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The 96th Air Refueling Squadron was a unit of PACAF's 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii in partnership with the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron and 154th Maintenance Group of the Hawaii Air National Guard. It was inactivated on 3 September 2015.[4]

96th Air Refueling Squadron
203d Air Refueling Squadron - Boeing KC-135R-BN Stratotanker 61-0290.jpg
Active1941–1946; 1953–1960; 1960–1965; 1994–2005; 2010-2015
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAir refueling
Part ofPacific Air Forces
Motto(s)Ubique Latin Everywhere[1]
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation[2]
Air Force Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[3]
96th Air Refueling Squadron emblem (approved 9 December 1994)[1]96th Air Refueling Squadron.png
Patch with first 96th Air Refueling Squadron emblem (approved 19 June 1956)[1]96th Air Refueling Squadron - SAC - Patch.png



World War IIEdit

The 96th Air Refueling Squadron was constituted as the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940 and activated on 15 January 1941 at March Field, California. Originally attached to the 41st Bombardment Group, it became assigned to it on 25 February 1942. The squadron was tasked with conducting antisubmarine patrols, from December 1941–August 1942 and from December 1942–February 1943.

It was redesignated as the 396th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 April 1942 and as the 396th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, c. 9 May 1943. Trained with North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, being assigned to Seventh Air Force. Deployed to the Central Pacific Area, from 19 January–23 September 1944, engaging in combat operations in the Gilbert Islands, then returning to Hawaii in October 1944.

Deployed to Okinawa in June 1945, flying combat bombardment missions over eastern China and Formosa. Prepared for combat action as part of Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese Home Islands however the Japanese Capitulation in August cancelled those plans. Squadron demobilized on Okinawa during the fall of 1945, aircraft being sent to reclamation in the Philippines. Personnel returned to the United States and squadron inactivated on 27 January 1946.

Cold WarEdit

Activated as 96th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium in 1953. Based at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma; supported refueling operations primarily in Northeast Air Command and Alaskan Air Command areas. Also deployed to Guam in 1956 flying KC-97F and G aircraft. The squadron was reassigned to the 11th Bombardment Wing, on 3 December 1957. Redesignated as the 96th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 8 March 1958, the squadron converted that same year to the KC-135A. The 96th ARS was discontinued on 1 October 1960. Organized on 15 December 1960, and assigned to 11th Bombardment (later, 11th Strategic Aerospace) Wing, at Altus AFB, OK, with the KC-135A as its aircraft, it was discontinued and inactivated, on 25 June 1965 and its mission, personnel and aircraft were transferred to the 11th Air Refueling Squadron, which was transferred on paper to Altus from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.[5]

Modern eraEdit

Redesignated as the 96th Air Refueling Squadron, reactivated, on 1 April 1994 with KC-135Rs,[1] Inactivated on 31 March 2005 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It was reactivated on 23 July 2010 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as part of the Total Force Integration partnership between the 15th Wing of Pacific Air Forces and 154th Wing of the Hawaii Air National Guard. The squadron was again inactivated on 30 September 2015.[6][4]


396th Bombardment Squadron

  • Constituted as the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 396th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 April 1942
Redesignated 396th Bombardment Squadron, Medium c. 9 May 1943
Inactivated on 27 January 1946[7]
  • Consolidated with the 96th Air Refueling Squadron as the 96th Air Refueling Squadron on 19 September 1985[1]

96th Air Refueling Squadron

  • Constituted as the 96th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 6 November 1953
Activated on 18 November 1953
Redesignated 96th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 8 March 1958
Discontinued on 1 October 1960
  • Organized on 15 December 1960
Discontinued and inactivated on 25 June 1965
  • Redesignated 96th Air Refueling Squadron and activated on 1 April 1994
  • Inactivated on 31 March 2005
  • Activated on 23 July 2010[8]
  • Inactivated on 30 September 2015[4]


  • 41st Bombardment Group, attached 15 January 1941, assigned 25 February 1942 – 27 January 1946
  • 96th Bombardment Wing, 18 November 1953
Attached to: Northeast Air Command, 5 October-20 November 1954, 1 August-14 September 1955, 18–31 January 1956
Attached to: Alaskan Air Command and 303d Bomb Wing [split deployment], 25 June-9 October 1956
Attached to: 98th Air Base Group, 10 January-7 April 1957
  • 11th Bombardment Wing, 3 December 1957 – 1 October 1960
  • 11th Bombardment Wing (later 11th Strategic Aerospace Wing), 15 December 1960 – 25 June 1965
  • 453d Operations Group, 1 April 1994
  • 92d Operations Group, 1 July 1994 – 31 March 2005
  • 15th Operations Group, 23 July 2010 - 30 September 2015[8][4]




  1. ^ Aircraft is Boeing KC-135R-BN Stratotanker serial 61-290.
  1. ^ a b c d e Endicott, p. 699
  2. ^ Endicott, p. 699. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 486 lists no award for this period.
  3. ^ "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved 26 February 2017. (search)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Paden, SSG Teri (3 September 2015). "96th ARS inactivates after five years at JBPHH". 15th Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  5. ^ See "USAFHRC Form 5, USAF Lineage and Honors History, 11th Air Refueling Squadron" (PDF). Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 15 October 2014.[dead link]
  6. ^ Robertson, Patsy (3 April 2014). "Factsheet 96 Air Refueling Squadron (PACAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  7. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 486
  8. ^ a b c d Lineage, including assignments aircraft and stations, through May 2014 in Robertson, AFHRA Factsheet 96 Air Refueling Squadron.


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