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100th Air Refueling Wing History

On June 1, 1942 the U.S. Army Air Force activated the 100th Bombardment Group  Heavy as an unmanned paper unit for B-24 Liberators under the 3rd Bomber Command. The group included four bomber squadrons: the 349th Bombardment Squadron, 350th Bombardment Squadron, 351st Bombardment Squadron, and the 418th Bombardment Squadron. On Oct. 27, 1942, a small number of men transferred from the 29th Bombardment Group (location) to Gowen Field, Idaho, near the state capital of Boise, to serve as the group's initial cadre. After just four days, this small cadre moved the 100th BG to Walla Walla Army Air Base , Washington. It was here that the 100th BG received its first four B-17 Flying Fortresses from the Boeing factory in Seattle, Washington. It also received four aircrews.

The new 100 BG and its four B-17s moved to Wendover Field, Utah, located on the Nevada-Utah border west of Salt Lake City, Nov. 30, 1942. It was here that the 100th BG received additional personnel, aircraft, and crew, and began to train for war (bombing, gunnery, and navigation). Normally, a B-17 bombardment group had 18 to 21 aircraft. By January 1943, the group moved again. This time it moved to two different locations. The ground echelon moved to Kearney Field, Nebraska, located just outside the town of Kearney, west of Lincoln, Nebraska. The aircraft and aircrews arrived at Sioux City Army Air Base, Iowa. A number of the 351st Bombardment Squadron stationed at these two locations assisted in the air and ground training of other groups bound for overseas. The group prepared to begin its trip to England in mid-April 1943. The aircraft and crews joined the ground echelon at Kearney Field. They also received new B-17s after they arrived.

On May 2, 1943, the ground echelon moved to the East Coast so they could board the Queen Elizabeth ship for its May 27, 1943, departure from New York to Poddington, England. After additional training, the aircraft and crews of the 100th BG departed Kearney Field May 25, 1943, to fly the North Atlantic route to England and into the war. A few days after the ground and air echelons rendezvoused at Poddington, England, June 4, 1943, the 100th BG moved on to Thorpe Abbots, England, Army Air Force Station 139. The entire group was in place by June 9, 1943. Thorpe Abbots, a small hamlet some 100 miles northeast of London, remained the home of the 100th BG until the end of the war.

It was not long before the 100th BG flew its first combat mission. On June 25, 1943, the 100th BG flew against submarine yards at Bremen, Germany. This was also the beginning of the Bloody Hundredth's legacy. The group inherited the Bloody Hundredth nickname from other bomb groups due to the amount of losses it took. While these losses were no more than any other group by the end of the war, the 100th BG experienced several instances where it lost 12 of 13, or 13 of 15 aircraft on one mission. For the next six months, the group focused its bombing attacks against German airfields, industries, and naval facilities in France and Germany. Just two months after entering the war, the group received its first Distinguished Unit Citation for its attack on the German aircraft factory at Regensburg Aug. 17, 1943. The 100th BG lost nine crews on that raid alone. Intelligence estimated production at the factory to be 200 ME-109 aircraft per month, or approximately 25 to 30 percent of Germany's entire single engine production. The attack seriously disrupted German fighter production. Another difficult period for the group became known as "Black Week" and lasted from Oct. 8 to 14, 1943. The first target was Bremen, Germany. After that mission, seven B-17s were missing in action, a further six sustained significant battle damage and one later had to be salvaged. Because of the Bremen mission, the 100th BG could assemble only 17 serviceable aircraft for the Marienburg, Germany mission on Oct. 9, 1943. There were no losses from the Oct. 9 mission, but Oct. 10, the group put up 18 B-17s and two from the 390th Bombardment Group in the mission against Munster, Germany.  Six of the 100th BG and one of the 390th BG aircraft had to abort over the North Sea. This left 13 aircraft to complete the mission. Only one B-17, aircraft 42-6087, "Royal Flush" of the 418th Bombardment Squadron, returned to base. It returned with two engines shot out and two crewmembers seriously wounded. After the Munster mission, the 100th BG could only get eight aircraft ready for the attack against Schweinfurt, Germany. Those eight crews from the 100th BG were added to two other groups - the 95th BG and 390th BG. All eight crews safely returned to base after the mission.

As 1944 began, the 100th BG continued to target airfields and industries, but added marshaling yards and missile sites (Hitler's Wonder Weapons) to their list. In March of 1944, the group took part in the Allied campaign, known as "The Big Week," against German aircraft factories. Also the 100 BG participated in two maximum efforts against Berlin, Germany. As a result of the two missions, March 6th and 24th, the group lost 24 aircraft. During D-Day the 100 BG supported the invasion by attacking bridges and gun emplacements. As the Allied troops moved forward, the group continued to support them when it bombed enemy positions around St Lo, France in July 1944 and Brest, France in August through September 1944.  When the 100th BG executed a mission over the Ruhland area of Germany on Sept. 11, 1944, the group lost 14 aircraft.

On April 20, 1945, the 100th BG flew its last combat mission. During the 22 months that some 7,000 men and a few women of the 100th BG operated out of Thorpe Abbotts, the group flew 306 missions The Air Force credited them with 8,630 sorties; dropped more than 19,257 tons of bombs plus 435 tons of food on humanitarian missions. The 100th BG's gunners claimed 261 enemy aircraft shot down, 1,010 probably destroyed, and 139 possibly destroyed. They were some of the first gunners to shoot down a ME-262 German jet fighter. Furthermore, the group received citations by the Norway government-in-exile and the British government for bombing heavy water facilities at Rujkan, Norway, which delayed the manufacture of the German atomic bomb and stiffened the Norwegian underground resistance.

In December 1945, the 100th BG returned to the U.S. and inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, west of Staten Island, New York, Dec. 21, 1945. It reactivated as a reserve unit at Miami Army Air Field from May 29, 1947, to June 27, 1949. After almost five-and-a-half years, the new, independent U.S. Air Force reactivated the unit Jan. 1, 1956, as the 100th Bombardment Wing  Medium at Portsmouth Air Force Base, New Hampshire. The 349th BS, 350th BS, and 351st BS reactivated as well. It was almost like old times, as the 100th BW found itself under the 8th AF again. On April 19, 1956, the wing received its first new bomber, a B-47 Stratojet named, "The State of New Hampshire." The first of the new bombers went to the 349 BS.  Due to the assignment of the 100th Air Refueling Squadron and its 10 KC-97 Stratotankers, the wing executed an air refueling mission to support the B-47 aircraft. By April 17, 1957, the 100th BW was at is full strength with 45 B-47s and 21 KC-97s.

For the next 10 years, the wing performed global strategic bombardment training and global air refueling with the B-47s and KC-97s. Portsmouth AFB received a name change   Sept. 7, 1957, when it became Pease Air Force Base in honor of Captain Harl Pease Jr., a World War II flyer killed in action. On Nov. 22, 1957, the official wing emblem changed to the present crest. Its new motto was "Peace Through Strength." During this time, the 100th BW even spent some time rotating in and out of RAF Mildenhall.

On June 25, 1966, the Air Force redesignated the wing 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing . The new unit then moved without equipment or personnel to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.  As part of the move, the 100th SRW absorbed the resources of the 408th Strategic Wing.  Between 1966 and 1976, the wing performed strategic reconnaissance with U-2 Blackbird and drone aircraft. Drone aircraft used by the 100th SRW were target drones converted to perform reconnaissance missions. Those drones were the precursors to the more recent Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Much of that reconnaissance work was accomplished over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

On Sept. 30, 1976, the 100th SRW went through several major changes. First it transferred its drone operations to Tactical Air Command and its U-2 operations to the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. It also phased down operations at Davis-Monthan AFB. The U.S. Air Force moved the wing to Beale Air Force Base, California, without equipment or personnel and redesignated the 100th Air Refueling Wing. Its new mission provided the 9th SRW air refueling support with the KC-135Q Stratotanker. The mission lasted until the 100th ARW inactivated March 15, 1983.  Though it remained inactive for several years, the 100th reactivated for more than a year as the 100th Air Division at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, from July 1, 1990 to August 1, 1991.

Just six months after its inactivation as an Air Division, the unit returned to England, after 47 years, as the 100th Air Refueling Wing on February 1, 1992. Its new home, RAF Mildenhall, was only 23 miles west of its first English home at Thorpe Abbots. The 100th ARW also brought along one of its former World War II squadrons, the redesignated 351st Air Refueling Squadron, whose emblem changed Sept. 16, 1958. Its new motto was Pax Opus Nostrum, "Peace is Our Profession."

Shortly after taking on host wing responsibilities from the inactivated 513th Airborne Command and Control Wing, the 100th ARW also took on the European Tanker Task Force mission from the 306th Strategic Wing when it inactivated on  March 31,1992. This meant the wing would control its own KC-135 aircraft as well as the KC-135s that rotated in and out of RAF Mildenhall under ETTF.  Later that same year, the 100th ARW received the first of its own KC-135s. This one arrived  May 22, 1992 with a second arriving June 2, 1992. It received a full complement of nine tankers in September 1992. The arrival of the wing's first permanent KC-135 was just in time for the 100th ARW's first air fete. This became an annual air show hosted on RAF Mildenhall. The timing of the Air Fete came very close to marking the fiftieth birthday of the 100th ARW. Because of proximity to the anniversary, the wing invited the members of the original 100th BG back to England to celebrate the air fete with the 100th ARW.  Each air fete had a theme, and this one was "Remembered Skies."

On June 29, 1995, the 100th ARW proposed U.S. Air Forces in Europe eliminate the ETTF and increase the wing's permanently assigned KC-135s from nine to 15. After approval was received from Air Staff in November 1997, the ETTF mission ended Nov. 28, 1998.  That ended 22 years of ETTF operations. The 100th ARW reached its full complement of 15 KC-135s by September 1998. Since the end of ETTF, the 100th ARW supported numerous U.S. Air Force and NATO operations as well as several major operations such as Noble Anvil, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 100th ARW supported Operation Odyssey Dawn from March 19, 2011, to March 30, 2011. The wing supported Operation Unified Protector from March 31, 2011 to October 31, 2011.  The wing supported Operation Jukebox Lotus and Operation Juniper Shield from September to December of 2012. The wing supported Operation Juniper Micron from January 2013 to the present.

Lineage

· Established as the 100th Bombardment Group, Heavy, Jan. 28 , 1942. Activated  June 1, 1942.
· Redesignated 100th Bombardment Group, Heavy, Aug. 20, 1943.
· Inactivated  Dec. 21, 1945.
· Redesignated 100th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, May 13, 1947. Activated in the Reserve May 29, 1947.
· Inactivated June 27, 1949.
· Consolidated with the 100th Bombardment Wing, Medium, established March 23, 1953. Activated Jan. 1, 1956.
· Redesignated as the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, June 25, 1966.
· Redesignated as the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Heavy, Sept. 30, 1976.
· Inactivated March 15, 1983.
· Redesignated as the 100th Air Division, June 15, 1990. Activated July 1, 1990.
· Inactivated Aug. 1, 1991.
· Redesignated and activated as the 100th Air Refueling Wing, Feb. 1, 1992.

Honors

· Distinguished Unit Citation:
-- Germany, Aug. 17, 1943
-- Berlin, Germany, March 4, 6 and 8,  1944

· French Croix de Guerre with Palm:
-- June 25 to Dec. 31, 1944

· Service Streamers:
-- Air Offensive, Europe
-- Normandy
-- Northern France
-- Rhineland
-- Ardennes-Alsace
-- Central Europe
-- Air Combat

· Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device:
-- July 1, 1972 to June 30, 1973

· Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards:
April 1, 1993 to July 31, 1994
Aug. 1, 1994 to July 31, 1995
Aug. 1, 1995 to July 31, 1997
Aug. 1, 1997 to March 23, 1999
June 11, 1999 to June 10, 2001
Oct. 1, 2003 to Sept. 30, 2005
Oct. 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2006
July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010
July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011

Assignments

· III Bomber Command - June 1, 1942
· Second Air Force - June 18, 1942
· II Bomber Command - June 26, 1942
· 15th Bombardment Wing - Nov. 30, 1942 to May 1943
· Eighth Air Force - June 2, 1943
· VIII Bomber Command - June 4, 1943
· 4th Bombardment Wing - June 4, 1943 (attached to 402nd Provisional Combat Wing Bombardment [Heavy], June 6 - Sept. 12, 1943)
· 3rd Bombardment Division - Sept. 13, 1943
· 13th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) - Sept. 14, 1943
· 3rd Air Division - June 18, 1945
· 1st Air Division - Aug. 12, 1945
· 3rd Air Division - Sept. 28, 1945
· VIII Fighter Command - November to December 1945
· 49th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy (later 49th Air Division, Bombardment) - May 29, 1947 to June 27, 1949
· Eighth Air Force - Jan. 1, 1956
· 817th Air Division - Feb. 1, 1956 (attached to 7th Air Division, Dec. 29, 1957 to April 1, 1958)
· 12th Strategic Aerospace Division - June 30, 1971
· 12th Strategic Missile (later 12th Air) Division - Aug. 1, 1972
· 14th Air Division - Sept. 30, 1976 to March 15, 1983
· Eighth Air Force - July 1, 1990
· Third Air Force - Feb. 1, 1992

Tactical Components

· 351st Air Refueling Squadron (previously, 351st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy); 351st BS, Heavy; 351st BS, Very Heavy; 351st BS, Medium): June 1, 1942 to Dec. 19, 1945; July 17, 1947 to June 27, 1949; Jan. 1, 1956 to June 25, 1966 (not operational Feb. 12 to June 25, 1966); Feb. 1, 1992 to present
· 9th ARS: Sept. 30, 1976 to Jan. 27, 1982
· 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: Nov. 1, 1972 to June 30, 1976 (not operational March 27 to June 30, 1976)
· 100th ARS, Medium: Aug. 16, 1956 to June 25, 1966, (not operational Dec. 22, 1965 to June 25, 1966)
· 349th BS (Heavy) (later, 349th BS, Heavy; 349th BS, Very Heavy; 349th BS, Medium; 349th SRS; 349th ARS, Heavy): June 1, 1942 to Dec. 1, 1945; May 29, 1947 to June 27, 1949; Jan. 1, 1956 to March 15, 1983 (not operational Feb. 12 to June 24, 1966 and Aug. 11 to Sept. 30, 1976)
· 350th BS (Heavy) (later, 350th BS, Heavy; 350th BS, Very Heavy; 350th BS, Medium; 350th SRS; 350th ARS, Heavy): June 1, 1942 to Dec. 15, 1945; July 16, 1947 to June 27, 1949; Jan. 1, 1956 to July 1, 1976, (detached March 4 to April 4, 1958; not operational Feb. 12 to June 24, 1966); Jan. 28, 1982 to March 15, 1983
· 418th BS (Heavy) (later, 418th BS, Heavy; 418th BS, Very Heavy; 418th BS, Medium): June 1, 1942 to Dec. 19, 1945; May 29, 1947 to June 27, 1949; March 1, 1959 to Jan. 1, 1962 (not operational Oct. 31, 1961 to Jan. 1, 1962)
· 509th ARS, Medium: attached April 8 to July 8, 1958

Stations

· Orlando Army Air Base, Florida - June 1, 1942
· Barksdale Field, Louisiana - June 18, 1942
· Pendleton Field, Oregon - June 26, 1942
· Gowen Field, Idaho - Aug. 28, 1942
· Walla Walla Army Air Base, Washington - Nov. 1, 1942
· Wendover Field, Utah - Nov. 30, 1942
· Sioux City Army Air Base, Iowa - Jan. 1,  1943
· Kearney Army Air Force Field, Nebraska - Feb. 3, 1942 (ground echelon) April 15 to May 26, 1943 (air echelon)
· Camp Douglas, Wisconsin - May 2, 1943 (ground echelon)
· Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, May 11 to 26, 1943 (ground echelon)
· Poddington, England - June 4, 1943
· Thorpe Abbots, England - June 9, 1943 - Dec. 12, 1945
· Camp Kilmer, New Jersey - Dec. 20 to 21, 1945
· Miami Army Air Force Field, Florida - May 29, 1947 - June 27, 1949
· Portsmouth (later Pease), Air Force Base, New Hampshire - Jan. 1,  1956 (deployed at Brize Norton RAF Station, England, Dec. 29, 1957 to April 1, 1958)
· Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona to June 25, 1966
· Beale Air Force Base, California - Sept. 30, 1976 to March 15, 1983
· Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri - July 1, 1990 to Aug. 1, 1991
· RAF Mildenhall, England - Feb. 1, 1992 to present

Commanders

· Unknown June 1 to Nov., 1942
· Col. Darr H. Alkire Nov. 14, 1942 to April 25, 1943
· Col. Howard M. Turner April 26 1943, to June 1943
· Col. Harold Q. Huglin June 1943 to June 30, 1943
· Col. Neil B. Harding July 1, 1943 to March 29, 1944
· Lt. Col. John M. Bennett, Jr. March 30, 1944 to April 18, 1944
· Col. Robert H. Kelly April 17, 1944 to April 27, 1944
· Lt. Col. John M. Bennett, Jr. April 17, 1944 to May 6, 1944
· Col. Thomas S. Jeffery, Jr. May 7, 1944 to Feb. 1, 1945
· Col. Frederick J. Sutterlin Feb. 2, 1945 to June 22, 1945
· Lt. Col. John B. Wallace June 23 to December 1945
· Unknown May 29, 1947 to June 27, 1949
· Col. James W. Chapman, Jr. Jan. 1, 1956 to April 24, 1956
· Brig. Gen. WaLt.er E. Arnold April 25, 1956 to Aug. 3, 1956
· Col. Ariel W. Nielsen Aug. 4, 1956 to Aug. 31, 1957
· Col. Gordon F. Goyt Sept. 1, 1957 to Oct. 22, 1957
· Col. Charles L. Wimberly Oct. 23, 1957 to May 22, 1958
· Col. Winton R. Close May 26, 1958 to June 28, 1959
· Col. Roland W. Bergamyer June 29, 1959 to July 22, 1959
· Col. Delmore P. Wood July 23, 1959 to Sept. 15, 1960
· Col. Richard D. Reinbold Sept. 16, 1960 to July 1, 1962
· Col. Wallace Wall, Jr. July 2, 1962 to July 7, 1965
· Col. Raymond E. BuckwaLt.er July 8, 1965, to Sept. 20, 1965
· Col. James S. Howard Sept. 21, 1965 to March 30, 1966
· Unknown April, 1 to 24 June, 1966
· Col. William D. Kyle, Jr. June 25, 1966 to Aug. 14, 1966
· Col. Marion C. Mixon Aug. 15, 1966 to July 30, 1970
· Col. Raymond L. Haupt July 31, 1970 to June 28, 1972
· Col. Donald S. White June 29, 1972 to May 6, 1974
· Col. Charles B. Stratton May 7, 1974 to July 10, 1976
· Col. Lyman M. Kidder July 11, 1976 to Sept. 29, 1976
· Col. John J. Tobin Sept. 30, 1976 to Jan. 3, 1978
· Col. Robert D. Beckel Jan. 4, 1978 to Aug. 9, 1978
· Col. Stanley O. Klepper Aug. 10, 1978 to June 17, 1980
· Col. Lawrence F. McNeil June 18, 1980 to Feb. 18, 1981
· Col. William G. Dolan, Jr. Feb. 19, 1981 to April 21, 1982
· Col. Anthony L. St Amant April 22, 1982 to March 15, 1983
· Col. Jonas L. Blank, Jr. Feb. 1, 1992 to Nov. 30, 1992
· Col. David E. Pope Nov. 30, 1992 to Oct. 2, 1994
· Col. James W. Morehouse Oct. 3, 1994 to May 4, 1996
· Col. Christopher A. Kelly May 5, 1996 to June 4, 1997
· Col. Jeffrey B. Kohler June 4, 1997 to July 28, 1998
· Col. Glenn F. Spears July 28, 1998, to April 20, 2000
· Col. Bruce E. Burda April 20, 2000 to July 20, 2001
· Col. Donald Lustig July 20, 2001 to July 16, 2003
· Col. Richard T. Devereaux July 16, 2003 to June 6, 2005
· Col. Michael C. Stough  June 6, 2005, to June 22, 2007
· Col. Eden J. Murrie June 22, 2007 to Sept. 9, 2009
· Col. Chad T. Manske Sept. 9, 2009 to June 23, 2011
· Col. Christopher J. Kulas June 24, 2011 to June 18, 2013
· Col. Kenneth T. Bibb June 19, 2013 to 29 May 2015
· Col Thomas D. Torkelson 29 May 2015 to present

Aircraft Assigned

· B-17 Flying Fortress 1942 to 1945
· B-47 Stratojet 1956 to 1966
· KC-97 Stratotanker 1956 to 1965
· U-2 Dragon Lady 1966 to 1976
· WU-2 1966 to 1969
· DC-130 Hercules 1966 to 1976
· CH-3 1966 to 1976
· Q-147 (later AQM-34 Firebee) drone 1966 to 1976
· KC-135 Stratotanker 1976 to 1983
· KC-135 Stratotanker 1992 to present

Emblem

Approved  Nov. 22 1957 (K 3078); modified June 20, 1999.

Gray, a base nebuly azure bearing six mullets argent arched to base supporting nine billets fesswise in chevron sable and thereon two lions respectant or langued gules armed black, the dexter grasping a palm branch bendwise sinister vert and the sinister grasping a lightning flash surmounting bendwise of the sixth, all within a diminished bordure yellow. Attached below the shield a white scroll edged with a narrow yellow border and inscribed "PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH" in ultramarine blue letters.

Blue and yellow are the Air Force colors. Blue alludes to the sky, the primary theater of Air Force operations. Yellow refers to the sun and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. The lions, signifying honor and majesty, hold a lightning flash and a palm branch representing the organization's courage and adaptability in performing its mission through war and peace. The blocks represent the determination of subordinate units that assist in mission accomplishment and the stars represent the wisdom the organization acquired in combat. The stylized clouds are a tribute to those who have served, signifying the retrospection with which the organization honors its rich heritage.