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|911th Airlift Wing
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III 02-1099 slowing down on the runway
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Reserve Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award |
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
|Colonel Douglas N. Strawbridge|
|911th Airlift Wing emblem (approved 22 March 1995)|
|911th Tactical Airlift Group emblem|
The 911th Airlift Wing is an Air Mobility Command-gained unit of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), based out of Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Pennsylvania.
The 911th Airlift Wing's mission is to organize, recruit and train Air Force Reserve personnel to provide strategic airlift of airborne forces, their equipment and supplies and delivery of these forces and materials by airdrop, landing or cargo extraction systems.
During the first half of 1955, the Air Force began detaching Air Force Reserve squadrons from their parent wing locations to separate sites. The concept offered several advantages. Communities were more likely to accept the smaller squadrons than the large wings and the location of separate squadrons in smaller population centers would facilitate recruiting and manning. Continental Air Command (ConAC)'s plan called for placing Air Force Reserve units at fifty-nine installations located throughout the United States. When these relocations were completed in 1959, reserve wing headquarters and wing support elements would typically be on one base, along with one (or in some cases two) of the wing's flying squadrons, while the remaining flying squadrons were spread over thirty-five Air Force, Navy and civilian airfields under what was called the Detached Squadron Concept.
Although this dispersal was not a problem when the entire wing was called to active service, mobilizing a single flying squadron and elements to support it proved difficult. This weakness was demonstrated in the partial mobilization of reserve units during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 To resolve this, at the start of 1962, Continental Air Command, (ConAC) determined to reorganize its reserve wings by establishing groups with support elements for each of its troop carrier squadrons. This reorganization would facilitate mobilization of elements of wings in various combinations when needed. However, as this plan was entering its implementation phase, another partial mobilization occurred for the Cuban Missile Crisis, with the units being released on 22 November 1962. The formation of troop carrier groups occurred in January 1963 for units that had not been mobilized, but was delayed until February for those that had been.
As a result, the 911th Troop Carrier Group was established at Greater Pittsburgh International Airport on 17 January 1963, as the headquarters for the 758th Troop Carrier Squadron, which had been stationed there since November 1957. Along with group headquarters, a Combat Support Squadron, Materiel Squadron and a Tactical Infirmary were organized to support the 758th.
The group mission was to organize, recruit and train Air Force reserve personnel in the tactical airlift of airborne forces, their equipment and supplies and delivery of these forces and materials by airdrop, landing or cargo extraction systems. The group was equipped with Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars for Tactical Air Command airlift operations.
The 911th Group was one of three C-119 groups assigned to the 459th Troop Carrier Wing in 1963, the others being the 909th Troop Carrier Group at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and the 910th Troop Carrier Group at Youngstown Municipal Airport, Ohio.
The 911th trained for and participated in air transport of airborne forces, equipment and supplies with delivery by airdrop, extraction, and airlanding, as well as air evacuation within a theater of operations. It provided airlift to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and for other contingency operations, such as the Dominican Republic crisis in 1965, as well as numerous humanitarian flights. Beginning in 1973, it periodically rotated flight crews and other personnel to Panama, and later Puerto Rico, to support United States Southern Command commitments. Since the early 1990s it has frequently deployed personnel in support of contingency operations in Southwest Asia and the Balkans.
A news story in the 10 April 2012 edition of the Air Force Times stated the 911th's base is being considered for closure by 2013. As of November, 2014, the future of the base is on solid ground. There are no plans to close it.