 Oct 1943; Belvedere Palace, Calcutta, India, 8 Jan 1944; Kanjikoah, Assam, India, 20 Jun 1944; Myitkyina, Burma, 2 Nov 1944; Bhamo, Burma, 7 Feb 1945; Piardoba, India, 15 May 1945; Kunming, China, 23 Jul 1945; Liuchow, China, 9 Aug 1945; Kunming, China, 25 Aug 1945; Shanghai, China, 18 Oct-15 Dec 1945; Fort Lawton, WA, 5-6 Jan 1946. Brooks Field (later, AFB), TX, 24 May l946; Offutt AFB, NE, 1 Jul 1948; Fort Benjamin Harrison (later, Benjamin Harrison AFB), IN, 25 Sep 1948; Selfridge AFB, MI, 16 Jan 1950-1 Sep 1960. Richards-Gebaur AFB, MO, 1 Apr 1966-31 Dec 1969. Bergstrom AFB, TX, 8 Oct 1976; Carswell ARS, TX, 30 Jun 1996-.

Commanders:  None (not manned), 12-16 Feb 1942; Lt Col Harry A. Halverson, 17 Feb 1942; Maj Gen Lewis H. Brereton, 5 Mar 1942; Brig Gen Earl L. Naiden, 26 Jun l942; Maj Gen Clayton I. Bissell, 18 Aug 1942; Maj Gen Howard C. Davidson, 19 Aug 1943; Brig Gen Adiai H. Gilkeson, 14 Sep 1944; Maj Gen Howard C. Davidson, 11 Oct 1944; Maj Gen Albert F Hegenberger, 1 Aug 1945; unkn, Nov 1945-Jan 1946. None (not manned), 24 May-5 Jun 1946; Col Edward N. Backus, 6 Jun 1946; Maj Gen Howard M. Turner, 18 Jun 1946; Brig Gen Harry A. Johnson, 6 Jan 1948; Maj Gen Paul L. Williams. 1 Jul 1948; Brig Gen Harry A. Johnson, 23 May 1949; Maj Gen Paul L. Williams, 18 Jul 1949; Brig Gen Harry A. Johnson, 18 Nov 1949; Maj Gen Paul L. Williams, 23 Dec 1949; Brig Gen Harry A. Johnson, 4 Jan 1950; Maj Gen Paul L. Williams, 6 Apr 1950; Brig Gen Harry A. Johnson, 30 Apr 1950; Col Cecil E. Henry, 1 Jun 1950; Maj Gen Harry A. Johnson, 14 Jun 1950; Maj Gen Grandison Gardner, 20 Jan 1951; Maj Gen Harry A. Johnson, 1 April 1951; Col Bernard C. Rose, 1 Jul 1953; Maj Gen Richard A. Grussendorf, 2 Jul 1953; Col Paul E. Todd, 1 Aug 1955; Maj Gen Robert E. L. Eaton. 15 Sep 1955; Col Downs E. Ingram, 19 Aug 1959; Maj Gen Harold R. Maddux, 24 Aug 1959-1 Sep 1960. Maj Gen Thomas K. McGehee, 1 Apr 1966; Maj Gen William D. Greenfield, 27 Sep 1967-31 Dec 1969. Maj Gen Roy M. Marshall, 8 Oct 1976; Maj Gen John E. Taylor Jr, 15 May 1978; Maj Gen James C. Wahleithner, 1 May 1984; Maj Gen Roger P. Scheer, 4 May 1985; Brig Gen William B. McDaniel, 1 Nov 1986; Brig Gen John J. Closner III, 6 Jul 1987; Brig Gen Robert A. McIntosh, 5 Jul 1989; Maj Gen David R. Smith, 1 Dec 1990; Maj Gen John A. Bradley, Feb 1998; Maj Gen David E. Tanzi, 4 Mar 2002; Maj Gen Allan R. Poulin, 20 Jan 2005; Maj Gen Richard C. Collins, 24 Dec 2005; Brig Gen Thomas R. Coon, 3 Jun 2007-.

Operations:  Activated for air operations in the China-India-Burma (CBI) theater; commanded tactical units from March 1942-December 1943, then served as a strategic bombardment headquarters in the CBI; later, resumed command over tactical fighter units in June 1944 until August 1945, when it conducted primarily air transport and troop carrier missions through the end of its operations in December 1945. Following WWII, initially conducted air defense operations and training beginning in the late 1940s, then later concentrated on air reserve training throughout the 1950s. Responsible for air defense and early warning forces based in the northern central and later southern central U.S. from 1966-1969. From 1976, exercised intermediate command over reserve component flying training, fighter, bomber, air refueling, rescue, space and special operations forces.

Service Streamers:  None.

Campaign Streamers:  World War II: Burma; India-Burma; Central Burma; China Defensive; China Offensive.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers:  None.

Decorations:  Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Jul 1984-30 Jun 1986; 1 Jul 1993-30 Jun 1995; 1 Oct 1995-30 Sep 1996; 1 Oct 2004-30 Sep 2006.

(Presidential Unit Citation:  See "Background of the Presidential Unit Citation for MIS" in CBI Unit Histories)

Emblem:  On an ultramarine blue disc, a white shield in base, winged golden orange, the shield bearing the Arabic numeral "10" ultramarine blue, all below a white five pointed star charged with a red disc, encircled by a white annulet. Approved on 25 Jan 1944; revised on 13 Jan 1977.

Lineage, Assignments, Stations, and Honors through 5 Sep 2008.

Commanders and Operations through 5 Sep 2008.

Supersedes statement prepared on 28 Mar 1977.

Source:  "The Army Almanac", U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950.

Lineage:  Activated as 10th Air Force at Patterson Field, Ohio, 12 February 1942. Redesignated the Tenth Air Force, 18 September 1942. Inactivated at Seattle, Wash., 6 January 1946. Activated at Brooks Field, Tex., 24 May 1946.

Commanding generals:  Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton (5 March 1942-25 June 1942); Brig. Gen. Earl L. Naiden (25 June 1942-18 August 1942); Maj. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell (18 August 1942-19 August 1943); Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson (19 August 1943-1 August 1945); Maj. Gen. Albert F. Hegenberger (1 August 1945-November 1945); Col. Edward N. Backus, (6-18 June 1946); Maj. Gen. Howard M. Turner (18 June 1946-1 January 1948); Brig. Gen. Harry A. Johnson (1 January 1948-1 July 1948); Maj. Gen. Paul L. Williams (1 July 1948-).

Operational Notes (World War II):  In the China-Burma-India Theater, the Tenth Air Force had, as its primary function, defense of the ferry route over the Hump. From the Kunming terminal, its China Air Task Force struck at enemy installations, port facilities, and shipping in the China Sea, while its India Air Task Force guarded the Dinjan end and insured neutralization of airfields at Myitkyina and other places in northern Burma. Although duties of the China Air Task Force were assumed by the Fourteenth Air Force in March 1943, the Tenth continued to operate from bases in Assam, disrupting enemy lines of communications, flying sweeps over the Bay of Bengal, and mining harbors at Rangoon, Bangkok, and Moulmein. Later, as components of the Eastern Air Command (15 December 1943-1 June 1945), Tenth Air Force units participated in all important phases of the Burma campaign, furnishing airborne support to General Wingate's forces, dropping supplies to Merrill's Marauders, and facilitating General Stilwell's reconquest of North Burma. By April 1945, some 350,000 men were wholly dependent upon air supply by these units. In August 1945, the Tenth moved to China, anticipating an offensive against Japan proper.

Station:  Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Ind. (Oct. 1948).

History of the CBI Theater:

"Army Air Forces in WWII"  (7 volumes)
Office of Air Force History
Wesley Craven & James Cate, editors
       Site 1:  Hyperwar: U.S. Army Air Force in World War II
       Site 2:  Air Force Historical Studies Office

Table of Contents

5320th Air Defense Wing

Source:  Ex-CBI Roundup, February 1957 issue

American Air Command No. 1; redesignated 5320th Air Defense Wing; redesignated Forward Echelon, 10th Air Force; later incorporated into HQ, 10th AF.

Table of Contents

India Air Task Force

Source:  The Army Air Forces in WWII Vol. IV [Chapter 12], Craven & Cate

Brig. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell (10th AF) had made a careful survey of the staff of his air force, and he promptly appealed for additional personnel to replace officers reassigned to the Middle East. In preparation for operations at the close of the monsoon season, he decided to organize all combat units in India into an air task force comparable to the one then operating in China, and to designate Col. Caleb V. Haynes to command it. When the activation of the India Air Task Force (IATF) should be accomplished, the Tenth Air Force would consist of the CATF under Chennault, the IATF under Haynes, the X Air Service Command under Oliver, the India-China Ferry Command under Tate, and the Karachi American Air Base Command under Brig. Gen. Francis M. Brady.

The IATF was activated at Dinjan, India to support Chinese resistance along the Salween River by hitting supply lines in C and S Burma; the new task force, commanded by Colonel Caleb V Haynes, includes all AAF combat units in India, all based at Karachi-the 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy), the 51st Fighter Group, and the 341st Bombardment Group (Medium).

On paper the IATF had nine squadrons, but not one was fully prepared for combat operations. Of the four heavy bombardment squadrons of the 7th Group, the 9th had not yet been returned from the Middle East, the 436th was just receiving its component of aircraft, and the other two, the 492d and 493d, were mere cadres. The recently activated 341st Bombardment Group (M) had only three squadrons in India, and two of them, the 490th and 491st, were without aircraft. The 22d Squadron was just receiving its planes and had not completed training. A detachment of the 26th Fighter Squadron had moved to Dinjan, but the other squadron of the 51st Fighter Group, the 25th, was in training at Karachi.

By January 1943 headquarters of the IATF had been established at Barrackpore near Calcutta, and the following deployment of combat units was completed: the 25th and 26th Fighter Squadrons were at Sookerating and Dinjan, in Assam; the 436th and 492d Bombardment Squadrons (H) were at Gaya; the 9th and 493d Bombardment Squadrons (H) at Pandaveswar; the 22d and 491st Bombardment Squadrons (M) at Chakulia; and the 490th Bombardment Squadron (M) at Ondal. The newly activated squadrons, though not yet at full strength, were ready to participate in combat, and it appeared that for the first time the Tenth Air Force was in position to challenge Japanese air supremacy in Burma. Although deployment and training had advanced to a stage permitting combat operations, other fundamental problems had to be worked out before the IATF could hope to achieve success comparable to that of the CATF. The Tenth Air Force as a whole was a fairly well-balanced organization, with one heavy group, one medium group, and two fighter groups.

Table of Contents

American Volunteer Group (AVG)
(forerunner to the China Air Task Force, July 1937 - July 1942)

Plaque located at Air Force Academy Cemetery

(See 14th AF Units)

Table of Contents

China Air Task Force (CATF)
(forerunner to the 14th Air Force, July 1942 - March 1943)

Plaque located at Air Force Academy Cemetery

(See 14th AF Units)

Table of Contents

Eastern Air Command (EAC)  (See CBI Unit Histories)

(15 December 1943-1 June 1945)

In December 1943, the Japanese held almost all Burma and, standing poised on India's eastern frontier, threatened to swarm over Bengal's plains. To meet this crisis, the Supreme Allied Commander in the newly-formed South East Asia Command, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, directed the integration of Allied air operations over Burma and formed Eastern Air Command, which was commanded by Lt. General (then Maj. Gen.) George E. Stratemeyer, and responsible to Air Chief Marshall Sir Richard Peirce, the Allied Air Commander-in-Chief. The Supreme Allied Commander originally specified two main objectives: (1) Protect the lines of communication between the supply base of India and the fighting Chinese front and (2) destroy the Japanese air force in Burma. Most of the available RAF and USAAF aircraft in the Theater were given to the General to execute his task.

Thus was born Eastern Air Command, an integrated air force with flying crews and ground personnel from Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

Table of Contents

1st Air Commando Group  (See CBI Unit Histories)

16th Pursuit Gp

16th Pursuit Gp

1st ACG Association

Hailakandi, India - 1944

L-5B, 44-16816 of the 1st ACG -- Courtesy of Mr. Nick King

Plaque located in Memorial Park
National Museum of the United States Air Force

Source:  Birth of the Air Commandos

General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold coined the term "Air Commando" in early 1944. This term referred to a group of Air Corps personnel established in India to support British long-range penetration forces in Burma. Its lineage began with the highly secret Project 9, the organizing and recruiting stages in the United States. Project 9 became the 5318th Provisional Group (Air) in India, which airlifted British General Orde Wingate's Special Forces into Burma during Operation THURSDAY in March 1944. Before the end of the month, it had changed, in name only, to the 1st Air Commando Group (1 ACG).


Combat Units of WWII; AFHRA, Maurer Maurer, editor:
Air Force Historical Studies Office  (Adobe Acrobat file)

Lineage:  Authorized on the inactive list as 16 Pursuit Group on 24 Mar 1923. Activated on 1 Dec 1932. Redesignated as: 16 Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 6 Dec 1939; 16 Fighter Group on 15 May 1942. Disestablished on 1 Nov 1943. Reestablished and consolidated (1 Oct 1993) with the 1 Special Operations Wing, which was established as 1 Air Commando Group on 9 Aug 1944, replacing the 1 Air Commando Group (a miscellaneous unit) that was constituted on 25 Mar 1944, activated on 29 Mar 1944, and consolidated on 9 Aug 1944 with the headquarters unit of the new establishment. Inactivated on 3 Nov 1945. Disestablished on 8 Oct 1948. Reestablished on 18 Apr 1962. Activated, and organized, on 27 Apr 1962. Redesignated as: 1 Air Commando Wing on 1 Jun 1963; 1 Special Operations Wing on 8 Jul 1968; 834 Tactical Composite Wing on 1 Jul 1974; 1 Special Operations Wing on 1 Jul 1975; 16 Special Operations Wing on 1 Oct 1993; 1 Special Operations Wing on 16 Nov 2006.

Assignments:  3 Attack Wing, 1 Dec 1932; 19 Composite (later, 19) Wing, 15 Jun 1933; 12 Pursuit Wing, 20 Nov 1940; XXVI Interceptor (later, XXVI Fighter) Command, 6 Mar 1942-1 Nov 1943. Army Air Forces India-Burma Sector, 29 Mar 1944 (original unit assigned to 9 Aug 1944, establishment assigned thereafter); Tenth Air Force, 10 Jul 1945; Army Service Forces, 6 Oct-3 Nov 1945. USAF Special Air Warfare Center (later, USAF Special Operations Force), 27 Apr 1962; Tactical Air Command, 1 Jul 1974; Ninth Air Force, 1 Jul 1976; Tactical Air Command, 26 Sep 1980; Ninth Air Force, 1 Aug 1981; 2 Air Division, 1 Mar 1983; Twenty Third Air Force (later, Air Force Special Operations Command), 1 Feb 1987-.


Group:  1 Special Operations (later, 16 Operations; 1 Special Operations): 22 Sep 1992-. 549 Tactical Air Support Training: 15 Dec 1975-1 Jan 1977. 930 Tactical Airlift (later, 930 Air Commando; 930 Special Operations): 1 Jun 1968-18 Jun 1969.

Squadron:  5 Fighter, Commando (later, 605 Air Commando): 1 Sep 1944-3 Nov 1945; 15 Nov 1963-1 Jul 1964 (detached 15 Nov 1963-1 Jul 1964). 6 Fighter, Commando (later, 6 Air Commando; 6 Special Operations Training): 30 Sep 1944-3 Nov 1945; 27 Apr 1962-29 Feb 1968; 31 Jul 1973-1 Jan 1974. 8 Special Operations: 1 Mar 1974-22 Sep 1992. 9 Special Operations: 18 Apr 1989-22 Sep 1992. 16 Special Operations: 12 Dec 1975-22 Sep 1992. 18 Special Operations: 25 Jan-15 Jul 1969. 20 Special Operations: 1 Jan 1976-22 Sep 1992. 24 Pursuit (later 16 Fighter): 1 Dec 1932-1 Nov 1943. 25 Special Operations (later, 25 Special Operations Squadron [Reconnaissance Support]: 31 Aug 1970-30 Sep 1974. 29 Pursuit (later, 29 Fighter): 1 Oct 1933-1 Nov 1943. 43 Pursuit (Interceptor) (later, 43 Fighter): 1 Feb 1940-1 Nov 1943. 44 Observation (later, 44 Reconnaissance): attached c. Dec 1932-31 Aug 1937, assigned 1 Sep 1937-31 Jan 1940, attached 1 Feb-20 Nov 1940. 55 Special Operations: 18 Apr 1989-22 Sep 1992. 71 Tactical Airlift (later, 71 Air Commando; 71 Special Operations): 1 Jun-16 Dec 1968. 74 Pursuit (later, 74 Attack; 74 Bombardment): 1 Oct 1933-1 Feb 1940. 78 Pursuit: 1 Dec 1932-1 Sep 1937. 164 Liaison: 1 Sep 1944-3 Nov 1945. 165 Liaison: 1 Sep 1944-3 Nov 1945. 166 Liaison: 1 Sep 1944-3 Nov 1945. 310 Attack: 15 May-15 Jul 1969. 311 Attack: 15 May-15 Jul 1969. 317 Air Commando (later, 317 Special Operations): 1 Jul 1964-15 Jul 1969; 15 Apr 1970-30 Apr 1974. 318 Special Operations: 15 Nov 1971-1 Jun 1974. 319 Troop Carrier, Commando (later, 319 Air Commando; 319 Special Operations): 1 Sep 1944-2 Sep 1945; 27 Apr 1962-15 Jul 1969; 30 Jul 1969-15 Jan 1972. 360 Tactical Electronic Warfare: 1-31 Jul 1973. 415 Special Operations Training: 19 Jul 1971-30 Jun 1975. 424 Special Operations (later, 424 Tactical Air Support) Training: 1 Jul 1970-1 Jan 1972. 547 Special Operations (later, 547 Tactical Air Support) Training: 15 Oct 1969-30 Apr 1975. 549 Tactical Air Support Training: 15 Oct 1969-15 Dec 1975. 602 Fighter, Commando: 1 May 1963-1 Oct 1964. 603 Fighter, Commando (later, 603 Air Commando; 603 Special Operations; 603 Special Operations Training): 1 Jul 1963-15 May 1971; 1 Jul 1973-1 Jul 1974. 604 Fighter, Commando: 1 Jul 1963-8 Nov 1964. 775 Troop Carrier: 15 Apr-1 Jul 1964. 4406 Combat Crew Training: 1 Oct 1968-15 Jul 1969. 4407 Combat Crew Training: 15 Jul 1969-30 Apr 1973. 4408 Combat Crew Training: 15 Jul-22 Sep 1969. 4409 Combat Crew Training: 15 Jul-15 Oct 1969. 4410 Combat Crew Training: 27 Apr 1962-1 Dec 1965; 15 Jul-15 Oct 1969. 4412 Combat Crew Training: 25 Oct 1967-15 Jul 1969. 4413 Combat Crew Training: 1 Mar 1968-15 Jul 1969. 4473 Combat Crew Training: 8 Aug 1969-1 Jul 1970. 4532 Combat Crew Training: 25 Oct 1967-15 Jul 1969.

Flight:  7 Special Operations: 1 Jul 1969-31 May 1972.

Stations:  Albrook Field, CZ, 1 Dec 1932-1 Nov 1943. Hailakandi, India, 29 Mar 1944 (original unit); Asansol, India, 20 May 1944-6 Oct 1945 (original unit to 9 Aug 1944, establishment thereafter); Camp Kilmer, NJ, 1-3 Nov 1945. Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field No. 9 (Hurlburt Field), FL, 27 Apr 1962; England AFB, LA, 15 Jan 1966; Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field No. 9 (Hurlburt Field), FL, 15 Jul 1969-.

Commanders:  Unkn, 1932-1933; Maj Robert L. Walsh, c. 2 Sep 1933-c. 14 Aug 1935; Lt Col Willis H. Hale, Sep 1938-8 Aug 1939; Maj Arthur L. Bump, c. 1939-c. Feb 1941; Capt Roger J. Browne, 24 Feb 1941; Lt Col Otto P. Weyland, 20 May 1941; Maj John A. H. Miller, 1 Mar 1942; Lt Col Philip B. Klein, 10 Apr 1942; Lt Col Hiette S. William Jr., Sep 1942; Maj James K. Johnson, 1943; Maj Edwin Bishop Jr., 25 Sep 1943-unkn. Col Philip G. Cochran, 29 Mar 1944 (original unit); Col Clinton B. Gaty, 20 May 1944 (original unit to 9 Aug 1944; establishment thereafter); Col Robert W. Hall, c. 7 Apr 1945-unkn. Lt Col Miles M. Doyle, 27 Apr 1962; Col Chester A. Jack, 29 Apr 1962; Col Gerald R. Dix, 19 Mar 1963; Col Harry C. Aderholt, 28 Mar 1964; Col Gordon F. Bradburn, 10 Jul 1964; Col Hugh G. Fly Jr., 1 Dec 1965; Col Alpheus W. Blizzard Jr., 3 Apr 1967; Col Albert S. Pouloit, 9 Sep 1967; Col Leonard Volet, 14 Feb 1969; Col Robert W. Gates, 15 Jul 1969; Col Michael C. Horgan, 31 Oct 1970; Col James H. Montrose, 1 Apr 1973; Brig Gen William J. Holton, 11 Jan 1974; Col Edward Levell Jr., 1 Jul 1976; Col Richard H. Dunwoody, 29 Jul 1977; Col Theodore W. Stuart, 13 Mar 1980; Col Hugh L. Cox III, 26 Feb 1982; Col Hugh L. Hunter, 1 Mar 1983; Col Leonard A. Butler, 12 Jul 1985; Col Hanson L. Scott, 28 Aug 1986; Col Dale E. Stovall, 13 Jul 1987; Col George A. Gray III, 21 Jun 1989; Col Gary C. Vycital, c. 29 Aug 1990 (temporary); Col George A. Gray III, c. 24 Nov 1990; Col Gary C. Vycital, c. 24 Dec 1990 (temporary); Col George A. Gray III, 13 Mar 1991; Col Charles R. Holland, 20 Jun 1991; Brig Gen Maxwell C. Bailey, 7 Jun 1993; Brig Gen Norton A. Schwartz, 2 Jun 1995; Col Richard L. Comer, 16 May 1997; Col Donald C. Wurster; 12 Jun 1998; Col David J. Scott, 29 Jul 1999; Col Lyle M. Koenig, 29 Jun 2001; Col Frank J. Kisner, 28 Jun 2002; Col Otis G. Mannon, 24 Oct 2003; Col Norman J. Brozenick Jr., 7 Jul 2005; Col Marshall B. Webb, 3 Jul 2007; Col Gregory J. Lengyel, 20 Nov 2008; Col Michael T. Plehn, 7 Jun 2010; Col James C. Slife, 29 Jun 2011; Col William P. West, 3 Jul 2013-.

Aircraft:  P-12, 1932-1943; OA-3 1933-1937; B-6, 1933-1937; OA-9, 1937-1940; Y-10, 1937-1940; A-17, 1937-1940; P-26, 1938-1941; P-36, 1939-1942; P-39, 1941-1943; P-40, 1941-1943. B-25, 1944; P-47, 1944-1945; P-51, 1944, 1945; UC-64, 1944-1945; L-1, 1944; L-5, 1944-1945; C-47, 1944-1945; YR-4, 1944-1945; CG-4 (glider), 1944-1945; TG-5 (glider), 1944-1945. C-46, 1962-1964; C/TC/VC-47, 1962-1970, 1973-1975; B/RB-26, 1962-1966; T/AT-28, 1962-1973; L-28 (later, U-10), 1962-1973; C/UC-123, 1963-1973; A-1, 1963-1966, 1969-1972; YAT-28, 1964-1965; YAT-37, 1964; O-1, 1964-1967, 1969-1971; AC-47, 1965, 1967-1969; U-3, 1966-1967; U-6, 1966-1967; UH-1, 1966, 1969-1974, 1976-1985; 1997-2012; A/RA-26, 1966-1969; A-37, 1967-1969, 1969-1971, 1973-1974; EC/HC-47, 1967-1969, 1973; AC-123, 1967; C/MC-130, 1968-; AC-130, 1968, 1971-; EC-130, 1969; C/AC-119, 1968-1969, 1971-1972; O-2, 1969-1976; OV-10, 1969-1976; YQU-22 (drone), 1969-1970; QU-22 (drone), 1970-1971; CH-3, 1973-1974, 1976-1980; MH-53, 1980-2008; MH-60, 1989-1999; HC-130, 1989-1995; MQ-1, 2005-2007; CV-22, 2006-; U-28, 2005-. In addition to the primary aircraft listed above, also flew T-29, 1969-1973; VT-29, 1969-1975; T-33, 1969-1975; T-39, 1969-1975; C-131, 1970-1973; and VC-131, 1973-1975.

Operations:  Provided fighter defense of Panama Canal operations, Dec 1932-Oct 1943. Replaced the 5318 Provisional Air Unit in India in Mar 1944. As a miscellaneous unit, the group was comprised until Sep 1944 of operational sections (rather than units): bomber; fighter; light-plane (and helicopter); transport; glider; and light-cargo. The group provided fighter cover, bomb striking power, and air transport services for Wingate's Raiders, fighting behind enemy lines in Burma. Operations included airdrop and landing of troops, food, and equipment; evacuation of casualties; and attacks against enemy airfields and lines of communication. Converted from P-51 to P-47 fighters and eliminated its B-25 bomber section in May 1944. In Sep 1944, after the original unit was consolidated with the headquarters component of the new establishment (also called 1 Air Commando Group); the sections were replaced by a troop carrier, two fighter, and three liaison squadrons. The group continued performing supply, evacuation, and liaison services for allied forces in Burma until the end of the war, including the movement of Chinese troops from Burma to China in Dec 1944. It also attacked bridges, railroads, airfields, barges, oil wells, and troop positions in Burma and escorted bombers to Burmese targets, including Rangoon. Switched back to P-51s in May 1945. Left Burma in Oct and inactivated in NJ in Nov 1945. Replaced the 4400 Combat Crew Training Group in Apr 1962 and assumed air commando operations and training responsibility. Trained USAF and South Vietnamese Air Force aircrews in the United States and South Vietnam in unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, psychological warfare, and civic actions throughout the Southeast Asian conflict. Between 11 Jan and 30 Jun 1974, the USAF Special Operations Force and 1 Special Operations Wing merged their operations, and on 1 Jul 1974, the wing assumed responsibility for operating the USAF Air Ground Operations School, which trained personnel in concepts, doctrine, tactics, and procedures of joint and combined operations until 1 Feb 1978, and the USAF Special Operations School, which trained selected American and allied personnel in special operations, until Mar 1983. Elements of the wing participated in the attempt in Apr 1980 to rescue US hostages held in Tehran, Iran. Thereafter, continued to work closely with multi-service special operations forces to develop combat tactics for numerous types of aircraft and conduct combat crew training for USAF and foreign aircrews. Conducted numerous disaster relief; search and rescue; medical evacuation; and humanitarian support missions. Supported drug interdiction efforts in a coordinated program involving multiple US and foreign agencies, 1983-1985. Conducted airdrop and airlift of troops and equipment; psychological operations, close air support, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and attacks against enemy airfields and lines of communications in support of the rescue of US nationals in Grenada, Oct-Nov 1983, and the restoration of democracy in Panama, Dec 1989-Jan 1990. Beginning Aug 1990, deployed personnel and equipment to Saudi Arabia. These forces carried out combat search and rescue, unconventional warfare, and direct strike missions during the conflict, including suppression of Iraqi forces during the Battle of Khafji, Jan 1991. Deployed personnel and equipment worldwide, performing combat search and rescue, and supporting contingencies, humanitarian relief, and exercises that included Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Kuwait, and Central America. Elements of the wing deployed to participate in Operation Provide Comfort in Iraq, 1991-1996 and Deny Flight, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1993-1995. It supported Operation Deliberate Force/Joint Endeavor, Aug-Sep 1995 and 14-20 Dec 1996, flying combat missions and attacking targets critical to Bosnian-Serb Army operations. Wing elements participated in Operations Northern and Southern Watch in 1997 and again participated in combat operations in Desert Thunder, Feb-Ju

Service Streamers:  World War II American Theater.

Campaign Streamers:  World War II: India-Burma; Central Burma. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers:  Grenada, 1983; Panama, 1989-1990.

Decorations:  Distinguished Unit Citation: Burma and India, [Mar]-20 May 1944. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device: 1 May 1982-30 Apr 1984; 1 Jun 1997-31 May 1999; 1 Jul 2003-30 Jun 2005; 1 Jul 2005-30 Jun 2007. Meritorious Unit Awards: 1 Jul 2007-30 Jun 2009; 1 Oct 2009-30 Sep 2011. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: Jul 1963-Jun 1965; 1 Jul 1969-15 Apr 1971; 1 Jan 1976-31 Mar 1977; 15 Jul 1979-15 May 1980; 16 May 1980-30 Apr 1982; 1 May 1985-30 Apr 1987; 1 May 1988-30 Apr 1990; 16 Apr 1992-15 Apr 1994; 1 Jun 1995-31 May 1997; 1 Jul 1999-30 Jun 2001; 1 Jul 2001-30 Jun 2003.

(Presidential Unit Citation:  See "Background of the Presidential Unit Citation for MIS" in CBI Unit Histories)

Emblem (16th Pursuit Gp):  Four lightning bolts, representing the four assigned squadrons, depict destruction from the sky. Approved in 1934.

Emblem (WWII):  (Design taken from the National Standard of the Chindits Old Comrades Association). On a blue field a Burmese Temple Lion and Pagoda, all gold resting on the Morse Code dot, dot, dot, dash. overall a label: NO. 1 AIR COMMANDOS.

Emblem (Current):  Per fess Azure and paly of 13 Gules and Argent, in pale a sword point to base light blue, winged fesswise in chief of the like, the blade surmounted in base by a lamp or enflamed of the third and fourth, all within a diminished bordure of the fifth. Motto: ANY TIME, ANY PLACE. Approved on 6 Jun 1963 (K-14253); replaced emblem approved on 4 Dec 1934 (K-2804). (On 1 October 1993, the 1st Special Operations Wing was redesignated the 16th Special Operations Wing. The unit retained the same emblem.)

Emblem Significance:  The emblem of the 1st Special Operations Wing symbolizes its 63-year mission and emphasizes that the wing is the single focal point for all Air Force special operations matters.

The shield reflects its historic past as the first organization to field limited and unconventional warfare. It was approved for the reconstituted 1st Air Commando Group on June 6, 1943.

The background is national colors with the blue representing the sky and the Air Force. The 13 red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies, the first American force to engage in limited war. The stripes also are reminiscent of the red and white diagonal markings on some 1st Air Commando Group aircraft, an ancestor of the 1st SOW.

The silver dagger represents the air commando, and the dagger is winged to indicate that commandos come from the air. A golden lamp of knowledge reflects the wing's civic action role and indicates that wing members serve as teachers, as well as warriors, in assisting U.S. allies determine their own way of life and form of government.

The motto, "Any Time, Any Place," emphasizes the 1st SOW is prepared to accomplish its mission whenever or wherever it is called upon to do so. (Source: 1st SOW Fact Sheet, January 2007)

Lineage, Assignments, Components, Stations, and Honors through 20 Sep 2013.

Commanders, Aircraft, and Operations through 20 Sep 2013.

1st ACG Bomber Section

1st ACG L-5 Pilots

1st SOW Becomes 16th SOW



On Oct. 1, 1993 the United States Air Force redesignated the 1st SOW as the 16th SOW. The redesignation occurred as part of then Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill A. McPeak's effort to protect Air Force heritage.

Upon becoming Chief of Staff, General McPeak tasked the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. to develop a historical scoring system for wings and squadrons that would permit the Air Force leadership to keep those unit designations with the most history points during down-sizing actions. The historical agency personnel developed a scoring system based upon a unit's total years of service, service streamers, campaign or expeditionary credits, combat decorations, foreign decorations, non-combat decorations and aerial victory credits.

General McPeak directed that no active duty units would have the same designation. At the time, the 1st SOW shared its numerical designation with the 1st Fighter Wing, Langley AFB, VA, and the recently inactivated 1st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, Colo. Under the AFHRA scoring system, the 1st FW accumulated the most points, thus the 1st SOW had to be renamed.

To comply with General McPeak's requirement, the AFHRA personnel reconstituted the 16th Fighter Group and consolidated it with the 1st SOW. The 16th FG had a unique but short history in that it was activated in the Panama Canal Zone on Dec. 1, 1932 and served as part of the then very crucial defense of the Panama Canal. In 1939, the unit was redesignated the 16th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), and in 1941, the 16th Fighter Group. The unit was disbanded on Nov. 1, 1943. The 16th was of historical importance in that it was one of the original 13 Air Force units created between 1918 and 1932.

1st SOW Reborn at Hurlburt Field

As the Air Force prepared to stand up a new Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB, N.M., it was decided that the 1st SOW heritage should remain at Hurlburt Field. So today, a new chapter in the 1st SOW heritage begins.

The decision to resurrect the 1st SOW designation rose from the fact that the 1st SOW had a strong heritage with Hurlburt Field.

Other Sites of Interest:

The Air Invasion of Burma (Air Force Magazine, November 2009)

Chindits 2nd Campaign 1944

 1st Air Commando Group Operations Aug 43-May 44

Table of Contents

5th Fighter Squadron (Commando)