|Country United States||Type Airlift|
|Active 1943–1945; 1953–1975; 2000s (decade)|
Branch United States Air Force
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
The 776th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron is a provisional United States Air Force squadron activated after 11 September 2001, being engaged in the Global War on Terrorism. Its current status is undetermined.
- World War II
- Tactical Air Command
- Pacific Air Forces
- Expeditionary Operations
Previously, the squadron was a Tactical Air Command Troop Carrier squadron, assigned to the 464th Troop Carrier Wing, stationed at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. It was inactivated on 26 December 1965. During World War II, the 776th Bombardment Squadron was a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron which saw combat with Fifteenth Air Force stationed in Italy, assigned to the 464th Bombardment Group.
World War II
Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber squadron with the 464th Bombardment Group in mid-1943, trained under Second Air Force. Deployed to Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO), October 1943, becoming a Fifteenth Air Force heavy bomb squadron, attacking enemy targets both in the MTO and European Theater of Operations (ETO). After end of war in Europe, used B-24s for transport of personnel from various points in Europe to Waller Field, Trinidad, being attached to Air Transport Command. Inactivated 31 July 1945.
Tactical Air Command
Reactivated as a Tactical Air Command theater transport squadron, 1953. Performed Troop Carrier missions using tactical transport aircraft until 1965 when inactivated. In September 1954 the squadron relocated to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. The 776th was the first squadron at Pope to convert from Fairchild C-123 Providers to Lockheed C-130 Herculeses and one of the first in the USAF to fly the C-130E model.
During the Vietnam era the 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron flew Lockheed C130E Hercules aircraft. In 1964 the 776th flew relief missions to Anchorage, Alaska following the Good Friday earthquake. They were deployed on temporary duty to France after returning from the relief mission.
In 1965, the squadron participated in Operation Eagle Jump. In April it took par in Operation Power Pack, a mission to the Dominican Republic.
Pacific Air Forces
In November 1965 it was alerted for movement to Southern Asia. In the spring of 1965 the 776th was deployed to Kadena AFB. When Tactical Air Command sent 8 squadrons to Pacific Air Forces, the 776th was one of them, possibly because the 776th was already operating out of Naha Air Base. The 776th was held at Tachikawa Air Base while Ching Chuan Kang Air Base (commonly called CCK) was being prepared to support C-130s.
In January 1967 it participated in Operation Junction City. It flew shuttle missions to Bangkok Shuttle and Tuy Hoa.
In 1968 the squadron supported the Battle of Khe Sanh, Operation Delaware (the A Shau Valley Campaign), Operation Banish Beach. In 1969, Operations Commando Twist and Commando Image and operations at Katum, Bu Prang and An Hua.
In 1971 it supported Operations Lam Son 719 and 720. That year the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing returned stateside on paper and the wing at CCK became the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing.
In 1973 it participated in the Battle of An Loc, Republic of Vietnam (Easter Airlift). The unit's maintenance and support operations remained at CCK, while detachments operated From Tan Son Nhut, U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, and Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Navy Base, Thailand. On 27 Jan 1973 a crew from the squadron and a crew from the 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron flew into Hanoi to bring a North Vietnamese delegation back to Tan Son Nhut Airport near Saigon.
On 29 Apr 1975 a C-130 with a crew from the 776th was hit by rocket/mortar fire, causing the aircraft to catch fire while taxiing to pick up passengers for evacuation. This event essentially ended the fixed wing air evacuation. The crew evacuated the aircraft and joined the only other plane at the airport, flown by a 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron aircrew. This departing flight was the last fixed wing aircraft to leave carrying refugees out of Ton Son Nhut as Saigon was being overrun by the North Vietnamese
During the early 1970s the 776 TAS carried out missions all over Pacific area, including Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Korea and many other countries. Missions were also flown to many of the islands in the Pacific. All types of cargo was transported. Although much of the cargo was general, fuel and explosives were also hauled. Passengers were transported and medical patients were evacuated to hospital facilities. Passenger missions often included foreign nationals and sometimes prisoners of war. The C130s were often used to transport those killed in action from remote airfields to the larger air bases. In times when a defensive position was surrounded and no supplies could get in, the C130s would fly through heavy anti-aircraft and ground fire to drop needed supplies to the friendlies on the ground.
During 1970 and 1971 the 776 TAS was operating out of CCK, Taiwan with Det 1 at Tan Son Nhut, Vietnam and Det 2 at Utapao, Thailand. Crews were rotated to the detachments on a TDY basis. There was also a shuttle operating out of Bangkok, Thailand. As the U.S. involvement in the war began to wind down, Det 1 in Ton Sun Nhut was closed down and the 776 crews began operations out of Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. Missions were still being flown into Vietnam, but no [U.S.] C-130 crews were assigned TDY to Vietnam.
Activated as a C-130 Hercules airlift squadron as part of the Global War on Terrorism. The squadron has participated in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).