A Historical Summary
Ardmore Air Force Base
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The Korean Conflict presented a need for reactivation of the former Ardmore Army Air Field, September 1, 1953. The majority of the WWII buildings had been removed and construction of new structures began in 1952.
Men with the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing (Medium), Memphis, Tennessee, began to arrive in July-August 1953, completing the move by late September. The 463rd Troop Carrier Group was comprised of the 772nd, 773rd and 774th Squadrons and their support groups. A 775th squadron was activated in 1956 and deactivated in the summer of 1957. They initially flew the Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcar" and had the honor of receiving, December 9, 1956, the first Lockheed C-130A "Hercules" delivered to the USAF. It was named "City of Ardmore" and is on static display at Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas.
The 16th Troop Carrier Squadron from Sewart AFB, Tennessee, was assigned on a permanent change of station status from October 17, 1954, to July 7, 1955, when the unit was deactivated. They flew Chase YC-122s; the only squadron in the USAF with this type aircraft. The 309th Troop Carrier Group had its inception at the Ardmore base, July 8, 1955. It was the first tactical assault group to be organized by the U. S. Air Force. They received and flew the first Fairchild C-123Bs delivered to the USAF.
A year later, July 7, 1956, the second assault group, the 419th Troop Carrier Group was formed after transfer of the 309th to France. The 419th, flying C-123Bs, consisted of three tactical squadrons: the 339th, 340th and 341st. Most of the 419th personnel were from the 456th Troop Carrier Wing that transferred to Ardmore from Japan, June 6, 1956, and was deactivated, July 9, 1956. The 419th was deactivated in December 1957.
The military and civilian employees usually numbered from 2,000 to 3,000. They served and worked together in the:
- Air Base Group: Headquarters, Communications, Air Police, Air Installations and Food Service Squadrons
- Maintenance and Supply Group: Maintenance, Supply and Vehicle Squadrons
- Hospital Group: 4454th USAF Hospital and Tactical Infirmary
- Detachment 1: 3rd Aerial Port Squadron
- Detachment 11: 25th Weather Squadron
The primary purpose of the 463rd TCW, 456th TCW, 419th TCG, 16th TCS, 309th TCG, and similar units within the Tactical Air Command's 18th Air Force (9th after September 1957, 838th Air Division) was to perform airborne, air transport, air supply, and aero-medical operations. The 463rd TCW performed with excellence in various joint-exercises and maneuvers in the USA and overseas.
The 463rd Troop Carrier Wing was transferred to Sewart AFB, Tennessee, in January 1959. Six base commanders directed the 463rd during its assignment at Ardmore. The base was closed, March 31, 1959.
In December 2002, a memorial stone was erected in the Remembrance Memorial Park, near the entrance of Ardmore Industrial Airpark. The monument identifies and honors those who died in training accidents during WWII and the Korean Conflict. It was officially dedicated Memorial Day, 2003.
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