The 50th Airlift Squadron is one of four operational flying Air Mobility Command squadrons currently stationed at Little Rock AFB in Jacksonville, Arkansas. The "Fightin' 5-0 along with their sister squadrons, the 41 AS, 53 AS, and the 61 AS, are assigned to the 19th Operations Group.
Activated in the summer of 1942 under I Troop Carrier Command and equipped with C-47 Skytrains. Trained in various parts of the eastern United States until the end of 1943. Deployed to French Morocco in May 1943 and assigned to Twelfth Air Force to support combat operations in the North African Campaign. Remained with Twelfth Air Force, moving to Tunisia and Sicily providing transport and resupply operations as well as casualty evacuation of wounded personnel in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Reassigned to IX Troop Carrier Command, Ninth Air Force in England during early 1944 as part of the build-up of Allied forces prior to the D-Day invasion of France.
Began operations by dropping paratroops into Normandy on D-Day (6 June 1944) and releasing gliders with reinforcements on the following day. The unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation and a French citation for these missions.
After the Normandy invasion the squadron ferried supplies in the United Kingdom. The squadron also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals. It dropped paratroops near Nijmegen and towed gliders carrying reinforcements during the airborne attack on Holland. In December, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge by releasing gliders with supplies for the 101st Airborne Division near Bastogne.
Moved to Belgium in early 1945, and participated in the Western Allied invasion of Germany, participating in the air assault across the Rhine River in March 1945, each aircraft towed two gliders with troops of the 17th Airborne Division and released them near Wesel.
After V-E Day, became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe, being assigned to AAF Station Frankfurt and was part of the USAFE European Air Transport System (EATS), supporting the occupation forces in Germany as well as carrying supplies and personnel between various stations in Western Europe. Demobilized in early 1946 while stationed in France, unit inactivated later that year as an administrative unit.
Reactivated as part of Tactical Air Command Eighteenth Air Force in 1949 with C-82 Packets and various gliders as an assault squadron. Deployed to Japan for combat operations in 1950 for the Korean War. Furnished airlift between Japan and Korea and airdropped paratroops and supplies at Sukchon/Sunchon and Munsan-ni. Moved to the Philippines in 1954 after the armistice and was inactivated.
Reactivated in 1957 by TAC as one of the first C-130 Hercules squadrons when the aircraft came into operational service. The squadron has been involved in major engagements around the world to include the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and the current Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
The 50th AS is also known for humanitarian relief. During the 2004 Asian Tsunami crisis, the 50th sent several crews and tons of food rations to Thailand to help those in need. Following the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, 50th AS aircrews helped relocate survivors from the New Orleans, Louisiana and Biloxi, Mississippi areas to Little Rock, Arkansas. Humanitarian missions were flown in and out of Haiti following a major earthquake in December, 2010.
In 2012, elements of the 50th celebrated 70 years of history with members deployed to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Afghanistan.
Operations and Decorations
- Combat Operations. World War II: Provided airlift in MTO and ETO during World War II, taking part in airborne assaults on Sicily, Normandy, Holland, and Germany (1943-1945). Aircrews frequently flew combat support missions in South Korea (1950-1953) and Southeast Asia, 1966-1973. Four aircrews participated in the rescue of the SS Mayaguez, dropping a 15,000-pound bomb on Koh Tang Island, 14 May 1975. Deployed personnel and aircraft in support of operations in Panama, Dec 1989, and Southwest Asia, 16 Aug 1990-27 Mar 1991.
- Campaigns. World War II: Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe. Korea: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.
- Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Sicily, 11 Jul 1943; France, [6-7] Jun 1944; South Korea, 28 Nov-10 Dec 1950. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat V Device: 1 Nov 1967-31 Dec 1969; 12 Feb-17 May 1975. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 6 May 1953-10 Sep 1954; 11 Jan-14 Feb 1955; 1 Jan 1960-31 Dec 1961; 1 Sep 1962-15 Apr 1963; 1 Jan 1975-30 Jun 1976; 1 Jun 1985-31 May 1986; 1 Jul 1991-30 Jun 1993; 1 Jul 1993-30 Jun 1995; 1 Jul 1995-31 Mar 1997; 1 Apr 1997-30 Jun 1998; 1 Jul 2000-30 Jun 2001; 1 Jul 2001-30 Jun 2002. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: 1 Jul 1951-27 Jul 1953. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Apr 1966-28 Jan 1973. Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation: 21 Jul-15 Aug 1972.
- Constituted 50th Transport Squadron on 30 May 1942
- Activated on 15 Jun 1942
- Re-designated: 50th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 Jul 1942
- Inactivated on 27 May 1946
- Re-designated: 50th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 20 Sep 1949
- Activated on 17 Oct 1949
- Re-designated: 50th Troop Carrier Squadron on 1 Jan 1967
- Re-designated: 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 Aug 1967
- Re-designated: 50th Airlift Squadron on 1 Dec 1991.
- 314th Transport (later, 314 Troop Carrier) Group, 15 Jun 1942-27 May 1946; 17 Oct 1949
- 314th Troop Carrier Wing, 8 Oct 1957
- Attached to: 315th Air Division, 11 Sep-c. 16 Dec 1958
- Attached to: 322d Air Division, 27 Mar-c. 15 Aug 1961
- Attached to: Undetermined. May-Jul 1965
- 315th Air Division, 26 Dec 1965
- 314th Troop Carrier (later, 314 Tactical Airlift) Wing, 23 Feb 1966
- 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, 31 May 1971
- 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, 15 Aug 1973
- Attached to: 322d Tactical Airlift Wing, 1 Jun-18 Aug 1974
- Attached to: 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, 28 Apr-6 Jun 1975
- Attached to: 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, 6 Dec 1975-12 Feb 1976
- Attached to: 513th Tactical Airlift Wing, 7 Sep-1 Nov 1976
- Attached to: 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, 6 Apr-9 Jun 1977
- Attached to: 513th Tactical Airlift Wing, 14 Jan-14 Mar 1978
- 314th Tactical Airlift Group, 1 Nov 1978
- Attached to: 513th Tactical Airlift Wing, 6 Aug-8 Oct 1979
- 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, 15 Jun 1980
- Attached to: 313th Tactical Airlift Group, 5 Dec 1980-12 Feb 1981, 5 Jun-14 Aug 1982, 4 Oct-14 Dec 1983, 2 Jun-14 Aug 1985, 3 Aug-16 Oct 1986, 5 Oct-16 Dec 1987, 3 Dec 1988-15 Feb 1989, 4 Aug-15 Oct 1991
- 314th Operations Group, 1 Dec 1991
- Attached to: 313th Tactical Airlift Group, 27 Nov 1992-31 Jan 1993
- Attached to: 86th Airlift Wing, 7 Dec 1995-11 Mar 1996
- 463d Airlift Group, 1 Apr 1997 Present
- Attached to: 86th Airlift Wing, 5 Dec 1997-30 Jan 1998, 26 May-26 Jul 1999
- Drew Field, Florida, 2 Mar 1942
- Bowman Field, Kentucky, 24 Jun 1942
- Army Air Base, Knob Noster, Missouri, 4 Nov 1942
- Lawson Field, Georgia, 22 Feb-4 May 1943
- Berguent Airfield, French Morocco, May 1943
- Kairouan Airfield, Tunisia, 26 Jun 1943
- Castelvetrano Airfield, Sicily, 1 Sep 1943-13 Feb 1944
- RAF Saltby (AAF-538), England, 20 Feb 1944
- Poix Airfield (B-44), France, 28 Feb 1945
- Villacoublay Airfield (A-42), France, c. 1 Dec 1945-15 Feb 1946
- Bolling Field, DC, 15 Feb-27 May 1946
- Smyrna (later, Sewart) AFB, Tennessee, 17 Oct 1949-27 Aug 1950
- Ashiya AB, Japan, 4 Sep 1950-15 Nov 1954
- Operated from Clark AB, Philippines, 26 Jun-5 Sep 1954
- Sewart AFB, Tennessee, 15 Nov 1954-c. 26 Dec 1965
- Deployed to: Clark AB, Philippines, 29 Aug-c. 20 Dec 1958 and May-Jul 1965
- Deployed to: vreux-Fauville Air Base, France, 27 Mar-c. 15 Aug 1961
- Clark AB, Philippines, c. 26 Dec 1965
- Kung Kuan (later, Ching Chuan Kang) AB, Taiwan, 28 Jan 1966-15 Aug 1973
- Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, 15 Aug 1973 Present
- Deployed to: Rhein-Main AB, West Germany, 1 Jun-18 Aug 1974, 3 Dec 1975-8 Feb 1976 and 4 Apr-14 Jun 1977
- Deployed to: Clark AB, Philippines, 25 Apr-7 Jun 1975
- Deployed to: RAF Mildenhall, England, 4 Sep-13 Nov 1976, 14 Jan-14 Mar 1978, 6 Aug-8 Oct 1979, 5 Dec 1980-12 Feb 1981, 5 Jun-14 Aug 1982, 4 Oct-14 Dec 1983, 2 Jun-14 Aug 1985, 3 Aug-16 Oct 1986, 5 Oct-16 Dec 1987, 3 Dec 1988-15 Feb 1989, 4 Aug-15 Oct 1991, 27 Nov 1992-31 Jan 1993
- Deployed to: Ramstein AB, Germany, 7 Dec 1995-11 Mar 1996, 5 Dec 1997-30 Jan 1998, 26 May-26 Jul 1999).
- C-47 Skytrain, 1942-1945
- Waco CG-4 Glider, 1943-1945
- C-82 Packet, 1949-1950
- Waco CG-15 Glider, 1949-1950
- Chase YC-122 Avitruc, 1949-1950
- C-119 Flying Boxcar, 1949-1957
- C-130 Hercules, 1957 Present