USAF 1950 – 1964

3919th ABG / CSG

 

In June 1950, RAF Fairford was reopened and began preparing to receive units of the U.S. Air Force. The airfield was enlarged, extended and, for a while, the station was jointly occupied by the U.S. Air Force and the RAF. It was handed over to the U.S. Air Force in July 1951, and the 7507th Air Base Squadron, a 3rd Air Force unit, was the first Air Force organization assigned to the base.

In October 1952, the organization was converted into the 3919th Air Base Group under the Strategic Air Command. In 1955 the group was changed to a squadron.

On Jan. 6, 1958, the first B-47 Stratobombers were deployed to the base from the 68th Bomb Wing at Chennault AFB, Louisiana, to initiate the continuing alert force concept. On Jan. 1, 1959, the 3919th Air Base Squadron was redesignated the 3919th Combat Support Group, a Strategic Air Command Unit. The 68th Bomb Wing continued to deploy six B-47 aircraft to Fairford until July 1961.

Reflex alert aircraft strength was doubled at RAF Fairford in July 1961 when the 68th Bomb Wing increased it’s deployment to nine B-47s, while the 96th Bomb Wing from Dyess AFB, Texas, began deploying three B-47s to RAF Fairford.

The reflex posture at the base changed on Aug. 1, 1962, when the and 97th Bomb Wings were replaced by the 340th Bomb Wing from Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

On Dec. 1, 1962, a SAC reflex alert posture was implemented at Fairford. This was supported by one KC-97 aircraft from the 19th Refueling Squadron, Otis AFB, Mass., and was on rotating alert for 28 days at a time.

The base continued to be used by the U.S. Air Force until June 26, 1964, when it was transferred back to RAF control.

(Above information taken from the RAF Fairford Open Day 1984 programme) 

 

September 20, 1950, RAF Fairford was transferred to the USAF for strategic bomber operations. To facilitate this, the runway was rebuilt and extended to almost 10,000ft (3,048m), together with a series of hard standings for the heavy bombers. Following completion, on April 7, 1953, the first Boeing B-47 Stratojets arrived in the UK, when two aircraft of the 306th Bombardment Wing (BW) en route to Fairford diverted to Brize Norton, after flying non-stop from Limestone AFB, Maine (later renamed Loring AFB).

Following a two-week visit by the 306th BW’s commander Col Michael McCoy to check out facilities at Fairford and at other SAC bases in England, they returned to MacDill AFB, Florida, the home of the 306th, which had been the first SAC unit to equip with the B-47B. Fifteen aircraft from that wing arrived at Fairford on June 4, 1953 as part of SAC’s rotational training programme. These were followed by another 30 over the next three days, bringing the wing up to its full strength of 45 aircraft. The base hosted occasional visits by B-36 Peacemakers and RB-36s until 1954, and B-52s until March 1964. Deployments of B-47s, latterly on ‘Reflex Action’ nuclear alert duties continued until 1964, the year Fairford was handed back to the RAF.

http://www.key.aero/article/raf-fairford-illustrious-history

 

OPERATIONS
RAF Fairford’s mission was to receive and support SAC’s tactical units for pre and post strike staging through RAF Fairford, as well as providing the support and assistance to transport aircraft as required. In addition to this RAF Fairford had to provide operational and logistical support for six B-47 aircraft and crews on continuous alert under “Reflex Action”.

As of 1 January 1958 RAF Fairford was assigned the additional responsibility of supporting aircraft of the “Reflex” force on continuous alert during peacetime as well as wartime. This responsibility included the operational control and logistical support of the “Reflex” aircraft.

The 3919th Air Base Squadron (SAC) was re-designated from the 3919th Air Base Group (SAC) on 15th October 1955, in accordance with SAC General Order 67, dated 30 September 1955.

Prior to this re-designation, and during the period 1950-1952, the 3919th Air Base Group functioned under the designation of the 7507th Air Base Group, a satellite under the command of the 7503rd Air Support Wing at nearby RAF Brize Norton. During this period the base was under the control of Headquarters Third Air Force, USAFE. In October 1952 the 3919th Air Base
Group was formed utilising personnel from the 7507th Air Base Group. Concurrently, RAF Fairford came under the control of Headquarters 7th Air Division (SAC) located at Ruislip, England.

The 3919th Air Base Group operated as a Strategic Air Command forward base from October 1952 until October 1955, at which time the 3919th Air Base Squadron was formed from personnel of the 3919th Air Base Group and the mission changed from one of wing support to that of a Post-Strike
station.

Under the squadron concept the 3919th Air Base Squadron was organised into flights similar in operation to the separate squadrons of a group, e.g. Operations Flight, Supply Flight etc, with a total of ten flights comprising the squadron. Although these flights were an integral part of the squadron for administrative purposes each had its own officer in charge with a Flight Sergeant performing the duties of a First Sergeant.

The 3919th Air Base Squadron operated as a separate organisation under the command of Headquarters 7th Air Division, receiving Supply, Medical, Finance and Legal support from the 3920th Air Base Group at RAF Brize Norton.

The 3919th Combat Support Group (SAC) was re-designated from the 3919th Air Base Squadron on 1 January 1959 in accordance with SAC General Order 67, dated 16 October 1958.

In the event of hostilities RAF Fairford as a SAC forward operating base in the UK would receive and support pre and post striking tactical units operating under Emergency War Orders. In addition a requirement to increase the strike potential in the forward area under minimum warning conditions by “Reflex Action” operations existed. Upon notification from higher headquarters the
3919th CSG would become Fairford Task Force for the implementation of this order.

The 3919th Combat Support Group was assigned to HQ 7th Air Division for operational control during peacetime and wartime. The 3919th CSG was assigned for logistical support to the 3920th Combat Support Group at RAF Brize Norton.

The 68th Bomb Wing would have exercised operational control over the 3919th CSG at RAF Fairford during wartime.

One 15-aircraft post-strike staging team of the 21st Air Division, Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, exercised administrative and logistical control over the 3919th CSG during peacetime and wartime.

(Information above taken from usafunithistory.com)

Base layout 27/08/1952

 

Chronology

TRANSFERRED FROM THE RAF TO USAFE 07 JUL 1950
7507TH AIR BASE SQUADRON 07 JUL 1950 – 24 MAY 1951
7507th AIR BASE GROUP 25 MAY 1952 – 15 OCT 1952
Runway lengthen to 10,000 feet
2nd AVIATION FIELD DEPOT SQUADRON
19 MAY 1951 – 15 JUN 1956
7507TH AIR BASE SQUADRON 07 JUL 1950 – 24 MAY 1951
7507th AIR POLICE SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7507th FOOD SERVICE SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7507th INSTALLATION SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7507th MEDICAL SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7507th MOTOR VEHICLE SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7507th OPERATIONS SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7507th SUPPLY SQUADRON
25 MAY 1951 – 15 OCT 1952
7522nd AIR BASE SQUADRON 10 Mar 1952 – 10 Nov 1952
7582nd AIR BASE SQUADRON 01 Jul 1952 – 01 Aug 1952

3919th Air Base Group – Armed Forces Day 21 May 1955

BASE REASSIGNED TO STRATEGIC AIR COMMAD – 16 Oct 1952
3919th AIR BASE GROUP 16 OCT 1952 – 14 OCT 1955
3919th AIR BASE SQUADRON 15 OCT 1955 – 30 JUN 1962 Later Redesignated: 3919th SUPPORT SQUADRON
01 JUL 1962 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th COMBAT SUPPORT GROUP
01 JAN 1959 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th AIR POLICE SQUADRON
15 OCT 1955 – 30 JUN 1962 Later Redesignated: 3919th COMBAT DEFENSE SQUADRON

3919 COMBAT DEFENSE SQUADRON


01 JUN 1962 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Dates Not Published but known to exist
3919th FOOD SERVICE SQUADRON
16 OCT 1952 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th INSTALLATION SQUADRON
Later Redesignated: 3919th CIVIL ENGINEERING SQUADRON
16 OCT 1952 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th MEDICAL SQUADRON
Later Redesignated: 3919th USAF INFIRMARY
16 OCT 1952 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th MOTOR VEHICLE SQUADRON
Later Redesignated: 3919th TRANSPORTATION SQUADRON
16 OCT 1952 – 30 JUN 1964
3919th OPERATIONS SQUADRON
16 OCT 1952 – 30 JUN 1964

3919th SUPPLY SQUADRON
16 OCT 1952 – 30 JUN 1964
Deployed Units:
306th Bombardment Wing 11 Jun 1953 – 07 Sep 1953
43rd Bombardment Wing 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
43rd Air Refueling Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
43rd Armament & Electronics Maintenance Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
43rd Field Maintenance Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
43rd Periodic Maintenance Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
43rd Tactical Hospital 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
63rd Bombardment Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
64th Bombardment Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
65th Bombardment Squadron 18 Sep 1954 – 09 Dec 1954
68th Field Maintenance Squadron 19 Jun 1954 – 04 Aug 1954
303rd Bombardment Wing 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
303rd Air Refueling Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
303rd Armament & Electronics Maintenance Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
303rd Field Maintenance Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
303rd Periodic Maintenance Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
303rd Tactical Hospital 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
358th Bombardment Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
359th Bombardment Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
360th Bombardment Squadron 28 Apr 1954 – 05 Jun 1954
9th Bombardment Wing 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
9th Air Refueling Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
9th Armament & Electronics Maintenance Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
9th Field Maintenance Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
9th Periodic Maintenance Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
9th Tactical Hospital 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
1st Bombardment Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
99th Bombardment Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955
5th Bombardment Squadron 22 May 1955 – 09 Jul 1955 (Found from official Squadron History)
Fairford Task Force, Provosional
01 May 1955 – Unk
Fairford Task Force supported rotational aircraft and crews from stateside units instead of full wing & squadron deployments

Crashes

06.02.53 51-5719 B-36H, USAF: 492nd BS / 7th BW https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/152762

20.07.54 51-17385 B-47E, USAF: 68 BW, Crashed on take-off, Fairford Forgotten Jets

06.08.54 51-2382 B-47E, USAF: 68 BW, Stalled & crashed on take-off, 2m from Fairford https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/156308

01.05.55 52-0386 B-47E, USAF, Crashed on take-off, Fairford https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/60607

 

The 320th BW deployed to Fairford with it’s 441st, 442nd and 443rd BS along with the 320th 3 Maintenance Squadrons & 320 Tactical Hospital 15 Jul 1955 – 15 Sep 1955 the Wing’s 320th AREFS was deployed to Alaska at the same time and did not go to Fairford

2nd Aviation Field Depot Squadron Relocated to RAF Brize Norton was replaced by the 4th Aviation Field Depot Squadron Redesignated 4th Aviation Depot Squadron (1957) Redesignated 4th Munitions Maintenance Squadron (1960)

Fairford also hosted Detachment 801, 3rd Air Postal Squadron (RAF West Ruislip); Detachment 24, 28th Weather Squadron (RAF Northolt); Detachment 3, 1970th Communications Squadron (RAF Brize Norton)

3919th Air Police

Thanks to Terry L Horstead for information on this page