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341st Air Refueling Squadron

341st Air Refueling Squadron 60px
Active 1943-1945; 1955-1963
Country 23x15px United States
Branch 22x20px United States Air Force
Role Air Refueling
Motto Latin: Potentium Providimus "We Provide Power"
Engagements European Theater of World War II
Insignia
Patch showing 341st Air Refueling Squadron emblem 180px

The 641st Bombardment Squadron was an inactive United States Air Force unit. After training with Douglas A-20 Havocs in the United States the squadron deployed to the European Theater of World War II, where it engaged in combat until the Surrender of Germany. It was last assigned to the 409th Bombardment Group at Westover Field, Massachusetts, where it was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

The 341st Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. After organizing and training at Castle Air Force Base, California it moved to Dow AFB, Maine. It provided air refueling for Strategic Air Command (SAC) units from Dow until it was inactivated on 1 February 1963 as SAC replaced its tanker force with more modern Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers.

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

History

File:341st Air Refueling Squadron.PNG
641st Bombardment Squadron Emblem (approved 21 December 1943)[1]

World War II

The 641st Bombardment Squadron was activated in June 1943 at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma[1] as one of the four original squadrons of the 409th Bombardment Group.[2] The squadron trained under Third Air Force in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana with A-20 Havoc light bombardment aircraft.[2]

File:409bg-a20.jpg
Douglas A-26 Invader of the 409th Bombardment Group

The squadron deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) in March 1944, where it became part of IX Bomber Command of Ninth Air Force.[2]

The 641st initially flew sweeps over Occupied France from its base in England, attacking coastal defenses, V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket sites, airfields, and other targets in France in preparation for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. After D-Day, the squadron supported ground forces during the Battle of Normandy by hitting gun batteries, rail lines, bridges, communications, and other objectives. During July 1944, it aided the Allied offensive at Caen and the breakthrough at Saint-Lô with attacks on enemy troops, flak positions, fortified villages, and supply dumps.[2]

The squadron moved to Advanced Landing Grounds in France in September 1944, providing Third Army with close air support in its advance toward Germany through November.[2]

In December, the squadron converted to Douglas A-26 Invaders. It then participated in the Battle of the Bulge by attacking lines of communications and logistics. The squadron continued combat operations until May, flying its last combat mission against an ammunition dump in Czechoslovakia on 3 May.[2]

The unit returned to the United States and initially was assigned to Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina where it prepared to deploy to the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) for operations against the Japanese Home Islands. The deployment to the Pacific Theater was cancelled with the Surrender of Japan in August.[citation needed] The 641st was inactivated at Westover Field, Massachusetts in early November.[1]

Cold War

The 341st Air Refueling Squadron was activated in June 1955 at Castle Air Force Base, California, although it did not become operational until 20 July.[3] After completing training with the 93d Bombardment Wing at Castle, the squadron moved to its permanent home at Dow Air Force Base, Maine where it was assigned to the 4060th Air Refueling Wing. The squadron mission was to provide air refueling for Strategic Air Command (SAC) units. The squadron flew KC-97F and KC-97G Stratotankers from activation in 1955 until it was discontinued in 1963.

The 341st provided refueling support for SAC wings deploying and redeploying from Europe and North Africa during Reflex operations.[4] It also deployed to locations such as Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, Newfoundland[5] and Thule Air Base, Greenland.[6] In 1960 the squadron transferred to the 4038th Strategic Wing, which replaced the 4060th wing at Dow[7] as part of a SAC program to disperse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike.

During October and November 1962 the 341st temporarily curtailed training and assumed an increased alert posture in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.[8] The squadron became non-operational on 15 July 1963[9] and was inactivated on 1 September as part of the phaseout of the KC-97 from SAC.

The 641st Bombardment Squadron and the 341st Air Refueling Squadron were consolidated into a single unit on 19 September 1985 but the consolidated squadron has not been active.[10]

Lineage

Assignments

Stations

Aircraft

Campaigns

Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
200px Air Offensive, Europe 7 March 1944 – 5 June 1944 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]
200px Normandy 6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]
200px Northern France 25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]
200px Rhineland `5 September 1944 – 21 March 1945 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]
200px Ardennes-Alsace 16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]
200px Central Europe 22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]
200px Air Combat, EAME Theater 7 March 1944 – 11 May 1945 641st Bombardment Squadron[1]

See also

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References

Notes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 690–691
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 294–295
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ravenstein, p. 130
  4. Abstract, History 4060 Air Refueling Wing Sep 1956 (retrieved October 8, 2013)
  5. Abstract, History 4060 Air Refueling Wing Feb 1957 (retrieved October 9, 2013)
  6. Abstract History 4060 Air Refueling Wing Jan-Jun 1956 (retrieved October 9, 2013)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Abstract, History 820 Air Division Aug-Sep 1958 (retrieved October 8, 2013)
  8. Abstract, History 6 Air Division Oct 1962 (retrieved October 9, 2013)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ravenstein, p. 213
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 September 85, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Lineage, including stations and aircraft through 1945 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons pp. 690-691
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Abstract, History 4060 Air Refueling Wing March 1958 (retrieved 9 October 2013)
  13. Station number in Anderson
  14. 14.0 14.1 Station number in Johnson
  15. Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 76. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 

Bibliography

12px This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links