458th Airlift Squadron

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458th Airlift Squadron
458th Airlift Squadron.jpg
458th Airlift Squadron Patch
Active 1 July 1942 – 27 December 1945
12 October 1966 – 1 March 1972
1 April 1975 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Airlift
Part of Air Mobility Command
18th Air Force
375th Air Mobility Wing
375th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Scott Air Force Base
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Emblem of the 458th Bombardment Squadron

The 458th Airlift Squadron (458 AS) is part of the 375th Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. It operates C-21 aircraft providing executive airlift and aeromedical evacuation.


A 458th TAS C-7B in Vietnam, 13 September 1970.

Established in mid-1942 under II Bomber Command as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Replacement Training Unit (RTU). Operated until March 1944 with the end of Heavy Bomber training.

B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan[edit]

Re-designated on 1 April 1944 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment squadron. When training was completed moved to North Field Guam in the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific Area in January 1945 and assigned to XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force. Its mission was the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands and the destruction of its war-making capability.

The squadron flew "shakedown" missions against Japanese targets on Moen Island, Truk, and other points in the Carolines and Marianas. The squadron began combat missions over Japan on 12 April 1945 with a bombing mission over Koriyama, Japan to strike the Hodogaya Chemical Plant. The squadron continued to participate in wide area firebombing attacks, but the first ten-day-long blitz resulted in the Army Air Forces running out of incendiary bombs. Until then the squadron flew conventional strategic bombing missions using high explosive bombs.

The squadron continued attacking urban areas with incendiary raids until the end of the war in August 1945, attacking major Japanese cities, causing massive destruction of urbanized areas. Also conducted raids against strategic objectives, bombing aircraft factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, and other targets in Japan. The squadron flew its last combat missions on 14 August when hostilities ended. Afterwards, its B 29s carried relief supplies to Allied prisoner of war camps in Japan and Manchuria.

The squadron remained in Western Pacific, although largely demobilized in the fall of 1945. Some aircraft were scrapped on Tinian; others flown to storage depots in the United States. The unit was inactivated as part of Army Service forces in December 1945.

United States Air Force[edit]

Reactivated as a reserve B-29 squadron at March AFB, California in 1949. Squadron personnel were activated for Korean War service on 1 May 1951 and reassigned to active duty units and deployed to Far East Air Forces. Inactivated as a paper unit in June 1951. Reactivated as a C-46 Commando Troop Carrier Squadron in June 1952, but unclear whether manned or equipped. Inactivated in July 1952.

Reactivated during the Vietnam War at Cam Ranh Air Base, South Vietnam in 1966. Provided intratheater airlift in Vietnam, including airland and airdrop assault missions from, 1966–1972, being inactivated as part of the drawdown of United States forces and the closure of Cam Ranh AB. and military airlift operations worldwide from 1975 to 1978. It conducted airlift in Southwest Asia from August 1990 – May 1991.

Operations and Decorations[edit]

  • Combat Operations: Conducted bombardment missions against Japan, c. 6 Apr-14 August 1945; Intratheater airlift in Southeast Asia, including airland and airdrop assault missions, 1967–1972
  • Campaigns: World War II: Western Pacific; Air Offensive, Japan; Vietnam Air Offensive; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II; Vietnam Air/Ground 1968; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV; TET 69/ Counteroffensive; Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969; Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Southwest Monsoon; Commando Hunt V; Commando Hunt VI; Commando Hunt VII; Intratheater airlift in Southwest Asia, August 1990 – April 1991;
  • Decorations: Distinguished Unit Citations: Japan, 10 May 1945; Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, 23–29 May 1945. Presidential Unit Citations (Southeast Asia) 21 Jan-12 May 1968; 1 Apr-30 June 1970; Navy Presidential Unit Citation: Vietnam, 20 Jan-1 April 1968; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V” Device 1 Jan-30 April 1967; 1 May 1967 – 30 April 1968; 1 July 1970 – 31 December 1971. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 January 1967 – 30 April 1972; Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards-1 Jul-31 December 1975; 1 January 1976 – 31 January 1977; 1 June 1981 – 31 May 1982; 1 June 1982 – 30 June 1983; 1 June 1986 – 31 July 1988


  • Constituted 458th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 1 July 1942
Activated on 6 July 1942
Inactivated on 1 April 1944
  • Redesignated 458th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, and activated, on 1 April 1944
Inactivated on 27 December 1945
  • Redesignated 458th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on 26 May 1952
Activated in the Reserve on 14 June 1952
Inactivated on 14 July 1952
  • Redesignated 458th Troop Carrier Squadron, and activated, on 12 October 1966
Organized on 1 January 1967
Redesignated 458th Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 August 1967
Inactivated on 1 March 1972
  • Consolidated (1 December 1991) with the 1401st Military Airlift Squadron, which was designated, and activated, on 1 April 1975.
Redesignated 458th Airlift Squadron on 1 December 1991.


Bases stationed[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]