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C-133 Units

       C-133s were assigned to two Military Airlift Command wings, the 436th Military Airlift Wing at Dover AFB, DE, and the 60th MAW at Travis AFB, CA.  At Dover, the two flying squadrons were the 1st and 39th Military Airlift Squadrons. The 84th MAS flew C-133s from Travis. In addition to the three flying squadrons, there were maintenance and aerial port squadrons at both bases that kept the airplanes flying and managed cargo. Squadron patches and short histories below give a summary of unit lineage and history.

     I will add the patches of other units as I can find them. For anyone who has patches from the maintenance and aerial port squadrons, please contact me and send a scan of the patch.


Eastern Transport Air Force/21st Air Force

          Under Military Air Transport Service, Eastern Transport Air Force (EASTAF), headquartered at McGuire AFB, NJ, controlled all strategic airlift operations between the Mississippi River and the east coast of Africa and in Central and South America. When MATS became Military Airlift Command, EASTAF was redesignated 21st Air Force, with the same area of responsibility. In addition to Dover AFB, other major 21st AF bases were Charleston AFB, SC and McGuire AFB, NJ. Depending upon command organization at different times, airlift and airlift support units in Europe, the Azores, Bermuda and throughout the southeastern United States also reported to EASTAF or 21st AF.

436th Military Airlift Wing



      When the C-133A arrived at Dover AFB, DE, the parent wing was designated the 1607th Air Transport Wing. On 1 January 1966, Military Airlift Transport Service became Military Airlift Command, a designated military command equal in status to Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command. The 1607th ATW became the 436th Military Airlift Wing (MAW). On 8 January, all subordinate units were also redesignated. At Dover, the 1st and 39th Air Transport Squadrons became Military Airlift Squadrons.

39th Military Airlift Squadron


                                                                                                          39th Air Transport Sq                                                   39th Military Airlift Sq

        The 39th ATS was activated on 28 August 1957, becoming the first USAF unit to fly the C-133A. Its lineage goes back to the 39th Ferrying Sq, 9 Jul 42, operating in the South Pacific. On 24 Mar 43, it was redesignated 39th Transport Sq, and then was disbanded 18 Oct 43. On 4 Nov 53, the unit was reconstituted as the 39th Transport Sq. then redesignated 39th Air Transport Sq, Medium, on 4 Nov 53. The unit was activated 16 Feb 53. On 8 Sep 57, it was redesignated 39th Air Transport Sq, heavy, and finally as 39th Military Airlift Sq on 8 Jan 66. The unit was disbanded in 1971.

        The 39th had an Asiatic-Pacific Theater service streamer and was awarded two AF Outstanding Unit Awards, for the periods 26 Dec 65-23 Jan 66 and 13 Nov-18 Dec 67.


1st Military Airlift Squadron


                                        1st Air Transport Sq/Military Airlift Sq                                     89th Military Airlift Gp                                                          1st Airlift Sq

     The 1st MAS converted to C-133 operations on 7 May 1960. It traced its lineage to the 1st Air Transport Sq (Mobile) on 13 Mar 1944. The squadron was deactivated on 25 Mar 1946 and disbanded on 8 October 1948. On 1 Sep 1953, it was reconstituted and redesignated 1st Air Transport Sq (Medium) and reactivated on 18 Nov 1953. On 8 Sep 1954, the designation was changed to 1st Air Transport Sq (Heavy). With the activation of MAC, it became 1st MAS on 8 Jan 1966. With the C-133's retirement, the unit was inactivated on 30 Jun 1971. On 12 Sep 1977, the 1st was reactivated and assigned to the 89th Military Airlift Wing, Andrews AFB, MD. During the Carter presidency, the 89th MAW was downgraded to a Group, but has since been redesignated a Wing.
     The 1st initially served in the Caribbean Wing, Air Transport Command, and then was assigned to the India-China Wing (later Division), Air Transport Command on 2 May 1944. Service in that theater continued under XX Bomber Command. In Jun 1945, the 1st came under Eighth Air Force and a succession of other units in the Pacific. On
18 Nov 1953, the 1st was transferred to Dover AFB, remaining there until the end of the C-133's service in 1971. It moved to Andrews AFB, MD with its reactivation in 1977.
      The unit was equipped first with the Curtiss C-46 Commando, and then converted to the Consolidated C-87 in 1944. After the war, it flew Douglas C-47s until re-equipping with C-54s during the Korean War. The next airplane was the Douglas C-124, then the C-133 from 1960-71. At Andrews, a variety of aircraft included the Beechcraft VC-6, Douglas VC-9, Beechcraft C-12, Boeing VC-135, Lockheed C-140, Gulfstream C-20 and the Boeing VC-137. These aircraft were used to transport VIPs throughout the
United States and around the world.


Dover AFB C-133 Support Units


                                 1607th Flight Line Maintenance Sq (Prov)     1617th Flight Line Maintenance Sq          436th Organizational Maintenance Sq                        Crew Chief


C-133 operations at Dover AFB were supported by many other units, including maintenance and aerial port. The maintenance guys worked outdoors in all sorts of weather, hot in summer and cold and damp in winter, to keep the huge aircraft operating. Some maintenance personnel were also flying crew chiefs who went on missions with the flight crews. Their expertise, when combined with that of the flight engineer, often made the difference between moving the mission and an extended delay. Before the C-5, the 436th FMS patch had a C-54 in the center. (Unit names checked with AMC Museum, 18 Jan 2006)


Aerial Port Squadrons



                                               436 Aerial Port Sq                                1st Mobile Aerial Port Sq                              2nd Mobile Aerial Port Sq                            5th Mobile Aerial Port Sq


                                        86th Aerial Port Sq                                   374th Aerial Port Sq                                            435th Aerial Port Sq                                              616th Aerial Port Sq



                                                                                                                                              8th Aerial Port Sq

       Aerial Port personnel at bases around the world were essential to cargo movement. They received the cargo and prepared it for shipment. This included weighing the vehicles, pallets and other forms of packaging, checking for hazardous materials and making any special arrangements necessary, and preparing preliminary load plans for the aircraft. When an airplane landed, aerial port personnel met the loadmaster, who supervised off-loading. This was work critical to mission progress and to flight safety, for improperly loaded cargo or hazardous materials unknown to the crew could have catastrophic consequences. Members of Mobile Aerial Port Squadrons frequently deployed to forward locations to provide cargo-handling services otherwise unavailable. The 8th Aerial port Sq had dozens of detachments all over Vietnam to handle cargo from every sort of cargo airlifter, including C-133s.

Western Transport Air Force/22d Air Force


       Western Transport Air Force (WESTAF) managed all MATS operations from the Mississippi River west to the east coast of Africa. When MATS became MAC, WESTAF was redesignated 22d AF, with headquarters at Travis AFB, CA.

60th Military Airlift Wing


       The 1501st Air Transport Wing was established at Travis AFB on 1 July 1955. It was assigned to the MATS Western Transport Air Force (WESTAF), which eventually controlled MATS activities from the Mississippi River to the Arabian Peninsula. When MATS became MAC, the 1501st was redesignated the 60th Military Airlift Wing. WESTAF became 22d AF. The 60th's lineage extended back to the 60th Troop Carrier Wing, activated on 1 July 1948 at Kaufbeuren AB, Germany. The 60th later was the host unit at Rhein-Main AB, Germany, then moved in 1955 to Dreux AB, France. It was inactivated there on 15 Sep 1958. The wing insignia carries the colors of the flags of the NATO nations, with three gold flight symbols representing its role in defense of NATO. Thanks to Terry Horstead for the colored 1501st patch.


84th Military Airlift Squadron

84th Air Transport Sq/Military Airlift Sq

      The 84th MAS traced its lineage to the 84th Ferrying Squadron, activated 25 March 1943 at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was soon redesignated the 84th Transport Squadron, but was disbanded 20 Sep 1943. On 20 Jan 1952, the 84th Air Transport Sq (Medium) was reactivated at Great Falls AFB, MT, equipped with C-54s. The unit moved to Travis in May 1953 and converted to C-124s in February 1954. The conversion to the C-133A occurred in late 1958, and the C-133B arrived in April 1959. The unit was deactivated in July 1971. There is still an 84th Airlift Flight in Air Mobility Command, based at Peterson Field, CO, but it traces its lineage to the 84th Troop Carrier Sq of World War Two.


Travis AFB Support Units





                                                              601st Organizational Maintenance Sq                             1501st Flight Line Maintenance Sq                                            1501st FLMS Sticker

       Just as at Dover, the Travis AFB maintenance squadrons kept the C-133s moving 24 hours a day. Airplanes would return from a mission with many critical maintenance writeups that called for the ingenuity and dedication of the maintainers, who worked wonders in the hot central California sun and cold, windy Suisun winter nights.

          The 1501st  FLMS sticker mysteriously appeared on an Aeroflot TU-104 at New Delhi, during the 84th MAS round the world flight 20 July-3 August 1960. CMSgt Robert Carroll stuck them in many places during a tour of the airplane. He thought "that ought to be good for a purge or two." Thanks to his daughter, Kathy, for a scan of the sticker.

        I know there are other patches out there for other units at Dover and  Travis. If anyone has them, please send a scan to me, to be posted on this page. Thanks to Terry Horstead for the recent additions.





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