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349TH AIR MOBILITY WING HERITAGE

Posted 2/6/2013 Printable Fact Sheet

Abbreviated History of the
349th Air Mobility Wing

The "Golden Gate" 349th Air Mobility Wing dates back to November 1943, when it was activated at Sedalia Army Air Field, Missouri. At the time of activation, it was designated the 349th Troop Carrier Group and had five troop carrier squadrons assigned. One of these squadrons, the 312th Airlift Squadron, is still assigned to the Wing.
In March 1944, the 349th was sent to the European Theater of Operations and began flying combat cargo missions. Flying C-46 "Commandos," the 349th was the first unit to drop paratroopers from both doors. At one time during the war in Europe, the 349th participated in the largest mass formation of C-46's ever flown in that theater.

C-46 "Commando"
During the last days of World War II in Europe, the 349th participated in the evacuation of wounded from France and England. After VE day, portions of the unit assisted in transporting the British First Army to Norway, in evacuating French POWs from Austria, and in shuttling passengers and equipment between the Continent and the United Kingdom. When the war in Europe ended, the 349th returned to the U.S. and began preparations to join in the Pacific war. While the Wing was still in the states, Japan surrendered and the war was over. The 349th closed out its active duty in 1946 by training Chinese troops at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas.
The Wing was again activated on 27 June 1949, at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, and assigned to Fourth Air Force. The "Golden Gate Wing" did not serve during the Korean conflict as a unit - rather its members and equipment were used to supplement other wings that were not up to combat strength.
With the reconstruction of reserve forces on 26 May 1952, the 349th was reorganized as a fighter-bomber wing. It remained as such until 1957, when it was again converted to a troop carrier wing with the C119 "Flying Boxcar".

C-119 "Flying Boxcar"
In April 1958, the day-to-day administration of the 349th shifted from the active duty Air Force to the Air Reserve Technician Program.
During the Cuban Crisis in 1962, the "Golden Gate Wing" and each of its flying squadrons were called to active duty. This time, they served for one month to airlift men and supplies to and from the Florida area.
From 1962 to 1965, the 349th continued its training as a tactical airlift wing. Elements of the Wing were used to transport weapons to Los Angeles at the time of the Watts riots and again provided assistance, without a call-up, during the Santo Dominican crisis. In addition, the Wing, in 1964-65, was instrumental in airlifting tons of hay to starving cattle under blizzard-type weather centering in the Rocky Mountain Ranges of Montana, and at the same time provided major disaster support to the relief victims of Eureka, California and the Pacific Northwest floods.
For these domestic actions, the 349th Troop Carrier Wing received a U.S. Postal Office citation and was the first AFRes Wing to win an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
On 1 June 1966, the gaining command was changed to the Military Airlift Command and conversion to the C-124 "Globemaster" was started.

C-124 "Globemaster II"
The 349th, like the other reserve troop carrier wings, was completely equipped and ready to move with only a few hours notice as was the case during the Cuban call-up. Only four hours after the first call to report for duty was made, 95 percent of the wing's flying personnel had checked in and were ready to move. This, more than any other single incident, proved the value of the Air Force Reserve's "Ready Now" concept and the wing's motto "In Omnia Paratus," In all things prepared.
A recall to active duty was again initiated on Jan. 26, 1968, for the Vietnam War, and many hundreds of tons of cargo were carried across the Pacific. Upon deactivation in 1969, the 349th moved to Travis AFB, Calif., and became the second "associate" Wing in what was then the Military Airlift Command. With the base change, the 349th began to fly, maintain and support the C-141 "Starlifter."

C-141 "Starlifter"
In 1972, the 349th joined the active component in flying and maintaining the C-5 "Galaxy" making the 349th a two weapon system reserve strategic airlift wing.
During the Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991, more than 1,750 people from selected units were activated for service in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Although some units and individuals deployed to the Persian Gulf, others deployed to Europe and other overseas locations, while some remained in the U.S. and still others remained at Travis.
On 1 February 1992, the 349th was re-designated the 349th Airlift Wing, deleting the word "military" from its name to conform with the active duty Air Force's reorganization and realignment policies.

C-5 "Galaxy"
In September 1994, the KC-10 "Extender" tanker mission was added to the Wing and became an "Air Mobility Wing," the only Air Force Reserve unit at the time to fly three types of aircraft: the C-141 "Starlifter," the C-5 "Galaxy," and the KC-10.
In December 1997, the C-141 was retired from service at Travis. Some were sent to McChord AFB, Wash. and McGuire AFB, N.J. The retired "Starlifters" went to the "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

KC-10 "Extender"
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and New York City's World Trade Center, the 349th provided airlift, mortuary affairs personnel, and other vital support in the early stages of Operations Resolve, Noble Eagle, Infinite Justice and Enduring Freedom. That support is continuing, unswerving, determined, and total.

C-17 "Globemaster III"
With the C-17 "Globemaster III" arrival at Travis in Summer 2006, the wing and its host became the only units in the country to fly three major weapons systems. On May 25, 2006, the 301st Airlift Squadron converted from the C-5 to the C-17 and on June 25, 2006, the 945th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron was activated to support the Globemaster III.
349th Air Mobility Wing's Emblem.

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 light blue globe on a black field denotes the Wing's day and night, round-the-clock, worldwide airlift capabilities. The mythological wyvern, a form of dragon, suggests the strength, speed, and power of the Wing in its airlift mission of long range movement and/or air evacuation of personnel, equipment, and supplies. Its extended right claw with paratrooper reflects the unit's readiness to deliver these services. The smoke and fire the wyvern breathes from its nostrils symbolizes the Wing's personnel as the internal force of the Wing. 

(Current as of February 2013)


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