Our squadron was activated on November 18, 1942 at Bowman Field, KY as the 57th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS). The 57th TCS was assigned to the 375th Troop Carrier Group along with its sister squadrons the 55th, 56th, & 58th Troop Carrier Squadrons. The squadron was originally equipped with the C-47 aircraft.
In preparation for the upcoming overseas duty in the Pacific Theater, the 57th began training with the C-47 Skytrain. The training included transporting cargo and personnel, airborne drops, cargo drops, and pulling troop gliders. A few months later, on 23 January 1943, the 57th moved to Sedalia Army Air Field, Missouri, (better known today as Whiteman AFB) to continue training. On 5 May 1943, the 57th moved from Sedalia to Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base, North Carolina, for advanced training. While at Laurinburg-Maxton, the squadron picked up some experienced combat crews. The squadron experienced its first accident on March 10 when a glider, practicing night landings, cut loose too soon, hit a tree and crashed. The pilot and co-pilot were seriously injured and the mechanic was killed. Their experience would be invaluable to the new unit. On 2 June 1943, the 57th TCS moved to Baer Field, Indiana, where their equipment shortages were filled and the squadron received its final training before heading out to the Pacific Theater. On June 14, the air echelon (part of 5th AF, 54th Troop Carrier Wing and 375th Troop Carrier Group (Tokyo Trolley) flew to Port Moresby, New Guinea, arriving there June 29, 1943. The ground echelon left Baer Field on June 17 and by 27 June the ground echelon of the 57th TCS was aboard the S.S. Lurline passing under the Golden gate bridge on-route to Brisbane, Australia and then onto Port Moresby, New Guinea. Those traveling by boat were inducted into ―Neptune‘s Royal Order of the Deep as they crossed the equator and they arrived at Port Moresby on July 31.
Soon after arriving in New Guinea the squadron received the name "Biscuit Bomber" (The name Biscuit Bomber comes from the dropping of food and ammunition to forward locations during WWII). The 57th TCS moved on Aug. 2 to Dobodura, New Guinea and two days later flew the first mission to Salamaua. On September 2, nine of the 57th's planes dropped 90,000 pounds of ammunition, food and equipment to allied troops in the area. Until December 23, 1943, the unit made flights to several locations in New Guinea, as well as Port Moresby and Australia. After October 16, the air echelon operated from Port Moresby, with the rest of the squadron moving there on December 20, 1943.
In addition to C-47s, the squadron flew armed B-17F Flying Fortress's from February to May 1944 for the more hazardous missions that involved landing on fields that were under enemy attack. On April 8, 1944, the 57th flew personnel and equipment from Guadalcanal to forward bases at Munda and Dobodura. The unit supported the invasion of Noemfoor Island on July 2 and on September 23, moved to Biak Island. They made the first trip to Morotai Island on October 5, carrying supplies forward and returning with litter patients.
An additional mission took them to Leyte, Philippine Islands on October 31 to haul supplies to the beachhead and return wounded to hospitals. In January 1945 the unit began the transition to C-46 aircraft. It also moved to San Jose, Mindoro, Philippine Islands, on Feb. 18 during the next few months most of its missions were supply flights to ground forces on Luzon and neighboring islands; then to Porac, Luzon on May 19. C-46s flew from Clark Field, 15 miles from the squadron's camp. On June 16, 1945, the 57th TCS made its first flight to Okinawa, the destination of most missions for the next two months.
On August 23, 1945 the 57th and its sister squadrons (55th, 56th & 58th TCS) led by the 375th Troop Carrier Group Commander, Lt Col John L. Ames Jr. flew to the airport in Atsugi, Japan, participating in the initial occupation. September 20 brought another move, this time to Tachikawa AB near Tokyo. Operations continued in Japan until January 21, 1946 when the last of the personnel and equipment transferred to other organizations. The 57th Troop Carrier Squadron inactivated on March 25, 1946.
On 3 August 1947, the 57th activated in the Reserve at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, PA, as part of the 375th Troop Carrier Group. The Reservists trained in the C-46 operations until the unit was reactivated on October 15, 1950. Immediately, the unit moved to Greenville (later, Donaldson) AFB, SC, and began flying C-82 & C-45 aircraft on operational troop carrier missions in November 1950.
Between February 20 and April 11, 1952, the unit operated on temporary duty from Brownswood Municipal Airport, TX, in support of Army maneuvers. On July 14, 1952, the 57th TCS inactivated at Donaldson AFB and activated in the Reserve at Pittsburgh, PA, with new personnel and equipment. The squadron did little training and inactivated on April 1, 1954.
Redesignated 57th Military Airlift Squadron (MAS), Training, the squadron was activated at Tinker AFB OK, on 8 January 1966 while also absorbing the men and equipment of the 1741st Air Transport Squadron.
The 57th MAS trained aircrew members (Pilots, Navigators, Flight Engineers and Loadmasters) to fly the new C-141 turbo-jet transport. They frequently carried cargo and passengers to destinations within the United States on the training flights. The unit also transported cargo and passengers overseas to Japan, Germany, Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska, usually on weekend missions. In later years, additional destinations included Egypt, Korea, Italy, the Philippines, Spain and Africa.
On April 21, 1969, the squadron relocated to Altus AFB OK. From there, the squadron took part in numerous humanitarian and operational missions. The squadron regularly flew to Southwest Asia in support of U.S. forces there. Crews and aircraft flew in the Israeli airlift, October-November 1973. In 1975, the 57th flew its first mission to South America. Occasionally the 57th supported the U.S. Army with airdrop missions of paratroopers and supplies.
In December 1979, the unit received the Air Force's first C-141B, and it was given the name “the City of Altus.” In addition to the stretched fuselage, the aircraft was modified for air refueling capabilities. The squadron also supported the Commander in Chief, Military Airlift Command and his staff in the late 1970s and early 80s.
Airlift missions to Beirut, Lebanon began in August 1983, in support of peacekeeping forces there. During Desert Shield, Desert Storm, 32 aircrews from the squadron flew more than 4,300 hours on 640 sorties. Additionally, the squadron flew more than 200 sorties and transported more than 3,100 tons of food and supplies in support of the Somalia relief efforts during Operation Restore Hope.
The unit was redesignated the 57th Airlift Squadron (AS) on Oct. 1, 1991. In April 1993, with the transfer of 285 flightline maintenance personnel to the 57th AS, the squadron combined aircrew operations with maintenance operations to form the largest combined maintenance and aircrew operational C-141B squadron in the Air Force. On July 1, 1993 the squadron came under the Air Education and Training Command.
From 1965 through 2001 the squadron was the sole source for initial qualifications and advanced training in C-141 strategic airlift aircraft. It was selectively manned to train C-141 aircrew members in airland, aerial delivery and aerial refueling. The 57th flew approximately 2,000 sorties and 8,500 hours annually to provide specialized flight training to over 900 students. In addition, the squadron maintained world-wide qualification and participates in most national USTRANSCOM directed airlift operations. The 57th AS was ceremoniously inactivated on 28 July 2001 at Altus AFB, OK and officially inactivated by the Air Force on 30 September 2001.
Redesignated 57th Weapons Squadron (WPS) on 30 May 2003 and activated on 1 June 2003 at McGuire AFB, NJ. The 57th WPS would provide graduate-level instructor academic and flying courses to C-17 crew members.
Troop Carrier Group, 18 Nov 1942-25 Mar 1946. 375th Troop Carrier Group, 3 Aug
1947-14 Jul 1952. 375th Troop Carrier Group, 14 Jul 1952-1 Apr 1954. 443rd
Military Airlift (later, 443rd Airlift) Wing, 8 Jan 1966; 443rd Operations
Group, 1 Oct 1991; 97th Operations Group, 1 Oct 1992-30 Sep 2001. USAF Mobility
Weapons School, 1 Jun 2003; USAF Weapons School, 5 Jul 2006-.
Operations: Aerial transportation in Southwest and Western Pacific during World War II; airborne assault on Nadzab, New Guinea, 5 Sep 1945. Provided aircrew flight training in the C-141 aircraft and worldwide airlift, 1966-2001. Training provider for USAF weapons officers, C-17 2003-.
Service Streamers: None.
Campaign Streamers: World War II: Air Offensive, Japan; New Guinea; Northern Solomons; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon; Southern Philippines; Ryukyus.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers: None.
Decorations: Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Apr 1967-31 Mar 1969; 1 Apr 1970-31 Mar 1972; 1 Jul 1979-30 Jun 1981; 1 Jul 1985-30 Jun 1987; 1 Jul 1991-30 Jun 1993; 1 Jul 1993-30 Jun 1994; 1 Jul 1994-30 Jun 1995; 1 Jul 1995-30 Jun 1996; 1 Jul 1996-30 Jun 1998; 1 Jul 1998-30 Jun 1999; 1 Jul 1999-30 Jun 2000; 1 Jul 2000-[30 Sep 2001]; 1 Jun 2004-31 May 2006. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation (WWII). Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Apr 1966-28 Jan 1973.
Azure, a pair of wings Or, garnished Gold Brown surmounted by two arrows saltewise of the like, overall a torch of the third flamant Proper fimbriated Argent, all between in base three double mullets, Yellow offset on White, each issuing a four lined contrail arcing to the flame of the torch of the las5t; all within an inner bordure Or and an outer diminished bordure of the first. Approved c. May 1966 (K 14279).
57th Alumni Association. All Right Reserved