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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | Sept. 18, 2020

316th Wing celebrates 73rd AF birthday, reflects on history

By Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum 316th Wing Public Affairs

The 316th Wing held a reveille and cake-cutting ceremony in recognition of the 73rd Air Force birthday here, Sept. 18.

The newly reactivated wing celebrated this annual custom with the wing’s past heritage in mind.

“Even through significant challenges such as COVID-19, it is important we continue to uphold time-honored traditions and celebrate milestones such as the Air Force's 73rd birthday," said Col. Tyler R. Schaff, 316th Wing and Joint Base Andrews commander. "On behalf of Joint Base Andrews, happy birthday Air Force!”

The COVID-19 pandemic is still an active concern for personnel, so service members were invited to attend and receive hand sanitizers as a way to celebrate the Air Force birthday in a safe and healthy way.

“I think it’s great that we can still have events like this, even during a pandemic,” said Chief Master Sgt. Harold Kruger, 316th Operations Group superintendent. “It really shows that no matter what comes our way, we can still have that sense of morale and we can come together to celebrate events like the Air Force Birthday.”

On July 26, 1947, former President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act in order to recognize the Air Force as a separate, independent military service. On Sept. 18, 1947, the Air Force was officially established.

Before it was declared its own branch of service, the Air Force was known by a few different names given and changed by the parent service, the United States Army Signal Corps. Former names include the USASC Aeronautical Division, USASC Aviation Section, later the Division of Military Aeronautics, the U.S. Army Air Service and the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The 316th Wing is just a small portion of Air Force history, but the 316th has been around since before the Air Force was established. The wing originally known as the 316th Transportation Group, was constituted Feb. 2, 1942 and designated as the 316th Troop Carrier Group five months later in July.

The 316th TCG supported multiple aerial and ground operations in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Sicily along with well-known battles such as Operations Market Garden and Overlord, also known as D-Day.

In 1947, the 316th Troop Carrier Wing was stood up at Greenville Air Force Base, S.C., operating the C-47 Skytrain and C-82 Packet aircraft. The 316th TCW was then discontinued in August 1948 and reestablished as the 316th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, in the same month, only to be inactivated on Oct. 20 the next year.

The unit was activated as the 316th Troop Carrier Wing, Assault, in November 1965 at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The unit was designated as the 316th Troop Carrier Wing on March 1, 1966, and renamed the 316th Tactical Airlift Wing on May 1, 1967. On Oct. 1, 1975, the 316th TAW was inactivated.

In 1980, the 316th TAW was consolidated with the 1776th Air Base Wing, a component of the 76th Airlift Division, and then served as the host wing for Andrews Air Force Base until its inactivation in 1991. On June 21, 2006, the unit was designated the 316th Wing and served as host for Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility Washington, Md., until inactivation in 2010.

On June 11, 2020, the 316th Wing was reactivated at JBA and now serves as the host unit for the base. Over the last 78 years, the 316th has participated in key events in Air Force history.