The 54th Tactical Fighter Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Pacific Air Forces Fifth Air Force, being stationed at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. It was inactivated on 31 October 1970.
During World War II, the 54th Troop Carrier Wing was a United States Army Air Forces Fifth Air Force transport wing that exercised command and control over five combat cargo and troop carrier groups in the South West Pacific theatre.
In the early postwar years, the 54th Fighter Wing commanded 56 units of the Air National Guard throughout the Southeastern United States.
The 54th Troop Carrier Wing commenced air transport and medical air evacuation operations in support of Fifth Air Force on 26 May 1943. advancing as battle lines permitted.
The wing employed C-47s almost exclusively, but during late 1943 and much of 1944 also used 13 converted B-17Es for armed transport missions in enemy-held territory. The 54th supported every major advance made by the allies in the Southwest Pacific Theater, operating from primitive airstrips carved from jungles and air-dropping cargo where airstrips unavailable.
The unit took part in the airborne invasion of Nadzab, New Guinea, in September 1943 by dropping paratroopers of the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment as well as Australian engineers and heavy equipment. In July 1944, the wing dropped 1,418 paratroopers on Noemfoor Island to aid the allied invasion forces. Then assumed the task of handling all freight and personnel moving in troop carrier aircraft in the Southwest Pacific, in addition to scheduled and unscheduled air movement of cargo and troops, and air evacuation of wounded personnel.
Some C-46s began operating within the wing in late 1944, and during 1945 large numbers of C-46s were used in addition to C-47s. By late 1944 and during the early months of 1945, most wing missions were flown to the Philippines. In February 1945, the wing flew three more airborne operations, all in the Philippines, to help encircle Japanese concentrations. Wing C-47s dropped napalm on Carabao Island, in Manila Bay, in March 1945.
When hostilities ended, the wing moved the entire 11th Airborne Division (11,300 personnel) from the Philippines to Okinawa on short notice, and then began transporting occupation forces into Japan. During September 1945, the wing also evacuated over 17,000 former prisoners of war from Japan to the Philippines.
The wing served as part of the occupation forces in Japan from 25 September 1945 to about 26 January 1946, while continuing routine air transport operations and a scheduled courier service. Beginning in December 1945 and continuing into mid-1946, most of the wing's components were reassigned to other units or inactivated, and on 15 January 1946 the wing became a component of the Far East (soon, Pacific) Air Service Command.
Moving to the Philippines, the wing gained new components and flew scheduled routes between Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands. Replaced by the 403d Troop Carrier Group on 31 May 1946 and was inactivated.
Allocated to the Georgia Air National Guard for command and control origination for units in the Southeastern region of the United States. Extended federal recognition and activated on 2 October 1946.
At the end of October 1950, the Air National Guard converted to the wing-base (Hobson Plan) organization. As a result, the wing was withdrawn from the Georgia ANG and was inactivated on 31 October 1950. The 116th Fighter Wing was established by the National Guard Bureau, allocated to the state of Georgia, recognized and activated 1 November 1950; assuming the personnel, equipment and mission of the inactivated 54th Fighter Wing.
In June 1970, as the 54th Tactical Fighter Wing, was activated and replaced the 354th TFW at Kunsan AB, South Korea, assuming control of personnel and attached F-4C Phantom II squadrons. Was inactivated on 31 October 1970 when the deployed F-4 squadrons returned to the United States and the base was placed in a non-flying status. Base operations personnel were absorbed by the 6175th Air Base Group.Established as 54th Troop Carrier Wing on 26 February 1943
Activated on 13 March 1943
Inactivated on 31 May 1946
Re-designated 54th Fighter Wing, and allotted to the Air National Guard on 1 June 1946
Organized in the Georgia Air National Guard on 8 July 1946
Extended federal recognition on 2 October 1946
Ordered to active service on 10 October 1950
Inactivated, and returned to the control of the Department of the Air Force, on 11 October 1950
Re-designated 54th Tactical Fighter Wing on 5 June 1970
Activated on 15 June 1970
Inactivated on 31 October 1970
Fifth Air Force, 13 March 1943
Far East (later, Pacific) Air Service Command, 15 January – 31 May 1946
Georgia Air National Guard, 8 July 1946
Fourteenth Air Force, 10–11 October 1950
Fifth Air Force, 15 June – 31 October 1970
Attached to Detachment 1, Headquarters Fifth Air Force [5th ADVON], 15 July – 30 September 1970
2d Combat Cargo Group, 13 December 1944 – 5 January 1946
317th Troop Carrier Group, 1 October 1943 – 15 January 1946
374th Troop Carrier Group, 26 May – 28 September 1943
375th Troop Carrier Group, 12 July 1943 – 15 January 1946
433d Troop Carrier Group, 4 October 1943 – 5 January 1946
1st Troop Carrier Squadron (Philippine Army), 26 January – 31 May 1946
9th Troop Carrier Squadron, 15 January – 15 February 1946
16th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15 June – 7 September 1970
311th Troop Carrier Squadron, 15 February – 15 May 1946
316th Troop Carrier Squadron, 15 February – 25 March 1946
116th Fighter Group, 9 September 1946 – 10 October 1950
117th Fighter Group, 1 October 1947 – 11 October 1950 (Alabama ANG)
118th Fighter Group, 2 October 1947 – 11 October 1950 (Tennessee ANG)
156th Fighter Squadron, 15 March 1948 – 10 October 1950 (North Carolina ANG)
157th Fighter Squadron, 9 February 1947 – 10 October 1950 (South Carolina ANG)
159th Fighter Squadron, 9 February 1947 – 10 October 1950 (Florida ANG)
16th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15 June-7 September 1970 (Attached)
478th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15 June – 2 September 1970 (Attached)