A brief History
The 815th Squadron was activated on Sept. 14, 1943 as the 815th Bombardment Squadron. The unit was located at Ephrata AAB, Washington and equipped with B-17 aircraft. From Nov. 1943 to Mar 1944 at McDill Field, Fla. Then Sterparone Airfield, Italy; then Pisa, Italy until Sept. 1945. The squadron flew combat missions in Europe including one staged from a Russian airstrip on a target in Rumania. The unit received two distinguished Unit Citations for campaigns in Southern France the Po Valley, Rome, and north central Europe.
" C-119 "Flying Box Car
The 815th Troop Carrier Squadron (Medium) was re-designated on Nov 15, 1952. The squadron on 1 Jan 1953 was assigned to the 483rd Troop Carrier Group and stationed at Ashiya AB, Japan flying C-119 aircraft. Later assigned to the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing on 8 Dec 1958. The squadron provided long and short-range air transport for all elements of PACOM, including unit deployments, airdrop, air evacuation and air landing of troops and supplies in the Korean Conflict. The squadron also flew missions in direct support of the French in Indo China.
Emblem. On a white rhombie diamond bordered red, a white cloud formation issuing from base, edges and details red surmounted by a running jenny ass in profile, silhouetted red, her eyes, teeth, and nostrils indicated white. (Approved 28 Apr 1960)
Beginning in 1958 the C-119 was replaced by the C-130 and in June 1960 the unit was assigned to the 315th Air Division and went to Tachikawa AB, Japan. The typical airlift functions were performed along with the sister squadrons, 35th TCS, 21st TCS and the 817th TCS, stationed at Naha AB, Okinawa. The hostilities in South East Asia changed the typical airlift missions with a greatly accelerated aircrew and aircraft utilization rate. The 1964/1966 time frames was characterized as a time when operational supervision could not be effectively exercised due to lack of communications or facilities in the South East Asia environment. Missions were operated into “leftover” civilian airfield and other improvised landing areas. Navigation aids and communications were limited with tactical air traffic control being assumed by USAF GCI sites. Quarters were frequently in local hotels and obtained by the aircrew.
Photo From Phil Rowe Tan Son Nhut was the first, and only, airlift station to provide on base quarters for 315th AD air crews until Cam Rahn Bay became operational. By 1966/67 the 840th Air Division and numerous Aerial Port detachments were functional and operational control and support was changed dramatically.
A-Model at Cam Ranh Bay
(Jack Blewitt Collection)
Operation Blind Bat was perhaps one of the most interesting if not dangerous missions
of the Vietnam War in the years between 1964 and 1970, when the mission was terminated.
Because the Communist infiltrators took advantage of the darkness of night to make their
way south out of North Vietnam, the United States Air Force worked diligently to find a way
to detect the nearly illusive trucks and other means of transportation by which the North sent
supplies to their troops in South Vietnam. Dropping flares from transports was nothing new
in Vietnam; the technique had been used in Korea. In South Vietnam, C-47s and C-123s flew
nightly flare missions in support of ground installations that might find themselves under attack.
But the C-130 Blind Bat mission was different; our targets were trucks, not enemy squads and
we were flying interdiction missions, not support for ground forces. To see more about the
Blind Bat missions and the men that flew these mission please visit the web site listed below.
Some of our own 815th personnel were a part of this mission.
Currently the 815th is a reserve squadron located at Keesler AFB,MS.. C-130J models for tactical airlift and WC-130Es and WC-130Hs for weather reconnaissance in the Atlantic, Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific.
Distinguished Unit Citations:
Germany, 18 Jul 1944 / Germany, 24 Mar 1945
Presidential Unit Citation:
- Republic of Korea Jan-28 Jul 1953
Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards:
- 6 May 1953 - 10 Sep 1954 / 1 Jan - 30 Jun 1961
World WarII Combat Squadrons of the United States Air Force (published in 1992 by Smithmark Publishers Inc.
Background information from USAF Fact Sheet Four decades have elapsed since the Air Force issued its original design specification, yet the remarkable C-130 remains in production. The initial production model was the C-130A, with four Allison T56-A-11 or -9 turboprops. A total of 219 were ordered and deliveries began in December 1956 (the last delivery of an A model was November 1959) . The C-130B introduced Allison T56-A-7 turboprops and the first of 134 entered Air Force service in May 1959.
Introduced in August of 1962, the 389 C-130E's that were ordered used the same Allison T56-A-7 engine, but added two 1,290 gallon external fuel tanks and an increased maximum takeoff weight capability. June 1974 introduced the first of 308 C-130H's with the more powerful Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engine. Nearly identical to the C-130E externally, the new engine brought major performance improvements to the aircraft.
The latest C-130 to be produced, the C-130J entered the inventory in February 1999. With the noticeable difference of a six bladed composite propeller coupled to a Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engine, the C-130J brings substantial performance improvements over all previous models, and has allowed the introduction of the C-130J-30, a stretch version with a 15-foot fuselage extension. Air Force has selected the C-130J-30 to replace retiring C-130E's. Approximately 168 C-130J/J-30s are planned for the inventory. To date, the Air Force has purchased 29 C-130J aircraft from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.