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The Troop Carrier Story

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1 The Troop Carrier Story

2 The Beginning In 1918 Brig. General William L. Mitchell conceived the idea of using airplanes to transport troops and drop them behind enemy lines using parachutes His chief of staff, Major. Lewis H. Brereton developed a plan The plan was approved by American Expeditionary Forces Commander General John Pershing but the war ended before it could be implemented

3 Between the Wars Soviets were first to experiment with air transported troops US military paid little attention to the idea other than to incorporate the concept in the Air War College curriculum In 1937 the 10th Transport Group was formed to provide air transportation from Air Corps Maintenance Command depots to combat units in US, Alaska and Panama

4 Aircraft Used Bellanca C-27

5 Ford C-3

6 Military version of Douglas DC-2
Douglas C-33 Military version of Douglas DC-2

7 Expansion th, 61st, 62nd, 63rd and 64th Transport Groups activated Dual mission of providing logistical support and providing transport for new Army airborne units th Transport Wing activated Assigned directly to Chief, US Air Corps Activated to control transport groups

8 1940 German airborne and glider-borne troops land in Belgium and Holland and capture key bridges and fortified positions The world, particularly the US military, takes notice US and British develop their own airborne capabilities Little attention paid to air transport of ground troops

9 Douglas C-47/C-53

10 War! No air transport units assigned to Philippines.
Douglas B-18s converted into transports Most lost in attack on Clark Field Maj. Gen. Lewis Brereton commandeers Philippine Airlines Retired US Navy enlisted aviator Paul I. Gunn commissioned as captain and placed in command. Operates in P.I. until Christmas Day, moves to Australia. Gunn leaves family in Manila

11 Capt. Gunn placed in command of transport operations in SW Pacific
Allied Directorate of Air Transport Organized, commanded by RAAF AM Sir Harold Gatty Capt. Gunn placed in command of transport operations in SW Pacific Flies supplies to Java and Mindanao Gunn makes trips to Bataan, lands on Quezon Avenue in Manila in attempt to rescue family Far East Air Force Air Transport Command established in Australia, February 1942 21st Transport Squadron organized All transport aircraft in Australia assigned, including three Ferry Command B-24As “Bamboo Fleet” set up on Mindanao to fly supplies to Bataan. Commanded by Maj. Bill Bradford

12 Last Flight to Del Monte Field
Made by FEAF ATC B-24A, April 29, 1942 Commanded by Capt. A.J. Mueller of Saguine, TX

13 Troop Carrier April, 1942 – Air Transport Command Established
June 1942, USAAF Executive Order #8 Establishes new Air Transport Command from HQ, Air Corps Ferrying Command Original Air Transport Command becomes I Troop Carrier Command Exec. Order #8 exempts troop carrier operations from ATC July 1942 – former transport units redesignated “troop carrier”

14 New Guinea Air Transport Command moves antiaircraft battalion to Darwin – first US airlifted troop deployment in history MacArthur arrives in Australia, orders defense of Papua, New Guinea 21st Transport Sq. flies supplies to Australian troops operating on Kokoda Track north of Port Moresby Australian troops load airplanes and serve as “kickers”

15 New Guinea cont. US purchases airplanes from Dutch, 22nd Transport Squadron organized DAT develops air transport procedures, Australian troops given instruction in aircraft loading and cargo ejection Deliver supplies by air, usually without parachutes. 1st Air Cargo Squadron established.

16 Reinforcements Maj. Gen. George C. Kenney takes command of Allied air operations in Southwest Pacific, August 1942 Uses air transport to move troops up from Australia Operation HAT RACK, moves troops into combat at Wanigela Mission 6th and 33rd Troop Carrier Squadrons arrive from the US Kenney activates 374th Troop Carrier Group, Nov 1942. Troop carriers involved in Battles of Wau and Buna 54th Troop Carrier Wing organized, early 1943

17 It Began in New Guinea Troop carriers become crucial to Papua New Guinea campaign January 1943, 374th TCG transports airlift reinforcements into remote airfield in Owen Stanley Mountains at Wau as Japanese forces attack while continuing support of Battle of Buna TC transports evacuate casualties 317th TCG arrives in Australia and is thrown into Wau operation Allied troops prevail at Wau. Troop carriers are credited for deciding the Papua Campaign No medical crews used on air evacuation flights.

18 Advancing in New Guinea
54th TCW transports deliver supplies to advancing Australian troops Australians develop air transport procedures that are adopted world-wide Troop carriers fly construction crews and equipment into remote airfield at Marlinan Engineers cut 2 ½ ton trucks in half for air transport, bolt them back together after their offloaded. Gen. Kenney engineers airborne attack on Nadzab. He and MacArthur observe from B-17 MacArthur “jumps up and down like a kid.”

19 Nadzab

20 The Pacific Troop carrier squadrons operate in the Central Pacific in the logistical role TCS fly supplies to New Guinea from Australia As the war in the SW Pacific moves north, troop carriers are heavily involved Troop carrier squadrons move into the Philippines to support combat operations, frequently by airdrop. Airborne operation captures Corregidor Troop carriers move 1st Cavalry and 11th Airborne to Japan after the Japanese agree to surrender

21 China-Burma-India Small force of C-47s arrive in India in April 1942
Commanded by Col. Caleb Haynes, Col. Robert L. Scott was assigned to the unit Brig. Gen. Earl Naiden sets up air transport routes in CBI Tenth AF employs CNAC, a Pan American subsidiary, to fly supplies to China 1st Ferrying Group arrives in June 1942 Given specific mission of moving supplies to China. India-China Ferry watched closely by White House Ferrying Command wanted to maintain command but Gen. Brereton, the theater commander, insisted unit should be assigned to Tenth Air Force

22 CBI (continued) Resupply of China slow due to Japanese advances and threats to air transport bases Civilian named Frank Sinclair complains to White House ATC Chief of Staff Col. C.R. Smith (former president of American Airlines) lobbies to have India-China Ferry assigned to Air Transport Command. Transfer takes place February 1, 1943 Turns out to be a miserable failure Took almost two years before ATC began meeting goals

23 Troop Carrier in CBI Two new troop carrier squadrons organized in India when 1st Ferry Group transfers to ATC – 1st and 2nd Responsible for resupply of British troops in Burma 443rd TCG organized in India in February 1944 5318th Provisional Air Unit arrives in India; includes a troop carrier section 5318th redesignated at 1st Air Commando Wing in March 1944.

24 CBI (continued) Troop Carriers support British Brigadier Orde Wingate’s operations in Burma Air commando C-47s tow gliders, troop carriers bring in troops and supplies Operation Thursday fails to meet objectives and is withdrawn Troop Carrier squadrons resupply Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill’s 5307th Composite Unit After marching across Burma, Merrill’s “Marauders” capture the airfield at Myitkyina Troop carriers bring in Chinese troops Chinese fail to capture the town; operation turns into a siege Troop carriers keep them supplied and bring in reinforcements in spite of heavy rain.

25 CBI (continued) 3rd Combat Cargo Group formed in India
Combat cargo units are scaled-down troop carrier units (fewer support personnel) Three CCGs activated, two served in CBI, one in Southwest Pacific Troop carriers play major role in British operations in Burma After victory in Burma, troop carrier squadrons transfer to ATC control for operations over “The Hump” and in China Tenth Air Force B-24s also placed under ATC for transport duty.

26 Europe September 1942 – 51st Troop Carrier Wing arrives in UK
60th Troop Carrier Group arrives UK June 1942. 64th Troop Carrier Group arrives about the same time. 62nd Troop Carrier Group arrives September 1942 All three groups train for paratrooper operations in North Africa

27 TORCH, Invasion of North Africa
60th Troop Carrier Group flies 503rd Parachute Infantry to North Africa. (503rd had just been elevated to a regiment and redesignated as 509th) Operation plagued by confusion. Some airplanes land in Vichy French territory. 64th Troop Carrier Group carries British troops 62nd Troop Carrier Group assigned to logistical support

28 North Africa (continued)
November 1942 – 316th TCG arrives in Middle East and assigned to Ninth Air Force 316th C-47s carry supplies for advancing British troops moving across Libya. Evacuates casualties As war moves into Tunisia, 316th placed under Northwest Africa Air Force operational control.

29 HUSKY, the Invasion of Sicily
Airborne operations do not go well. High winds blow troop carrier formations off course “Friendly fire” and hostile fire attack troop carriers Large numbers shot down and damaged In spite of heavy losses and confusion, airborne and glider troops disrupt German and Italian defenses and capture their objectives

30 Italy After the Sicily invasion, troop carrier operations become primarily logistical for a time The 64th TCG goes TDY to India to support operations in Burma An airborne operation is conducted behind the beaches at Anzio

31 Second Thoughts After Sicily, Eisenhower and Army Ground Forces commander McNair propose breaking up airborne divisions Marshall and Arnold favor expansion of airborne forces 17th Airborne performs so well in maneuver at Ft. Bragg that McNair changes his mind Eisenhower, Bradley and Montgomery remain reluctant

32 New Developments Due to the problems in Sicily, new procedures and equipment are developed Navigators are assigned to squadrons Eureka radio beacons are developed to be carried by special pathfinders. Rebecca receivers are installed in transports Special “pathfinder” squadrons are trained to drop pathfinder paratroops in advance of the main assault Ninth Air Force Quartermasters are trained as “dropmasters” Their role is to rig cargo and fly on drop missions to assist the crew chief and radio operator as they eject the bundles

33 IX Troop Carrier Command
In October 1943 Maj. Gen. Brereton moves Ninth Air Force to England Ninth includes IX Troop Carrier Command, the largest troop carrier force ever assembled IX TCC commands all US troop carrier units in the UK

34 Normandy IX Troop Carrier drops 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions behind the invasion beaches at St. Mere Eglise German fire causes heavy casualties and the drops are widely scattered Paratroop operations are followed by glider operations Many are destroyed on landing due to consistency of hedgerows Even though only 10% of troops are on the correct drop zone, the drops are considered a success

35 C-47 Dropping Pack Howitzer

36 First Allied Airborne Army
Activated early August w/ Lt. Gen. Lewis Brereton in command British General Frederick “Boy” Browning second in command IX Troop Carrier Command and British transport units assigned, along with all airborne forces Organized specifically for airborne operations Plans more than a dozen operations, most are disapproved by Eisenhower, Bradley and Montgomery in spite of encouragement by Marshall and Arnold to make better use of airborne forces

37 Market/Garden Joint airborne/ground operation to capture key bridges across the Rhine in Holland MARKET airborne operations are a success Eighth Air Force B-24s drop cargo IX TCC dropmasters accompany crews Troop carrier crews are praised for their courage Paratroops had previously complained about troop carrier pilots – not this time! One British officer says there’s not a T/C pilot that doesn’t deserve the Victoria Cross GARDEN ground operations are not British XXX Corps is held up due to congested roads British paratroops are forced to withdraw, leaving their wounded behind

38 B-24s Dropping Cargo

39 Bastogne German offensive in Ardennes results in 101st Airborne being cutoff at Bastogne 82nd is at another town nine miles away 17th Airborne flown to Reims from UK by IX TCC Resupply effort initially hampered by weather Weather clears and troop carrier crews resupply the 101st Crews take heavy losses. Eight C-47s lost in first two days of drops. One formation loses 13 C-47s after glider release

40 Varsity – Crossing The Rhine
FM Montgomery insists on massive airborne operations prior to crossing the Rhine T/C pilots trained as “combat controllers” land in gliders to control airdrops and glider landings C-46s are used for the first time Due to poor fuel system design, 20 are shot down XVIII Airborne Corps commander Gen. Matthew Ridgeway decrees that his men will never be allowed in C-46s again

41 Postwar Controversy Troop carrier established as air force mission, assigned to new Tactical Air Command Airline executives, many of whom are ATC veterans, propose logistical operations should be handled by airlines under contract. No plans are made for ATC’s continued existence; Air Transport Command officers begin campaign to control all air transport TAC commander Gen. Paul Williams says no need for ATC, that all air transport operations can be handled by troop carriers ATC officers seize on Williams’ comment and say that THEY should be responsible for all air transport Air Staff decrees that future aircraft designs will only be tactical aircraft Controversy continues until 1970s

42 United States Air Force
Army Air Corps replaced by new US Air Force, September 1947 No plans for Air Transport Command New Department of Defense authorizes a DOD air transport service to provide logistical support for all DOD agencies ATC commander inserts “deployment of troops” into ATC mission statement. Secretary of the Air Force lets it stand Original name to be Armed Forces Air Transport Service ATC commander proposes “Military” Army Air Corps was statutory Army aviation force authorized by Act of Congress. US Army Air Forces was Army headquarters organization established by US Army order. USAAF DID NOT replace Air Corps!

43 Berlin Airlift June 1948 – Soviets blockade Berlin
USAFE begins air lift Initially uses troop carrier C-47s in Europe USAFE commander Gen. Lemay asks for C-54s MATS presses for control of air lift ATC DCO Maj. Gen. William H. Tunner goes to Weisbaden to set up a command organization. He and his staff are TDY to USAFE Tunner waged campaign in Pentagon for MATS to “take over’ the air lift. US Army deputy secretary recommends him. MATS commander claims credit for air lift. Airlift is exclusively troop carrier from start to finish All aircraft and crews are assigned to troop carrier groups and squadrons MATS role is ferrying aircraft and providing logistical support to air lift squadrons

44 Berlin Airlift – C-47s at Templehof

45 Korea North Koreans cross DMZ, June 25, 1947
Appropriation for development of new transport made at meeting in Pentagon – becomes YC-130 FEAF troop carriers evacuate Americans from Seoul. 374th Troop Carrier Wing moves to Japan 21st TCS formed using C-47s in the Pacific and others flown over from the US. Gen. MacArthur orders Far East Air Force Combat Cargo Command to airlift troops to Pusan Peninsula C-54s tear up runways so C-47s become primary

46 Korea Continued USAF reserve troop carrier units deploy to Japan
September, 1950 – Tunner goes TDY to Japan to set up airlift command and control organization. 314th Troop Carrier Group deploys to Japan from Sewart with C-119s UN troops land at Inchon, 187th Regimental Combat Team arrives too late for airborne operations Moved to Korea by Combat Cargo Command

47 Chosin Reservoir UN troops move rapidly across North Korea, Chinese enter the war US Marines forced to retreat from Chosin Reservoir Combat Cargo Command resupplies retreating troops C-119s drop cargo 21st TCS “Kyushu Gypsies” land on hastily prepared strips to pick up casualties C-119s drop Treadway Bridge to span gorge that blocks retreat

48 Troop Carrier; NOT MATS!
MATS new releases claim credit for airlift operations to Korea; Combat Cargo Command crews are upset. 6th TCS personnel erect sign at entrance to flight line at Tachikawa. MATS claiming credit for airlift operations performed by others is constant problem. MATS senior officers, particularly Tunner, instruct MATS PIOs to issue news releases insinuating MATS responsibility for all airlift operations.

49 315th Air Division Far East Air Force activates 315th Air Division, February 1951 Commanded by World War II hero Brig. General John “Jock” Henebry First of three 3rd Attack Group alumni to command 315th. Others are Gen. Dick Ellis and Col. Charles W. Howe Responsible for all airlift operations in the Western Pacific MATS officers sent packing; replaced by men with combat experience

50 C-119 drop in Korea

51 Korea Continued 315th Air Division airlifts troops and cargo to Korea
C-46s, C-47s and C-119s airdrop supplies to troops in combat; C-54s land on Korean airstrips New Douglas C-124 tested in Korea, two squadrons assigned to 374th Troop Carrier Wing

52 The C-124

53 Indochina Korean War ends in truce; 315th AD supports French in Indochina US arranges to “loan” French a fleet of C-47s French ask for US mechanics 315th supplies C-119s Airplanes from 483rd Troop Carrier Wing in Japan Crews supplied by Civil Air Transport CAT crews trained through CIA office at Clark Field C-119 with CAT crew lost at Dienbienphu

54 1950s Eighteenth Air Force activated at Donaldson AFB, SC to control troop carrier operations Includes two wings of C-124s Commands several troop carrier wings with C-119s Aerial delivery and cargo processing functions transfer from Army to Air Force Aerial port squadrons set up at troop carrier bases USAF establishes loadmaster/dropmasters to rig cargo and fly on airdrop missions TAC develops helicopter troop carrier capability The Army DOES NOT like it! Army officers have their own agenda. They want to develop their own air force with helicopters

55 1950s (continued) Air Force is told to develop tactical capabilities or they will find themselves “the silo sitters of the seventies” USAF purchases Fairchild C-123 assault transports to replace TAC gliders C-123s are designed to fly into a LZ and remain until the battle is over and they can be flown out 1954 – YC-130 makes first flight 1956 – First C-130s delivered to TAC First deliveries to 463rd TCW at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma in December

56 Late 1950s 1958 – USAF agrees to transfer TAC C-124s to MATS, under the condition they retain their troop carrier identity Changes in the Pacific 374th TCW deactivates 6th and 22nd TCS transfers to new MATS unit but remain under 315th Air Division operational control 21st TCS placed under 483rd TCW, uses C-47s, C-54s and C-119s for covert CIA missions; moves to Naha AB, Okinawa and equips with C-130s TCTAA member Billie Mills trains CAT crews

57 C-130A

58 The Age of the Herk Twelve squadrons of C-130s initially authorized
Six squadrons for US, three each for Europe and Pacific C-130 success leads to new models and new units C-130B incorporates new changes MATS requirement leads to new model with additional fuel designated as C-130E C-130As move to Dyess as C-130Bs are assigned to Sewart Plans are made to convert 464th TCW at Pope to C-130s; plans put on hold due to burgeoning conflict in Southeast Asia

59 The Herk

60 Southeast Asia US supports Royalist forces in Laos
315th AD C-119s and C-130s sent to Southeast Asia Laotian Civil War ends in truce, North Vietnamese fail to withdraw US begins covert operations to combat communists. Kennedy administration authorizes CIA use of C-130s to support operations in Laos. E Flight is set up within the 21st TCS to provide four C-130s for CIA use in support of Vang Pao’s Hmong, or Meo. E Flight is not only unit at Naha involved in classified operations. North Vietnamese support communist insurgency in South Vietnam 1961 – USAF counterinsurgency forces deploy; C-123s from Pope deploy as MULE TRAIN


62 TAC

63 The Troubled Sixties 1960 – 322nd Air Division supports UN operations in the Congo 1963 – 322nd crews deploy to India to support operations against Chinese invaders 1964 – Crews from 464th TCW operate in the Congo November 1964 – 464th TCW crews fly historic DRAGON ROUGE and DRAGON NOIR missions in the Congo

64 Dragon Rouge, November 1964

65 Belgian commandos

66 TALKING BIRD C-130 makes low pass over Sabenas Airfield

67 Dominican Airlift April 1965 – Rebellion in Dominican Republic
President Johnson orders US intervention TAC and MATS C-130s airlift elements of 82nd Airborne Division to San Isidro Initially planned as airborne operation, changed to air/land TCTAA members Carl Wyrick and Bobby Gassiott were pilot and nav in lead airplane

68 San Isidro

69 Vietnam 1961-1965 – C-123s primary airlifters
TAC TDY crews replaced by PCS personnel in 1963, 315th Troop Carrier Group established 1965 – US combat troops introduced to war, 315th Air Division sets up C-130 missions at Tan Son Nhut, Vung Tau and Bangkok 1964/65 – C-130As begin flare missions and psychological warfare missions October 1965 – Battle of Ia Drang Valley demonstrates that C-130 airlift is required to support major US Army operations, Army has second thoughts about Caribous December, 1965 – Twelve TAC C-130 squadrons and two wings transfer to 315th Air Division

70 Vietnam (continued) 1966 – C-130 operating locations established at Tan Son Nhut, Cam Ranh and Nha Trang Airplanes and crews TDY from Okinawa, Japan, Philippines and Taiwan 1966 – Seventh Air Force activated; Lt. Gen. William Momyer asks for air division to control airlift – 834th Air Division activates in October USAF gains control of Army CV-2 Caribous 483rd TCW reactivates to control Caribous 315th Air Commando Group transfers to 834th C-130s remain under 315th AD, serve 16-day TDY tours to 834th Transportation Movement Centers and Locations become Airlift Command Center and Airlift Command Elements C-130 pilots and navigators assigned to 834th on TDY to serve as airlift mission commanders


72 Vietnam (continued) February 1967 – JUNCTION CITY in War Zone C involves large-scale airborne operation Initiates new “Search and Destroy” strategy Intensity of war increases C-130 has become the prime mover in the airlift system New airfields established along Cambodian border at Katum and Tonle Cham

73 C-130A Dropping CDS During Operation JUNCTION CITY

74 1967 Spring 1967 – Marines establish combat base at Khe Sanh
Marine KC-130s land, USAF C-130s airdrop building materials Khe Sanh considered “hot spot” October, 1967 – Battle of Dak To signals new phase of the war Two C-130s lost to artillery attack, third damaged Pilot Joe Glenn and FM Joe Mack win Silver Stars for taxiing their airplane away from burning wreck

75 1968 January – Communists launch major offensive during Chinese New Year February – April – Khe Sanh under seige April – Operation DELAWARE in A Shau Valley 1st Cav’ supplied by C-130s, one lost, several damaged by ground fire May – Kham Duc C-130s evacuate camp, two lost, one crew killed Airlift control team reinserted after camp evacuated Two C-123s land in attempt to rescue them. Second successful. Pilot Joe Jackson wins Medal of Honor

76 C-130B at Khe Sanh (Prize-Winning Photograph)

77 1969 463rd TAW begins “Commando Vault” bombing missions
315th Air Division Inactivates in April C-7s involved in dangerous resupply missions at Dak Seang War shifts south to Cambodian Parrots Beak area. Katum, Tonle Cham, Bu Dop and other airfields near border are “hot spots” C-130s and C-123s called “Mortar Magnets” Newly elected President Richard Nixon begins troop withdrawals C-130 and C-123 losses decline

78 Special Operations Flare Mission COMMANDO LAVA BANISH BEACH
C-123s and C-130s drop flares and FAC COMMANDO LAVA Special mission dropping chemicals on Ho Chi Minh Trail BANISH BEACH C-123 and C-130 fuel drops COMMANDO SCARF 463rd C-130s drop “gravel” in Laos COMMANDO VAULT C-130 bombing misison Initially flown by 463rd TAW, transferred to 374th TAW when 463rd inactivated

79 M-121 10,000-pound bomb exploding on top of ridge

80 1970 April – Allied troops invade Cambodia
North Vietnamese withdraw to Laos and deep into Cambodia US troop withdrawals accelerate Intensity of war declines to pre-1965 levels Communists return to harassment, including sapper attacks on US bases

81 1971 Vietnamese mount Lam Son 719 invasion of Laos
834th Air Division C-130s move supplies into airfields in I Corps Khe Sanh reopened US troop withdrawals accelerate TAC airlift units inactivate Naha 374th first, designation transfers to CCK 314th designation goes to Little Rock 463rd inactivates, reactivates at Dyess 315th TAW inactivates Remaining C-123s and C-7s combined in 310th TAS

82 1972 April – Communists launch “Eastertide” Offensive
Communists surround town of An Loc After VNAF C-123s fail to maintain flow of supplies, USAF C-130 crews ordered to begin airdrops Three C-130s, two crews lost New airdrop methods allow successful resupply USAF C-130s assist South Vietnamese at Battle of Kontum Last US combat troops withdraw

83 C-130E LAPSE Drop

84 1973 US and North Vietnamese sign peace accords
US turns over large amounts of equipment, including C-130s, to Vietnamese US POWs released PACAF C-130s first USAF aircraft to land in Hanoi since 1954 C-130s fly combat control team into Hanoi with beacons to guide MAC C-141s C-130 crewmembers first to greet returning POWs

85 1974 USAF decides to combine tactical airlift and “strategic airlift” due to duplication of aerial port facilities Plan opposed by TAC Commander Gen. William Momyer. Momyer had stated in his end of tour report as Seventh Air Force commander that tactical airlift requires highly motivated crews and should never be combined with MAC TAC C-130 wings transfer to MAC in December PACAF C-130s begin airlift of supplies into Cambodia Civilian contractor Bird Air provides civilian crews to fly USAF transports Crews are recent C-130 veterans and reservists

86 Howie Seaboldt – Birdair pilot

87 1975 Communists defeat South Vietnamese
C-130s fly supplies into Saigon and evacuate refugees C-130 destroyed on ground at Tan Son Nhut by artillery Last USAF transport lost hostile action Communists prevail in Cambodia and Laos PACAF tactical airlift units transfer to MAC

88 1990/91 US troops sent to Saudi Arabia in response to invasion of Kuwait As a result of lessons learned in Gulf War, former TAC C-130 wings transfer into new Air Combat Command Assignment lasts for less than a decade – in 1999 C-130s transfer to Air Mobility Command


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