|Country United States|
Role Airlift Training
|Branch Air National Guard|
|Active 1943-1945: 1947-1951; 1955-1976|
Engagements European Theater of World War II
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
The 705th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 924th Tactical Airlift Group at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas where it was inactivated on 30 June 1976.
Training for combat
The squadron was first activated on 1 April 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona as the 705th Bombardment Squadron with an initial cadre drawn from the 39th Bombardment Group. It was one of the original squadrons of the 446th Bombardment Group. 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 squadron was filled out and advanced training was completed. The squadron lost one aircraft 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, NE. 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 705th was part of the first United States Army Air Forces group to complete the Transatlantic hop from Brazil to Africa without the installation of additional bomb bay fuel tanks.
Combat in the European Theater
The squadron arrived at its new base at RAF Flixton in the east of England in October. The 705th flew its first mission on 16 December 1943 against shipping facilities in Bremen. The unit 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 705th 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 squadron 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 unit 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 705th flew its last combat mission on 25 April, attacking a bridge near Salzburg, Austria.
After V-E Day, the 705th 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 squadron 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. The ground echelon sailed from Greenock on the Queen Mary on the sixth of 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 squadron was inactivated on 28 August 1945.
The squadron was reactivated in March 1948 at Carswell AFB near Fort Worth, Texas, along with the 446th group. The squadron conducted bombardment training 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 squadron 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 705th was called to active duty on 1 May 1951. Its personnel were reassigned to other units and the squadron was inactivated on 25 June 1951.
The squadron was reactivated in May 1955 as the 705th Troop Carrier Squadron at Ellington AFB near Houston, Texas and initially equipped with Curtiss C-46 Commandos. At Ellington it absorbed personnel from the 8706th Pilot Training Group, which was simultaneously discontinued. In 1958 the squadron upgraded to Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar aircraft . The unit trained for and flew airlift missions in 1959 it was assigned directly to the 446th Troop Carrier Wing when Continental Air Command converted its reserve unitsto the dual deputy organization, which eliminated operational and maintenance group headquarters. The group's squadrons were reassigned directly to the Wing. Upgraded to C-130A Hercules in 1967. It deployed to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War; unit members flew more than 120 combat missions. In 1968 the squadron became a C-130 training squadron for Air Force Reservists. Also operated a C-130 flight simulator for aircrew training. It Upgraded to the C-130B Hercules in 1972. The squadron inactivated in 1976 when Ellington ARB closed.