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909th Air Refueling Squadron
909th Air Refueling Squadron.jpg
909th Air Refueling Squadron Patch
Active 1 March 1942 - 6 July 1945
20 August 1945 - 1 October 1946
18 January 1963 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aerial refueling
Part of Pacific Air Forces
5th Air Force
18th Wing
18th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Kadena Air Base
Motto(s) Always There
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA w/ V Device
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm

World War II 409th Bombardment Squadron emblem

A 909th ARS KC-135R refuels a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle in 2010.

The 909th Air Refueling Squadron (909 ARS) is part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It operates the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft conducting aerial refueling missions.


The 909th is the Pacific Air Forces' "lead force" for air refueling U.S. and allied aircraft during all contingencies. The squadron accomplishes aeromedical evacuations for military and civilian members, transporting patients to as far away as the United States when necessary. It also conducts Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and headquarters- and command-directed missions.[1]


Established in early 1942 initially as a B-24 Liberator reconnaissance squadron, flying antisubmarine patrols. Later being redesignated as a heavy bomb group; trained under Third Air Force in Florida. Completed training in late 1942; deploying to European Theater of Operations (ETO) as one of the initial heavy bomber squadrons assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England, September 1942.

Engaged in long-ranger strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe. Deployed to IX Bomber Command in Egypt in December 1942; operating from airfields in Libya and Tunisia. Raided enemy military and industrial targets in Italy and in the southern Balkans, including the Nazi-controlled oilfields at Polesti, Romania, receiving a Distinguished Unit Citation for its gallantry in that raid. Also flew tactical bombing raids against Afrika Korps defensive positions in Tunisia; supporting British Eighth Army forces in their advance to Tunis, in September and October 1943.

Returned to England with disestablishment of IX Bomber Command in North Africa. From England, resumed long-range strategic bombardment raids on Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, attacking enemy military and industrial targets as part of the United States' air offensive. The squadron was one of the most highly decorated units in the Eighth Air Force, continuing offensive attacks until the German capitulation in May, 1945.

Returned to the United States in June, 1945 where it was programmed to be re-equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombers for deployment to the Pacific, but the squadron was inactivated in July. The squadron was activated again at Clovis Army Air Field, New Mexico in November, where it trained with B-29s. In June 1946 it moved to Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, where it was assigned to the 444th Bombardment Group, one of the first ten combat groups of Strategic Air Command. In October, the 444th group and its squadrons were inactivated and their mission, equipment and personnel were transferred to the 43d Bombardment Group.[2][3]

Reactivated and redesignated in July 1963 as an air refueling squadron; conducted worldwide air refueling; including rotating aircrews to Southeast Asia from, 1967–1973 and providing air refueling in Southwest Asia from, August 1990–March 1991.[4]


  • Constituted 19th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
Activated on 1 Mar 1942
Redesignated: 409th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr 1942
Redesignated: 409th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 6 Mar 1944
Inactivated on 6 Jul 1945
  • Redesignated 409th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 5 Aug 1945
Activated on 20 Aug 1945
Inactivated on 1 Oct 1946
  • Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, which was constituted, and activated, on 18 Jan 1963
Organized on 1 Apr 1963
Redesignated 909th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 Oct 1991.


Attached to IX Bomber Command, 7 Dec 1942-3 Oct 1943

Bases stationed[4]

Air echelon operated from: Tafaraoui Airfield, Algeria, 7–15 Dec 1942
Air echelon operated from: RAF Gambut, Libya, 16 Dec 1942-25 Feb 1943
Air echelon operated from: Bengasi Airport, Libya, 27 Jun-25 Aug 1943
Air echelon operated from: Oudna Airfield, Tunisia, 18 Sep-3 Oct 1943

Aircraft Operated[4]


See also




External links

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