97th Operations Support Squadron
Published November 03, 2010
The forerunner of the 97th Operations Support Squadron was activated as the 1709th Training Squadron under the 1707th Air Transport Group in September 1952 at West Palm Beach, Fla. The squadron consisted of 144 officers, enlisted and civilians providing a standardized training program for the Military Air Transport Service aircrews.
Students received transition training in the C-54, C-97, C-124, SA-16, WB-50 and
C-118 airplanes. Headquarters, Military Air Transport Service renamed the squadron the 1709th Technical Training Squadron Sept. 10, 1954.
In June 1959, the wing moved to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The 1709th Technical Training Squadron was re-designated the 443rd Technical Training Squadron Jan. 8, 1966, and on Nov. 5, 1968, the last class of C-124 students graduated and the training was moved to Altus Air Force Base, Okla., where training resumed March 24, 1969, for the first class of C-141 students.
The changing needs of the Air Force established a need to contract the training of its crew members to the private sector. In January 1987, C-5 training was contracted by a civilian company, and the C-141 aircrew training followed suit in October 1989.
In March 1990, the 443rd Technical Training Squadron was re-designated the 443rd Training Support Squadron. Because of a major realignment, the squadron was again re-designated in August 1991 -- this time as the 443rd Operations Support Squadron under the 443rd Operations Group.
On Oct. 1, 1992, the 443rd Airlift Wing was deactivated, marking the beginning of the 97th Air Mobility Wing.
On Feb. 15, 2002, the 97th Operations Support Squadron split to create a separate training squadron. The 97th Training Squadron was born, taking with it the student administration section, quality assurance section and two training flights.
The 97th Operations Support Squadron, consisting of officers, enlisted and civilian personnel, manages the wing's $412-million, 18,872-hour flying program for over 261 instructors and 2,189 C-17 and KC-135 students annually. The unit provides direct support to two flying squadrons and operates six flights to include airfield operations, current operations, aircrew flight equipment, intelligence, tactics and weather.
In 2008, the unit won the Secretary of Defense CINC Installation Excellence-Special Recognition award. In 2009, the unit won the Air Education and Training Command Chief of Staff of the Air Force Team Excellence and Top Operations Squadron awards. The unit won the 2010 Oklahoma AFA Military Unit of the Year. The unit has recently won the 2011 and 2014 Air Education and Training Command’s Top Operations Squadron.
(Updated as of July 2017)