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317th Airlift Group
317 Airlift Group crest.png
Official crest of the 317th Airlift Group
Active 1942–
Country USA
Branch United States Air Force
Part of Air Mobility Command
18th Air Force
Garrison/HQ Dyess AFB
Motto(s) "I Gain By Hazard"
Equipment C-130 Hercules
Decorations Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Medal for Humane Action ribbon.svg Southwest Asia Service ribbon.svg AFEMRib.svg Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Air Force Meritorious Unit ribbon.svg Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg
see "Lineage and honors" section below

A C-130 Hercules from the 317th Airlift Group from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, prepares to take off for an airlift mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

The 317th Airlift Group (317 AG) is a United States Air Force unit, stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Assigned to Air Mobility Command (AMC) Eighteenth Air Force, the 317 AG operates as a tenant unit to the 7th Bomb Wing, Air Combat Command (ACC).

The 317 AG is a tactical airlift organization, flying the C-130 Hercules and Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules. Since December 2003, the 317th has been in a continuously deployed status in support of the Global War on Terrorism, with elements being deployed into combat areas. It has been engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as well as supporting other Air Expeditionary units around the world.

During World War II, the units predecessor unit, the The 317 Troop Carrier Group was one of the most highly decorated troop carrier units of the United States Army Air Forces. The 317th TCG took part in nearly all of the airlift operations in the Pacific Theater of World War II including Wau, New Guinea, and the "Operation Topside" parachute drops on Corregidor, where the 503rd Parachute Regiment was dropped from 400 feet in groups of six per aircraft, requiring the crews to fly their C-47 "Gooney Birds" over the target at least three times. For both of these operations the 317 TCG was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

It was Colonel John Lackey, commanding officer of the 317 TCG, who became the first American pilot to land in Japan following the capitulation of that country in August 1945.


The 317AG is composed of the following squadrons:

  • 39th Airlift Squadron "Trail Blazers" (C-130H)
  • 40th Airlift Squadron "Screaming Eagles" (C-130H/J)
  • 317th Maintenance Squadron
  • 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 317th Maintenance Operations Squadron
  • 317th Operations Support Squadron



  • Constituted as 317th Transport Group on 2 February 1942
Activated on 22 February 1942.
  • Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942
Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Group (Heavy) in May 1948.
  • Established as 317th Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy, on 10 August 1948
Activated on 18 August 1948, 317th Troop Carrier Group became subordinate unit to wing.
Inactivated on 14 September 1949
  • Redesignated 317th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on 3 July 1952
Activated on 14 July 1952
Inactivated on 25 September 1958
  • Activated on 13 March 1963
Organized on 15 April 1963
Redesignated: 317th Troop Carrier Wing on 1 March 1966
Redesignated: 317th Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 May 1967
Redesignated: 317th Airlift Wing on 1 January 1992
Inactivated on 18 August 1993
  • Redesignated 317 Airlift Group on 31 March 1997
Activated on 1 April 1997.


Attached to 322d Air Division [Combat Cargo], 1 April 1954 – 31 July 1955
Attached to 322d Air Division [Combat Cargo], 1 April – 20 June 1964

Attached to Operating Location A, Headquarters Twenty-First Air Force, 31 December 1974 – 30 June 1975



  • 317th Troop Carrier (later Tactical Airlift, later Operations): 18 August 1948 – 14 September 1949 (detached 21 September 1948 – 8 January 1949; not operational, c. 31 August – 14 September 1949); 14 July 1952 – 12 March 1957 (not operational, 8 May 1955 – 12 March 1957), 1 January 1992 – 20 August 1993


  • 18th Troop Carrier Squadron: 1 April 1965 – 25 June 1967
  • 37th Tactical Airlift Squadron: 15 September 1975 – 1 October 1977
  • 39th Airlift Squadron: attached 8 May 1955 – 23 June 1956; assigned 8 July 1957 – 25 September 1958; assigned 15 April 1963 – 31 July 1971 (detached c. February—c. May 1965, 13 May – 18 July 1968 and 15 April – 22 July 1969; not operational, 1 June – 31 July 1971); assigned 31 August 1971— (detached 12 December 1973 – 17 February 1974, 9 July – 15 September 1974, 12 July – 14 September 1975, 12 April – 14 June 1976, 4 January – 4 March 1977)
  • 40th Airlift Squadron: attached 21 September – 15 November 1948; attached 8 May 1955 – 11 March 1957, assigned 12 March 1957 – 25 September 1958 (detached 10 April – 7 July 1957); assigned 15 April 1963— (detached 24 November 1964 – 19 February 1965, 16 March – 26 May 1968; not operational, 12–30 August 1971; detached 31 August – 17 October 1971, 7 April – 16 June 1973, 4 March – 7 May 1975, 12 January – 15 March 1976, 4 October – 15 December 1976, and 26 April – 15 July 1977)
  • 41st Airlift Squadron: attached 8 May 1955 – 11 March 1957, assigned 12 March 1957 – 25 September 1958 (detached 15 March – 7 July 1957); assigned 15 April 1963 – 21 November 1965 (detached 6 September – 21 December 1964); assigned 31 August 1971— (detached 6 November 1971 – 12 January 1972, 4 June – 16 August 1972, 5 February – 14 April 1973, 9 August – 15 October 1973, 11 March – 16 May 1974, 11 November 1974 – 15 January 1975, 4 October – 15 December 1975, 13 July – 10 September 1976, and 5 March – 25 April 1977)
  • 46th Troop Carrier Squadron: attached 18 August – 30 September 1948
  • 52d Troop Carrier Squadron: attached 15 April 1963 – 31 March 1964
  • 780th Troop Carrier Squadron: 8 July 1957 – 8 March 1958
  • 781st Troop Carrier Squadron: 8 July 1957 – 8 March 1958
  • 782d Troop Carrier Squadron: 8 July – 20 December 1957
  • 4408th Combat Crew Training: 22 September 1969 – 15 August 1971




World War II

Formed at Duncan Field, Texas, on 22 February 1942. The group's humble beginning consisted of eighteen enlisted men and one Captain which formed the entire unit. Moved to Australia, December 1942 – January 1943, and assigned to Fifth AF. the 317 Troop Carrier Group (TCG) was the second airlift group to arrive in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II.

Operated in New Guinea for a short time early in 1943. Received a DUC for making numerous flights in unarmed planes over the Owen Stanley Range, 30 January – 1 February 1943 to transport reinforcements and supplies to Wau, New Guinea, where enemy forces were threatening a valuable Allied airdrome.

Exchanged its new C-47’s for a variety of aircraft in New Guinea and began operating from Australia, where the group had maintained its headquarters, Flew troops and equipment to New Guinea, established courier and passenger routes in Australia, and trained with airborne troops.

Equipped with C-47’s and moved to New Guinea in September 1943. Took part in the first airborne operation in the Southwest Pacific on 5 September, dropping paratroops at Nadzab, New Guinea, to cut supply lines and seize enemy bases. Until November 1944, transported men and cargo to Allied bases on New Guinea, New Britain, Guadalcanal, and in the Admiralty Islands. Also dropped reinforcements and supplies to US forces on Noemfoor, 3–4 July 1944.

After moving to the Philippines in November 1944, transported supplies to ground forces on Luzon, Leyte, and Mindoro, and supplied guerrillas on Mindanao, Cebu, and Panay. Participated in two airborne operations during February 1945: on 3 and 4 February dropped paratroops south of Manila to seize highway routes to the city, and on 16 and 17 February dropped the 502d Regiment on Corregidor to open Manila Bay to US shipping; received a DUC for the latter operation, performed at low altitude over small drop zones in a heavily defended area. Completed two unusual missions on 12 and 15 April 1945 when this troop carrier organization bombed Carabo Island with drums of napalm. Dropped part of 511th Regiment near Aparri on 23 June 1945 to split Japanese forces in the Cagayen Valley and prevent a retreat to the hills in northern Luzon.

Cold War

Emblem of the 317th Airlift Wing

After end of Pacific War, remained in the theater as part of Far East Air Forces; used C-46 and C-47 aircraft, the latter being replaced in 1947 with C-54's.

317th Troop Carrier Wing was activated in Japan in 1948. Provided troop carrier and courier service in the Far East, 1948. As a result of Soviet blockade of Berlin, moved by ship from Japan to West Germany, December 1948— January 1949 and reassigned to USAFE.. Participated in Berlin Airlift, 9 January – 31 July 1949.

Became USAFE theater airlift organization. From July 1952 to April 1957 provided C-119 troop carrier and airlift service in support of USAFE, NATO, and UN, at same time participating in numerous exercises and humanitarian missions. Moved to France in April 1957, replacing 465th Troop Carrier Wing on 8 July From April 1963 to June 1964, provided C-130 airlift in support of USAFE, NATO, and UN.

Reassigned to Tactical Air Command and moved to Ohio in June 1964. Became involved in TAC's worldwide C-130 airlift operations, with airborne training a major responsibility.

In May 1967 the unit was redesignated the 317 Troop Carrier Wing and by 1971 it has transferred to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. Provided C-130 replacement training support for PACAF, October 1965— July 1971 and August— December 1971. Also provided C-123 combat crew training for the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam crews, September 1969— August 1971. Reassigned to Military Airlift Command in December 1974. Pioneered in use of adverse weather aerial delivery system (AWADS) equipment in active combat operations in Southeast Asia, and from September 1977 to January 1988, trained aircrews in the AWADS for a C-130 squadron in Europe.

The 317th provided airlift, combat control, medical evacuation, and security police support for Operation Urgent Fury, the rescue and evacuation of American citizens from Grenada, October–November 1983.

Between 1983 and 1993, the 317th participated in training exercises, special assignment airlift missions, channel missions for Military Airlift Command and Air Mobility Command, and national airlift competitions. Crews and aircraft of assigned squadrons rotated periodically to England for European providing intra-theater airlift. It has Trained jointly with Army airborne forces from Fort Bragg, NC, tested container delivery system for parachute dropping of heavy equipment, deployed crews and aircraft worldwide as needed, and participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama.

Modern era

After an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, transported troops, equipment, and supplies to Southwest Asia as part of Operation Desert Shield and participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In 1992, the Fighting 3-1-7 took part in humanitarian airlifts to Bosnia (Operation Provide Promise) and Somalia (Operation Provide Relief). It transported relief workers and supplies to Florida after Hurricane Andrew. As the Air Force continued to streamline its operations after the end of the Cold War, the 317th was inactivated at Pope AFB in July 1993.

Four years after the inactivation, in April 1997, a transfer of all U.S. based C-130 aircraft to Air Mobility Command (AMC) resulted in the reactivation of the 317th as a group organization. From 1997 to present, deployed personnel and equipment worldwide to provide all phases of combat delivery, air-land, airdrop, airlift maintenance and recovery, operations support and deployable air mobility command and control.

In 2008, the 317th AG again supported Americans providing hurricane relief in Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, transporting patients and ambulatory personnel away from affected areas to temporary shelters. Beginning 20 December 2003 and ending 20 March 2013, the 317th AG deployed for 3,378 continuous days in service to the United States at home and abroad.

On 25 July 2013, the 317th AG received its 28th and final Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, giving the Group the distinction of being the largest C-130J unit in the world.

See also


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

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • 317th Airlift Group Factsheet

External links

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