The 22nd Operations Group is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force22nd Air Refueling Wing. It is stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and is part of Air Mobility Command (AMC)’s Eighteenth Air Force.
The group‘s primary mission is to provide global reach by conducting air refueling and airlift where and when needed. The group directs the 22nd Wing’s Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker refueling and airlift operations in support of worldwide AMC, United States Transportation Command, Air Force, Department of Defense, and allied operations anywhere in the world.
During World War II, as the 22nd Bombardment Group, the unit was one of the first Army Air Forces units to be deployed into the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor with the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. It operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a North American B-25 Mitchell unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in China, the Netherlands East Indies, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago; the Western Pacific; Leyte and Luzon.
The group was reactivated as part of Strategic Air Command (SAC). During the early years of the Cold War, the group moved temporarily to Okinawa in July 1950 and was attached to Far East Air Forces for duty in the Korean War. It began combat immediately, and until October 1950 attacked marshalling yards, bridges, highways, airfields, and industries and supported United Nations ground forces in Korea. It was inactivated in a SAC program to eliminate groups and assign operational squadrons directly to wings.
The 22nd Operations Group uses five squadrons and their assigned personnel to execute the wing’s air refueling and airlift missions, from the continental United States refueling support to unit deployments in support of theater operations worldwide.
With these air refueling squadrons, the group supervises operations in support of strategic force projection and mobility, special operations, tactical air operations, and humanitarian assistance efforts.
- 22nd Operations Support Squadron
- The squadron provides airfield management, air traffic control, intelligence, combat crew communications, base weather service, mission scheduling, planning, and combat tactics.
The authorizing document was a letter issued by the Adjutant-General’s Office titled “The Constitution and Activation of Certain Air Corps Units”. Lieutenant Colonel Ross F. Cole was the first Group Commander.
The first elements of the Group included:
- 2nd Bombardment Squadron, commanded by Captain Leslie P. Halcomb
- 19th Bombardment Squadron, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Herman E. Hurst
- 33rd Bombardment Squadron, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Theodore E. Graff
- 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (later 408th Bombardment Squadron), commanded by Captain John P. Doyle.
The Group was located at Langley Field, Virginia. Its first aircraft were a few Douglas B-18 Bolo bombers, with a few North American B-25 Mitchell bombers allocated to the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron.
In 1941 the Group transitioned to Martin B-26 Marauder bombers, a fast bomber with very specialized aerodynamic capabilities. These capabilities included short, stubby wings, which led the plane to be known as “The Flying Prostitute” (no visible means of support). However its flying characteristics led to many crashes, which also led to the plane being known as “The Flying Coffin”.
Throughout 1941 the 22nd trained extensively, increasing in intensity in November 1941. It was so combat ready that 16 hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the 44 planes of the 22nd headed for the West Coast and on to the South West Pacific.