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509th Air Refueling Squadron

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Title: 509th Air Refueling Squadron  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Thule Air Base, Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker, 100th Air Refueling Wing, 509th Bomb Wing, 509th Operations Group, Griffiss Air Force Base, 416th Air Expeditionary Wing, 817th Air Division
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509th Air Refueling Squadron

509th Weapons Squadron

KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to Fairchild AFB
Active 1943–Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Advanced Air Refueling Training
Part of USAF Weapons School
Garrison/HQ Nellis AFB, Nevada
GSU at Fairchild AFB, Washington
1991 Gulf War (Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation of Kuwait)
Decorations Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
509th Weapons Squadron emblem

The 509th Weapons Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the USAF Weapons School, stationed at Fairchild AFB, Washington.

The 509th WPS is a Geographically Separated Unit (GSU) of the 57th Wing, assigned to Nellis AFB, Nevada. The mission of the squadron is to provide KC-135 Stratotanker instructional flying.


Activated in 1943 as a B-24 Liberator Operational Training Unit (OTU); then a Replacement Training Unit (RTU). Inactivated in April 1944 with the end of heavy bomber training.

Reactivated as an air refueling squadron at Roswell AFB (later Walker AFB), New Mexico, the first such unit in the United States Air Force. Initially equipped with KB-29M aerial tanker which carried a system of hoses, reels, winches and fuel pumps needed for the transfer of the fuel to the receiver aircraft. A power-driven reel for the refuelling hose was installed in the rear fuselage at the position where the lower aft turret had been located prior to its removal. The KB-29M also had a cable and associated winch (known as the contact line) that was used to assist in the setup of the connection between the two aircraft.

Although the hose refueling system proved to be feasible, in practice the system had the disadvantage in taking a long time to make the contact and engage the hoses. Once contact was made, the rate of fuel transfer was slow, and the hoses provided a lot of aerodynamic drag which limited the airspeed. Consequently, the hose system was used for only a few years before it was replaced by the Boeing-developed flying boom system (KB-29L).

Conducted air refueling using KC-97 and KC-135 stratotankers until being inactivated in 1994.


  • Constituted 609th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 15 Feb 1943
Activated on 1 Mar 1943
Disbanded on 10 Apr 1944
  • Reconstituted, and consolidated (19 Sep 1985), with the 509th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium, which was constituted on 30 Jun 1948
Activated on 19 Jul 1948
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 Jun 1965
  • Re-designated 509th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, and activated, on 8 Aug 1966
Organized on 2 Oct 1966
Re-designated 509th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 Sep 1991
Inactivated on 1 Oct 1994
  • Re-designated 509th Weapons Squadron on 30 May 2003
Activated on 1 Jun 2003





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