A Proud Tradition Dating to WWII
The 349th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) traces it’s lineage to the 349th Troop Carrier Group of World War II. Established on the 23rd of October 1943, it was deployed to Europe in March of 1945. The Group was equipped with the C-46 Commando. It provided transport services for the European Theater for the remainder of the war, and upon the German surrender, airlifted the British 1st Airborne Division to Denmark and Norway in order to take the surrender to German forces in those two countries.
In July of 1945 the 349th Troop Carrier Group returned to the United States. At this time it was stationed at Bergstrom Field in Texas. Its mission was to train Chinese pilots and aircrew to fly and maintain the C-46 Commando transport aircraft. With the end of the war in the Pacific the 349th Troop Carrier Group was inactivated.
The Cold War
The 349th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) was reactivated in late 1945 and assigned to Hamilton Air Force Base, California, still flying the C-46. It was activated for the Korean War in 1951, with its Airmen being used to bring other units up to strength. After a brief reorganization as the 349th Fighter-Bomber Group, it was established as the 349th Troop Carrier Wing (Medium) in 1957. Equipped with the C-119 Flying Boxcar, it was called to active duty for the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962. In June of 1966 it was re-designated as the 349th Military Airlift Wing, flying the C-124 Globemaster II. The Wing was again mobilized for the Pueblo Crisis of 1968. In July of 1969 the 349th Military Airlift Wing was transferred to Travis Air Force Base and partnered with the 60th Military Airlift Wing. It was then flying the C-5A and C-141.
After the Cold War
In August of 1990 Iraq occupied Kuwait. This led to a prolonged build up of US forces in Saudi Arabia, operation DESERT SHIELD. The 349th Aircrews flew troops and materiel into the theater. In 1994 the Wing was re-designated the 349th Air Mobility Wing. The high tempo of operations continued through the ‘90’s, then expanded even further with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. In the next years, the Wing supported both operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM, with almost 1000 of its Airmen mobilized in support of those two operations. In 2006 the C-141 was retired and the Wing received the C-17 Globemaster III, giving it three weapons systems—the KC-10, C-5 and C-17. In addition to supporting ongoing operations in the Middle East, 349th AMW flew missions in support of operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, the NATO-led mission to protect civilians in Libya in 2011. The 349th AMW also supported humanitarian operations in Sudan in 2009, Haiti in 2010, and the responses to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and COVOD-ravaged New York City in the spring of 2020.