407th Air Refueling Squadron

The 407th Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 42nd Bombardment Wing at Loring Air Force Base, Maine, where it was inactivated on 1 October 1990.

407th Air Refueling Squadron
KC-135A (20577252935).jpg
Active1942–1946; 1953–1961; 1962–1990
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Roleheavy bomber, air refueling
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations[1]
DecorationsPresidential Unit Citation[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[2]
407th Air Refueling Squadron emblem407th Air Refueling Squadron.PNG
407th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 3 June 1943)[1]407 Bombardment Sq emblem.png

The first predecessor of the squadron was activated as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron in March 1942. It was redesignated the 407th Bombardment Squadron the following month. After participating in the antisubmarine campaign while training, it moved to the United Kingdom, where it participated in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions. After V-E Day, it moved to France, where it was inactivated in 1946.

The 407th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in 1953 and supported Strategic Air Command's fighter units and bomber units until inactivating in 1961. It was activated again in 1962. The two units were consolidated in 1985.


World War IIEdit

92d Group Pilots in front of a B-17 of the 407th Squadron[note 2]

Activated as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress reconnaissance squadron in early 1942; trained by Third Air Force in the southeastern United States. Performed antisubmarine duty while training in Florida, March–July 1942.

Deployed to the European Theater of Operations, being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England, one of the first squadrons being assigned to the command. Initially, the squadron initially trained replacement crews for combat at RAF Bovingdon. Upon completion of its training mission, the 407th moved to RAF Alconbury on 6 January 1943 where it and its parent 92nd Bombardment Group underwent reorganization. When they emerged in May 1943, the 92nd and 407th were ready for combat. The group's B-17s, flew their first post-reorganization combat mission on 15 May 1943, and participated in the air offensive over Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe until German capitulation in May 1945.

Reassigned to Air Transport Command in June 1945 as part of Operation Green. Used B-17s as transports, flying demobilized personnel to ATC sites in Morocco and the Azores from France. Aircraft turrets were removed and re-skinned, the bomb racks removed, flooring and seating installed to accommodate 30 passengers. The flight crew was reduced to pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer and radio operator. In addition the engineer and radio operator would act as stewards, to assist and calm the many first time flyers. Inactivated in February 1946.

Air refueling operationsEdit

KB-29P, first tanker flown by squadron

Activated and redesignated by Strategic Air Command as an air refueling squadron in November 1953. From activation in 1953 until summer of 1957, the 407th Air Refueling Squadron deployed KB-29 aircraft and crews on air refueling missions to many parts of the world, participating in a continuing series of strategic exercises as required by Strategic Air Command. The unit conducted similar operations with the KC-97 aircraft between Jul 1957 and Jul 1961, and with the KC-135 aircraft after Jul 1962, providing air refueling support for various kinds of aircraft from several commands on missions ranging from regional movements to intercontinental flights. The two squadrons were consolidated on 19 September 1985.[3]

The consolidated unit was inactivated in October 1990.


407th Bombardment Squadron
  • Constituted as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Activated on 1 March 1942
Redesignated 407th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
Redesignated 407th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 27 September 1944
Inactivated on 28 February 1946[1]
Consolidated with the 407th Air Refueling Squadron as the 407th Air Refueling Squadron on 15 September 1985[3]
407th Air Refueling Squadron
Constituted as the 407th Air Refueling Squadron, Strategic Fighter on 13 November 1953
Activated on 18 December 1953
Redesignated 407th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 15 September 1958
Discontinued and inactivated on 15 July 1961
  • Redesignated 407th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy and activated, on 26 January 1962 (not organized)
Organized on 1 April 1962
Consolidated with the 407th Bombardment Squadron on 15 September 1985
Inactivated on 1 October 1990.






Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Aircraft is Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker, serial number 61-325. Taken at RAF Mildenhall on 7 September 1986.
  2. ^ Aircraft is Boeing B-17F-80-BO, serial 42-29996 "Flag Ship" at Alconbury. This aircraft was lost on 16 November 1943, commanded by 2Lt Joseph F Thornton, of the crew; 1 evaded capture, 9 became POWs. Missing Aircrew Report 1384.
  1. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 498
  2. ^ "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved 14 September 2020. (search)
  3. ^ a b Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 September 1985, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
  4. ^ a b Station number in Anderson, p. 20.
  5. ^ Station number in Anderson, p. 19.
  6. ^ station number in Johnson, p. 27.
  7. ^ Station information through 1946 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 498, except as noted.
  8. ^ Mueller, p. 361
  9. ^ Mueller, p. 256
  10. ^ Mueller, p. 329


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