The 439th Operations Group is an active United States Air Force Reserve unit. It is the flying component of the Twenty-Second Air Force 439th Airlift Wing, stationed at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts.
|439th Operations Group|
|Active||1943–1946; 1949–1951; 1952–1957; 1965–1968; 1992—present|
|Branch||United States Air Force Reserve|
The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 439th Troop Carrier Group was a C-47 Skytrain transport unit assigned to Ninth Air Force in Western Europe. During Operation Overlord, two serials of aircraft, one of 45 and the other of 36 from the 439th TCG were dispatched late in the evening of 5 June to drop the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during the first hour of the invasion behind Utah Beach.
Difficult weather conditions and heavy anti-aircraft fire were encountered and three aircraft failed to return. A reinforcement mission with gliders was flown on the following day, with 50 C-47s towing 30 Horsa and 20 CG-4 Wacos. The 439th later received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its work during these two days.
The group operates 8 C-5M Super Galaxys, flown by the 337th Airlift Squadron. The peacetime mission includes recruiting, training and supervision of personnel to assure mission readiness.
The 439th Operations Group is capable of providing worldwide air movement of troops, supplies, equipment and medical patients. Airlift also involves airdrop and combat offloading operations.
The 439th Operations Group consists of the following units:
Trained in the U.S. with C-47s, 1943-Jan1944. Moved to England, February–March 1944, for duty with Ninth Air Force.
The group began operations by dropping paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division in Normandy on D-Day (6 June 1944) and releasing gliders with reinforcements on the following day. The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation and a French citation for these missions. After the Normandy invasion the group ferried supplies in the United Kingdom until the air echelon was sent to Italy in July to transport cargo to Rome and evacuate wounded personnel. The detachment dropped paratroops of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment along the Riviera in support of the invasion of Southern France on 15 August, and later towed gliders to provide reinforcements; for these missions the group earned another citation from the French government. After the air echelon returned to England on 25 August the group resumed its cargo missions.
After moving to France in September, the group dropped paratroops of the 82nd Airborne Division near Nijmegen and towed gliders carrying reinforcements during the airborne attack on the Netherlands. In December, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge by releasing gliders with supplies for the 101st Airborne Division near Bastogne. When the Allies made the air assault across the Rhine River in March 1945, each aircraft of the 439th towed two gliders with troops of the 17th Airborne Division and released them near Wesel. The group also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals. It converted from C-47s to C-46s and the 439th used the new aircraft to transport displaced persons from Germany to France and Belgium after V-E Day.
The group returned to the U.S. during the period July–September 1945, and trained with C-46 aircraft until inactivated on 10 Jun 1946.
Activated in the Reserve on 15 June 1952, the group trained in fighter-bomber operations until phased out in September 1957 when the wing adopted the Tri-Deputate organization.
On 8 January 1966 the 439th replaced the 1602d Air Transport Group at Rhein-Main AB, Germany. The group controlled assigned and attached Military Airlift Command airlift units at Rhein-Main, provided air transport and air evacuation services within and occasionally outside Europe. Earned an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for May–June 1967 support during the Middle East crisis.
Since 1 August 1992 the group has trained for and flown global airlift operations, transporting personnel, equipment, and supplies and participating in numerous exercises.
The group received its first C-5M Super Galaxy on June 2, 2017. Marking the first of eight for the unit. On September 7, 2017 the unit's last C-5A left Westover for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona for retirement.
Media related to 439th Troop Carrier Group (United States Army Air Forces) at Wikimedia Commons