BRIEF HISTORY OF 64th TROOP CARRIER GROUP
1947 - 1954
On 20 April 1947, the 64th Troop Carrier Group was assigned to the Tactical Air Command; it was activated-with the 16th and 17th Troop Carrier Squadrons, activated at the same time, as its components-on 19 May 1947 at Langley Field, Virginia, headquarters at Tactical Air Command. It seems unlikely that the units were manned-except for the technical requirement of one officer and one enlisted man. Since the Group remained assigned directly to Tactical Air Command and did not become a component of either the Ninth or Twelfth Air Force, Tactical Air Command's two air forces, it would appear that the activation's were merely paper transactions. The Group was inactivated on 10 September 1948; it remained assigned to Tactical Air Command. On 1 December 1948, however, the Group was relieved from its assignment to Tactical Air Command and was assigned to the Continental Air Command.
On 3 July 1952, the unit was redesignated 64th Troop Carrier Group, Medium, and reassigned to Tactical Air Command; it was activated at Donaldson Air Force Base, South Carolina, on 14 July 1952. Activation was accomplished by inactivating the 375th Troop Carrier Group and transferring its personnel and equipment to the 64th. At the same time the 55th, 56th, and 57th Troop Carrier Squadrons were inactivated and replaced by the 17th, 18th, and 35th. The Group was assigned to the 64th Troop Carrier Wing, Eighteenth Air Force, Tactical Air Command.
One of the Group's important operations was it participation in a demonstration held at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, on 20 August 1952. This demonstration, witnessed by cadets of the United States Military Academy and military attaches from thirty-nine foreign countries, was the largest drop ever made by an air force composed exclusively ofC-82 "Packets." Altogether, 2,160 paratroops were dropped; and there were also many heavy drops, including trucks, jeeps, and large guns. All personnel and all heavy equipment landed in the drop zone. Six paratroopers reported slight sprains; there were no other casualties.
In October one of the Group's aircraft was flown to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to transport anH-5 helicopter and ten personnel to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In the same month a plane was sent to Wilmington, North Carolina, to airlift emergency fire-fighting equipment to Charleston, West Virginia.
In January and February 1953, the Group airlifted 272,000 pounds of organizational equipment of the recently-inactivated 443rd Troop Carrier Wing from Donaldson Air Force Base, South Carolina, to Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, for the use of the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing being activated at that base.
On 25 January, ten of the Group's aircraft carried equipment of the 366th Fighter-Bomber Wing from Alexandria Air Force Base, Louisiana, to Griffin Air Force Base, New York, for use in Operation COLDSPOT. Further support to Operation COLDSPOT was given by the Group's airlifting the equipment of the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, to the maneuver area and by its participating with the 465th Troop Carrier Wing in providing a courier service for the exercise.
Another mission in support of COLDSPOT might have proved tragic. A dump truck being taken to the maneuver area was so loaded in one of the Group's aircraft that members of the crew could not get to the doors if there should be occasion for a bailout. En route to Griffin, the right engine conked out; and the plane began to lose altitude. Fortunately, the pilot was able to make a successful emergency landing.
Other missions flown in the first half of 1953 included airlift of personnel of 1st Aerial Port Operations Squadron to and from Campbell Air Force Base, Kentucky; pathfinder teams to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina; two helicopter blades to Harrisburg Municipal Airport, Pennsylvania, to Clovis Air Force Base, New Mexico; 8,600 pounds of radar sets from Clovis Air Force Base to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and one 2,315 pound aircraft engine from Langley AFB, Virginia, to Offutt AFB, Nebraska. There are only a few, but they are fairly typical. There were also, of course, many other flights involving drops and other forms of training.
During the summer of 1953, the 64th Troop Carrier Group was converted from C-82s toC-119s, the latter being the redesignated version of the C-82. In the month of August, thirty missions were flown, of which eleven were joint operation missions conducted in cooperation with the 82nd Airborne Division. During the joint maneuvers, in addition to the 5,613 paratroopers dropped, supplies were paradropped in bundles, in pararacks, and-in the case of heavy equipment-singly.
Operation DOGSLED, which began on 1 July and was completed on 7 September 1953, involved the aerial delivery of supplies and equipment to Thule Air Force Base, Greenland. The Group used twelveC-119s to drop, without loss of personnel or equipment, more than 4,000 tons of material in the course of the project. Some 662 sorties were flown. The Group's work elicited a letter of appreciation from the Commander of the 6612th Air Base Group, with endorsements by the commanders of the Northeast Air Command, Tactical Air Command, Eighteenth Air Force, and 64th Troop Carrier Wing.
Other missions of the second half of 1953, to mention only a few, involved the airlifting of the Convair Guided Missile exhibit from Norton Air Force Base, California, to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; the Donaldson WAF softball team to and from Brookley AFB, Alabama; one 1/4 ton trailer and a 3/4 ton weapons carrier from Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts, to Monterey Naval Air Station, California, and then two J-47 engines from Monterey to Dow Air Force Base, Maine; and personnel and equipment of the 74th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from Presque Isle Air Force Base, Maine, to Yuma County Airport, Arizona.
Between 1 January and 21 July 1954, the Group flew 919 sorties, for a total of 3,626:30 flying hours. Passengers airlanded totaled 3,522; passenger miles 1,527,419. Paratroops delivered totaled 4,692; paratroop miles, 550,271. There were 87 heavy drops, involving a total of 286.6 tons; other drops totaled more than 40 tons. Ton miles flown were 61,235.
During this period the Group participated in TACAIR 54-7 by providing support for the 464th Troop Carrier Group; active participation began on 26 April 1954 and continued for five days. The number of sorties flown was 192. There were heavy droops amounting to 365.8 tons; 502.77 tons of cargo and 347 personnel were airlanded.
On 21 July 1954, after two years and one week of operations, the 64th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) was inactivated; at that time the unit reverted to the control of the Department of the Air Force.
History courtesy of:
Forrest W. Gregg
17th Troop Carrier Squadron - WW II
Back to Top