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97th Air Refueling Squadron
97th Air Refueling Squadron.jpg
97th Air Refueling Squadron Patch
Active 15 January 1941 - 31 March 1946
1 March 1949 - 15 March 1964
8 October 1964 - 1 April 1992
1 October 1992 - 30 September 2004
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aerial refueling
Motto(s) Pro Potentia Inter Astra
For Strength Among the Stars
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DCU
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA

1950s SAC emblem of the 97th Air Refueling Squadron

Emblem of the World War II 97th Bombardment Squadron

The 97th Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 92d Air Refueling Wing, stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It was inactivated on 30 September 2004.


World War II

Established as a pre-World War II light bombardment squadron, equipped with B-18 Bolos; initially based in the Pacific Northwest, after the Pearl Harbor Attack was equipped with DB-7 Bostons and early-model B-24 Liberators (more likely LB-30s) taken by the AAF from export orders to perform antisubmarine patrols along the Washington and Oregon coast. In February 1942, with a Japanese submarine attack unlikely, the squadron was reassigned to III Bomber Command and re-equipped with A-20C Havoc light bombers and trained for overseas deployment.

In November 1942, deployed to French Morocco as part of the Operation Torch invasion force of French North Africa, being assigned to Twelfth Air Force. Arrived at a former Vichy French airfield; engaging in combat operations during the North African Campaign supporting Fifth Army forces driving east across Algeria and Tunisia. Remained as part of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) engaging enemy forces in the invasion of Sicily and Southern Italy during 1943. Participated in the Italian Campaign throughout the balance of the war, upgrading to Douglas A-26C Invaders in early 1945. The A-26Cs were used specifically for night raids against enemy strong points and troop concentrations. Returned to the United States in July 1945, being assigned to Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina. Planned for re-deployment to the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) as part of the Operation Downfall invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. Deployment plans cancelled after the Japanese Capitulation in August, however remained active as part of the postwar Army Air Forces. Was inactivated in March 1946 due to personnel and budget shortages.

Air Refueling

Reactivated in 1949 as the 97th Air Refueling Squadron and initially equipped with KB-29 Superfortress tankers in 1950. Upgraded to KC-97s in 1954 Assigned to Lake Charles AFB, Louisiana and provided air refueling to USAF aircraft, being deployed to England as well as operating in Newfoundland and Labrador as part of Northeast Air Command. Inactivated in 1964 as part of phaseout of KC-97 aircraft.

Reactivated in 1992 with KC-135 Stratotankers; inactivated in 2004.[1]


  • Constituted 20th Reconnaissance Squadron (Light) on 20 Nov 1940
Activated on 15 Jan 1941
Redesignated: 97th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 14 Aug 1941
Redesignated: 97th Bombardment Squadron, Light, on 20 Aug 1943
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946
  • Consolidated (19 Sep 1985) with the 97th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium
Constituted on 2 Feb 1949
Activated on 1 Mar 1949
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 15 Mar 1964
  • Redesignated 97th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, and activated, on 8 Oct 1964
Organized on 23 Oct 1964
Redesignated 97th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 Sep 1991
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1992
  • Activated on 1 Oct 1992
Inactivated on 30 Sep 2004


Attached to: 17th Bombardment Group, 15 Jan-7 May 1941
Attached to: 47th Bombardment Group, 8 May-13 Aug 1941
Attached to the 97th Bombardment Wing, 12 Jul 1950-15 Jun 1952
Attached to Fifteenth Air Force, c. 31 May-10 Jul 1955
Attached to 341st Combat Support Group, 15 Jul 1961





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

See also

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

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