The 1701st Air Transport Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Western Transport Air Force, Military Air Transport Service, stationed at Brookley Air Force Base, Alabama. It was inactivated on 18 June 1957.
Formed in mid-1944 by Air Transport Command after Great Falls Army Airfield, Montana was taken over from II Bomber Command. Mission of the unit was to coordinate Lend-Lease shipments of equipment including P-39, C-47, B-25, and A-20 aircraft. B-25 Mitchell Bombers arrived by rail and were assembled on base, others were flown in by both military and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). These aircraft were later flown by U.S. pilots by way of the Northwest Staging Route through Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and transferred to Russian pilots who in turn flew them into Siberia via the Alaskan-Siberian Route (ALSIB). A total of 1,717,712 pounds of cargo containing aircraft parts, tools miscellaneous equipment, explosives and medical supplies were shipped through Great Falls Army Air Base to Russia. Aircraft shipments to the Soviet Union stopped in September 1945, when World War II ended, with approximately 8,000 aircraft having been processed in a 21-month period. Following the war, the unit assumed a support mission for military personnel assigned to Alaskan military installations.
On June 25, 1948 Operation Vittles, the strategic airlift of supplies to Berlin's 2,000,000 inhabitants, was initiated. The 547th (later 1701st) ATW played a critical role in assuring the success of this vital operation. Officials selected Great Falls AFB as the only replacement aircrew training site for Berlin Airlift-bound C-54s, officially activating the 517th Air Transport Wing. Using radio beacons, Great Falls AFB was transformed to resemble Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, Germany. Hundreds of pilots and Flight Engineers many of whom were recalled to active duty, were qualified on the C-54 aircraft and on flight procedures to and from Berlin by practicing on ground mock-ups and flying simulated airlift missions.
Later, the 517th Air Transport Wing was redesignated the 1701st Air Transport Wing. This wing’s primary mission was the routing and scheduling of flights throughout the Pacific Ocean region and in support of allied forces in the Korean War. The Military Air Transport Service (MATS) reopened the C-54 Flight Training School as the 1272d Medium Transition Training Unit in May 1950, one month before the Korean War began.
The 1701st ATW was later replaced by the 1300th Air Base Wing was moved to Brookley AFB, Alabama in a name-only transfer, assuming control of the 1703d Air Transport Group supporting the Mobile Air Material facilities. At Brookley, the 1703d was redesignated as a Heavy Transport Wing, controlling a C-124 Globemaster II strategic airlift squadron as well as the United States Air Force C-74 Globemaster fleet of very heavy lift aircraft.
Throughout the 1950 and 1960s the 1701 ATW flew strategic airlift missions on a worldwide scale with its C-124 fleet after the retirement of the C-74 until 1957 when Brookley AFB was reassigned to Air Material Command.Established as: 1455th AAF Base Unit, and activated on 1 Aug 1944
Redesignated: 517th Air Transport Wing
, 1 Jun 1948
Redesignated: 1701st Air Transport Wing
, 1 Oct 1948
Redesignated: 1701st Air Transport Wing, Heavy
1 May 1953
Inactivated 18 June 1957.
Alaskan Division, Air Transport Command, 1 August 1944
Continental Division, Air Transport Command, 1 October 1945
Pacific Division, Air Transport Command, 1 July 1946
Pacific Division, Eastern Pacific Wing, Air Transport Service, 1 January 1947
Pacific Division, Military Air Transport Service, 1 July 1948
Continental Division, Military Air Transport Service, 1 May 1953 – 18 June 1957
Groups517th Air Transport Group, 1 July 1948
Redesignated 1701st Air Transport Group, 1 October 1948-1 June 1953
1703d Air Transport Group, 1 May 1953 – 18 June 1957
Squadrons5th Air Transport Squadron, 1 June 1948
Redesignated: 1270th Air Transport Squadron, 1 October 1948 – 23 April 1949
6th Air Transport Squadron, 1 June 1948
Redesignated: 1271st Air Transport Squadron, 1 October 1948 – 20 July 1952
Personnel and equipment assigned to: 75th Air Transport Squadron (Reactivated), 20 July 1952 – 16 May 1953
7th Air Transport Squadron, 1 June 1948
Redesignated: 1272d Air Transport Squadron, 1 October 1948
Redesignated: 1741st Air Transport Squadron, 1 January – 6 April 1953
1290th Air Transport Squadron, 16 July 1951 – 20 July 1952
Personnel and equipment assigned to: 84th Air Transport Squadron (Reactivated), 20 July 1952 – 16 May 1953
1287th Air Transport Squadron, 24 January – 20 July 1952
Personnel and equipment assigned to: 85th Air Transport Squadron (Activated), 20 July 1952 – 16 May 1953
20th Air Transport Squadron (Provisional), 5 May 1947 – 1 June 1948
1740th Air Transport Squadron (Provisional), 27 July 1950 – 14 September 1950
Great Falls AFB, Montana, 1 August 1944
Brookley AFB, Alabama, 1 May 1953 – 18 June 1957
Transient Lend-Lease Aircraft, 1944–1945
C-47 Skytrain, 1945–1953
C-54 Skymaster, 1945–1953
C-124 Globemaster II, 1953–1957
C-74 Globemaster, 1953–1955