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Remembering Wurtsmith Air Force Base

920th Air Refueling Squadron

920th Air Refueling Squadron Insignia

Station:

Wurtsmith Air Force Base

June 1960

Deactivated

15 April 1993


Assignment:

379th Bombardment Wing

9 Jan 1961


Aircraft:

Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker

June 1960


Aircraft Assignments:

The following KC-135As were assigned to the 920th Air Refueling Squadron at the time of its deactivation.

58-0004 58-0010 58-0035 58-0092 58-0123
60-0320 60-0325 60-0326 60-0329 61-0268
61-0298 62-3559 63-7982 63-8006 63-8007
63-8039





The mission of the 920th Air Refueling Squadron was to provide air refueling support to every Air Force major command that flew air-refuelable aircraft, the U.S. Navy and U.S. allies. Its primary role was to support the Strategic Air Command bomber force. Its mission, simply stated, was one of instant global response.

The 920th AREFS was activated on April 15, 1960 at Carswell AFB, Texas, and assigned to the Strategic Air Command. Two months later, the squadron, with 16 combat ready crews and 11 KC-135 Stratotankers, was transferred to Wurtsmith. Once in place, the tanker squadron began refueling bombers on 24-hour continuous airborne alerts during such operation as "Chrome Dome" in the spring of 1962 and, later that same year, during the Cuban missile crisis. Each of the squadron's crews deployed to an overseas location in support of this operation. In October of that same year, a 920th AREFS crew was one of five crews to refuel a B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber on its flight from Tokyo to London, breaking the international supersonic speed distance record.

Another test for the 920th AREFS came during the years of the Vietnam conflict where, for 10 years beginning in 1965, squadron crews and aircraft deployed to Southeast Asia under the "Young Tiger" operations. In this program, they provided pre-strike and post-strike air refueling for fighter, bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.

In 1977, a 920th AREFS crew participated in the first nighttime refueling of the B-1A supersonic bomber, during the bomber's development phase, with the refueling lasting two and one-half hours. During that same year, squadron crews refueling the first deployment of an F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft squadron to Europe.

The commander of the 920th AREFS was responsible to the 379th Bombardment Wing deputy commander for operations. KC-135 crews assigned to the squadron alternated between training flights, task force deployments and alert duties to maintain combat-readiness.

The maximum takeoff weight for each of the squadron's KC-135A tankers was 297,000 pounds and is capable of carrying 32,000 gallons of fuel. Depending on mission requirements, most of this fuel was available for off-load to receiver aircraft. The aircraft is fully pressurized and capable of carrying 80 passengers, 83,000 pounds of cargo, or a combination of passengers and cargo.

Operation Desert Shield/Storm ...Under Construction

Deactivation Paragraph ...Under Construction