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463rd Bombardment Group / Post World War II
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463rd Airlift Group Patch

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The USAF's first C-130 delivered to the
463rd Troop Carrier Wing
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A Low Altitude Parachute Drop by the
463rd tactical Airlift Wing in Viet Nam
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A 463rd C-130 under fire at Khe Sahn

Untitled-2.gif (895 bytes) To perpetuate the heritage of World War II combat groups, the history, honors, and emblem of an individual group may be temporarily bestowed upon an active combat wing. (Air Force Instruction 84-150, Organizational Lineage, Honors, and Heraldry). Today's 463rd Airlift Group takes its bestowed honors from the 463rd Bombardment Group (Heavy).

The 463 Airlift Group traces its origin to Dec. 1, 1952, when the U.S. Air Force established the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing (Medium). Then, on Jan. 16, 1953, the Air Force activated the wing at Memphis Municipal Airport, Memphis, Tenn. The wing's stay in Memphis was a short one, and on Sept. 1, 1953, it moved to Ardmore AFB, Ardmore, Okla. In December 1956, the 463 TCW (M) became the first USAF unit to receive the new Lockheed C-130A Hercules aircraft. Later, the first C-130 airframe was designated the "City of Ardmore" in recognition of the city where it was stationed. The "City of Ardmore" is currently on display in the Dyess AFB, Texas, Airpark. While at Ardmore AFB, the wing supported deployments during the crises in Lebanon (July 1958) and Taiwan (Aug 1958).

On Jan. 15, 1959, the wing moved to Sewart AFB, Tenn. During September 1961, the wing supported the crisis in Berlin. Then, on Oct. 1, 1962, the wing was redesignated as the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing (Assualt). Immediately, the wing deployed to support the Cuban Missile Crisis (October-November 1962).

The wing moved to Langley AFB, Va., on July 1, 1963. While stationed at Langley, the wing supported three crises: the Gulf of Tonkin (August-December 1964), Southeast Asia (February and April-November 1965) and the Dominican Republic (April-September 1965). On May 15, 1965, the Air Force redesignated the wing back to the 463rd TCW (M).

On Nov. 23, 1965, the wing moved to Mactan Isle Air Field, Philippines, and assumed responsibility for operating a C-130 combat airlift support unit at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, and a detachment at Clark AB, Philippines. On Aug. 1, 1967, the Air Force redesignated the wing to the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing.

The wing moved to Clark AB, Philippines, on July 15, 1968. In December 68, the wing began furnishing aircraft and crews to fly missions in Southeast Asia under the operational control of the 315th and 834th air divisions. From September to December 1968 and February 1970 to December 1971, the wing flew aeromedical-evacuation missions in addition to the numerous tasked airlift missions. Between Jan. 1, 1967 and May 31, 1971, the wing received three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" devices and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm for its participation in the Vietnam conflict. The wing ceased aircraft operations in Southeast Asia on Oct. 25, 1971 and inactivated on Dec. 31, 1971. To read a more detailed account of the Wing's heroic efforts in Viet Nam, follow this link.

The wing reactivated on June 1, 1972, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and again participated in numerous operations and exercises worldwide. The wing received two Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers: the first for Grenada in 1983 and the second for Panama for 1989-1990. The wing's tactical components deployed frequently to Europe, the Pacific, and the Panama Canal Zone to provide air transportation as needed. On Nov. 1, 1991, the Air Force redesignated the wing as the 463rd Airlift Wing. The wing inactivated on Oct. 1, 1993.

On March 31, 1997, the 463rd Airlift Wing was redesignated as the 463rd Airlift Group and the group reactivated at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., on April 1, 1997. The 463rd Airlift Group falls under the command of 21st Air Force (Air Mobility Command), located at McGuire Air Force Base, NJ. The group is composed of a command staff element and five reporting squadrons - 50th Airlift Squadron, 61st Airlift Squadron, 463rd Airlift Control Squadron, 463rd Logistics Support Squadron and 463rd Operations Support Squadron.

The 463rd Airlift Group provides warfighting commanders-in-chief with theater combat delivery of personnel and their resupply. Employing 1,100 personnel and 28 C-130E and H3 model aircraft, the group executes an annual flying-hour program of 21,000 hours and an operating budget of more than $43 million. Currently, the 50th Airlift Squadron operates the C-130H3 and the 61st Airlift Squadron operates the C-130E model.

463rd Historical Society
P.O. Box 11045
Santa Ana, Ca. 92711