The 446th Operations Group (446 OG) is a United States Air Force Reserve unit assigned to the 446th Airlift Wing. It is stationed at McChord Air Force Base, Washington.
The group was first activated as the 446th Bombardment Group and served in combat as an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit in England. In 1944 the group led Eighth Air Force and the 2d Bombardment Division on the first heavy bomber mission of D-Day. The group's 706th Bombardment Squadron flew 62 consecutive missions and 707th Bombardment Squadron had 68 missions without loss. After V-E Day the group returned to the United States, where it was inactivated in August 1945.
The group was activated again in the Air Force Reserve in 1948 at Carswell AFB, Texas. It trained alongside the active duty 7th Bombardment Group until 1951 when it was called to active duty so that its personnel could be used as fillers for other units, then inactivated.
In 1955 the group was again activated in the reserve as the 446th Troop Carrier Group at Ellington AFB, Texas. It was inactivated in 1959 when Continental Air Command reorganized its wings under the dual deputy model, which eliminated operational and maintenance group headquarters.
The group was activated a fourth time in 1992 as the command element for the flying units of the 446th Airlift Wing as reserve units reorganized under the Objective Wing organizational model.
The 446th Operations Group was activated at McChord AFB on 1 August 1992 under the United States Air Force Objective Wing organizational model. The operational squadrons of the 446th Airlift Wing were reassigned to the newly established group and an operational support squadron was activated along with the group. Since 1992, the group has flown channel, special assignment, and humanitarian airlift missions worldwide and taken part in joint and combined exercises, both within the United States and abroad. The group is an associate of the regular 62d Operations Group and the units fly the same aircraft, which carry the emblems of their parent wings. The group flew the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter until it was phased out in 2002, but began transitioning into the McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III in 1999.
The 446th Operations Group manages the aircrew and flight operations of the 446th Airlift Wing. The group is made up of five squadrons:
The group was first activated on 1 April 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona as the 446th Bombardment Group with an initial cadre drawn from the 39th Bombardment Group. Its original squadrons were the 704th, 705th, 706th, and 707th Bombardment Squadrons. The cadre departed for Orlando AAB, Florida for training with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, where they flew simulated combat missions from Montbrook AAF.
The unit headed for Alamogordo AAF, New Mexico in June 1943, but was diverted to Lowry Field, Colorado, where the group was filled out and advanced training was completed. The group lost two aircraft to crashes during this training. The ground echelon left Lowry on 18 October 1943 for Camp Shanks, New York and embarked on the RMS Queen Mary, sailing on 27 October 1943 and arrived in Greenock on the Firth of Clyde on 2 November 1943. The aircraft left Lowry on 20 October 1943 for staging at Lincoln AAF, Neb. The aircrews ferried their planes under the control of Air Transport Command via the southern route from Florida through Puerto Rico, Brazil, Senegal, and Morocco to England. The 446th was the first AAF group to complete the Transatlantic hop from Brazil to Africa without the installation of additional bomb bay fuel tanks.
The 446th suffered its first combat loss even before arriving in England when the aircraft commanded by Captain Ekrem strayed from the planned route and flew too close to the Brest Peninsula, where it was attacked by Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and Ju 88 fighters and anti-aircraft fire from the Luftwaffe and was shot down. The remainder of the group safely arrived at its new base at RAF Flixton in the east of England.
The group flew its first mission on 16 December 1943 against shipping facilities in Bremen, Germany, losing one airplane that crashed just short of the field due to fuel exhaustion. The group operated chiefly against strategic objectives. Its targets included U-boat installations at Kiel, the port at Bremen, a chemical plant at Ludwigshafen, ball-bearing works at Berlin, aircraft engine plants at Rostock, aircraft factories at Munich, marshalling yards at Coblenz, motor works at Ulm, and oil refineries at Hamburg.
Besides strategic missions, the group often carried out support and air interdiction operations. It supported the Normandy invasion in June 1944 by attacking strong points, bridges, airfields, transportation, and other targets in France. The 446th aided ground forces at Caen and Saint-Lô during July by hitting bridges, gun batteries, and enemy troops. It dropped supplies to Allied troops near Nijmegen during Operation Market-Garden in September. The group bombed marshalling yards, bridges, and road junctions during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. It flew low level missions to drop medical supplies, arms, and food to airborne and ground troops near Wesel during Operation Varsity in March 1945. The 446th Bomb Group flew its last combat mission on 25 April, attacking a bridge near Salzburg, Austria. The group had flown 273 missions and had lost 58 aircraft during the war,
After V-E Day, the 446th flew transport missions to France, sometimes landing at fields that had been targets the previous year. It also flew Trolley missions, transporting support personnel for "sightseeing" trips over Germany to view the results of their efforts. The group began to redeploy to the US in June 1945. The first aircraft of the air echelon departed the United Kingdom in mid-June 1945 flying the northern route via Iceland. One aircraft was lost over the Azores on the return flight. The ground echelon sailed from Greenock on the Queen Mary on 6 July 1945 and arrived in New York on 11 July 1945. Personnel were given 30 days leave. The ground and air echelons reassembled at Sioux Falls AAF, South Dakota in late July. Its personnel were transferred to other Second Air Force units or demobilized and the Group was inactivated on 28 August 1945.
The group was reactivated in March 1948 at Carswell AFB near Fort Worth, Texas, along with the 704th 705th and 706th squadrons, although the 706th was located across the state at Biggs AFB near El Paso. The following month the 707th squadron was activated at Lubbock AFB. The group conducted bombardment training with as part of the Air Force Reserve, but does not appear to have been assigned any aircraft of its own during this period. In June 1949 the group lost its two remote squadrons when the 706th was inactivated and the 707th was transferred. Simultaneously, the group was reassigned from Continental Air Command to Strategic Air Command and became a corollary of the active duty 7th Bombardment Group, which had just converted from the Boeing B-29 Superfortressto the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. As a result of the Korean War, the group was called to active duty on 1 May 1951. Its personnel were reassigned to other units and the group was inactivated on 25 June 1951.For additional history after 1955 see 446th Airlift Wing
The group was reactivated in May 1955 as the 446th Troop Carrier Group at Ellington AFB near Houston, Texas along with the 704th and 705th Troop Carrier Squadrons and initially equipped with Curtiss C-46 Commandos. At Ellington it absorbed the personnel of the 8706th Pilot Training Group, which was simultaneously discontinued. In October the 706th TCS at Donaldson AFB, South Carolina activated and joined the group, but it inactivated in November 1957. In 1958 the group upgraded to Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar aircraft and gained the 357th TCS at New Orleans Naval Air Station, and in 1959 the 706th was activated again, this time at Barksdale AFB. The unit trained for and flew airlift missions until being inactivated in 1959 when its parent unit, the 446th Troop Carrier Wing converted to the dual deputy organization, which eliminated operational and maintenance group headquarters. The group's squadrons were reassigned directly to the Wing.Established as the 446th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 March 1943
Activated on 1 April 1943
Redesignated 446th Bombardment Group
, Heavy on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 28 August 1945
Redesignated 446th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy on 26 September 1947
Activated in the Reserve on 26 March 1948
Redesignated 446th Bombardment Group
, Heavy on 27 June 1949
Ordered to Active Duty on 1 May 1951
Inactivated on 25 June 1951
Redesignated 446th Troop Carrier Group, Medium on 11 April 1955
Activated in the Reserve on 25 May 1955
Inactivated on 14 April 1959
Redesignated 446th Military Airlift Group on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
Redesignated 446th Operations Group on 1 August 1992
Activated in the Reserve on 1 August 1992
36th Aerial Port Squadron: 1 August 1992 – 1 October 2002
40th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron: 1 August 1992 – 1 October 1994
97th Airlift Squadron: 1 August 1992 – present
313th Airlift Squadron: 1 August 1992 – present
357th Troop Carrier Squadron: 25 March 1958 – 14 April 1959
Located at New Orleans Naval Air Station, Louisiana
446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron: 1 October 1994 - present
446th Operations Squadron (later 446th Operations Flight): 1 August 1992 - present
704th Bombardment Squadron (later 704th Troop Carrier Squadron): 1 April 1943 – 28 August 1945; 26 March 1948 - 25 June 1951; 25 May 1955 – 14 April 1959
705th Bombardment Squadron (later 705th Troop Carrier Squadron): 1 April 1943 – 28 August 1945; 26 March 1948 - 25 June 1951; 25 May 1955 – 14 April 1959
706th Bombardment Squadron (later 706th Troop Carrier Squadron): 1 April 1943 – 28 August 1945; 26 March 1948 - 27 June 1949; 8 October 1955 – 16 November 1957; 7 February 1959- 14 April 1959
Located at Biggs AFB, Texas, 26 March 1948 – 27 June 1949
Located at Donaldson AFB, South Carolina, 8 October 1955 – 16 November 1957
Located at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, 7 February 1959 – 14 April 1959
707th Bombardment Squadron: 1 April 1943 – 28 August 1945; 22 April 1948 - 27 June 1949
Located at Lubbock AFB, Texas, 22 April 1948 – 27 June 1949
728th Airlift Squadron: 1 August 1992 – present
446th Airlift Control Flight: 1 August 1992 - present