The 434th Air Refueling Wing is one of the key aerial refueling units in the Air Force Reserve Command. From its home at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., the wing and its people travel around the world in support of various Air Force operations and contingencies. The wing is equipped with KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.
The mission of the 434th Air Refueling Wing is to develop and maintain the operational capability of its units and train reservists for worldwide duty. Training consists of flight operations, deployments and weekend training. It also has special taskings to generate aircraft and crews in support of the Air Mobility Command. Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., and 4th Air Force, March Air Force Base, Ca., provide command and supervisory guidance prior to mobilization.
The 434th Air Refueling Wing regularly participates in exercises and front-line operations to support America's national interests. The Air Force Reserve Command provides a substantial portion of the Department of Defense's total aerial refueling capability. Hence, the 434th receives its share of taskings both during peacetime and times of crisis to support our nation's active duty military forces.
The wing consists of three major organizations--the 434th Operations Group, the 434th Maintenance Group, and the 434th Mission Support Group. Included in these major organizations are such areas as flight operations, aircraft maintenance, plans and programs, safety, airfield management, security police, communications, medical support, information management, administration, and civil engineering.
In addition to being a self-contained combat ready unit, the 434th Air Refueling Wing also has the responsibility to operate and maintain Grissom Air Reserve Base. Grissom is one of only five Air Force Reserve Bases nationwide.
The 434th Air Refueling Wing, also known as the "Hoosier Wing," traces its roots back to World War II when the original 434th Troop Carrier Group was activated in February 1944. The wing, which flew C-47 transport aircraft, won numerous awards and citations including the French Croix de Guerre. Throughout the ensuing years the 434th served as a troop carrier wing, tactical airlift wing, special operations group, and tactical fighter wing. It has been equipped with aircraft including the C-46 and C-47, C-119, U-3, 0-2, A-37, A-10, KC-10 and the KC-135.
The 434th Air Refueling Wing holds the record for most aerial refuelings in a one week period when the unit performed 290 aerial refuelings with over one million pounds of fuel offloaded. The unit also set a single day record of refueling 90 aircraft with over 283,000 pounds of fuel offloaded. These records were established in 1981.
Additional awards and honors for the unit include:
- Air Force Reserve Command Maintenance Effectiveness Award, 2005
- 4th Air Force Raincross Trophy, 1999 and 2003
- Air Force Reserve Command Outstanding Communications Squadron, 1988 and 2003
- 4th Air Force Maintenance Effectiveness Award, 2003
- Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, 1980, 1986, 1990, 1996, 2000, and 2002
- Air Force Reserve Public Affairs Office of the Year, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2004 and 2011
- Air Force Reserve Command Outstanding Security Forces Squadron, 2002
- Gen. Thomas D. White Environmental Quality Award, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001
- 21st Air Force Armstrong Trophy, 2000
- 4th Air Force Clouse Trophy, 2000
- Air Force Reserve Command Outstanding Civilian Personnel Flight, 2000
- Air Force Reserve Command Air Traffic Control Facility of the Year, 1999
- Air Force Reserve Command Nonflying Unit of the Year Award (Logistics Group), 1998
- Air Force Reserve Command Installation Recycling award, 1997
- Air Force Reserve Command DOD Police Unit of the Year, 1996
- Air Force Reserve Command Supply Effectiveness Award, 1995 and 1996
- United States Air Force Director's Excellence Award for Public Affairs, 1989, 1990 and 1992
- Air Force Reserve Outstanding Civil Engineering Squadron, 1991
- The Saunders Trophy, 1987
- Golden Tanker Trophy, 1981 and 1987
- 10th Air Force Outstanding Security Police Unit, 1986
- Air Force Reserve Outstanding Military Personnel Office, 1985
- Air Force Association Outstanding Reserve Flying Wing Award, 1981, 1983 & 1984
- National Safety Council Award of Commendation, 1983
- Flying Milestone Safety Award, 1983
- Staff Sergeant Richard D. Roucher Memorial Trophy, 1980 and 1981
- General Carl A. Spaatz Memorial Trophy, 1980
During the past two decades the 434th Air Refueling Wing has been involved in such military operations as Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Southwest Asia, Just Cause in Panama, Provide Hope in Somalia, Decisive Endeavor and Joint Guard in Bosnia, Southern Watch and Northern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. Most recently, the wing was mobilized in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
The 434th Air Refueling Wing also plays an important part in the Indiana economy. The wing has a combined military-civilian work force and is the largest employer in Miami County. More than 85 percent of wing personnel live in Indiana and it is estimated the annual economic impact of the wing on the local area exceeds $130 million.
Contributions to local communities extend far beyond mere economic data. The base fire department has mutual aid agreements with a number of local communities and the Grissom Air Reserve Base Community Council is involved in a number of special projects to improve the quality of life in the region.
(Current as of June 2013)