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439 OPERATIONS GROUP (AFRC)

Posted 12/28/2007 Printable Fact Sheet

Lineage. Established as 439 Troop Carrier Group on 14 May 1943. Activated on 1 Jun 1943. Inactivated on 10 Jun 1946. Redesignated 439 Troop Carrier Group, Medium on 19 May 1949. Activated in the Reserve on 27 Jun 1949. Ordered to active service on 1 Apr 1951. Inactivated on 3 Apr 1951. Redesignated 439 Fighter-Bomber Group on 26 May 1952. Activated in the Reserve on 15 Jun 1952. Inactivated on 16 Nov 1957. Redesignated 439 Military Airlift Group, and activated, on 27 Dec 1965. Organized on 8 Jan 1966. Inactivated on 24 Dec 1968. Redesignated 439 Operations Group, and activated in the Reserve, on 1 Aug 1992.

Assignments. I Troop Carrier Command, 1 Jun 1943; Ninth Air Force, c. 10 Mar 1944; IX Troop Carrier Command, 26 Aug 1944; I Troop Carrier Command, Sep 1945; IX Troop Carrier Command, c. Dec 1945; Tactical Air Command, 21 Mar 1946; Third Air Force, unkn 1946-10 Jun 1946. 439 Troop Carrier Wing, 27 Jun 1949-3 Apr 1951. 439 Fighter-Bomber Wing, 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957. Military Air Transport Service, 27 Dec 1965; 322 Air Division, 8 Jan 1966-24 Dec 1968. 439 Airlift Wing, 1 Aug 1992-.

Components. Group. 52: attached 8 Jan 1966-24 Dec 1968. 55: 8 Jan 1966-24 Dec 1968.
Squadrons. 91: 1 Jun 1943-10 Jun 1946; 27 Jun 1949-3 Apr 1951; 15 Jun 1952-1 Apr 1954. 92: 1 Jun 1943-10 Jun 1946; 27 Jun 1949-3 Apr 1951; 15 Jun 1952-1 Apr 1954. 93: 1 Jun 1943-10 Jun 1946; 27 Jun 1949-3 Apr 1951; 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957. 94: 1 Jun 1943-10 Jun 1946; 27 Jun 1949-3 Apr 1951. 337 Airlift: 1 Aug 1992-. 471: 1 Apr 1954-1 Jul 1957. 472: 1 Apr 1954-16 Nov 1957.

Stations. Alliance AAFld, NE, 1 Jun 1943; Sedalia AAFld, MO, 15 Jun 1943; Alliance AAFld, NE, 2 Aug 1943; Laurinburg-Maxton AAB, NC, 16 Dec 1943; Baer Field, IN, 2-14 Feb 1944; Balderton, England, 10 Mar 1944; Upottery, England, 26 Apr 1944; Juvincourt, France, 8 Sep 1944; Lonray, France, 28 Sep 1944; Chateaudun, France, 4 Nov 1944-7 Sep 1945; Baer Field, IN, 22 Sep 1945; Sedalia AAFld, MO, 7 Oct 1945-10 Jun 1946. Selfridge AFB, MI, 27 Jun 1949-3 Apr 1951. Selfridge AFB, MI, 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957. Rhein-Main AB, Germany, 8 Jan 1966-24 Dec 1968. Westover ARB, MA, 1 Aug 1992-.

Commanders. Lt Col Ralph L. Zimmerman, 1 Jun 1943; Col Charles H. Young, 21 Jan 1944; Col Gordon L. Edris, 6 Oct 1945; Lt Col Lester C. Messenger, 16 Apr 1946; Lt Col William M. Massengale Jr., 28 May-10 Jun 1946. Lt Col Leslie W. Seppala, 27 Jun 1949; Lt Col Donald G. LePard, 16 Nov 1949; Maj John H. Mohn, 24 Feb 1950; Col Kenneth R. Strauss, 17 May 1950; unkn, c. 20 Jan-3 Apr 1951. Maj O. G. Shuh, 15 Jun 1952-unkn; Lt Col Richard M. Thornburn, c.1953-1 Mar 1955; unkn, 1 Mar 1955-1956; Lt Col Gari King, c.1956-1957. Col Everett W. Langworthy, 8 Jan 1966; Col Roger J. Sterr, 28 Jul 1967-24 Dec 1968. Col Robert K. Peacock, 1 Aug 1992; Col James K. Moran, 20 Apr 1994; Col David J. McCarthy, 1 Oct 1996-.

Aircraft. C-47, 1943-1945; C-46, 1945-1946. T-6, 1949-1950; T-7, 1949-1951; T-11, 1949-1951; TC-46, 1949-1951. T-6, 1952-1954; C-46, 1952-1955; T-28, 1953-1955; F-51, 1953-1954; T-33, 1953-1954; F-80, 1953-1956; F-84, 1956-1957; F-86, 1957; TC-47, 1957; C-119, 1957. C-118, 1966-1968; C-124, 1966-1968; C-131, 1966-1968. C-5, 1992-.

Operations. Trained in the U.S. with C-47s, 1943- Jan1944. Moved to England, Feb-Mar 1944, for duty with Ninth Air Force. Began operations by dropping paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944 and releasing gliders with reinforcements on the following day. The group received a DUC and a French citation for these missions. After the Normandy invasion the group ferried supplies in the United Kingdom until the air echelon was sent to Italy in Jul to transport cargo to Rome and evacuate wounded personnel. The detachment dropped paratroops of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment along the Riviera in support of the invasion of Southern France on 15 Aug, and later towed gliders to provide reinforcements; for these missions the group earned another citation from the French government. After the air echelon returned to England on 25 Aug the group resumed its cargo missions. After moving to France in Sep, the group dropped paratroops of the 82d Airborne Division near Nijmegen and towed gliders carrying reinforcements during the airborne attack on Holland. In Dec, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes-Alsace) by releasing gliders with supplies for the 101st Airborne Division near Bastogne. When the Allies made the air assault across the Rhine River in Mar 1945, each aircraft of the 439th towed two gliders with troops of the 17th Airborne Division and released them near Wesel. The group also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals. Converting from C-47s to C-46s, the 439th used the new aircraft to transport displaced persons from Germany to France and Belgium after V-E Day. The group returned to the U.S., Jul-Sep 1945, and trained with C-46 aircraft until inactivated. From Jun 1949, the group trained in troop carrier operations until mobilized in Apr 1951, its personnel being used as fillers for USAF organizations worldwide. Activated in the Reserve on 15 Jun 1952, the group trained in fighter-bomber operations until phased out in Sep 1957, and the group flew TC-47 and C-119 aircraft until Nov. On 8 Jan 1966 the 439th replaced the 1602d Air Transport Group at Rhein-Main AB, Germany. The group controlled assigned and attached Military Airlift Command airlift units at Rhein-Main, provided air transport and air evacuation services within and occasionally outside Europe. Earned an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for May-Jun 1967 support during the Middle East crisis. Since 1 Aug 1992 the group has trained for and flown global airlift operations, transporting personnel, equipment, and supplies and participating in numerous exercises.

Service Streamers. World War II American Theater.

Campaign Streamers. World War II: Rome-Arno; Southern France; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: France, [6-7] Jun 1944. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award: 1 May-13 Jun 1967. French Croix de Guerre with Palm: [6-7] Jun 1944; 15 Aug 1944. French Fourragere. 

Lineage, Assignments, Components, Stations, and Honors through 30 Mar 2001.

Commanders, Aircraft, and Operations through 30 Sep 1998.

Supersedes statement prepared on 12 Aug 1996. 

Emblem. Group will use the wing emblem with the group designation in the scroll. 

Prepared by Daniel L. Haulman. 

Approved by Judy G. Endicott.







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