The story of the inception, growth and expansion of troop carrier operations is the story of the 317th Troop Carrier Wing, which began active duty as the 317th Air Transport Group in February, 1942, at Duncan Field, Texas.  Two months later a separate troop carrier command was activated.  The 317th, re-named a Troop Carrier Group, was one of the first units assigned to the new command.


The 317th broke in at several southern U.S. airfields with some of the first Army paratroop and glider units before transferring to the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations in January, 1943.  Less than 30 days later the 317th won its first Presidential Unit Citation for landing troops and equipment at Wau Airstrip, New Guinea, under intense enemy fire.  Two years of combat later another Presidential Unit Citation was awarded the 317th, for flying 563 low-level passes to put 2,000 11th Abn. Div. Paratroopers and 1,290 bundles of equipment on Corregidor Island in less than 48 hours.


Following the war the 317th was placed on occupation duty in Japan.  It dropped 11th Abn. Div. Paratroop units, towed gliders and flew many air evacuation flights.  In September, 1948, when the unit was re-designated a Troop Carrier Wing, it was transferred to Germany to fly the Berlin Airlift.  In ten months the 317th made 28,830 flights to Berlin, carrying in 261,398 tons of coal and 28,152 tons of food and materials.


De-activated in September, 1949, the 317th was re-born in July, 1952, at Rhein-Main A.B., to become the first U.S. Air Force unit to be assigned to N.A.T.O.  A year later the 317th was transferred to Neubiberg Air Base.


The 317th became re-identified with the 11th Abn. Div. In January of this year when the wing dropped the first 11th Abn. Div. Paratroops to jump in Europe.  In this exercise the 317th used for the first time in U.S.A.F.E. an improved method of releasing airborne troops into drop zones.  Called CARP (for Computed Air Release Point), the new system requires aircraft navigators to pre-figure wind direction and velocity to release of troops over drop zones.  CARP has been called a great stride toward bomb-sight accuracy in placing airborne troops in specific ground areas.


The U.S. Air Force Flying Safety plaque was awarded to the 317th Troop Carrier Wing (M) in May, 1956, for the outstanding aircraft accident prevention record established in the period July—December, 1955.  During the six-months period cited in the award, the 317th had no aircraft accidents.



Published in the Neubiberg Air Base, Germany, yearbook, 1956