728th Airlift Squadron

728th Military Airlift Squadron

728th Military Airlift Squadron 

728th Airlift Squadron 

728th AirLift Squadron History and Lineage

The 728th was initially activated June 1, 1943, as the 728th Bombardment Squadron at Geiger Field located near Spokane, WA. The 728th, equipped with the B-17 Flying Fortress, flew its first combat mission to France in 1944 in support of Allied Forces during World War II. The squadron flew numerous bombardment missions during the Battle of the Bulge and supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. Following several European post-war missions, the 728th was deactivated in the United States in August 1945.

In April 1947, the 728th was reactivated as a Reserve unit at Long Beach, CA. The squadron began transition training in the Douglas B-26 Invader in February 1949. Ordered to active duty in August 1950, the squadron left its training station at George AFB, CA, and headed for Japan Oct. 12, 1950. The 728th flew its first combat mission of the Korean War on November 12, 1950. The squadron later moved to South Korea in May 1951 to fly close air support, interdiction and reconnaissance missions against North Korea. These combat missions continued until May 1952 when the squadron returned to the United States.

Designated as the 728th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in June 1952, 728th aircrews began transition training to T-33 and F-80 Shooting Star aircraft. In May 1955, the 728th was re-designated as a tactical bombardment squadron and again flew the B-26 Douglas Invader. In July 1957, the squadron was again re-designated as a troop carrier unit and began to fly C-46 Commando aircraft. One year later the squadron transitioned to the C-119 Flying Boxcar.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis from October to November 1962, the 728th provided airlift support for the Continental Air Command and the Strategic Air Command. In August 1965, the squadron received its first C-124 Globemaster II aircraft and four months later was designated the 728th Military Airlift Squadron in January 1966. The 728th MAS flew regular missions in the Pacific and Far East theaters.

After seven years as a C-124 unit, the 728th MAS was relocated at Norton AFB, CA, and became an associate Reserve squadron in the 445th Military Airlift Wing. In January 1972, the 728th MAS began transition training to fly the C-141 Starlifter. The 728th participated in Operation Homecoming, bringing home the POWs from Southeast Asia, and Operation New Life which supported the evacuation of orphans and other refugees from Vietnam to the United States.

In 1989 the 728th flew many missions in support of Operation Just Cause in Panama and, as a Reserve squadron, voluntarily flew numerous airlift missions into Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991.

On January 1, 1992 the 728th MAS was officially transferred from the 445th Military Airlift Wing at Norton AFB, CA, to the 446th Military Airlift Wing at McChord AFB, WA. The relocation of the squadron as a result of the closure of Norton AFB as part of the DOD's Base Realignment and Closure program. The 728th was renamed the 728th Airlift Squadron (AS) on February 1, 1992 following the reorganization of the 446th Airlift Wing and was joined its two sister squadrons, the 97th Airlift Squadron and 313th Airlift Squadron, within the newly formed 446th Operations Group.

Because of its service throughout its history, the 728th has earned numerous awards and decorations. The squadron received 13 campaign streamers and six decorations for its service during World War II and the Korean War. The squadron earned three Distinguished Presidential Unit Citations for 1945, 1951, and 1952. The Republic of Korea Presidential and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm are also key awards highlighting the 728th's dedicated service. The 728th also received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its contributions from September 1, 1985 to August 31, 1987.

Since arriving at McChord AFB in January 1992, the 728th has participated in numerous real world contingency, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief missions.

In addition, the 728th provides active support for Phoenix Banner, Copper and Silver missions. The 728th's highest priority missions assist in the support of the president and vice president as well as secret service operations. These frequent missions are ongoing in nature. In January 1997, a 728th AS crew repatriated the remains of five U.S. service members from Beijing, China, members of the B-24J Liberator bomber crew that crashed near Liuchouw, China in August 1944 after returning from a bombing mission.

A new chapter began at the 728th with the squadron’s selection as the first of three Associate Reserve squadrons to transition to the newest aircraft in the Air Mobility Command Fleet, the C-17 Globemaster III. The first C-17 was delivered McChord July 30, 1999. The squadron's first operational C-17 mission in November 1999 was a repatriation mission to Hanoi, Vietnam, where 11 American servicemen, from the Korean War and the Vietnam War, were repatriated at the same time—the first time remains from two separate wars were repatriated on the same mission.

On February 14, 2003, the 728th AS was activated to support Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. From February 2003 until February 13, 2005, 728th aircrews flew numerous combat airlift missions into Iraq and Afghanistan, performing engine running onloads/offloads of troops and equipment and flying aeromedical evacuation missions of critically wounded personnel. Members from the 728th also participated in the combat airdrop of the 173d Airborne Brigade over northern Iraq on March 26, 2003. The 728th AS received the Air Force Meritorious Unit Award for its support of OEF and OIF from February 2003 to February 2005.

Organization: Constituted as 728 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 May 1943. Activated on 1 Jun 1943. Redesignated 728 Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 20 Aug 1943. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945. Redesignated 728 Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 11 Mar 1947. Activated in the Reserve on 19 Apr 1947. Redesignated 728 Bombardment Squadron, Light on 27 Jun 1949. Ordered to active duty on 10 Aug 1950. Redesignated 728 Bombardment Squadron, Light, Night Intruder on 25 Jun 1951. Relieved from active duty, and inactivated, on 10 May 1952. Redesignated 728 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 6 Jun 1952. Activated in the Reserve on 13 Jun 1952. Redesignated: 728 Bombardment Squadron, Tactical on 22 May 1955; 728 Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium on 1 Jul 1957; 728 Air Transport Squadron, Heavy on 1 Dec 1965; 728 Military Airlift Squadron on 1 Jan 1966; 728 Military Airlift Squadron (Associate) on 1 Jan 1972; 728 Airlift Squadron (Associate) on 1 Feb 1992; 728 Airlift Squadron on 1 Oct 1994.

Assignments: 452nd Bombardment Group, 1 Jun 1943-28 Aug 1945. 452 Bombardment Group, 19 Apr 1947-10 May 1952. 452 Tactical Reconnaissance (later, 452 Bombardment; 452 Troop Carrier) Group, 13 Jun 1952; 452 Troop Carrier Wing, 14 Apr 1959; 942 Troop Carrier (later, 942 Air Transport; 942 Military Airlift) Group, 17 Jan 1963; 944 Military Airlift Group, 1 Jan 1972; 445 Military Airlift Wing, 1 Jul 1973; 446 Military Airlift (later, 446 Airlift) Wing, 1 Jan 1992; 446 Operations Group, 1 Aug 1992-.

Stations: Geiger Field, WA, 1 Jun 1943; Rapid City AAB, SD, 9 Jul 1943; Pendleton Field, OR, 10 Oct 1943; Walla Walla AAFld, WA, 6 Nov-23 Dec 1943; Deopham Green, England, c. 11 Jan 1944-c. 5 Aug 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, 14-28 Aug 1945. Long Beach AAFld (later, Long Beach Muni Aprt), CA, 19 Apr 1947; George AFB, CA, 10 Aug-26 Oct 1950; Itazuke AB, Japan, 8 Nov 1950; Miho AB, Japan, 10 Dec 1950; Pusan-East AB, South Korea, 23 May 1951-10 May 1952. Long Beach Muni Aprt, CA, 13 Jun 1952; March AFB, CA, 14 Oct 1960; Norton AFB, CA, 1 Jan 1972; McChord AFB, WA, 1 Jan 1992-.

Commanders:  None (unmanned), 1 Jun-8 Jul 1943; Maj Robert E. Kaufman, 9 Jul 1943; Maj George J. Oxrider, by Sep 1943; Maj Talmadge D. Reed, by Apr 1944; Maj Edward A. Steedman, Oct 1944; Maj Carl M. Thomajan, 11 Nov 1944; Maj Charles W. Lunan, 27 Dec 1944-c. 24 Jun 1945; unkn, Jul-28 Aug 1945. Unkn, 19 Apr 1947-Jun 1948; Lt Col Arthur R. Reaume, by Jul 1948-unkn; Lt Col Claude J. Norton, by Sep 1950; Maj Gene L. Maddocks, 9 Apr 1951; Maj Isaac T. Van Patten III, 1 Jul 1951; Lt Col John W. Hiney, c. 1 Dec 1951; Maj St. Clair Thompson Jr., c. 8 Mar-10 May 1952. Lt Col Merle E. Larson, 13 Jun 1952; Maj George M. Becker, by Jun 1960; Maj James L. Menard, by Aug 1962-Jan 1963; unkn, Feb 1963-Apr 1964; Col George D. Hoffman, May 1964; Col Charles J. Harmon, Jun 1971; Col Evan E. Clements, 1 Jan 1972; Col James M. Rizor, Oct 1973; Col William L. Worthington, 24 Jul 1977; Lt Col Errol R. French, 29 Aug 1979; Lt Col William E. Hensley, 7 Jun 1980; Lt Col Emmet D. Murphy, 1 Jul 1982; Col Lewis Aaronson, 14 May 1983; Col James C. Wecker, 29 Oct 1985; Lt Col Thomas W. Vinson, 1 Nov 1989; Lt Col John W. Barton, 1 Aug 1991; Lt Col Keeton D. Zachary, 13 Nov 1993; Lt Col Harold L. Mitchell, 9 Sep 1995; Lt Col David A. Richards, 21 Sep 1997;  Lt Col Dennis P. O'Donoghue, Sep 1999-unkn; Lt Col David Degennaro, 1 Nov 2005; Lt Col Colin Carr, Apr 2008; Lt Col Steven Kurpius, Aug 2012-.    (Help me to complete--send names).

Aircraft:  B-17, 1943-1945. Unkn, 1947-1948; T-6, 1948-1950; T-7, 1948-1950; T-11, 1948-1950; B-26, 1949-1952. T-6, 1952-1954; F-51, 1953-1954; T-33, 1954-1955; F-80, 1954-1955; B-26, 1955-1957; C-46, 1957-1958; C-119, 1958-1965; C-124, 1965-1971; C-141, 1972-1999; C-17, 1999 -.

Operations: Combat in ETO, 5 Feb 1944-Apr 1945. Combat in Korea, 12 Nov 1950-9 May 1952. Flying training in the Reserve for fighter missions, 1952-1955, tactical bombardment operations, 1955-1957, and tactical airlift missions, 1957-1965. Worldwide airlift missions, especially across the Pacific, beginning 1965. Transported ex-prisoners of war and refugees from the Far East to the United States in 1973 and 1975 at the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Took part in operations to liberate Kuwait in 1991.


Service Streamers: None.

Campaign Streamers:  World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Air Combat, EAME Theater. Korean War: CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers: None.


Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 7 Apr 1945; Korea, 9 Jul-27 Nov 1951; Korea, 28 Nov 1951-30 Apr 1952. 

Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Sep 1985-31 Aug 1987; 1 Jan-31 Jul 1992. 

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: [31] Oct 1950-27 Oct 1951. 

Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Jan 1967-28 Jan 1973.