Route map of the Western Transport Air Force, 1964. The 1502d ATW operated primarily within this AOR. Douglas C-54 Skymaster C-97 Stratofreighter C-124 Globemaster II The 1502d Air Transport Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit, being inactivated on 8 January 1966.
The 1502d ATW was a heavy cargo transport wing of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS), formed on 1 June 1948. The unit was originally designated as the 531st Air Transport Wing and assigned to the MATS Western Transport Air Force, being stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Established on 1 June 1948 concurrent with the activation of the Military Air Transport Service; assumed responsibility for mission previously carried out by the Air Transport Command by transporting cargo and personnel to destinations within Far East Air Force and to the Continental United States. The 531st Air Transport Group was initially equipped with three squadrons of C-54 Skymasters that could reach the Continental US, but required intermediate stopovers along the Pacific Transport Routes to stations in the as far as Pakistan. From 1948-1957 the unit has associations with Naval Air Transport squadrons assigned to Hickam as part of the joint service organization of MATS.
Redesignated 1500th Air Transport Wing in a MATS reorganization and redefinition of units, operational squadrons also redesignated in a name-only change. Received two additional C-54 squadrons from 1501st ATW at Fairfeld-Susun (later Travis) AFB in 1949. Received first long-range C-97 Stratofreighter aircraft and two additional squadrons in 1951.
Wing reorganized in mid 1952; C-54s reassigned and five C-97 squadrons established; squadrons again redesignated as part of the Wing realignment. In 1955 two squadrons were upgraded to very heavy lift C-124 Globemaster II which gave the wing a worldwide airlift capability. Also beginning in 1955, the wing operated VC-97s for VIP/Special Air Mission flights supporting HQ Far East Air Force (Rear). later HQ Pacific Air Forces, 1957-1966.
Air echelon of wing redesignated as 1502d Air Transport Wing; base support unit retained at 1500th Air Base Group for maintenance and support squadrons on 1 Jul 1955. C-97 squadrons inactivated and aircraft reassigned.
Assumed responsibility for aircraft and personnel of 1503d Air Transport Group at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan in 1964 when 1502d reduced from Wing to Group level.
Remained flying worldwide transport missions with the Globemasters until 1966 when MATS was inactivated and assets transferred to the Military Airlift Command 61st Military Airlift Wing.
- In 1950, An earthquake in New Delhi brought MATS aircraft into Dum Dum Airport, Calcutta, with emergency medical supplies.
- During the Korean War, MATS airlifted nearly 50,000 combat casualties and patients to the United States.
- In 1952, when Typhoon Olive struck the island, MATS aircraft flew in fresh water, food, medicine, cots, and blankets, and helped evacuate more than 450 people to Hawaii and Guam.
- During the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1958, MATS flew 144 airlift trips to the Far East when the crisis arose in the Formosa Straits, supporting the move of a Tactical Air Command Composite Air Strike Force, and airlifting a squadron of F-104 Starfighters to Taiwan.
- MATS supported nuclear weapons testing at the Eniwetok Proving Ground by airlifting more than 14,000 tons of cargo and 13,000 personnel, as well as providing 1,100 of its own technical personnel.
- In February, 1961, MATS participated in Long Pass, the first strategic deployment airlift exercise of its size to the Pacific. It used 132 aircraft to move a battle group of the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and equipment for a Tactical Air Command Composite Strike Force (CASF) to Clark Air Base, the Philippines, and back again.
- In February, 1962, MATS used 120 airlift aircraft of all types in a similar exercise, Great Shelf, to Clark Air Base. This time it moved 2,300 Army paratroops of STRAC and 1,100 tons of their equipment over the route.
- In 1962, Devastating winds of Typhoon Karen had barely subsided when the first of 50 MATS jet and prop-driven aircraft began landing on the rain-soaked runways of Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, with relief supplies and equipment. MATS airlifted more than 970 tons of material from huge electric generators to blankets and clothing. Returning aircraft evacuated more than 760 dependents and servicemen whose homes had been shattered by the island's most severe storm in recorded history.
- Established as 531st Air Transport Group, 1 Jun 1948
- Redesignated as 1500th Air Transport Wing, 1 Jun 1949
- Redesignated as 1502d Air Transport Wing, 1 Jul 1955
- Inactivated on 8 Jan 1966, personnel and equipment assigned to 61st Military Airlift Wing
- 1503d Air Transport Group, 22 Jun 1964-8 Jan 1966
- At Tachikawa Air Base, Japan
- 1st Air Transport Squadron, 1 Jun 1948
- Redesignated: 1263d Air Transport Squadron, 1 Jun 1949
- Redesignated: 47th Air Transport Squadron, 20 Jul 1952-20 Jun 1957
- 2d Air Transport Squadron, 1 Jun 1948
- Redesignated: 1264th Air Transport Squadron, 1 Jun 1949
- Redesignated: 48th Air Transport Squadron, 20 Jul 1952-25 Jun 1965
- 4th Air Transport Squadron, 1 Jun 1948
- Redesignated: 1265th Air Transport Squadron, 1 Jun 1949
- Redesignated: 49th Air Transport Squadron, 20 Jul 1952-1 Jul 1955
- Elements deployed to Tachikawa Airfield, Japan during 1952-1953 flying combat resupply missions during Korean War
- 1453d Medical Air Evacuation squadron, 17 May 1949
- Redesignated: 1453d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 8 Nov 1956-1 Nov 1965
- 1266th Air Transport Squadron, 30 Jun 1949
- Elements deployed to Tachikawa Airfield, Japan during 1951-1952 flying combat resupply missions during Korean War
- Redesignated: 50th Air Transport Squadron, 20 Jul 1952-8 Jan 1966
- 1267th Air Transport Squadron, 30 Jun 1949-24 May 1950
- 1268th Air Transport Squadron, 30 Jun 1949
- Redesignated: 51st Air Transport Squadron, 20 Jul 1952-1 Jul 1955
- 1283d Air Transport Squadron, 24 Oct 1951-1 Jun 1952
- 1284th Air Transport Squadron, 24 Oct 1951-1 Jun 1952
- 6th Troop Carrier Squadron, 23 Jun 1965-8 Jan 1966
- Naval Air Transport Squadron 8 (VR-8), 1 Jun 1948-5 Sep 1957
- Naval Air Transport Squadron 7 (VR-7), 10 Apr 1955-15 Aug 1957
- 1st, 2d, 3d Air Transport Squadrons, 1948-1949
- 1263d, 1264th, 1265th, 1266th, 1268th Air Transport Squadrons, 1949-1952
- 1267th Air Transport Squadron, 1949-1950
- 1283d, 1284th Air Transport Squadrons, 1951-1952
- 1283d, 1284th Air Transport Squadrons, 1951-1952
- 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th, 51st Air Transport Squadrons. 1952-1955
Note: 1284th Air Transport Squadron (later 50th ATS) operated a VC-97 version of Stratofreighter, 1951-1966 for VIP/Special Air Missions.
- 48th, 50th, Air Transport Squadrons, 1955-1966
- 6th Troop Carrier Squadron, 1965-1966
- 1453d Medical (later Aeromedical) Air Evacuation Squadron 1956-1965
- Ravenstein, Charles A., Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947 1977, Office of Air Force History, 1984
- Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989
- Air Force History Index.org, Individual squadron lookups in AFHRA archives
- Stanley M. Ulanoff, MATS: The Story of the Military Air Transport Service, 1964, The Moffa Press, Inc.