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The first predecessor of the squadron was organized in 1940 as the 13th Transport Squadron. During World War II, as the 13th Troop Carrier Squadron, the squadron served in the South West Pacific Theater of World War II, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations, a Navy Unit Commendation and a Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for its wartime actions. Its last assignment was with the 403d Troop Carrier Group at Nichols Field, Luzon, Philippines, where it was inactivated on 15 October 1946.

913th Air Refueling Squadron
Shield Strategic Air Command.png
Boeing KC-135 J57 takeoff.JPEG
Boeing KC-135 on takeoff using water injection to increase thrust
Active1940–1946; 1958–1981
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAir Refueling
Nickname(s)The Thirsty Thirteenth (World War II)
EngagementsBattle of Guadalcanal
Battle of New Georgia
Battle of Vella Lavella
Battle of Bougainville
South West Pacific Theater of World War II
Philippines Campaign (1944-1945)
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Navy Unit Commendation
Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation
913th Air Refueling Squadron Emblem913th Air Refueling Squadron.PNG
13th Troop Carrier Squadron patch13thtcs-patch.jpg

The 913th Air Refueling Squadron was activated by the United States Air Force in 1958 at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, where it was last assigned to the 2d Bombardment Wing. The squadron responded to the Cuban Missile Crisis and provided Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and aircrews to support the Viet Nam War. It was inactivated on 1 November 1981 and replaced by a squadron flying McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extenders.

The two squadrons were consolidated in September 1985 but the consolidated squadron has not been active since.



World War IIEdit

The 13th Transport Squadron was activated in late 1940[1] as one of the three original squadrons of the 61st Transport Group.[2] Personnel for the squadron were drawn from the 5th Transport Squadron, located at Patterson Field, Ohio.[3]

The headquarters and squadrons of the 61st were initially scattered at various depot bases, with the 13th at Patterson Field,[1] site of the Fairfield Air Depot.[4] The 61st was finally united with its component squadrons at Pope Field, North Carolina in May 1942. Shortly after this the group and squadrons were renamed Troop Carrier organizations.[1][2] The squadron trained with the group in the southeast, using Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Douglas C-53 Skytrooper aircraft,[2] but in the fall of 1942 the 13th deployed by itself to the Pacific.[1]

C-47s flying supplies to a forward airfield in New Guinea escorted by P-40s

Upon arrival in the theater, the squadron, operating from bases in New Caledonia, was attached to Marine Air Group 25 and began to transport vital ammunition and supplies to Guadalcanal and to evacuate wounded personnel on return trips. In November 1942 the squadron became part of the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command (SCAT). For its actions during the Guadalcanal Campaign the squadron earned its first Distinguished Unit Citation.[5]

In August 1943 the squadron was assigned to the 403d Troop Carrier Group[6] and then moved to Espiritu Santo.[1] It supported the New Guinea and Philippines campaigns by transporting men and cargo to combat areas. The 13th evacuated casualties and dropped or airlanded supplies to guerrilla forces in the Philippines. On 23 February 1945 the squadron dropped paratroopers into Laguna de Bay, Luzon to free civilians held prisoner by the Japanese. The unit moved to the Philippines in 1945 and remained after the Japanese surrender as part of Far East Air Forces. It flew occupation troops to Japan, evacuated prisoners of war and flew cargo and personnel between Australia and Japan.[6] In early 1946 the squadron began to transition into Douglas C-54 Skymasters.[1]

In October 1946 the 403d Troop Carrier Group was replaced by the 374th Troop Carrier Group. As a result, the 13th was inactivated and its mission, personnel and equipment were transferred to the 22d Troop Carrier Squadron.[1][7]

Cold WarEdit

The 913th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in June 1958 by Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The squadron was equipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers and assigned to the 4238th Strategic Wing as part of SAC's plan to disperse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress units to make it more difficult for the Soviet Union to destroy the entire fleet with a first strike.[8] The squadron mission was to provide air refueling to the B-52s of its parent wing and other USAF units as directed. Starting in 1960, one third of the squadron's aircraft were maintained on fifteen-minute alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike. This was increased to half the squadron's aircraft in 1962.[9] The squadron trained for this mission until inactivation except for periods when its aircraft and crews were deployed with other SAC organizations conducting combat operations.[10]

From October through November 1962 the squadron's training was interrupted as it assumed an increased alert posture during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After tensions eased, the unit resumed normal operations.[11] The 913th transferred to the 2d Bombardment Wing in 1963 when SAC replaced its parent wing[10] with an organization that had a more distinguished history and could continue its lineage.[12]

In 1962, SAC established an airborne command post at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, nicknamed Looking Glass, to ensure continuity of command and control of SAC forces in the event of a nuclear attack. Looking Glass was soon augmented by auxiliary aircraft stationed with the headquarters of SAC's three Numbered Air Forces. The 913th received Boeing EC-135C aircraft to operate SAC's Central Auxiliary Command Post's airborne element. The 913th continued to operate PACCS aircraft until 1 April 1970, when SAC reorganized its airborne command post aircraft and withdrew them from vulnerable bases near the coasts like Barksdale and assigned them to the 2d, 3d, and 4th Airborne Command and Control Squadrons, stationed at bases closer to the heartland of North America.[13]

The 913th began supporting SAC operations in Southeast Asia in 1965, and increased its support of these operations over the following two years. From May to November 1972 all but four of the squadron's KC-135s and a handful of crews were on loan to other SAC units. Following the return of its assets, the squadron continued to support operations in Southeast Asia until 1975.[10] The 913th resumed its training and alert mission until it was inactivated in 1981 and replaced by the 32d Air Refueling Squadron when the 2d Bombardment Wing began to operate McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extenders.[14]

The 13th Troop Carrier Squadron was consolidated with the 913th Air Refueling Squadron in September 1985 but the consolidated squadron has not been active since.[15]



  • 61st Transport Group (later 61st Troop Carrier Group), 1 December 1940
  • Army Forces in South Pacific Area, c. 10 October 1942 (attached to South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command, 11 December 1942 – 3 July 1944)
  • Thirteenth Air Force, c. 13 January 1943
  • XIII Air Force Service Command, 1 July 1943
  • 403d Troop Carrier Group, 22 August 1943 – 15 October 1946[16]
  • 4238th Strategic Wing,[11] 1 June 1958
  • 2d Bombardment Wing, 1 April 1963[10] - 1 November 1981[14]



  • Douglas C-47 Skytrain, 1941–1946
  • Douglas C-53 Skytrooper, 1942
  • Curtiss C-46 Commando, 1945–1946
  • Douglas C-54 Skymaster, 1946[16]
  • Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, 1958–1981
  • Boeing EC-135C, c. 1964-1970[13]

Awards and CampaignsEdit

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
  Distinguished Unit Citation 10 October 1942 – 9 December 1942 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Distinguished Unit Citation 17 April 1945 – 30 June 1945 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1965 – 1 December 1965 913th Air Refueling Squadron[18]
  Navy Unit Commendation 11 December 1942 – 15 July 1944 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation 17 October 1944 – 4 July 1945 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
  Guadalcanal 10 October 1942 – 21 February 1943 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  New Guinea 24 January 1943 – 31 December 1944 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Northern Solomons 23 February 1943 – 21 November 1944 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Bismarck Archipelago 15 December 1943 – 27 November 1944 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Western Pacific 17 April 1944 – 2 September 1945 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Leyte 17 October 1944 – 1 July 1945 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Luzon 15 December 1944 – 4 July 1945 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]
  Southern Philippines 27 February 1945 – 4 July 1945 13th Troop Carrier Squadron[1]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 75
  2. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 125–127
  3. ^ "Abstract, History 13 Troop Carrier Squadron activation-Sep 1943". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  4. ^ See "Abstract, Henry H. Arnold personal document collection 1 Jan 1929-1 Jan 1930". Air Force History Index. 1 January 1988. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  5. ^ Armstrong, William. (2017). Marine Air Group 25 and SCAT (Images of Aviation). Arcadia. ISBN 1467127434; Washburne, Seth. (2011). The Thirsty 13th: The U.S. Army Air Forces 13th Troop Carrier Squadron, 1940 - 1945. Thirsty 13th LLC. ISBN 0615396755
  6. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 287-288
  7. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 119-120
  8. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), Vol 1, History of Strategic Air Command, Jan-Jun 1957 (Secret)". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), History of the Strategic Bomber since 1945 (Top Secret, downgraded to Secret)". Air Force History Index. 1 April 1975. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d Ravenstein, Combat Wings, pp. 7–9
  11. ^ a b "Abstract, History 4238 Strategic Wing Nov 62". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  12. ^ MAJCON units like the 4138th could not carry a permanent history or lineage. Ravenstein. Guide to Air Force Lineage, p. 12
  13. ^ a b Ogletree, Greg. "A History of the Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS)". Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Abstract, History 2 Bombardment Wing Oct-Dec 1981". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 September 85, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
  16. ^ a b c d Lineage, including assignments, stations and aircraft in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 75
  17. ^ Mueller, p. 22
  18. ^ AF Pamphlet 900-2, 15 Jun 1971, p. 477


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

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