The 445th Airlift Wing is an operational wing of the United States Air Force Reserve. It is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio. It flies the C-17 Globemaster III.
A C-5 Galaxy sits on the 445th Airlift Wing's West Ramp as the sun rises in the background.
If mobilized, the wing becomes part of Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
The wing's stated mission is "to attain and maintain operational readiness; provide strategic transport of personnel and equipment; provide aeromedical evacuation; and recruit and train toward these goals".
The 445th Airlift Wing is composed of
445th Operations Group ("Wright-Patterson" Tail Stripe)
- 89th Airlift Squadron ("Rhinos", 9 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft)
- 445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
- 445th Airlift Control Flight
- 445th Operations Support Squadron
- 445th Maintenance Group
- 445th Mission Support Group
Along with separate support units that report directly to the Wing Commander. The present unit strength is approximately 300 officers and 1,850 enlisted troops. Most 445th Airlift Wing members are traditional reservists who serve in the military on a part-time basis, taking time out from their families and civilian jobs to participate a minimum of one weekend a month as well as two-weeks of annual training each year. Augmenting the traditional reserve force is a team of approximately 350 members employed full-time as air reserve technicians in the unit.
- For additional history and lineage, see 445th Operations Group
Buffalo Municipal Airport
During the Cold War, the United States Air Force 445th Fighter-Bomber Wing was organized and activated on 24 June 1952 at Buffalo, New York as part of the USAF ready reserve. Manned and equipped with North American F-51D "Mustang" aircraft. The wing was bestowed the honors and history of the USAAF 445th Bombardment Group upon activation. The wing was activated to provide the USAF with a trained cadre of fighter pilots.
Dobbins AFB Georgia
Later in 1956 the 445th transitioned to the airlift role which has maintained to today. On 6 September 1957, the Wing became the 445th Troop Carrier Wing (Medium) and relocated to Dobbins AFB, GA, on 16 November. The Air Force redesignated the Wing the 445th Troop Carrier Wing (Assault) on 25 September 1958. The Wing began its conversion to C-123B Providers. In February 1959, the squadrons began to participate in Operation Swift Lift in which Reserve crews flew productive active duty missions.
As a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, on 28 October, Headquarters Tactical Air Command initiated the 445th Troop Carrier Wing alert plan and by 9 a.m., there were thirty-six mission ready aircrews and enough support personnel activated to be operationally capable. They operated from Dobbins AFB and moved military personnel and their equipment to forward operating locations in the southeastern United States. Those activated were returned to Reserve status on 28 November 1962.
On 11 February 1963, the Air Force reorganized the 445th Troop Carrier Wing (as it did all Reserve units). Groups were imposed into the chain of command between the Wing and its squadrons. The 918th, 919th, and 920th Troop Carrier Groups received assignment of the 700th, 701st, and 702nd squadrons respectively. The 700th, with its group, carried on at Dobbins while the others continued at Memphis. On 8 July 1965, the 700th squadron at Dobbins started conversion to the C-124 Globemaster. As the year progressed, the detached units at Memphis were inactivated.
On 1 October, the Wing was redesignated the 445th Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy; on 1 December, it became the 445th Air Transport Wing, Heavy; and on 1 January 1966, the 445th Military Airlift Wing. In the meantime, back on 1 December 1965, the Wing received another detached assignment: the 915th Military Airlift Group with its 76th Military Airlift Squadron at Homestead AFB, FL.
In June 1966, the Wing flew its first C-124 overseas mission to Europe, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico.
The 445th was never activated to support U.S. efforts in the Vietnam War, but as the active duty started flying more missions into Southeast Asia, so did the tempo for the Reserve and the 445th which flew more stateside and overseas missions. By the end of 1966, the unit had flown five missions into Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, South Vietnam.
While the 445th Military Airlift Wing was never activated for the Vietnam War, it was when the U.S.S. Pueblo, an intelligence ship, was seized off the coast of North Korea. On 26 January 1968, the 445th was activated at Dobbins. The Wing remained activated in support of the Pueblo incident for seventeen months until released from active military service on 2 June 1969.
The 445th Military Airlift Wing inactivated on 29 June 1971.
Norton AFB California
On 1 July 1973, the 445th was redesignated the 445th Military Airlift Wing (Associate) and activated at Norton AFB, CA. It was an Air Force Reserve unit reporting to the Fourth Air Force which would, if activated, be part of the Military Airlift Command. It assumed the missions, squadrons, flights, and personnel of the 944th Military Airlift Group.
The 445th worked in partnership with the 63rd Military Airlift Wing. Among the units of the 445th were three flying squadrons: the 728th, 729th, and 730th Military Airlift Squadrons. The 68th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 944th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron also transferred to the 445th.
By the end of 1973, the Arab-Israeli war drew additional requirements for more missions to the Middle East. For the 445th, this meant not only flying some of those taskings but taking on additional channel missions since the active duty were flying most of the Mid-East runs.
During the spring and summer of 1975, the 445th Military Airlift Wing participated in Operation New Life, an airlift mission to transport Vietnamese refugees and orphans from Vietnam to the South Pacific islands and to the United States, in which the aircrews of the 445th flew 126 sorties. Augmenting the crews of the 63rd Military Airlift Squadron, they participated in another 209 sorties. The 68th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron monitored patients on 43 sorties.
During the first week of February 1978, three 445th Military Airlift Wing crews flew in support of "Snow Blow II". One week earlier, a blizzard struck the eastern region of the United States with exceptional force, causing extreme hardships. Operation Snow Blow II provided assistance. The three crews staged out of Robert Grey Army Airfield, TX, and flew relief supplies into Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
During 1983, the Wing airlifted elements of a strategic reconnaissance wing from March AFB, CA, to Offutt AFB, NE. It transported civil engineers from Kirtland AFB, NM, to Eglin AFB, FL. The Wing supported the other services, too. Marines were shifted around in the Pacific from Japan to the Philippines. Crews moved U.S. Army helicopters from Texas to Hawaii. An Army tank battalion deployed to Indiana. Reserve and Guard paratroopers were airdropped at a drop zone in Wisconsin.
The 445th transported water jugs, generators and special power tools to Mexico City after it was devastated by an earthquake. The 445th took part in the 1985 North Atlantic Treaty Organization s Exercise Display Determination. The airdrop mission started at Pope AFB, NC, in a 12-plane formation, four with heavy equipment, and eight with paratroopers. The planes flew for 14 hours with one airborne refueling and arrived at Istanbul, Turkey. The first attempt to airdrop was canceled due to high winds. Crews recovered at Incirlik AB, Turkey, for 24 hours and made a second, this time successful, attempt.
In December 1989, during Operation Just Cause, 40 crewmembers from the Wing joined airlift missions to Panama that ousted General Manuel A. Noriega. Many reservists volunteered to be activated and augmented active duty crews. Members of the 730th MAS constituted an all-Reserve crew and flew Army equipment and personnel into Panama. They remained on the ground for about two hours. In January, a 729th MAS crew provided a second airlift of another 50 soldiers from Fort Ord, CA. On 13 January, another 730th crew had control of one C-141 in a 20 plane airdrop formation returning 1,924 paratroopers to Fort Bragg, NC, by air.
To support Operations Desert Shield/Storm, the Wing flew over 2,500 hours in January and peaked in February with almost 3,700 hours. Following the cessation of hostilities, the wing's flying squadrons continued to fly support missions stateside and to the Middle East, but they also flew many missions to redeploy troops back to the states. From 8 August 1990, to 11 June 1991, aircrews flew 441 missions for a total of 21,393.7 hours in direct support of Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The Wing deployed over 200 personnel from the 68th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron to form medical crews consisting of two nurses and five technicians. These crews were deployed to several bases throughout England and Germany.
Occasionally, the squadrons flew missions to the Middle East supporting Operation Southern Watch, the operation which patrols the southern half of Iraq to enforce the no-fly zone.
During the winter of 1990, the Wing participated in two humanitarian missions. The first mission was when a normal line mission was diverted to transport over 30,000 pounds of survival equipment to hurricane-ravaged western Samoa. The second was a routine medical evacuation from Wake Island. After Desert Storm and Desert Shield, they flew more humanitarian relief missions into eastern Europe, Africa, and the Persian Gulf.
In June 1991, the Wing joined others in Operation Fiery Vigil the evacuation of those fleeing the eruption of Mount Pinatubo near Clark AB, Philippines.
On 22 July 1991, the 730th Squadron flew the first relief shipment of humanitarian supplies into Mongolia. Leaving from Kadena Air Base, Japan, the flight took the crew over the Great Wall of China and the Gobi Desert. They landed at Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia.
For the last three weeks of July, 1991, the 729th Squadron sent 14 aircrews and four C-141s to stage out of Yokota AB, Japan, and the 730th sent the same amount to stage out of Kadena AB, Japan. Both squadrons flew missions into Diego Garcia, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, the Middle East, Iwo Jima, Jakarta, Bangkok, Oman, and Mongolia.
On 12 December 1991, another 730th crew deviated from their normal mission to carry emergency supplies to Mactan International Airport, Philippines, in the wake of a typhoon that struck there two weeks earlier.
The 729th Military Airlift Squadron flew the first C-141 from Rhein-Main AB, Germany to the former Soviet Union with humanitarian supplies. On 10 February 1992, they landed at Minsk, Russia, with emergency medical supplies and relief aid. The same crew made a second trip with food and landed at Kishinev, Moldava. On 14 February, a crew from the 730th Squadron transported more emergency relief supplies into Moscow. They made two additional trips into Ulan-Ude and Moldava.
Post Cold War
The post-Cold War drawdown of military forces affected the 445th Military Airlift Wing.
MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica -- A C-141 Starlifter sits here with engine heaters to keep mechanical parts from freezing up under the frigid condition. Starlifters from the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the 452nd Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., were here supporting Operation Deep Freeze.
On 1 January 1992, the 728th Squadron was reassigned to 446th Military Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, WA.
On 1 February 1992, the 445th Military Airlift Wing (Associate) was redesignated the 445th Airlift Wing (Associate). The 729th and 730th were also redesignated without the "Military" in their names. The 54th and the 61st Aerial Port Squadrons were inactivated with the personnel absorbed into the 50th and 56th Aerial Ports.
Also on 1 February 1992, the Air Force Reserve ordered the assignment of the 943rd Airlift Group to the 445th Airlift Wing. The 943rd remained at March AFB, CA, about fifteen miles (24 km) from Norton. This was a temporary assignment as the 943rd was scheduled to inactivate on 30 September 1993.
On 1 June 1992, the Military Airlift Command became the Air Mobility Command. Many support units of the Wing were inactivated. Those units were the 445th Communications Flight, the 445th Component Repair Squadron, the 445th Mission Support Squadron, the 445th Civil Engineering Squadron, the 445th Medical Group, and the 943rd Airlift Group.
Throughout the reorganization, the C-141s kept flying. Aircrews from the 303rd Airlift Squadron, a C-130 unit assigned to the 943rd Airlift Group, flew fire runs. One of their missions was to airdrop chemicals to smother forest fires. The 303rd flew 92 missions from August 21 25, 1992 for the U.S. Forest Service to fight a massive fire over central California.
On 24 August, two 730th aircrews provided two aircraft to transport personnel and supplies to Florida after Hurricane Andrew plowed through there. The first flew to Andrews AFB, MD and transported a White House Advance Planning Team to Miami. The other went to Minot AFB, ND, and picked up two trucks, a water tank, and a generator bound for Florida. On 11 September, the 729th flew nine missions hauling food, medical equipment and crews, and Army troops to Hawaii after it was ravaged by Hurricane Iniki.
The 445th Airlift Wing was the first associate Wing to become unit-equipped. In other words, the Air Force assigned a fleet of C-141s to the 445th Airlift Wing, a Reserve unit which had previously flown co-located active-duty planes. The "Associate" designation was removed from its name. The Wing took possession of six C-141B Starlifters on 30 March 1993. The unit received 10 more C-141s from active duty inactivations by July. After taking receiving its aircraft, the Air Force ordered the 445th Airlift Wing to relocate their facilities to March AFB, just down the road.
March AFB California
On 5 October 1993, the 730th Airlift Squadron flew the remains of 12 U.S. servicemen from Noi Boi Airport, Hanoi, Vietnam to Hickam AFB, HI. On its trip to Hanoi, the crew carried humanitarian relief supplies and more than 2,400 pounds of university textbooks bound for Vietnam.
March AFB was home to two Reserve Wings: the 445th Airlift Wing and the 452nd Air Refueling Wing. On 1 May 1994, the 452nd Wing was redesignated the 452nd Air Mobility Wing. The 729th and 730th AS were assigned to the 452nd. The 50th and 56th Aerial Ports and the 68th AES were all assigned to the 452nd. The 445th Airlift Wing and all of its units not reassigned were inactivated.
Wright-Patterson AFB Ohio
The 445th Airlift Wing was activated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 1 October 1994 and flew the C-141 Starlifter. It is composed primarily of personnel from two former units: the 906th Fighter Group from Wright-Patterson AFB and the 907th Tactical Airlift Group from Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, which were deactivated 30 September 1994.
From its new location, the Wing provided support to Operations Southern Watch and Deny Flight. It then began to support Operations Able Manner and Able Vigil.
Since reactivating at the West Ramp facility of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the 445th has been active in providing airlift of troops and supplies around the globe and has provided operational support to almost every contingency the Air Force has undertaken. One of the wing' s operations was the resupply of the scientific teams located at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in conjunction with the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
From July to September 1995 and in support of the active duty, both flying squadrons participated in the Air Mobility Command s Atlantic and Pacific Expresses. These missions were patterned after the many flown during Desert Storm and incorporated the flying of mission essential supply parts on an expedited basis. The Atlantic Express flew out of Dover AFB, DE, through the Azores and into the Middle East theater. The Pacific Express started at Travis AFB, CA, and flew through Elmendorf AFB, AL, to Yokota AB, Japan. However, both express routes were canceled from the wing's list of taskings due to the extra day needed and the middle of the morning launches as it was hard for reservists to integrate their civilian schedules with the flight plans. Shortly after the express missions were canceled, the Wing picked up another shorter overseas mission which it flew regularly. It was the Thule mission. After spending the night at Dover AFB, the crew flew to Thule, Greenland and back to either Wright-Patterson through either Dover AFB or McGuire AFB.
In September 1995, the Wing supported four relief supply efforts. The first was six pallets of food, water, emergency supplies, and two search-and-rescue dogs delivered to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Marilyn devastated the island. On the second, fresh bottled water, several generators, and miscellaneous relief supplies were taken from Pope AFB to Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands. The third and fourth supported efforts in Haiti and Moncton, New Brunswick.
The 445th Airlift Wing was involved in testing the Light Detection and Ranging device or LIDAR. The LIDAR would later be mounted in another type of aircraft but the 89th Airlift Squadron flew with the device mounted in its cargo compartment. The squadron flew three sorties from July 10 15, 1995 to participate in the test with the 93rd Bomb Squadron. For test purposes, the crew flew low figure-eight patterns around the test field, and the LIDAR shot a laser up through the atmosphere to determine wind values at all atmospheric levels. A computer would then compute the correct airborne drop coordinates to counter the different wind speeds and directions at the various altitudes. In November, the 89th participated in two more sorties to assist in calibrating the LIDAR.
Global War on Terror
The wing has been active in the wake of the 11 September attacks in 2001 by providing emergency airlift of supplies, medical teams and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., to assist with operations involving the World Trade Center collapse. The wing was also an active participant in Operation Enduring Freedom by being the first wing to fly Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. Since the initial detainee flights, the 445th Airlift Wing delivered roughly half of the detainees housed at the Guantanamo Bay facility. The wing also served in the mission of evacuating wounded personnel from the battlefield to regional treatment facilities and bringing fallen service members home for burial.
The 445th has continued to provide an active role for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The C-141 staging point for all Air Force Reserve C-141s was established at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, flying to the European Theater transporting troops and equipment, then into the Central Command area of operations with volunteers.
The wing was later called to active duty in February, 2003. At the peak of the 445th's activation, approximately 630 reservists from the wing were called to active duty. To date, the wing has over 100 reservists still on active duty status.
Even though the staging point has stepped down for Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 445th operations tempo was still very high for the wing. Through 30 September 2005, flights continued to cycle from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to Ramstein Air Base, Germany then into Balad Air Base, Iraq to transport wounded soldiers and Iraqi injured children who were severely sick or injured beyond hospital capabilities in Iraq, under the Coalition Provisional Authority. The injured were transported by a C-141 to Germany for medical treatment. After returning from Balad, then to Germany, the C-141 continued to the states while another C-141 took off from Wright-Patt to continue the cycle. Most members of the 445th maintenance squadrons and flying squadrons are currently de-mobilized, but are keeping the C-141s in the air with volunteer tours of duty. The aeromedical crews from the aeromedical evacuation squadron continue to be mobilized.
The wing was the last unit in the U.S. Air Force to operate the C-141. One of these, the Hanoi Taxi (serial number 66-0177), is famous for being the first aircraft to land in North Vietnam, in 1973, to repatriate American POWs at the end of the Vietnam War. On 6 May 2006, the Hanoi Taxi touched down for the last time and was received in a formal retirement ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, also at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (at the southern airfield, as opposed to the northern airfield where the 445th operates).
On 3 October 2005, the 445th received its first of ten C-5 Galaxy aircraft.
On 12 March 2010, the AFMC announced that the 445th will transition to the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft over the next two years. The first C-17 arrived 24 January 2011 from Charleston Air Force Base.
- Established as 445 Fighter-Bomber Wing on 24 June 1952
- Activated in the Reserve on 8 July 1952
- Redesignated: 445 Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on 6 September 1957
- Redesignated: 445 Troop Carrier Wing, Assault on 25 September 1958
- Ordered to Active Service on 28 October 1962
- Relieved from Active Duty on 28 November 1962
- Redesignated: 445 Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy on 1 October 1965
- Redesignated: 445 Air Transport Wing, Heavy on 1 December 1965
- Redesignated: 445 Military Airlift Wing on 1 January 1966
- Ordered to Active Service on 26 January 1968
- Relieved from Active Duty on 1 June 1969
- Inactivated on 29 June 1971
- Redesignated: 445 Military Airlift Wing (Associate) on 29 January 1973
- Activated in the Reserve on 1 July 1973
- Redesignated: 445 Airlift Wing (Associate) on 1 February 1992
- Redesignated: 445 Airlift Wing on 1 April 1993
- Inactivated on 1 May 1994
- Activated in the Reserve on 1 October 1994
- First Air Force, 8 July 1952
- Fourteenth Air Force, 16 November 1957
- Third Air Force Reserve Region, 15 July 1960
- Ninth Air Force, 28 October 1962
- Third Air Force Reserve Region, 28 November 1962
- Twenty-First Air Force, 26 January 1968
- Third Air Force Reserve Region, 2 June 1969
- Eastern Air Force Reserve Region, 31 December 1969-29 June 1971
- Western Air Force Reserve Region, 1 July 1973
- Fourth Air Force, 8 October 1976-1 May 1994
- Twenty-Second Air Force, 1 October 1994
- Fourth Air Force, 1 April 1997 present
- 445 Fighter-Bomber (later, 445 Troop Carrier; 445 Operations): 8 July 1952-25 September 1958; 1 August 1992-1 May 1994; 1 October 1994 present
- 904 Military Airlift: 26 January 1968-1 June 1969
- 915 Military Airlift: 1 December 1965-26 January 1968;1 September 1969-21 April 1971 (detached 1 21 April 1971)
- 918 Military Airlift: 11 February 1963-21 April 1971 (detached 1 21 April 1971)
- 919 Military Airlift: 11 February 1963-15 December 1965
- 920 Military Airlift: 11 February 1963-15 December 1965
- 943 Military Airlift: 1 February 1992-30 June 1993
- 76th Airlift Squadron: 1 October 1961-27 August 1962
- 336th Airlift Squadron: attached 15 August 1968-1 June 1969
- 700th Airlift Squadron: attached 16 November 1957-24 September 1958, assigned 25 September 1958-11 February 1963; attached 15 August 1968-1 June 1969
- 701st Airlift Squadron: 25 September 1958-11 February 1963 (detached)
- 702d Airlift Squadron: 25 September 1958-11 February 1963 (detached)
- 728th Airlift Squadron: 1 July 1973-1 January 1992
- 729th Airlift Squadron: 1 July 1973-1 August 1992
- 730th Airlift Squadron: 1 July 1973-1 August 1992
- Buffalo, NY. 8 July 1952 15 June 1955
- Niagara Falls Municipal Airport 15 June 1955 6 September 1957
Dobbins AFB GA 6 September 1957 29 June 1971
Norton AFB CA 1 July 1973 30 March 1994
- March AFB CA 30 March 1994 1 May 1994
- Wright-Patterson AFB OH 1 October 1994 present
- F-51 Mustang, 1953 1954
- F-80 Shooting Star, 1953 1956
- F-84 Starfire, 1955 1957
- C-119 Flying Boxcar, 1957, 1957 1959, 1961 1962, 1965 1966
- C-123 Provider, 1958 1965
- C-124 Globemaster, 1965 1971
- C-141, 1973 1994
- C-130 Hercules, 1992 1993
- C-141 Starlifter, 1994 2005
- C-5 Galaxy 2005 present
- C-17 Globemaster III, 2011 present