Constituted as 61st Transport Group on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 1 Dec 1940. Redesignated 61st Troop Carrier Group in Jul 1942. Used C-47's to prepare for operations with Twelfth AF. Moved to North Africa in May 1943 and, after a period of special training, began operations on the night of 9 Jul by dropping paratroops near Gela during the invasion of Sicily. Received a DUC for completing a reinforcement mission two nights later when the group sustained heavy attack by ground and naval forces. Moved to Sicily, Aug-Sep 1943, for participation in the invasion of Italy; dropped paratroops north of Agropoli on 13 Sep 1943 and flew a reinforcement mission to the same area on 14 Sep. Also transported cargo and evacuated patients while in the Mediterranean theater. Joined Ninth AF in England in Feb 1944 to prepare for the Normandy invasion. Received a DUC for dropping paratroops and supplies near Cherbourg on 6 and 7 Jun 1944. Dropped British paratroops at Arnhem on 17 Sep 1944 during the air attack on Holland; released gliders carrying reinforcements to that area on succeeding days. Moved to France in Mar 1945 for the airborne assault across the Rhine, dropping British paratroops near Wesel on 24 Mar. Also provided transport services in the European theater, hauling gasoline, ammunition, food, medicine, and other supplies, and evacuating wounded personnel. Moved to Trinidad in May 1945. Assigned to Air Transport Command. Used C-47's to transport troops returning to the US. Inactivated in Trinidad on 31 Jul 1945.
Activated in Germany on 30 Sep 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Redesignated 61st Troop Carrier Group (Medium) in Jul 1948, and 61st Troop Carrier Group (Heavy) in Aug 1948. Participated in the Berlin Airlift from Jun 1948 to May 1949, using C-54's to ferry coal, flour, and other cargo into West Berlin. Moved to the US shortly after the outbreak of war in Korea for duty with Military Air Transport Service. Operated on the northern route to Japan, transporting supplies for UN forces in Korea. Moved to Japan in Dec 1950, attached to Far East Air Forces, and engaged in transport operations between Japan and Korea. Returned to the US in Nov 1952 to join Tactical Air Command, to which the group had been assigned in Oct 1951. Converted from C-54 to C-124 aircraft.
Squadrons. 13th: 1940-1942. 14th: 1940-1945; 1946-. 15th: 1940-1945; 1946-. 53d: 1942-1945; 1946-. 59th: 1942-1945.
Stations. Olmsted Field, Pa, 1 Dec 1940; Augusta, Ga, c. 9 Jul 1941; Pope Field, NC, 26 May 1942; Lubbock, Tex, 23 Sep 1942; Pope Field, NC, 26 Feb-4 May 1943; Lourmel, French Morocco, 15 May 1943; Kairouan, Tunisia, 21 Jun 1943; Licata, Sicily, 1 Sep 1943; Sciacca, Sicily, 6 Oct 1943-12 Feb 1944; Barkston, England, 18 Feb 1944-13 Mar 1945; Abbeville, France, 13 Mar-19 May 1945; Waller Field, Trinidad, 29 May-31 Jul 1945. Eschborn AB, Germany, 30 Sep 1946; Rhein/Main AB, Germany, 8 Feb 1947-21 Jul 1950; McChord AFB, Wash, 26 Jul-5 Dec 1950; Ashiya, Japan, 10 Dec 1950; Tachikawa, Japan, 26 Mar-18 Nov 1952; Larson AFB, Wash, 21 Nov 1952; Donaldson AFB, SC, 25 Aug 1954-.
Commanders. Unkn, 1 Dec 1940-1 Feb 1941; Capt John Waugh, 1 Feb 1941; 1st Lt Thompson F Dow, c. 1 Jul 1941; Maj Lorin B Hillsinger, 11 Jul 1941; [1st (?)] Lt Charles A Inskip, unkn; [1st (?)] Lt Allen L Dickey, unkn; Capt John C Bennett, 26 May 1942; Lt Col Ralph Moore, unkn; Maj Donald French, 6 Mar 1943; Col Willis W Mitchell, 11 Mar 1943; Col Edgar W Hampton, 12 Apr 1945-unkn. Maj Charles E Pickering, 30 Sep 1946; Lt Col Henry Lawrence, 6 Dec 1946; Maj Richard C Brock, 13 Jan 1947; Maj Dace T Garrison, 11 Apr 1947; Lt Col John C Evers, c. 21 Apr 1948; Col Richard W DaVania, 28 Aug 1948; Lt Col Jay D Bogue, Aug 1949; Col Frank Norwood, 1 Oct 1949; Lt Col Hal E Ercanbrack Jr, 14 Feb 1952; Col Lionel F Johnson, 29 Jul 1953; Lt Col Jerome M Triolo, Feb 1954; Col Leland W Johnson, 1954; Col William G Forwood, 13 Dec 1954-.
Campaigns. World War II: American Theater; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe. Korean War: CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Sicily, 11 Jul 1943; France, Jun 1944; Korea, 13 Dec 1950-1 Apr 1951. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: [1 Jul 1951-1952].
Insigne. Shield: Barry of six, or and azure, a pale nebuly, all counterchanged. (Approved 20 Aug 1951.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986