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36th Airlift Squadron


36th Airlift Squadron

36th Airlift Squadron
A Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the 36th Airlift Squadron at engine start up
Active 1942–1957; 1966-1968; 1968-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Airlift
Part of Pacific Air Forces
5th Air Force
374th Airlift Wing
374th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Yokota Air Base
Nickname(s) Eagle Airlifters
Engagements Mediterranean Theater of Operations
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Norton A. Schwartz
36th Airlift Squadron Emblem (updated version approved 24 August 1995)[1]

The 36th Airlift Squadron (36 AS) is the only forward-based tactical airlift squadron in the Pacific Area of Responsibility. Formerly an Air Mobility Command (AMC) unit, and a Military Airlift Command (MAC) and a Tactical Air Command (TAC) unit before that, the squadron is now part of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It maintains a forward presence and supports combat operations by providing responsive movement of personnel and equipment through aerial delivery and assault airland operations. It maintains C-130H Hercules mission-ready aircrews to conduct theater airlift, special operations, aeromedical evacuation, search and rescue, repatriation and humanitarian relief missions.


Provide services and support, which promote quality of life and project global power through combat-proven airlift and airdrop.


Activated in February 1942 at Patterson Field, Ohio as the 36th Transport Squadron.[1] Trained at various stations in the southeast and Texas with C-47 Skytrain transports. Deployed to Egypt in November 1942 as part of President Roosevelt's decision to aid the Royal Air Force Western Desert Air Force, assigned to the newly established Ninth Air Force, headquartered in Cairo.

Transported supplies and evacuated casualties in support of the British Eighth Army, operating from desert airfields in Egypt and Libya. Reassigned in May 1943 to Twelfth Air Force in Algeria, supporting Fifth Army forces in the Tunisian Campaign. Began training for the invasion of Sicily; dropped paratroops over the assault area on the night of 9 July. Carried reinforcements to Sicily on 11 July and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for carrying out that mission although severely attacked by ground and naval forces; dropped paratroops over the beachhead south of the Sele River on the night of 14 September 1943. Remained in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations until February 1944 until being reassigned back to IX Troop Carrier Command to participate in the buildup of forces prior to the Allied landings in France during D-Day in June 1944.

Engaged in combat operations by dropping paratroops into Normandy near Ste-Mere-Eglise on D-Day (6 June 1944) and releasing gliders with reinforcements on the following day. The unit received a third Distinguished Unit Citation and a French citation for these missions.

After the Normandy invasion the squadron ferried supplies in the United Kingdom. The squadron also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals. It dropped paratroops near Nijmegen and towed gliders carrying reinforcements during the airborne attack on the Netherlands. In December, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge by releasing gliders with supplies for the 101st Airborne Division near Bastogne.

Returned to the United States in May 1945, becoming a domestic troop carrier squadron for Continental Air Forces. In the Korean War the squadron flew airborne assaults at Sukchon and Munsan-ni and aerial transportation between Japan and Korea. Returned to the United States in 1952, however re-deployed back to Japan in 1954 and performed theater airlift missions. Inactivated in 1957 as part of the draw down of occupation forces in Japan.

Reactivated in 1966 at Langley AFB, Virginia as a Tactical Air Command C-130 Hercules troop carrier squadron under the 316th Troop Carrier Wing with C-130E Hercules aircraft. Redesignated as a tactical airlift squadron in 1967 concurrent with parent wing's redesignation as a tactical airlift wing. Deployed frequently to NATO and U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), sending aircraft to both England and West Germany. In early 1975, operational claimancy of the unit shifted from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command. When Langley AFB became the first operational F-15 base in the Air Force for the 1st Fighter Wing in 1975, the 316th Tactical Airlift Wing and two of its three airlift squadrons were inactivated. As the sole surviving airlift squadron, the 36 TAS moved to McChord AFB, Washington where it operated C-130s under Military Airlift Command's 62nd Military Airlift Wing, both within the United States and during rotational deployment of aircraft and crews to Howard AFB, Panama in support Operation CORONET OAK, providing airlift support for United States Southern Command throughout Central and South America. It also participated and supported the ground troops during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada from October to November 1983, and Operation Just Cause in Panama from December 1989 to January 1990.

In 1989, the squadron transitioned from the C-130E to the C-141B Starlifter, flying that aircraft until 1993. In 1993, the squadron transitioned back to the C-130, this time the C-130H, and was reassigned from McChord AFB back to Japan, where it performs its current theater airlift mission.

Operations and Decorations

  • Combat Operations. Included airborne assaults on Sicily, Normandy, the Netherlands, and Germany, and aerial transportation in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) and the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II. Participated and supported the ground troops during military operations in Grenada, Oct-Nov 1983, and in Panama, Dec 1989-Jan 1990.
  • Campaigns. World War II: Egypt-Libya; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe.


  • Constituted as the 36th Transport Squadron on 2 February 1942
Activated on 14 February 1942
Redesignated 36th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 July 1942
Redesignated 36th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 23 June 1948
Redesignated 36th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy on 8 October 1949
Redesignated 36th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 28 January 1950
Inactivated on 18 June 1957
  • Redesignated 36th Troop Carrier Squadron, and activated on 15 November 1965 (not organized)
Organized on 1 April 1966
Redesignated 36th Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 May 1967
Discontinued and inactivated, on 25 March 1968
  • Activated on 1 July 1968 (not organized)
Organized on 5 July 1968
Redesignated 36th Military Airlift Squadron on 1 October 1989
Redesignated 36th Airlift Squadron on 1 December 1991[1]





 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ a b c d e Robertson, Patsy, AFHRA Factsheet 36 Airlift Squadron 11/7/2008 (retrieved November 22, 2013)
  • Robertson, Patsy, AFHRA Factsheet 36 Airlift Squadron 11/7/2008 (retrieved November 22, 2013)

External links

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