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301st Air Refueling Wing
301st Bombardment Wing -- Boeing B-29A-40-BN Superfortress 44-61640.jpg
301st Bombardment Wing -- Boeing B-29A Superfortress 44-61640. Taken at Smokey Hill AFB, Kansas, 1948. Note Triangle-V SAC Tail Code, Eighth Air Force.
Active 1947–1979, 1988–1992
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bomber, Refueling
Part of SAC Shield.svg  Strategic Air Command
Emblem of the 301st Air Refueling Wing 301st-airrefuelingwing-patch.png

The 301st Air Refueling Wing is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force being last assigned to the Strategic Air Command at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. It was inactivated on 1 June 1992.

A predecessor unit, the World War II 301st Bombardment Group was a highly decorated group flying B-17 Flying Fortresses that served primarily in North Africa and Italy. It operated as part of Eighth, Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces. After the war, the 301st Bomb Group was one of the USAAF units of Strategic Air Command (August 1946).


See the 301st Operations Group for additional history and lineage prior to 1947

Activated 5 November 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Equipped with B-29 Superfortresses. Conducted strategic bombardment training, 1947–1948, and aerial gunnery training for other SAC organizations, November 1947-January 1948.

Reassigned to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana in 1949, the 301st was one of the first units to conduct aerial refueling operations with the KB-29 tanker version of the Superfortress. Replaced the propeller-driven B-29s with new B-47E Stratojet swept-wing medium bombers in 1953, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. Also upgraded its KB-29 tankers to the dedicated Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker. The mission of the 301st was to train for strategic bombing missions and to conduct aerial refueling. The wing deployed to England in 1953 and to French Morocco in 1954.

It was reassigned to Lockbourne AFB, Ohio on 15 April 1958 where it became an Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) unit and was engaged in various clandestine intelligence missions. Although equipped with the B-47E Stratojet, the 301st added electronic countermeasure activities to other missions in 1958 with the addition of the RB-47E and later EB-47E. With these aircraft, the wing soon devoted most of its activity to ECM work. The RB-47 carried out many ferret missions around the periphery of Soviet territory, and sometimes inside. In the early 1960s, the B-47 was considered to be reaching obsolescence, and was being phased out of SAC's strategic arsenal. Began sending its stratojets to Davis-Monthan AFB in late 1963, the last EB-47E going to storage in 1964.

Became an air refueling wing in April 1964, discontinuing all previous missions. In addition, participated in the post attack command and control system from 3 March 1965 to 30 June 1966.

From around 9 June to 8 October 1972, most of the wing headquarters staff, all tactical aircraft and crews, and most of the maintenance personnel, plus support personnel in various categories, deployed in Southeast Asia (Don Muang AFB), attached to other SAC organizations. A reduced wing headquarters remained in the United States to administer activities of the combat support group and hospital at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio.

From 19 December 1972 to 18 January 1973, the wing repeated previous deployed condition on a smaller scale, with deployed resources forming a provisional air refueling squadron at Clark AB in the Philippines.

The 301st ARW was inactivated on 30 November 1979 in conjunction with SAC turning over Rickenbacker to the Air National Guard. Its KC-135As were sent to various Air National Guard units.

The Wing was reactivated on 8 January 1988 at Malstrom AFB, MT, and assigned to 4th Air Division, Strategic Air Command. It was equipped with KC-135s. It was inactivated on 1 June 1992.


301st Bomb Wing emblem

  • Established as 301st Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on 15 October 1947
Organized on 5 November 1947
Discontinued on 1 August 1948.
  • Re-designated: 301st Bombardment Wing, Medium, and activated on 1 August 1948
301st Bombardment Group,Medium, assigned as subordinate unit
Group element inactivated 16 June 1952
Re-designated: 301st Air Refueling Wing, Heavy on 15 June 1964
Inactivated on: 30 November 1979
  • Activated on: 8 January 1988
Group element re-designated as 301st Operations Group, 29 August 1991
Re-designated: 301st Air Refueling Wing on 1 September 1991
Group element re-activated and assigned as group element
Inactivated on: 1 June 1992


Attached to: 7th Air Division, 3 December 1952–c. 4 March 1953
Attached to: 5th Air Division, c. 10 February–c. 17 April 1954





  • 22d Bombardment Group: attached 18 May–1 August 1948; attached 1 August–15 November 1948; attached February–9 May 1949
  • 301st Bombardment (later Operations) Group: 5 November 1947 – 1 August 1948 (detached July 1948); 1 August 1948 – 16 June 1952 (detached 1 August 1948–January 1949, 15 May–30 November 1950; not operational, 10 February 1951 – 16 June 1952), 1 September 1991 – 1 June 1992


  • 32d Bombardment (later Air Refueling) Squadron: attached 10 February 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 8 June 1964; assigned 15 March 1965 (not operational, c. 9 June–8 October 1972)
  • 91st Air Refueling Squadron: attached 4 May–14 June 1964, assigned 15 June 1964 – 1 July 1971
  • 301st Air Refueling Squadron: assigned to 301st Bomb Wing March 1949, TDY Lakenheath UK May–December 1950,attached 10 February 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 15 April 1958 (detached 20–26 June 1955, 10 July–18 September 1955, 27 April–27 June 1956, 15 November–6 December 1956, 27 December 1956 – 28 February 1957); assigned 30 September 1973 – 31 December 1975
  • 321st Air Refueling Squadron: 15 April 1958 – 15 March 1965 (detached 11 April–13 July 1960, 3 October 1961–January 1962)
  • 352d Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 February–20 September 1951; attached 20 December 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 8 June 1964
  • 353d Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 February 1951 – 15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952 – 8 June 1964
  • 376th Air Refueling Squadron: attached 1 December 1957 – 15 April 1958
  • 419th Bombardment Squadron: 1 December 1958 – 1 January 1962
  • 4363d Post Attack Command and Control: attached 15–25 March 1965.

Aircraft flown

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

"Commemorating the Tour of duty of the 301st Bombardment Wing in the United Kingdom, May–December 1950, Album published by West Suffolk Newspapers Ltd. Bury St. St. Edmunds, Suffolk, UK on behalf of 301st BW Public Information Office

External links

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