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315th Operations Group


315th Operations Group

315th Operations Group
Emblem of the 315th Operations Group
Active 1942–1945;
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Engagements World War II
C-17 Globemaster III of the 315th Operations Group
A C-17 Globemaster III from the 14th Airlift Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., flies over downtown Charleston, S.C., during a training mission

The 315th Operations Group (315 OG) is a United States Air Force Reserve unit assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing. The unit is stationed at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina.

The 315 OG controls all operational C-17 Globemaster III flying squadrons of the 315 AW.

The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 315th Troop Carrier Group was a C-47 Skytrain transport unit assigned to Ninth Air Force in Western Europe. The 315 TCG was highly decorated for its combat parachute infantry drops during the Invasion of France (Operation Overlord); the airborne invasion of the Netherlands (Operation Market-Garden); and the airborne crossing of the Rhine River, (Operation Varsity).


  • Units 1
  • History 2
    • World War II 2.1
    • Cold War 2.2
    • Modern era 2.3
    • Lineage 2.4
    • Assignments 2.5
    • Components 2.6
    • Stations 2.7
    • Aircraft 2.8
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5



For additional lineage and history, see: 315th Airlift Wing

World War II

World War II 315th Troop Carrier Group emblem

After training in the US, moved to England, October–November 1942, for service with Eighth Air Force. Encountering bad weather while flying the North Atlantic route, the air echelon remained for about a month in Greenland, where it searched for missing aircraft and dropped supplies to downed crews.

After the air and ground echelons were united in Dec, the group began ferrying cargo in the British Isles and training with airborne troops and gliders. In May 1943 a "detachment" comprising almost all the group aircraft, aircrews, and most support personnel, deployed to North Africa to support Twelfth Air Force and other Mediterranean Theater of Operations organizations during the invasions of Sicily and Italy. Although the group did not participate in the airborne phase of the invasions, it did support those operations by transporting supplies in the theater.

In March 1944 the detachment returned to England and rejoined the group, which had been reassigned to Ninth Air Force in October 1943. Prepared for the invasion of the Continent, and dropped paratroops near Cherbourg early on 6 June 1944, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for its action in the Normandy invasion.

Dropped paratroops of the 82d Airborne Division on 17 September 1944 when the Allies launched the air attack on the Netherlands; flew reinforcement missions on succeeding days, landing at Grave on 26 September to unload paratroops and supplies. Airlifted gasoline and other critical supplies to Antwerp and Liege during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945.

Released British paratroops near Wesel during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945. Following each airborne operation, the group resumed transport activities, hauling cargo and evacuating wounded personnel. Moved to France in April 1945.

Transported cargo and evacuated allied former prisoners of war until after V-E Day. Moved to Trinidad in May 1945 and transported troops returning to the US. Inactivated on 31 July 1945.

Cold War

Emblem used in Vietnam 1965

Activated in 1947, the group was not manned or equipped, and inactivated again in 1948. Next activated in Japan in 1952, assigned to Far East Forces, for duty during the Korean War. Flew troop and cargo airlift and airdrop, leaflet drops, spray missions, air evacuation, search and rescue, and other aerial missions between Japan and Korea. Remained in the Far East after the war to fly transport missions and paratroop training flights. Flew missions in Japan, Korea, French Indo-China, and other points until December 1954. Inactivated in Japan on 18 January 1955.

Organized in South Vietnam in December 1962, replacing a provisional troop carrier group. Exercised control over USAF airlift resources in Vietnam, using attached squadrons until permanent squadrons were assigned in July 1963. Provided combat evaluation of YC-123 aircraft, February–April 1963. Exercised control of some CV-2 aircraft of US Army, July–December 1963 and of a CV-2 Royal Australian Air Force detachment, 1964–1966. Gained the Ranch Hand defoliation mission in July 1964. Replaced in March 1966 by the 315th Air Commando Wing.

Modern era

Activated at Charleston AFB, SC, in the Reserve in August 1992 to control the airlift operations of the 315th Airlift Wing. Flew contingency operation, humanitarian airlift missions, and exercises worldwide, 1992–. In 1993, the 315th was the first Air Force Reserve group to fly the C-17 Globemaster III. It took part in the first US-Russian joint military exercise in 1994.


  • Established as 315th Transport Group on 2 February 1942
Activated on 14 February 1942
Redesignated 315th Troop Carrier Group on 4 July 1942
Inactivated on 31 July 1945
  • Activated on 19 May 1947
Inactivated on 10 September 1948
  • Redesignated 315th Troop Carrier Group, Medium, on 23 May 1952
Activated on 10 June 1952
Inactivated on 18 January 1955
  • Redesignated 315th Troop Carrier Group, Assault, and activated, on 9 November 1962
Organized on 8 December 1962
Redesignated 315th Air Commando Group, Troop Carrier, on 8 March 1965
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 8 March 1966
Redesignated: 315th Military Airlift Group on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated: 315th Operations Group on 1 August 1992
Activated in the Reserve on 1 August 1992





  • Primarily C-47, 1942–1945, but included C-60, 1942; C-53, 1942 and 1944–1945; and C-46, 1945. C-46, 1952–1955.
  • Primarily C-123, 1962–1966, but included YC-123, 1963; CV-2, 1963 and 1964–1966; HUC-123, 1964–1965; UC-123, 1965–1966; and C-130, 1965–1966.
  • C-141 Starlifter, 1992-c. 2000
  • C-17 Globemaster III, 1993–present



 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

External links

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