The 912th Air Refueling Squadron is a United States Air Force squadron assigned to the 92d Operations Group and stationed at March Air Reserve Base, California. The squadron is an active duty associate unit of the reserve 336th Air Refueling Squadron of the 452d Operations Group.
The squadron was first activated in June 1942 as the 412th Bombardment Squadron. It saw combat in the European Theater of World War II, where it was assigned to the 95th Bombardment Group, the only group in Eighth Air Force to earn three Distinguished Unit Citations.
The 912th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in late 1961 as the air refueling element of the 4137th Strategic Wing and has been active since then. During the Cold War the squadron maintained a portion of its strength on alert. It also supported airborne alert operations during the 1980s.
In 1985 the 412th Bombardment Squadron was consolidated with the 912th Air Refueling Squadron, making them a single unit. The consolidated squadron has supported contingency operations, including Operation Urgent Fury and Operation Just Cause. It participated in combat in Southeast Asia from 1990 to 1991.
The squadron operates Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to Air Force Reserve Command at March Air Force Base, California along with air reservists, conducting air refueling and other air mobility missions. Its personnel also augment maintainers in the reserve 452d Maintenance Group and augment the reserve 452d Air Mobility Wing life support, intelligence, supply, command post, crew communications, medical and support staff.
The squadron was constituted in early 1942 as the 22d Reconnaissance Squadron. However, it was renamed the 412th Bombardment Squadron before activating at Barksdale Field, Louisiana in June as one of the four original squadrons of the 95th Bombardment Group. The squadron began training in August at Geiger Field, Washington, where it was equipped with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses. The unit trained for combat operations until moving overseas starting in March.
The air echelon processed at Kearney Army Air Field, Nebraska and flew its Forts via the southern route, flying to Florida, Trinidad, the northern coast of Brazil, Dakar, Senegal, and Marrakesh, Morocco to RAF Alconbury in the United Kingdom. The ground echelon moved to Camp Kilmer, then sailed on the RMS Queen Elizabeth to Scotland, arriving in May. The squadron then reunited at RAF Framlingham.
The squadron arrived in England equipped with late model B-17F aircraft equipped with "Tokyo Tanks", additional fuel cells located outboard in the wings that gave this model additional range. It flew its first combat mission on 13 May 1943 against an airfield near Saint-Omer, France. For the next two months the squadron focused on attacking airfields and V-1 flying bomb launch sites in France.
Eighth Air Force's early experience with its Martin B-26 Marauders convinced it that the Marauders were stationed too far from the continent of Europe to reach a selection of targets. It determined to move them closer to the target areas, and an exchange of bases began. The entire 95th group moved to RAF Horham in June, where they replaced the 323d Bombardment Group, which departed the previous day. A few days later their place at Framlingham was taken by the newly arrived 390th Bombardment Group.
The 412th began strategic bombing operations in July and continued until flying its last operation on 20 April 1945. Its targets included harbors, marshalling yards and other industrial targets along with attacks on cities. The squadron received its first Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) during an attack on an aircraft factory at Regensburg, Germany on 17 August 1943 when it maintained its defensive formation despite severe attacks by enemy interceptor aircraft.
On 10 October, during an attack on marshalling yards at Münster, Germany, the squadron was subjected to concentrated fighter attacks on the approach to the target and intense flak over the objective. Despite these obstacles, the group's bombs were clustered close to the target. It was awarded a second DUC for withstanding these attacks to bomb its objective. From 20 to 25 February 1944 the group participated in the Big Week offensive against the German aircraft manufacturing industry. A few days later, on 4 March, the squadron attacked Berlin despite adverse weather that led other units to either abandon the operation or attack secondary targets. Despite snowstorms and heavy cloud cover, the unit struck its target while under attack from enemy fighters, although the cloud cover required the group to rely on a pathfinder from the 482d Bombardment Group to determine the release point. It received its third DUC for this operation. This mission was the first time any unit from Eighth Air Force had bombed Berlin.
The squadron was diverted to bombing priority tactical targets during the preparation for and execution of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, attacking communications and coastal defenses. It hit enemy troop concentrations to facilitate the Allied breakout at Saint-Lô. The 412th attacked enemy troop concentrations during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 to January 1945 and bombed airfields to support Operation Varsity, the airborne assault across the Rhine in March.
One of the unit's more unusual missions was flown on 18 September 1944, when it led the 13th Combat Bombardment Wing to Warsaw to drop ammunition, food and medical supplies to Polish Resistance forces fighting against German occupation forces. The squadron had previously participated in shuttle missions to the Soviet Union.
The unit flew its last mission on 20 April 1945, when it attacked marshalling yards near Oranienburg. In the first week of May, it airdropped food to Dutch citizens in Operation Chow Hound. From V-E Day until departing the theater in June, it transported liberated prisoners of war and displaced persons. The air echelon flew their planes back to Bradley Field, Connecticut, while the ground echelon sailed once more on the Queen Elizabeth. The squadron was reunited at Sioux Falls Army Airfield, South Dakota, where it was inactivated on 28 August 1945.
The 412th Bombardment Squadron was reactivated as a reserve unit under Air Defense Command (ADC) at Knoxville Municipal Airport, Tennessee in July 1947 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress unit. It is not clear whether or not the squadron was fully staffed or equipped. In 1948 Continental Air Command assumed responsibility for managing reserve units from ADC. The 412th was inactivated when Continental Air Command reorganized its reserve units under the wing base organization system in June 1949 and ended its reserve flying operations at Knoxville.
The 912th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in December 1961 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, where it was assigned to the 4137th Strategic Wing and equipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The 4137th wing was established by SAC in a program to disperse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike. The squadron provided air refueling primarily to the B-52s of the 4137th wing. Once the squadron became combat ready, one third of the squadron's aircraft were maintained on fifteen-minute alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike. This was increased to half the squadron's aircraft in 1962. 912th continued to maintain an alert commitment until the end of the Cold War, except for periods it deployed aircraft to support other operations. The squadron also conducted world wide air refueling missions.
In February 1963, The newly activated 465th Bombardment Wing assumed the aircraft, personnel and equipment of the discontinued 4137th wing. The 4137th was a Major Command controlled (MAJCON) wing, which could not carry a permanent history or lineage, and SAC wanted to replace it with a permanent unit. The 912th was reassigned to the 465th wing. As the need for refueling support of tactical aircraft in Southeast Asia increased, the squadron deployed crews and aircraft to support Operation Young Tiger in Thailand.
A little over five years later, when SAC terminated operations at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida and transferred the base to Tactical Air Command, it moved the 19th Bombardment Wing on paper to Robins, where it took over the assets of the 465th wing and became the 912th's new parent.
The 912th provided crews and planes to support the Alaskan, European and Pacific Tanker Task Forces. It supported Operation Urgent Fury, the restoration of the government of Grenada on 23 and 24 October 1983. The unit also flew EC–135 airborne command post missions from 1984 to 1989 for United States Central Command. These missions included deployed missions flown in the Middle East. In September 1985 the 912th Air Refueling Squadron was consolidated with the 412th Bombardment Squadron.
Starting in 1986 the squadron began to replace the KC-135A aircraft it had been flying for 25 years with re-engined KC-135Rs. The 912th supported Operation Just Cause, the United States incursion into Panama to replace Manuel Noriega's government from 18 to 21 December 1989. It participated in combat in Southwest Asia from August 1990 until March 1991, where its crews and tankers operated primarily as part of the 1701st Air Refueling Wing, Provisional.
With the inactivation of SAC in June 1992, most of its air refueling assets, including the 912th, were transferred to Air Mobility Command. In 1994 the 912th moved without personnel or equipment to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota as Robins prepared to replace its refueling wing with a J-STARS unit At Grand Forks it was reassigned to the 319th Operations Group as the third tanker squadron of the 319th Air Refueling Wing, which was being transformed into a "super tanker wing."
With the 319th the squadron deployed KC-135Rs and crews to support tanker activities in Operation Deny Flight, the United Nations no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina; Operation Uphold Democracy, the United Nations action to remove the military junta and restore the elected president of Haiti; and Operation Constant Vigil from Howard Air Force Base in Panama. In 1995 the squadron deployed to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to support Operation Southern Watch the Southwest Asia Task Force operation to monitor and control airspace in southern Iraq. From June through August 2000 the squadron moved its operations to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida while the runways at Grand Forks were being repaired.
After the 11 September 2001 attacks, the 912th contributed personnel and aircraft to the 319th Air Expeditionary Group in support of homeland defense.
The squadron was reduced to cadre status on 20 March 2009 pursuant to Base Realignment and Closure 2005 action which directed the transition of Grand Forks AFB from an air refueling mission to an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft mission with the RQ-4 Global Hawk.
An advance party arrived at March Air Reserve Base, California in October 2010, and began to organize the squadron once again. However, it was not until December that the ceremony to mark the 912th's new status as an active associate organization, an active duty Regular Air Force flying unit operating the same aircraft as the 336th Air Refueling Squadron and operationally controlled by the 452d Air Mobility Wing, was celebrated. The 912th is under the administrative control of the active duty 92d Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.
412th Bombardment SquadronConstituted as the 22d Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Redesignated 412th Bombardment Squadron
(Heavy) on 22 April 1942
Activated on 15 June 1942
Redesignated 412th Bombardment Squadron
, Heavy on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 28 August 1945
Redesignated 412th Bombardment Squadron
, Very Heavy on 9 July 1947
Activated in the Reserve on 16 July 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
Consolidated on 19 September 1985 with the 912th Air Refueling Squadron as the 912th Air Refueling Squadron
912th Air Refueling SquadronConstituted as the 912th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 3 August 1961 and activated (not organized)
Organized on 1 December 1961
Consolidated on 19 September 1985 with the 412th Bombardment Squadron
Redesignated 912th Air Refueling Squadron
on 1 September 1991
95th Bombardment Group, 15 June 1942 – 28 August 1945
95th Bombardment Group, 16 July 1947 – 27 June 1949
Strategic Air Command, 3 August 1961 (not organized)
4137th Strategic Wing, 1 December 1961
465th Bombardment Wing, 1 February 1963
19th Bombardment Wing (later 19th Air Refueling) Wing]], 25 July 1968
19th Operations Group, 1 September 1991
319th Operations Group, 1 April 1994
92d Operations Group, 1 October 2010 – Present
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1942–1945
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, 1962 – present
Boeing EC-135, 1984–1989