|434th Operations Group
434th Group KC-135R Stratotankers
|Active||1943-1946; 1947-1953; 1953-1959; 1992-present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Reserve Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Grissom Air Reserve Base|
|Decorations||Distinguished Unit Citation|
French Croix de Guerre with Palm
|434th Operations Group emblem (Approved 5 June 1995)|
|Tail marking||Red band with "Grissom" in white|
The 434th Operations Group (434 OG) is an active United States Air Force Reserve unit. It is the flying component of the Fourth Air Force 434th Air Refueling Wing, stationed at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana.
The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 434th Troop Carrier Group was a C-47 Skytrain transport unit assigned to Ninth Air Force in Western Europe. The group flew combat paratroopers on airborne assaults on Normandy (Operation Overlord); Southern France (Operation Dragoon); the Netherlands (Operation Market-Garden), and Germany (Operation Varsity). It also flew combat resupply missions in the relief of Bastogne in 1945.
The mission of the 434 OG is to provide mid-air refueling to long-range bombers, fighters, and cargo aircraft. It flies the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker.
The 434 OG is one of the key refueling units in the Air Force Reserve. The group regularly participates in exercises and front-line operations to support America's national interests. It is composed of the following squadrons:
Media related to 434th Troop Carrier Group at Wikimedia Commons
Established as the 434th Troop Carrier Group on 30 January 1943. Trained in the U.S., moving to England, late September-October 1943, for operations with Ninth Air Force. Moved to RAF Fulbeck, England in October 1943.
The 434th TCW was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing. Shortly after its arrival at Fulbeck, the group was reassigned to RAF Aldermaston in the Salisbury Plain area to co-locate with 101st Airborne Division in preparation for the invasion of northern France.
The 434th was one of the groups trained and designated to deliver gliders on D-Day. As the assigned delivery group for Mission Chicago, the 52 C-47s of the 434th TCG each towed a Waco CG-4A glider to Normandy, losing one aircraft to flak in the darkness. For this, and two follow-up missions with gliders and supplies, the group was later awarded the coveted Distinguished Unit Citation.
The 434th TCG spent the summer of 1944 mainly in carrying freight, fuel and troops to France. It was not involved in the invasion of southern France(as were several of the UK based C-47 groups) and its next combat operation was 'Market', the airborne operation in the Netherlands on 17 September.
Two serials (the term for a specifically briefed formation) of 45 C-47s each dropped paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division in the Veghcl sector. Heavy flak shot down four aircraft and damaged 10 of the first serial and another plane was lost from the second serial plus nine damaged. Next day, 80 of the group's aircraft towed gliders to a landing zone in the Son area. Seven gliders landed prematurely, two of them in the sea, and flak brought down two C-47s and damaged 33.
Some 82 aircraft towing gliders were despatched on 19 September and one C-47 failed to return. A total of 20 gliders were lost before reaching release point. This most intensive period of troop carrier operations continued on the 20th when 53 C-47s took off on a re-supply mission to Overasselt. The drop was scattered but all aircraft returned. A final re-supply mission was carried out from Ramsbury but by now the situation on the ground was beyond retrieval.
The 434th remained at Aldermaston until 12 February 1945 when the group moved to an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Mourmclon-le-Grand airfield (ALG A-80) in France. From France, the group participated in the airborne assault across the Rhine, dropping paratroops over the east bank on 24 March. In addition to these airborne operations, the group reinforced ground troops in the St Lo area during the breakthrough in July 1944; provided supplies for Third Army during its drive across France in Aug, an action for which the group was cited by the French Government; and resupplied troops at Bastogne in December 1944 in the effort to stop the German offensive in the Ardennes. Also engaged in numerous transport missions, hauling mail, rations, clothing, and other supplies from England to bases in France and Germany, and evacuating the Allied wounded.
After V-E Day, transported gasoline to Allied forces in Germany and evacuated prisoners of war to relocation centers in France and the Netherlands. Returned to the US, July-August 1945. Trained with C-46's. Inactivated on 31 July 1946.
Trained with airborne troops after moving to South Carolina in February 1946. Activated in the Reserve in March 1947, but possibly not manned from March 1947 until July 1949, after creation of the 434th Troop Carrier Wing. Called to active duty during the Korean War. Airlifted and exercised with Army paratroops, May 1951 - January 1953. Also provided C-46 combat crew training in support of Far East requirements, September 1952 - January 1953. Remanned in the Reserve in February 1953. Trained, using C-46s as primary training aircraft to January 1957 and C-119s until 1959 when inactivated due to implementation of Tri-Deputate organization by 434th TCW.
Activated as 434th Operations Group when Objective Wing organization implemented by 434th Wing on 1 August 1992. Performed air refueling missions worldwide since August 1992. Deployed personnel and aircraft periodically since late 1993 to Italy and other western European locations in support of NATO operations in the Balkans.