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The Green Hornets...61st TCS and ALS Squadron


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The Green Hornets...


61st Airlift Squadron

"The 61st Airlift “Green Hornets” Squadron. The Most Decorated Airlift Unit in the Air Force"


Constituted 61st Troop Carrier Squadron on 13 Oct 1942. Activated on 26 Oct 1942. Inactivated on 30 Sep 1946. Redesignated 61st Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on 20 Sep 1949. Activated on 17 Oct 1949. Redesignated: 61st Troop Carrier Squadron on 1 Mar 1966; 61st Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 May 1967; 61st Airlift Squadron on 1 Dec 1991.

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.


315th Troop Carrier Group (attached to 314th Troop Carrier Group), 26 Oct 1942; 314th Troop Carrier Group, 15 Mar 1943; 441st Troop Carrier Group, attached in Oct 1945, assigned Dec 1945-30 Sep 1946. 314th Troop Carrier Group, 17 Oct 1949; 314th Troop Carrier Wing, 8 Oct 1957; 839th Air Division, 1 Dec 1965 (attached to Troop Carrier Wing Provisional, 4413, 1 Dec 1965- 30 Jun 1966); 64th Troop Carrier (later 64th Tactical Airlift) Wing, 1 Jul 1966 (attached to the 513th Tactical Airlift Wing, 6 May-11 Aug 1967, 8 Apr- 29 Jun 1968, 27 May-6 Jul 1970; 322d Tactical Airlift Wing, 21 Oct-19 Dec 1970); 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, 31 May 1971 (attached to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, 13 May-8 Sep 1972; 513th Tactical Airlift Wing, 5 Jan-16 Mar 1973; 322d Tactical Airlift Wing, 5 Jun-11 Aug 1973, 16 Oct-16 Dec 1974, 15-30 Jun 1975; 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, 30 Jun-17 Aug 1975, 5 Mar- 17 May 1976, 3 Dec 1976-13 Feb 1977, 5 Jul-9 Sep 1977, 13 Jul-13 Sep 1978); 314th Tactical Airlift Group, 1 Nov 1978 (attached to 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, 5 Apr-12 Jun 1980); 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, 15 Jun 1980 (attached to the 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, 4 Dec 1982-15 Feb 1983; 313th Tactical Airlift Group, 8 Aug-10 Oct 1984, 1 Dec 1985-12 Feb 1986, 1 Feb-15 Apr 1987, 3 Apr-15 Jun 1988, 27 Dec 1990-12 May 1991); 314th Operations Group, 1 Dec 1991-.


Bowman Field, KY, 26 Oct 1942; Knobnoster, MO, 5 Nov 1942; Lawson Field, GA, 20 Feb-3 May 1943; Berguent, French Morocco, May 1943; Kairouan, Tunisia, 26 Jun 1943; Castelvetrano, Sicily, 1 Sep 1943-16 Feb 1944; Saltby, England, 24 Feb 1944; Poix, France, Feb 1945; Frankfurt, Germany, 15 Oct 1945-30 Sep 1946. Smyrna AFB, TN, 17 Oct 1949-27 Aug 1950; Ashiya AB, Japan, 4 Sep 1950-15 Nov 1954; Sewart AFB, TN, 15 Nov 1954 (deployed at Clark AFB, Philippines, 1 Dec 1965-30 Jun 1966; RAF Mildenhall, England, 5 May-14 Aug 1967, 28 Mar-29 Jun 1968); Little Rock AFB, AR, 5 Mar 1970- (deployed at RAF Mildenhall, England, 28 May-7 Jul 1970, 3 Jan-17 Mar 1973, 5 Mar-17 May 1976, 3 Dec 1976-13 Feb 1977, 5 Jul-9 Sep 1977, 13 Jul-13 Sep 1978, 5 Apr-12 Jun 1980, 4 Dec 1982- 15 Feb 1983, 8 Aug-10 Oct 1984, 1 Dec 1985-12 Feb 1986, 1 Feb-15 Apr 1987, 3 Apr-15 Jun 1988, 27 Dec 1990-12 May 1991; Rhine-Main AB, Germany, 12 Oct-19 Dec 1970, 12 Jun-16 Aug 1973, 3 Oct-16 Dec 1974, 15 Jun-17 Aug 1975).


Principally C-47, 1942-1946. C-82, 1949-1950; C-119, 1950-1957; C-130, 1956 - Present.


The 61st participated in the Berlin Airlift’

Upon return to the States they were assigned to Alamogordo, NM

Flying C-54’s they supplied all the necessities for the Atomic tests in the Pacific flying to Kwajalein Island.

Upon completion they returned to Sewart Air Force Base, Smyrna, TN Flying C-47’s until the new C-119’s arrived. C-46’s were flown during maneuvers in San Antonio, TX

In 1950 The Squadron moved to Ashiya Air Base in Kyushu Japan where all operations during the Korean War were flown from. All maintenance was performed here.

The squadron returned to the States ( on Paper ) in late 1954 with the personnel and aircraft assigned as the 75th Troop Carrier Squadron at Ashiya. Many of the Aircraft and personnel where in Haiphong, Indo China helping the French.

The 61st at Sewart Air force Base were beginning to get replacement C-130 Aircraft and it was from Sewart the Squadron flew all the equipment and parts to Greenland and North for the erection of the `Dew’ line of Radar across Northern Canada and Alaska.

Airborne assaults on Sicily, Normandy, Holland, and Germany, as well as aerial transportation in MTO and ETO, during World War II. Airborne assaults on Sukchon/Sunchon and Munsan-ni, as well as aerial transportation between Japan and Korea during the Korean War. Transported supplies from the Philippines into Southeast Asia, Dec 1965-Jun 1966. Global tactical airlift, 1971-. Airdropped humanitarian relief supplies in northern Iraq, Apr-May 1991.

It was the 61st sent two or three aircraft with blankets, water and other necessary items to India from Ashiya during the terrible floods in 1952-53. The was 61st “Green Hornets’ that rescued the scientists from Alaska also the Scientists whose ice floe broke loose in Antarctica were rescued by the same 61st Airlift “Green Hornets” The 61st were the first to fly tractor and ski landing gear.

The 61st flew missions in Columbia, Panama, and other regions of South America.

Assignment in `Desert Storm’ and all succeeding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which continue today. Incidentally, that first C-130 that flew into Baghdad during darkness to take ammunition and food the military pinned down there, was a 61st “Green Hornet”


Service Streamers. None.

Campaign Streamers. World War II: Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe. Korea: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korean Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953. Vietnam: Vietnam Defensive; Vietnam Air.

The 61st also boasts a “Presidential Citation” with three oak leaf clusters earned in Korea. The French “Croix de Guerre” earned in WW !! In France,

Service Streamers: ’Croix de Guerre”

Publications supporting these facts” “The Greatest Airlift, The Story of Combat Cargo” by Capt. A. G. Thompson., “Troop Carrier `D’ Day Flights” Lew Johnston

“Hanger Flying with Grandpa” By Gen. Will Turk, & “Sky Blue, over and Out” by LTC James Romero, current President of the 61st Troop Carrier Reunions

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. Panama, 1989-1990.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Sicily, 11 Jul 1943; France, [6-7] Jun 1944; Korea, 28 Nov - 10 Dec 1950. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 6 May 1953 -10 Sep 1954; 11 Jan - 14 Feb 1955; 23 Mar-22 Aug 1959; 1 Jan 1960 - 31 Dec 1961; 1 Sep 1962 - 15 Apr 1963; 1 Jun 1969 - 31 May 1971; 1 Jan 1975- 30 Jun 1976; 1 Jun 1985-31 May 1986; 1 Jul 1991-30 Jun 1993. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: 1 Jul 1951 - 27 Jul 1953. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Apr 1966 - 7 Jul 1968.


On a disc quartered, Sky Blue and White, a caricatured Green hornet with Air Force Golden Yellow wings and glove-covered hands, wearing Black earphones and Green billed cap; carrying a White parachute with paratrooper attached, wearing Green uniform and helmet; the disc Black, all outlines and detail lines Black. Approved on 13 Jun 1956 (154653 A.C.).

Publications supporting these facts” “The Greatest Airlift, The Story of Combat Cargo” by Capt. A. G. Thompson., “Troop Carrier `D’ Day Flights” Lew Johnston

“Hanger Flying with Grandpa” By Gen. Will Turk, & “Sky Blue, Over and Out” by LTC James Romero.

Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later

Fact's and Figures

How many POWs were held in Southeast Asia?

Considering this protracted war (59'-75') ended the lives of 58,200 men and women of our armed forces, it is surprising to realize that only 725 uniformed U.S. servicemen are known to be captured alive.  *By comparison, in the four years of WWII, more than 130,200 U.S. Servicemen were captured alive.

Of the remaining 661 survivors of the prison camps there were 139 Army POWs, 333 Air Force POWs, 38 Marine POWs, and 151 Navy POWs who returned alive following the war.

In the entire Vietnam War, there were only 30successful escapes (2 from Laos, 28 from South Vietnam).  There were dozens of thwarted escapes escape attempts in South Vietnam and 17 military men who tried multiple escapes in North Vietnam...All unsuccessfully.

Why were the majority of POWs commissioned officers?

In previous wars, the vast majority of prisoners were enlisted personnel.  The Vietnam War was unusual in that there were more officers captured (approximately 78%) than enlisted (approximately 22%). This is mainly because the four services committed significant air power to interdicting lines of communication between North and South Vietnam, supporting ground operations and attacking airfields in North Vietnam.  Of the 661 military POWs, 143 were enlisted, 504 were commissioned officers and 14 were warrant officers.

Most of the missions in North Vietnam were completed by aviators from the Air Force, Navy and Marines.  To be an aviator required some college and an officers commission.  Most pilots held a college degree.  The missions these aviators were asked to perform were very dangerous and thousands of aircraft were lost.  Untold numbers of helicopters were shot down or lost; the actual totals are simply unavailable.  The records for fixed wing aircraft shot down during the Vietnam War are:

**Air Force - 2,197 aircraft lost, 2,449 fatalities, 341 POWs

Navy - 854 aircraft lost, 575 fatalities, 144 POWs

Marines - 271 aircraft lost, 241 fatalities, 12 POWs

What were the demographics of the POWs?

Of the combat casualties in Vietnam, 86 percent of the service members were Caucasians, 12.5 percent were African-Americans, and 1.2 percent were of other racial or ethnic decent.***  As for the Vietnam War POW population, 630 (95%) were Caucasian, (includes Philippine and Hispanic decent), 27 were African-American (4%) and 4 (1%) were of Asian decent.

While no military service women were captured, a handful of civilian women were held as prisoners in Vietnam.  These included 3 nurses, 2 volunteer doctors, a teacher, and a missionary.

How many servicemen and women are still unaccounted for or MIA from Vietnam?

There are 1,835 military casualties still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.****  By comparison, approximately 80,000 are MIA from WWII and some 8,200 are still MIA from the Korean War (1950-1953).

Excerpted from "Open Doors" By Taylor B. Kiland, and Jamie Howren

* Data collected by Capt. M. McGrath USN (Ret), former POW

** Chris Hobson, "Vietnam Air Losses" U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps Fixed wing losses in Vietnam.

*** B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, "Stolen Valor"

**** Robert E. Klein, PhD, M.R. Wells, MS, and Janet Sommers, BA, "Former American POWs"


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