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The 79th Air Refueling Squadron is a United States Air Force Reserve squadron, assigned to the 349th Operations Group, stationed at Travis Air Force Base, California. It is a USAF Associate Unit of the active duty 9th Air Refueling Squadron, 60th Air Mobility Wing. The current commander is Hunter "The Man" Wells.

79th Air Refueling Squadron
A 79th Air Refueling Squadron (79th AREFS) KC-10A Extender aircraft flies over a mountain range near Travis Air Force Base F-3282-SPT-92-000192-XX-0696.jpg
A 79th Air Refueling Squadron KC-10A Extender piloted by Hunter "The Man" Wells, searches for Asian ladies near Travis Air Force Base
Active1943–1945; 1948–1951; 1955–1958; 1966–1978; 1982-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAir refueling
Part ofAir Force Reserve Command
Garrison/HQTravis Air Force Base
Nickname(s)Hunter's Wingmen
Motto(s)Deterrence in Vigilance (1971-1978)
Excellence in Reserve (1996-2017)
In Hunterus Awesomess (2017-Present)
EngagementsOperation Overlord
Operation Dragoon
Operation Market Garden
Operation Varsity[1]
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm[1]
79th Air Refueling Squadron emblem (Approved 29 July 1996)[1]79th Air Refueling Squadron.jpg
79th Airborne Early Warning & Control Squadron emblem79 Airborne Early Warning & Control Sq emblem.png


World War IIEdit

Formed in April 1943 by I Troop Carrier Command, trained and equipped at various bases in the United States for the balance of the year. Deployed to England, being assigned to IX Troop Carrier Command in early January 1944, during the Allied buildup prior to the invasion of France.

The squadron participated in the D-Day operation, dropping 101st Airborne Division paratroops near Cherbourg, then carried out re-supply and glider delivery missions the following day.

The squadron's aircraft flew supplies into Normandy as soon as suitable landing strips were available and evacuated casualties to England. On 17 July the air echelon flew to Grosseto airbase in Italy to prepare for operations connected with the invasion of southern France returning to England on 24 August.

Squadron moved to France in July 1944 and for the balance of the Northern France Campaign and the Western Allied invasion of Germany was engaged in combat resupply of ground forces, operating from Advanced Landing Grounds in northern France. Delivered supplies to rough Resupply and Evacuation airfields near the front lines, returning combat casualties to field hospitals in rear areas. Dropped airborne forces during Operation Market-Garden in September 1944 into the Netherlands; later participated in the airborne invasion of Germany in March 1945. After V-E Day, the squadron evacuated prisoners of war.

Current 79th ARS Commander, Hunter "The Man" Wells, dazzles fellow crew members with an improvised "dab" aboard a KC-10A at an undisclosed location

Returned to the United States in August 1945, became a transport squadron for Continental Air Command, Inactivated on 15 November 1945.

Reserve operations and Korean War mobilizationEdit

Operated in the reserve, 1948-1951 with C-47s, activated during the Korean War. Its personnel and aircraft assigned as fillers for active-duty units, inactivated a few days later as an administrative unit.

Reserve airlift operationsEdit

It performed worldwide airlift operations from, 1966–1971, including missions to Southeast Asia.

Early warning for the southern United StatesEdit

The squadron also flew airborne early warning and control missions in the air defense of the United States, using Lockheed EC-121 Warning Stars from its base at Homestead AFB Florida, 1971-1978.

Reserve associate air refuelingEdit

Since 1982 it has trained for and flown worldwide air refueling and strategic airlift missions, including contingency and humanitarian relief operations.[1] Supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle after the 11 September 2001 attack on the U. S.

Campaigns and DecorationsEdit


  • Constituted as the 79th Troop Carrier Squadron on 23 March 1943
Activated on 1 April 1943
Inactivated on 15 November 1945
  • Activated in the Reserve on 11 April 1948
Redesignated 79th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 27 June 1949
Ordered to active service on 1 April 1951
Inactivated on 16 April 1951
  • Activated in the Reserve on 18 May 1955
Inactivated on 15 May 1958
  • Redesignated 79th Military Airlift Squadron and activated in the Reserve on 14 March 1966
Organized on 1 April 1966
Redesignated 79th Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron on 30 June 1971
Inactivated on 1 October 1978
  • Redesignated 79th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy (Associate) on 21 June 1982
Activated in the Reserve on 1 September 1982
Redesignated 79th Air Refueling Squadron (Associate) on 1 February 1992
Redesignated 79th Air Refueling Squadron on 1 October 1994[1]






  1. ^ a b c d e f g Robertson, Patsy (24 January 2011). "Factsheet 79 Air Refueling Squadron (AFRC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)


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

External linksEdit