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433d Airlift Wing
433d Airlift Wing - Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 69-0016.jpg
433d Airlift Wing - C-5A Galaxy 69-0016
Active 22 January 1943 (433 OG)
27 June 1949-Present (433 AW)
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Wing
Role Airlift
Size 3,400
Part of AFR Shield.svg  Air Force Reserve Command
Garrison/HQ Kelly Field Annex, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas
Nickname(s) "Alamo Wing"
Tail Code Texas flag tail stripe
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines).svg PPUC
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
Colonel Jeffrey Pennington [1]
433d Airlift Wing emblem 433 AW.jpg
Aircraft flown
Transport C-5 Galaxy

The 433d Airlift Wing (433 AW) is an Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Fourth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Lackland AFB, Texas. If mobilized, the Wing is gained by the Air Mobility Command.

The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 433d Troop Carrier Group operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater transporting such supplies as gasoline, ammunition, medicine, rations, communications equipment, construction materials and evacuating wounded personnel during numerous campaigns. It was awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its role in the liberation of the Philippines during 1944-1945.


The 433d Airlift Wing, the "Alamo Wing", organizes, equips and trains its approximately 3,100 ready reservists to achieve combat readiness according to training standards established by the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the Air Education and Training Command (AETC).[1]

The Wing performs peacetime missions and Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) tasking compatible with AFRC training requirements and maintenance of mobilization readiness. When mobilized, the 433d Airlift Wing provides the aircraft, crews, support personnel and equipment necessary to meet combat readiness objectives established by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, AMC, AETC and the gaining theater Combatant Commanders.[1]

The Alamo Wing is also the Air Force Reserve' s only Formal Training Unit (FTU) providing initial and advanced C-5 Flight qualification for the total force - Reserve, Active Duty and National Guard.[1]


The 433d Airlift Wing consists of the following major units:

68th Airlift Squadron
356th Airlift Squadron
433d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
  • 433d Maintenance Group
  • 433d Mission Support Group
  • 433d Medical Group
  • C-5 Formal Training Unit
The C-5 Formal Training Unit consists of both a student squadron, the 733d Training Squadron and an instructor squadron, the 356th Airlift Squadron. These squadrons are directly responsible for getting the next generation of Reserve, active-duty and Air National Guard C-5 Galaxy aircrew members fully qualified as pilots, engineers and loadmasters.


for World War II history and lineage, see 433d Operations Group

The 433d Airlift Wing was activated as a reserve organization in Ohio on 6 July 1947. It was ordered to active service and moved to North Carolina in October 1950; receiving C-119 Flying Boxcar aircraft the following month. The wing began tactical training in March 1951. It airlifted personnel and supplies to Army units in the field. Airdropped personnel and equipment during army exercises. The 433d moved to Germany and participated with U.S., British, and French units in field training until inactivated.

After 1955, the wing flew airlift missions and participated in numerous training exercises, sometimes with special forces, while based at Brooks AFB in San Antonio, Texas. With the closure of Brooks AFB's runways and its transition to a non-flying USAF installation in 1960, the unit transferred across town to Kelly AFB. By the mid-1960s, the wing was flying global airlift missions, as well as conducting the USAF's C-130A model Hercules pilot, navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster school. Between 1971 and 1985, the wing trained for tactical airlift missions, participating in joint training exercises. It provided airlift of Department of Defense personnel, supplies, and equipment worldwide. The 433d assisted the U.S. Forest Service by use of the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS). It airlifted other units overseas for deployments and conducted humanitarian airlift operations. Between 1977 and 1985, the wing rotated personnel and aircraft periodically to Howard AFB in the Panama Canal Zone. In 1985, it became the first Air Force Reserve wing to fly the C-5A Galaxy, the largest USAF operational aircraft, and changed from tactical to strategic airlift missions. It also began training for aerial refueling. It tested a C-5A modified to transport space vehicles and in 1989 airlifted the Hubble Space Telescope from California to Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

The Alamo Wing played a major role in providing aeromedical evacuation support as well as cargo relief during the invasion of Panama, or Operation Just Cause, in 1989. The wing was also a primary participant in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm when the wing's C-5As helped fly the massive airlift of supplies, heavy Army combat equipment, and troops to the Persian Gulf in 1990-91. Additionally, 1,400 wing reservists of various career fields were called up to active duty and more than 500 deployed overseas in support of the conflict. Following the war, the wing participated in Operation Provide Comfort, when the airlift of food and supplies provided much-needed relief to the beleaguered Kurds of Turkey.[2]

Post Cold War era

The wing also assisted in Operation Provide Hope by transporting critical cargo to the Commonwealth of Independent States. And in 1992-93, the 433rd AW was the first Reserve wing to fly relief missions and provide medical support to famine stricken Somalia during Operation Restore Hope.[2] The Alamo Wing again flew missions into Africa, this time to aid refugees fleeing Rwanda in 1994. In the same year, it helped in efforts to restore democracy in Haiti, and supported operations to halt renewed Iraqi aggression against Kuwait during Operation Phoenix Jackal.[2] The wing played a critical role in Operation Joint Endeavor, hauling hundreds of tons of cargo as well as hundreds of duty passengers to Europe in support of NATO's peace initiative in Bosnia. Further, the 433d AW became the first Reserve wing to deploy personnel to Germany, Hungary and Bosnia for 179 days as part of Joint Endeavor's support contingent—39 members of the 433d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Then, in late 1996, the wing participated in Operation Desert Strike to once again help halt renewed threats by Iraq on the Kurdish population. In 1998, the wing was called again to participate in Operations Phoenix Scorpions I – III and in Operation Desert Fox when Iraq refused to cease manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.[2] In early 1999, the Alamo Wing responded to another area of the world that threatened the peace and security, again in the Balkans. Wing C-5s and aircrews airlifted essential cargo and passengers to support the NATO-led Operation Allied Force to halt Serbia’s policy of ethnic cleansing in neighboring Kosovo. After the peace accord with Serbia, the wing assisted in NATO’s efforts to resettle ethnic Albanians into a secure environment.[2]

Global War on Terrorism

The Alamo Wing once again responded to a national crisis in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001. Hauling thousands of tons of cargo in support of America’s War on Terrorism, the wing proved yet again that it stands ready to answer the call whenever the United States faces a threat to its homeland and vital national interests.[2] Over the years, the wing has also flown many humanitarian relief missions to aid victims of natural disasters, the latest being Central American aid in the wake of Hurricane Mitch.[2]

C-5 Galaxy Formal Training Unit

On 1 July 2007, the wing's 356th Airlift Squadron assumed an Air Education and Training Command (AETC) mission, becoming the Air Force Reserve's only Formal Training Unit (FTU) providing initial and advanced C-5 flight qualification for Air Mobility Command, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command aircrews, assuming a training role that had been previously assigned to the Regular Air Force's 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Over 70 selectively manned aircrew instructors train and produce up to 500 aircrew members in nine different curricula for pilots, loadmasters and flight engineers. Additional training functions and support are provided by the colocated 733d Training Squadron (733 TRS) Both squadrons are assigned to the wing's 433d Operations Group. In addition to being the sole C-5 training organization for the entire US Air Force, the 356 AS also continues to provides airlift support for peacetime, contingency and humanitarian operations.[3]


  • Established as 433d Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on 10 May 1949
Activated in the Reserve on 27 June 1949
433d Troop Carrier Group (Medium) assigned as subordinate unit
Ordered to active service on 15 October 1950
Inactivated on 14 July 1952
  • Activated in the Reserve on 18 May 1955
Group element inactivated 14 April 1959
Re-designated: 433d Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 July 1967
Re-designated: 433d Military Airlift Wing on 25 July 1969
Re-designated: 433d Tactical Airlift Wing on 29 June 1971
Re-designated: 433d Military Airlift Wing on 1 April 1985
Group element re-designated 433d Tactical Airlift Group on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
Re-designated: 433d Airlift Wing on 1 February 1992
Group element re-designated 433d Operations Group and re-activated in the Reserve on 1 August 1992


Attached to: Twelfth Air Force, 5–7 August 1951






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

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