Trisha Shetty (Editor)

19th Airlift Wing

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Country  United States
Part of  Air Mobility Command
Role  Airlift
19th Airlift Wing
Active  1948–1996; 2008–present
Branch  United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ  Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas

The 19th Airlift Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command's Eighteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. The wingis also the host unit at Little Rock.


The Wing provides the Department of Defense its largest Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport fleet, supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, to airdropping supplies and troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas.

Active for over 60 years, the 19th was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War. The wing served in the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm. Its component units are currently engaged in combat operations as part of the Global War on Terrorism.

The 19th Airlift Wing is commanded by Colonel Charles E. Brown Jr. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Kenneth Carter.


The 19th Airlift Wing is organized into a quad-group structure:

  • 19th Operations Group
  • Plans, trains, and executes air and space power for operational levels of war.
  • 19th Maintenance Group
  • Performs all maintenance on assigned C-130 aircraft.
  • 19th Mission Support Group
  • Encompasses the support and logistic functions for the base. The group includes contracting, civil engineer, communications, security forces, force support and the logistic readiness squadrons.
  • 19th Medical Group
  • Provides responsive care and services to the base population and ensures a fit and medically ready active duty force.

    The 19th Airlift Wing staff includes a variety of agencies that directly support the wing commander, group commanders and the base population.


    The Wing's emblem, approved in 1936, shows a winged sword in front of the constellation of Pegasus, indicating both the striking force and navigation capability of the unit.


    For additional history and lineage, see 19th Operations Group

    The 19th Bombardment Wing was formed in 1948 from resources of the former North Guam Air Force Base Command (Provisional). The 19th BW, with the 19th Bomb group as its operational flying unit, operated Andersen AFB and maintained proficiency in B-29s. In May 1949, headquarters 20th Air Force moved from Guam to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa and its former staff was assigned to the 19th Bomb Wing.

    At Andersen, the wing assumed responsibility for administering two active and one semi-active bases plus an assortment of communication, weather, radar, rescue and other facilities and units including the Marianas Air Material Area, a wing size unit. Many of the units and facilities were inactivated with a few months.

    In October 1949, the 19th Wing again became subordinated to the 20th AF and the remaining units in the Marianas and Bonin Islands were transferred to other organizations. From 17 October 1949 until 28 June 1950, the wing continued B-29 training, operation of Anderson AFB and some rescue and reconnaissance missions.

    Korean War

    When the Korean War broke out in late June 1950, the 19th Bombardment Group was immediately detached from the Wing for combat operations from Kadena. From Kadena, the squadrons (28th, 30th 93d) attacked North Korean invasion forces. The first B-29 Superfortress unit in the war, the group on 28 June attacked North Korean storage tanks, marshalling yards, and armor. In the first two months, it flew more than six hundred sorties, supporting UN ground forces by bombing enemy troops, vehicles, and such communications points as the Han River bridges.

    At Kadena, the group was initially under the operational control of Twentieth Air Force, after 8 July 1950, it was attached to FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional). Many of the aircraft flown by the 19th Bomb Group squadrons in combat were refurbished B-29s that were placed in storage after World War II, then brought back into operational service.

    In the north, its targets included an oil refinery and port facilities at Wonsan, a railroad bridge at Pyongyang, and Yonpo Airfield. After United Nations ground forces pushed the communists out of South Korea, the 19th BG turned to strategic objectives in North Korea, including industrial and hydroelectric facilities. It also continued to attack bridges, marshalling yards, supply centers, artillery and troop positions, barracks, port facilities, and airfields.

    In accordance with organizational change within the Strategic Air Command and later throughout the entire Air Force, the 19th Bomb Group was inactivated on 1 June 1953 and its squadrons assigned directly to the 19th Bomb Wing, which moved its headquarters to Kadena.

    Cold War

    In May 1954, the Wing was reassigned from the Far East Air Force to Pinecastle Air Force Base]], Florida and Strategic Air Command, turning in its war-weary and obsolete B-29s at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, en route.

    Replaced the propeller-driven B-29s with new B-47E Stratojet swept-wing bomber medium bombers in 1954, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. They were assigned to the 28th, 30th, and 93rd Bombardment Squadrons.

    The wing also gained an air-refueling unit with the 100th Air Refueling Squadron which was attached to the wing from 2 February 1955 until 16 August 1956. In February 1956, the 19th Air Refueling Squadron was permanently assigned to the wing. Both flew Boeing KC-97 Stratotankers.

    Early in 1955, the wing deployed to Sidi Slimane AB, French Morocco, January – April 1956, and to Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, May – July 1957. From July 1957 to April 1961, the wing maintained a portion of its tactical resources on overseas alert. Its B-47s were phased out of the SAC inventory beginning in 1960, sending the wing's last stratojet to Davis-Monthan in 1961.

    The 19th was transferred to Homestead Air Force Base, Florida on 1 June 1956 from Pinecastle. At Homestead, the wing consisted of one squadron in Florida (28th BS), and four squadrons:

  • 30th Bombardment Squadron
  • 93d Bombardment Squadron
  • 525th Bombardment Squadron
  • 526th Bombardment Squadron
  • The Wing converted to the B-52H Stratofortress and KC-135 aircraft in 1961–1962. However, most of its aircraft were reassigned. SAC was then in the process of establishing Strategic Wings and the 19th lost four squadrons to them. This left the 19th with one squadron of B-52Hs (29th BS).

    On 7 June 1962, a wing B-52H broke the world record for distance flown on a closed course without landing or refueling. The mission was flown from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The flight covered 11,336,92 miles and broke a record set two years earlier by a B-52G of the 5th Bombardment Wing.

    At Homestead, the wing won the Fairchild Trophy in the SAC bombing and navigation competition for 1966.

    The 19th was moved without personnel or equipment to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia in mid-1968, it absorbed resources of the 465th Bombardment Wing and converted to the B-52G. At Robins, the 19th furnished B–52 Arc Light crews and KC–135 aircraft and crews supporting Yankee Team, Foreign Legion & Young Tiger Tanker Task Force and crews to other SAC organizations. In the Spring & summer of 1972, all assigned B-52G's aircraft & crews deployed to the Strategic Wing (Provisional) at Andersen Air Fprce Base & it's KC-135A aircraft & crews deployed to the 376th Strategic Wing, at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia. In 1972, the wing deployed virtually all its aircraft and crews for combat operations, leaving headquarters at Robins minimally staffed. In November 1973, the wing returned from deployment and resumed normal operations. The 19th Bombardment Wing won the Omaha Trophy as the "Outstanding Wing in SAC" for 1981.

    The 19th Bombardment Wing ceased operations, losing its B-52s and was redesignated as the 19th Air Refueling Wing (Heavy) on 1 October 1983. The 19th AREFW undertook worldwide aerial refueling missions for various operations and exercises and supported the Eielson (Alaskan); Andersen (Pacific); & Spannish (European) Tanker Task Forces. It flew aerial refueling missions supporting Grenada operations (Operation Urgent Fury), 23 – 24 October 1983. Beginning in 1984, it provided two EC-135 aircraft and crews to support the United States Central Command in Southwest Asia.

    With conversion to KC-135R aircraft, the wing continued supporting the Alaska, Pacific and Pacific Tanker Task Forces in 1988 and the Caribbean Tanker Task Force in March 1990. It flew aerial refueling missions for the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause), 18 – 21 December 1989 and deployed resources to Southwest Asia, August 1990 – March 1991, providing aerial refueling, cargo, and command, control and communications support.

    It was redesignated the 19th Air Refueling Wing on 1 September 1991. The 19th Operations Group was activated at the same time as the flying component of the wing.

    Post Cold War

    From January 1992, it provided an EC-137 and crews to support the United States Special Operations Command, and from August 1992 the wing supported the Saudi Tanker Task Force. It provided air refueling support to NATO fighters in Bosnia in September – October 1995. Several KC-135R tankers deployed to Southwest Asia to support Operation Southern Watch, January – March 1996 and to Turkey for Operation Provide Comfort, April – June 1996.

    On 1 July 1996, the 19th Air Refueling Wing was inactivated, and its functions turned over to its operations group, redesignated the 19th Air Refueling Group.

    The 19th Air Refueling Group was inactivated in June 2008 as a result of realignment due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005.

    19th Airlift Wing

    The 19th was reactivated at Little Rock Air Force Base in October 2008 as the 19th Airlift Wing. it is also the sponsor unit of Cadet Squadron 19 "Wolverines" at the United States Air Force Academy.


  • Constituted as the 19th Bombardment Wing, Medium on 10 August 1948
  • Activated on 17 August 1948 Redesignated 19th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 1 July 1961 Redesignated 19th Air Refueling Wing, Heavy on 1 October 1983 Redesignated 19th Air Refueling Wing on 1 September 1991 Inactivated on 1 July 1996
  • Redesignated: 19th Airlift Wing on 18 September 2008
  • Activated on 1 October 2008



  • 19th Bombardment (later, 19th Operations) Group: 17 August 1948 – 1 June 1953 (detached 28 June 1950 – 1 June 1953); 1 September 1991 – 1 July 1996
  • 457 Operations: 1 July 1993 – 1 October 1994
  • Squadrons

  • 19th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 February 1956 - 1 April 1960 (detached 1 February - 30 June 1956)
  • 21st Troop Carrier: attached 12 January - 1 February 1950
  • 28th Bombardment Squadron: 1 June 1953 - 1 October 1983
  • 30th Bombardment Squadron: 1 June 1953- 1 January 1962
  • 93d Bombardment Squadron: 1 June 1953- 1 August 1961
  • 99th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 October 1983 - 1 September 1991
  • 100th Air Refueling Squadron: attached 2 February 1955 - 16 August 1956
  • 303d Air Refueling Squadron: 1 November 1959 - 1 April 1961
  • 407th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 April 1962 - 2 July 1968
  • 525th Bombardment Squadron: 9 January - 15 March 1961
  • 526th Bombardment Squadron: 9 January - June 1961
  • 659th Bombardment Squadron: 1 November 1958 - 1 July 1961
  • 912th Air Refueling Squadron: 25 July 1968 - 1 September 1991.
  • Stations

  • North Field (later North Guam Air Force Base; Andersen Air Force Base), Guam, 17 August 1948
  • Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, 1 June 1953 - 28 May 1954
  • Pinecastle Air Force Base, Florida, 11 June 1954
  • Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, 1 June 1956
  • Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, 25 July 1968 - 1 July 1996
  • Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, 1 October 2008 – present
  • Aircraft

    References for commands and major units assigned, components and stations:


    19th Airlift Wing Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Scent of Love
    The Hostage of Europe
    Sandra Meigs