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920th Air Refueling Squadron
920th Air Refueling Squadron - Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker 60-0331.jpg
920th Air Refueling Squadron - Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker 60-0331. Note 379th Bombardment Wing emblem on SAC "Milky Way" band on fuselage.
Active 1942-1944; 1944-1946; 1960-1993
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Air Refueling
Motto(s) Any Time, Any Place
920th Air Refueling Squadron emblem 920th Air Refueling Squadron.PNG

The 920th Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 379th Bombardment Wing, stationed at Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan where it was inactivated on 15 June 1993.

The first predecessor of the squadron was the 420th Bombardment Squadron which served as a heavy bomber operational and replacement training unit from 1942 until the spring of 1944 when it was inactivated in a general reorganization of United States Army Air Forces training units.

The 420th reformed as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress unit four months later. It partly deployed to the Pacific, but the Japanese surrender took place before the air echelon deployed and the squadron was inactivated once the ground echelon returned to the United States.

The 920th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in the spring of 1960 by Strategic Air Command at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, but soon moved to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, where it served for over thirty years. In the fall of 1985 the 920th and 420th squadrons were consolidated into a single unit.


World War II

The 30th Reconnaissance Squadron was constituted in early 1942 as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator reconnaissance unit, but its mission changed to bombardment and it was redesignated the 420th Bombardment Squadron before it was activated. It became a heavy bomber operational training unit (OTU) as one of the four squadrons of the 302d Bombardment Group, part of II Bomber Command.[1] The OTU program involved the use of an oversized parent unit to provide cadres to “satellite groups.”[2] The 420th later became a replacement rraining unit (RTU) for deployed combat units. The RTU was an oversized unit to train individual pilots or aircrews.[2] At the end of 1943 the squadron moved east with its group headquarters, becoming an element of First Air Force. However, the United States Army Air Forces found that standard military units, based on relatively inflexible tables of organization were proving less well adapted to the training mission. Accordingly a more functional system was adopted in which each base was organized into a separate numbered unit.[3] Accordingly, the unit was inactivated in April 1944[1] and its personnel transferred to the 114th Army Air Forces Base Unit (Bombardment, Heavy).

The 420th Bombardment Squadron was redesignated as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombardment squadron in August 1944 and activated the following month at Dalhart Army Air Field as one of the three squadrons of the 382d Bombardment Group. The squadron again trained under II Bomber Command. Training was considerably delayed due to equipment shortages. The unit did not begin combat training with B-29s until March 1945.[4] The ground echelon deployed to Northern Mariana Islands by ship in early August 1945 but the air echelon remained behind until after the Japanese surrender. The ground echelon remained in Marianas supporting other units' aircraft. The ground echelon returned to the Port of Embarkation in December 1945 and the unit inactivated in early January 1946.[1]

Cold War

The 920th Air Refueling Squadron was organized on 15 April 1960 by Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Carswell AFB, Texas[5] and assigned to the 7th Bombardment Wing.[6] The squadron was apparently not equipped or manned before moving to Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan on 15 Jul 1960, where it was assigned to the 4026th Strategic Wing and equipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers.[7][8] At Wurtsmith the squadron provided worldwide air refueling for SAC Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers and other USAF aircraft as directed. The squadron deployed aircraft and crews to Alaska to support Operation Chrome Dome airborne alert missions.[9] The squadron also supported SAC reconnaissance operations in Europe.[10]

The 920th deployed aircraft and flight crews to the Western Pacific between 1965 and 1975 to support SAC Operation Arc Light[11] and tactical aircraft flying combat missions over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.[12] It also supported fighter aircraft deploying to Southeast Asia in operations Coronet Town and Coronet Circle.[11] During the Vietnam era, crews from the 920th were deployed to the Young Tiger Tanker Task Force,[9] flying air refueling support from U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield. During this period flight crews were assigned tours of 90 days and one crew was on rotation to Thailand at all times. The squadron also maintained aircraft on alert to support the B-52Hs at Wurtsmith AFB. In 1968 the squadron absorbed personnel and equipment from the 907th Air Refueling Squadron, which inactivated at Glasgow AFB, Montana.[11]

The squadron returned to normal peacetime operations after 1975. It deployed personnel and aircraft to the Middle East in 1990 in support of Operation Desert Shield and in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm. These deployments ended in March 1993. The squadron inactivated on 15 June 1993[citation needed] when its parent 379th Bombardment Wing inactivated and Wurtsmith AFB closed.


420th Bombardment Squadron Emblem (approved 27 January 1943[1]

420th Bombardment Squadron

  • Constituted as the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Redesignated 420th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
Activated on 1 June 1942
Inactivated on 10 April 1944
  • Redesignated 420th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 4 August 1944
Activated on 19 September 1944
Inactivated on 4 January 1946[1]
  • Consolidated with the 920th Air Refueling Squadron on 19 September 1985 as the 920th Air Refueling Squadron[13]

920th Air Refueling Squadron

  • Constituted as the 920th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 17 February 1960 and activated (not organized)
Organized on 15 April 1960
  • Consolidated with the 420th Bombardment Squadron on 19 September 1985[13]
Redesignated 920th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 September 1991
Inactivated on 30 September 1992[citation needed]


  • 302d Bombardment Group: 1 June 1942 - 10 Apr 1944[1]
  • 382d Bombardment Group: 19 September 1944 - 4 January 1946[1]
  • Strategic Air Command: 17 February 1960 (not organized)
  • 7th Bombardment Wing: 15 April 1960
  • 4026th Strategic Wing: 15 June 1960[8]
  • 379th Bombardment Wing: 1 February 1963
  • 379th Operations Group: 1 September 1991 - 30 September 1992




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Maurer, Maurer, ed (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 516–517. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L, ed (1955). "Introduction". The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. xxxvi. LCCN 48-3657. 
  3. Goss, William A (1955). "The Organization and its Responsibilities, Chapter 2 The AAF". In Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L. The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. 75. LCCN 48-3657. 
  4. Abstract, History 382d Bombardment Gp March 1945 (retrieved July 18, 2013)
  5. Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 69. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 
  6. Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 18. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. 
  7. Mueller, p. 615
  8. 8.0 8.1 Abstract, History 379th Bombardment Wg Jan-Feb 1961 (retrieved July 18, 2013)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Abstract, History 389th Bombardment Wing July-Sep 1965 (retrieved July 18, 2013)
  10. Abstract, History 379th Bombardment Wing Oct-Dec 1967 (retrieved July 18. 2013)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Abstract, History 379th Bombardment Wing Jan-Mar 1968 (retrieved July 18, 2013)
  12. Ravenstein, p. 204
  13. 13.0 13.1 Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 Sep 85, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons


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

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

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