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54th Air Refueling Squadron
54th Air Refueling Squadron.jpg
54th Air Refueling Squadron Patch
Active 1 July 1942 - 5 March 1949
20 September 1949 - 25 June 1965
1 October 1972 - 1 April 1997
16 January 1998 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aerial refueling
Part of Air Education and Training Command
19th Air Force
97th Air Mobility Wing
97th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Altus Air Force Base
Nickname(s) Jesters
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA

The 54th Air Refueling Squadron (54 ARS) is part of the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. It operates the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft conducting aerial refueling training.


The 54th Transport Squadron was activated at Hamilton Field, California, but moved to Bowman Field, Kentucky, in June 1942, as the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron. Successive reassignments were to Florence, South Carolina, in August 1942, and to Elmendorf Field, Alaska, until inactivation on 5 March 1949. That inactivation lasted only six months and on 20 September 1949, the unit was activated again at Elmendorf and again moved to Donaldson Air Force Base, South Carolina, in July 1956, remaining in service until 25 June 1965. While there the 54th deployed to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, to support the Berlin Airlift.[1]

On 14 April 1972, the 54th received a new mission and name. It became the 54th Flying Training Squadron, and was reassigned to Reese Air Force Base, Texas, with an official activation date of 1 October. Here personnel trained new pilots in the T-38 Talon until the 54th was once again inactivated in April 1997.[1]

The 54th Air Refueling Squadron was reactivated at its current home of Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma on 16 January 1998. The 54th Air Refueling Squadron the only KC-135R flying training squadron in AETC. The 54th Air Refueling Squadron provides KC-135R initial and advanced flight qualification. The squadron's mission continues to encompass the training of all active duty, guard, reserve and international KC-135 crewmembers. Over 70 instructors train 450 pilot and boom operator students annually for the Department of Defense and international customers.[1]


  • Constituted as 54 Transport Squadron on 30 May 1942
Activated on 1 Jun 1942
Redesignated as: 54 Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 Jul 1942
Redesignated as: 54 Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on 20 Jul 1948
Inactivated on 5 Mar 1949
  • Activated on 20 Sep 1949
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 Jun 1965
  • Redesignated as 54 Flying Training Squadron on 14 Apr 1972
Activated on 1 Oct 1972
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1997
  • Redesignated as 54 Air Refueling Squadron on 1 Jan 1998
Activated on 16 Jan 1998.






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

  • Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0-89201-097-5

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Air Force website

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