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55TH AIR REFUELING SQUADRON

Posted 7/29/2008 Printable Fact Sheet

One of two Air Force formal Combat Crew Training School (CCTS) and Central Flight Instructor Course (CFIC) for C/KC-135 aircrew qualification training. Select aircrew instructors and support personnel train pilot, navigator, and boom operator students in 16 different courses for AF, ANG, AFRC, DoD, and international customers. Instructors maintain mission-ready status to deploy worldwide for any short-notice contingency. 

A Brief History of the 55th Air Refueling Squadron
The 55th Air Refueling Squadron, Medium, was activated Nov. 1, 1950. The squadron was originally equipped with KB-29 tankers and was assigned to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Group at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. On Oct. 10, 1952, the squadron moved to Forbes Air Force Base, Kan., as part of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. Two years later, on Feb. 16, 1954, the squadron moved to Lincoln Air Force Base, Neb., where it was inactivated two days later. 

The 55th Air Refueling Squadron was activated Oct. 1, 1955, and assigned to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Forbes Air Force Base, Kan. The squadron was re-equipped with KC-97 tankers. First introduced into the Air Force inventory in 1951, the tankers could fly fast enough to refuel the B-47 bomber, thus providing the Air Force with an intercontinental strike capability. 

The squadron deployed to Ernest Harmon Air Base, Newfoundland, from Oct. 31 through Dec. 27, 1966 in response to the Suez Canal crisis. During this period, the squadron participated in giant simulated combat missions involving 1,000 B-47s and KC-97s, demonstrating the United States' resolve and intercontinental war fighting capability. The deployment was instrumental in the squadron winning an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period July 1956 to November 1957. During the 1959 Strategic Air Command bombing competition, the largest held to date, the 55th again demonstrated its combat readiness by winning the Saunders Trophy as the best air refueling unit in Strategic Air Command. The squadron was inactivated again in 1963. 

On Sept. 15, 1985, the 55th Air Refueling Squadron was consolidated with the 755th Bombardment Squadron (Very heavy). The 755th Bombardment Squadron had been activated on July 1, 1943, at Wendover Field, Utah. Beginning in 1944, the 755th Bombardment Squadron was stationed at Horsham St. Faith, England. During 1944 and 1945, the 755th flew B-24 combat missions in the European Theater of Operations earning seven campaign streamers and the distinction of being the test squadron for the Army Air Forces' first guided bomb project. The 55th Air Refueling Squadron inherited the lineage and honors of this illustrious World War II combat squadron. 

On Oct. 28, 1994, the 55th Air Refueling Squadron was activated as part of the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The 55th Air Refueling Squadron is one of only two Air Education and Training Command KC-135R flying training squadrons. The 54th and 55th Air Refueling Squadrons provide KC-135R initial and advanced flight qualification. 

The squadron's mission is training of active duty, guard, reserve and international KC-135 crewmembers. Sixty aircrew instructors and support staff manage a $28 million, 6,713 hour flying program, annually training 450 pilot and boom operator students for Department of Defense and international customers.

(Current as of July 2008)







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