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32d Air Refueling Squadron
KC-10A Extender (84-0192) from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., taxies to a parking area during flightline operations at Nashville International Airport, TN.
Active 13 June 1917 - 14 April 1919
24 June 1932 - 15 October 1945
4 August 1946 - 8 June 1964
23 December 1964 - 30 September 1979
1 November 1981 - present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aerial refueling
Part of Air Mobility Command
18th Air Force
305th Air Mobility Wing
305th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Motto(s) Linking the Continents
Engagements Operation Linebacker II
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
32d Air Refueling Squadron emblem 32d Air Refueling Squadron.jpg

The 32d Air Refueling Squadron (32 ARS) is part of the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. It operates the KC-10 Extender aircraft conducting aerial refueling missions.

The squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, its origins dating to 13 June 1917, being organized at Kelly Field, Texas. The squadron deployed to England as part of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. The squadron saw combat during World War II, and later became part of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the Cold War.


World War I

Established as an Army Signal Corps aero squadron in June 1917; deployed to France in September 1917. In France, the 32d served as an aircraft repair unit 1917–1918. Served as part of the Army of Occupation in the Rhineland after the 1918 armistice and returned to the United States in April 1919; inactivated.

Inter-war years

Re-established and activated as an Army Air Corps bombardment squadron in 1932; assigned to California where the squadron flew a mixture of transport; observation and bombers. Received B-18 Bolo medium and early model YB-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers in 1935; subsequently B-17B and B-17Cs in the late 1930s.

World War II

At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the squadron was under orders to move to the Philippines. A portion of the squadron had already set sail from San Francisco on 6 December only to return on 9 December. The air echelon dispersed to Muroc Army Airfield after the attack for a possible attack on Japanese forces that might attack the California Coast. Later in December the air echelon was assigned to the Sierra Bombardment Group, which deployed to Australia, where it was dissolved and personnel assigned to other squadrons which had withdrawn from the Philippines.

Squadron was reformed in the United States in March 1942, by a redesignation of the newly established 354th Bombardment Squadron; trained under Second Air Force. Flew antisubmarine patrols off the California coast from, late May–early June 1942, then over the Mid-Atlantic coast during June–July 1942.

Fully bombed up, B-17F 42-5145 the 32d Bomb Squadron was photographed en route to Viterbo Airfield, Italy on 29 July 1943. Assigned to the group seven months earlier, this aircraft had completed 62 missions by the time It was transferred on to the 86th BS/2 BG in Nowernber 1943.Having passed the 100-mission mark, 42-5145 was lost on its 102nd combat sortie when It was shot down by German fighters over Fedora, Italy, on 11 March 1944. Six crewmen baled out.

Deployed to European Theater of Operations (ETO) in August 1942, being assigned to VIII Bomber Command, one of the first B-17 heavy bomb squadrons assigned to England. Engaged in strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe, attacking enemy military and industrial targets. Reassigned to Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) as part of Operation Torch invasion of North Africa. Operated from desert airfields in Algeria and Tunisia during North African and Tunisian campaign. Assigned to Northwest African Strategic Air Force during Invasion of Sicily and later Italy in 1943. Allocated to Fifteenth Air Force for strategic bombing of Nazi Germany and occupied Europe. Attacked enemy targets primarily in the Balkans; Southern France; Southern Germany and Austria from southern Italy; engaged in shuttle bombing missions to airfields in the Soviet Union during the summer of 1944.

Personnel largely demobilized after German capitulation in May 1945; squadron reassigned to the United States and was programmed for conversion to B-29 Superfortress operations and deployment to Pacific Theater, plans canceled after Japanese capitulation in August 1945. Aircraft sent to storage and unit inactivated largely as a paper unit in October 1945.

Cold War

Reactivated in 1946 as a Strategic Air Command B-29 squadron. Deployed to Furstenfeldbruck AB, Germany, July–August 1948; to RAF Station Scrampton, England, October 1948-January 1949; and to RAF Stations Lakenheath and Sculthorpe, May–November 1950 for "show of force" missions in Europe as a result of the Berlin Blockade by the Soviet Union and rising Cold War tensions in Europe.

B-52D-70-BO 56-0582 is refueled by KC-135A-BN 55-3127

Equipped in 1953 with B-47 Stratojets; the squadron trained with electronic countermeasures from 1958–1964 and performed aerial refueling operations worldwide from 1965–1979 and since 1981. From c. 10 June–8 October 1972, all personnel and aircraft were on loan to units in the Pacific or other Strategic Air Command units, leaving the squadron unmanned. It deployed most aircraft and personnel to Southeast Asia October–December 1972, in support of Operation Linebacker II. It again deployed aircrews and tankers to various locations for air refueling support in Southwest Asia from August 1990–April 1991.

Modern era

The 32d received the first KC-10A delivered to the Air Force, at Barksdale AFB, on 17 March 1981.[1]


Emblem of the World War II 32d Bombardment Squadron

  • Organized as 32d Aero Squadron on 13 June 1917
Demobilized on 14 April 1919
  • Reconstituted, and redesignated 32d Bombardment Squadron, on 24 March 1923
Activated on 24 June 1932
Redesignated: 32d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 December 1939
Redesignated: 32d Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, c. 6 March 1944
Redesignated: 32d Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 5 August 1945
Inactivated on 15 October 1945
  • Activated on 4 August 1946
Redesignated 32d Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 28 May 1948
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 8 June 1964
  • Redesignated 32d Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, and activated, on 23 December 1964
Organized on 15 March 1965
Inactivated on 30 September 1979
  • Activated on 1 November 1981
Redesignated 32d Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991


  • Unknown, 13 June–September 1917
  • Third Aviation Instruction Center, September 1917-January 1919
  • Unknown, January-14 April 1919
  • 19th Bombardment Group, 24 June 1932
Attached to IV Bomber Command, 22 October–December 1941;
Apparently attached to 7th Bombardment Group for operations, c. 8–15 December 1941
Attached to 301st Bombardment Group, 16–30 March 1942
Attached to 301st Bombardment Wing, 10 February 1951-15 June 1952


  • Camp Kelly, Texas 13 June-11 August 1917
  • Étampes, France 20 September 1917
  • Issoudun, France 28 September 1917
  • Bordeaux, France c. 6 January-c. 18 March 1919
  • Mitchel Field, New York c. 5–14 April 1919
  • Rockwell Field, California 24 June 1932
  • March Field, California 25 October 1935
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico c. 4 June-22 November 1941
Air echelon, which was at Hamilton Field, CA, under orders for movement to Philippine Islands at time of Japanese attack on Hawaii on 7 December 1941, apparently moved to Muroc, CA, c. 8 December 1941
Ground echelon departed San Francisco aboard ship on 6 December 1941 and returned on 9 December 1941
  • Bakersfield, California 17 December 1941
Air echelon evidently departed for Southwest Pacific, c. late December 1941; concurrently dissolved and personnel assigned to other units
Air echelon re-manned and re-equipped from inactivating 354th Bombardment Squadron
Operated From: Muroc Army Air Field, California (c. 28 May - 14 June 1942)
  • Richard E. Byrd Field, Virginia 21 June-19 July 1942


See also


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


External links

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