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43d Airlift Group

43d Airlift Group
Emblem of the 43d Operations Group.
Active 1941–1946; 1946-1952; 1992-1994; 1997-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Col Kenneth Moss
Lockheed C-130E-LM Hercules (64-0499) of the 43d Operations Group, Pope AFB

The 43d Airlift Group is active duty airlift unit at Pope Field, North Carolina (formerly Pope AFB), and is part of Air Mobility Command (AMC) USAF Expeditionary Center. The unit is Air Mobility Command's only active-duty C-130 Hercules group and is composed of two flying squadrons, an aerial port squadron, the only active Air Force aeromedical evacuation squadron, and an operations support squadron.

The 43d Operations Group was redesignated the 43d Airlift Group on 1 March 2011 after the deactivation of the 43d Airlift Wing.[1]


  • Overview 1
  • History 2
    • World War II 2.1
    • Cold War 2.2
    • Modern era 2.3
  • Lineage 3
    • Assignments 3.1
    • Components 3.2
    • Stations 3.3
    • Aircraft 3.4
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The 43d Airlift Group is part of the air force component of United States Transportation Command. It provides airlift, special missions, and tactical aeromedical evacuation for U.S. troops and regional Unified Commands using C-130 Hercules aircraft. It is composed of the following squadrons:

The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 43d Bombardment Group, operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a B-17 Flying Fortress, and later a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded two United States Distinguished Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in China; Netherlands East Indies; New Guinea; the Bismarck Archipelago; the Western Pacific; Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa.

In the postwar era, the 43d Bombardment Group was one of the first USAAF units assigned to the Strategic Air Command on 1 October 1946, prior to the establishment of the United States Air Force as a redesignation of the 444th Bombardment Group due to the Air Force's policy of retaining only low-numbered groups on active duty after the war.

It conducted long-range test missions, including the first nonstop flight around the world (26 February-2 March 1949), accomplished in "Lucky Lady II", a B-50A (46–10) commanded by Capt James G Gallagher.

The group became non-operational in February 1951 when its squadrons were attached to the 43d Bombardment Wing headquarters. The group was inactivated in 1952 when the parent wing adopted the Tri-Deputate organization and assigned all of the group's squadrons directly to the wing.

Redesignated as the 43d Operations Group, and activated, in 1992 when the 43d Air Refueling Wing adopted the USAF Objective organization plan. From 1994 to 1997 the group was inactive when the wing was reduced to group size. In 2011, the wing was inactivated, and, the group received its current designation, the 43d Airlift Group.


World War II

The 43d Bombardment Group trained for bombardment operations during most of 1941. From December 1941 to February 1942, it flew antisubmarine patrols along the New England coast.

43d Bombardment Group Emblem
B-17F-25-BO Flying Fortress (41-24554), "The Mustang", 63d Bombardment Squadron, 1943
An aerial view of B-17s from the 43d Bombardment Group parked in their revetments at Seven Mile Airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea in August 1942. The 43d Bomb Group was the fifth B-17-equipped group to be deployed against Japan in the Pacific War.
43d Bombardment Group Boeing B-29A-75-BN Superfortress (44-62310). SAC, 15th Air Force, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1946

It then moved to the Southwest Pacific via Cape Town, South Africa, from February to March 1942. It attacked Japanese shipping in the Netherlands East Indies and the Bismarck Archipelago from bases in Australia, New Guinea, and Owi Island between August 1942 and November 1944.

While there it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for missions over Papua, New Guinea from August 1942 to January 1943.

The unit used skip bombing to sink Japanese ships during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2-4 March 1943, for which the unit earned a second DUC. It also provided support for ground forces on New Guinea and attacked airfields and other enemy installations in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Yap, Palau, and the southern Philippines in 1943 and 1944.

The group conducted long-range raids on oil refineries on Ceram and Borneo late in the war.

After moving to the Philippines in November 1944, the group attacked shipping along the Asiatic coast and struck factories, airfields, and other installations in China and on Formosa. It also supported ground forces on Luzon.

The unit moved to Ie Shima in July 1945, from which it conducted raids against airfields and railways in Japan and against shipping in the Inland Sea and the Sea of Japan. It was moved, on paper, to the Philippines in December 1945 and inactivated in April 1946.

Cold War

The 43d Bombardment Group was again activated in 1946, when it assumed the mission, personnel and equipment of the 444th Bombardment Group, which was inactivated. Until February 1951, the group trained and conducted long-range test missions, including the first nonstop flight around the world (26 February–2 March 1949), accomplished by Capt James G. Gallagher and his crew in a B-50 called Lucky Lady II.

The group deployed to England for training, August to November 1949. It was not operational after 10 February 1951, and, the flying squadrons were attached directly to the 43d Bomb Wing for operations. The group was inactivated on 16 June 1952.

Modern era

On 1 June 1992, the group was redesignated as the 43d Operations Group, and was activated on the same day. Between June 1992 and 1 July 1994, the group flew air refueling missions in training exercises and was then inactivated.

In 1997, it was reactivated and assumed an airlift mission. It cooperated with Fort Bragg, North Carolina, taking part with them in joint training exercises. Crews and aircraft deployed to Europe, and later to Southwest Asia, to support contingency operations such as enforcement of no-fly zones over Iraq and for expeditionary force rotations.

After terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, deployed resources in the Global War on Terror. The group was redesignated 43d Airlift Group on 1 March 2011.


  • Constituted as the 43d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 43d Bombardment Group, Heavy on 21 September 1943
Inactivated on 29 April 1946
  • Redesignated 43d Bombardment Group, Very Heavy on 1 October 1946
Activated on 1 October 1946
Redesignated 43d Bombardment Group, Medium, on 2 July 1948
Inactivated on 16 June 1952
  • Redesignated 43d Operations Group, and activated, on 1 June 1992
Inactivated on 1 July 1994
  • Activated on 1 April 1997
Redesignated 43d Airlift Group on 1 March 2011





See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ Paraglide (February 23, 2011). "Army to assume responsibility for Pope Air Force Base". Fort Bragg-Pope Field Public Affairs. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ "New combat squadron stands up at Little Rock". Little Rock Air Force Base Public Affairs. April 9, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Krause, Marvin (July 10, 2015). "43rd AG stands up air base and air mobility squadrons at Pope Field". 43d Airlift Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved July 22, 2015. 
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1961 (republished 1983). ISBN 0-912799-02-1.
  • Rogers, Brian, United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications, 2006. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links

  • 43d Operations Group Factsheet
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