46th Air Refueling Squadron (SAC) Association

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Air Transport Command, World War II

History of the

46th Air Refueling Squadron


The 46th Ferrying Squadron was activated on December 2, 1942 at Wadi Seidna Airport, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The 46th was assigned to the 13th Ferrying Group who assigned area took in the territory from El Geneine, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, to Karachi, India (now Pakistan), and from Cairo, Egypt, to Tehran, Iran. The 46th was responsible for the aerial transportation of personnel, supplies and mail throughout this area. The squadron was redesignated the 46th Transport Squadron on March 24, 1943. With the reorganization of the Africa Middle East Wing ( AMEW), the 46th was disbanded on September 30, 1943 when the group and squadron organizations of the Central African Sector (CAS) were disbanded and replaced by stations. The 13th Transport Group, its assigned squadrons, and all personnel and equipment were absorbed by the newly created Station #20, AMEW-ATC, Khartoum.

Reconstituted and redesignated the 46th Air Transport Squadron, Medium, the 46th began operations at Kelly AFB, Texas, in July 1954. The 46th operated primarily as a training squadron until April 1955, at which time it became a full strength squadron. The primary mission of the 46th was to provide air movement of personnel and supplies over almost two-thirds of the globe as designated by higher headquarters. The secondary mission was to train new Military Air Transport Service (MATS) personnel and to make them an integral part of the squadron. The 46th Air Transport Squadron inactivated on April 8, 1956.

The first KC-135 to arrive at K.I. Sawyer was 57-1497 which arrived on 4 August 1960. It was named "The County of Marquette". When the 923rd Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, was discontinued and inactivated on April 1, 1961, the 46th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy, was organized and gained the mission, personnel, and equipment of the 923rd. Stationed at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan the 46th flew regular, reflex, alert, and training refueling missions; its tankers refueled TAC fighters being deployed or rotated overseas, and those returning to the United States. Aircrews of the 46th were deployed to assist in refueling operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis; it also sent aircraft and crews to Southeast Asia to support combat missions of SAC bombers and TAC fighters. The 46th deployed aircraft and crews for tanker task forces operating out of Alaska, Spain, Labrador, and in the Great Lakes region. The squadron maintained operational readiness to conduct air refueling operations with the KC-135A Stratotanker as specified by higher headquarters until its inactivation. The last KC-135 to leave K.I. Sawyer was 58-0110.

The 46th Air Refueling Squadron was awarded the 40th Air Division Best Air Refueling Squadron Performance award for January-March 1961. This award was also won for the following quarters; October-December 1961, January-March 1962, January-March 1963, April-June 1963, and October-December 1963. The squadron won the 2nd Air Force Best Air Refueling Squadron Performance award for January-March 1961, January-March 1962, and January-June 1963. The 46th won the Air Force Association Outstanding Tanker Unit in SAC award for both 1962 and 1963. The squadron was awarded the Saunders Trophy, a SAC Award, for the Best Air Refueling Squadron in 1962 and 1963. The 46th Air Refueling Squadron was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period 1 April 1962 to 31 March 1963. In 1982 the 46th ARS won the General Carl A. Spaatz Memorial Refueling Trophy. The Spaatz Trophy was awarded for the best support to the Tactical Air Command. The squadron also won the 1982 SMSgt Albert L. Evans Memorial Trophy for the best boom operator section in SAC. In 1983 the squadron won the Eighth Air Force Golden Tanker Award.

The 46th and 307th Air Refueling Squadrons suffered the loss of two aircraft in separate accidents; the first at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan on September 26, 1976 was A/C 61-0296.  Those crew members and passengers from the 46th who perished in the Wurtsmith accident were: Major Frederick R. Wrinkle, the pilot, 1/Lt Ronald P. Roach, the copilot, Capt. Richard Dankey, the navigator, Tsgt Gary L. Carlson, the boom operator, Capt. Oscar W. Duggan, extra pilot, Capt David A. Phelps, passenger, and Capt. Jack A. Kuzanek, passenger. The second accident happened on January 31, 1989 at Dyess AFB, TX. The crew involved included A/C Robert M. Llewellyn, CP Kenneth Brackney, N Joseph A. Nellis and BO David Vickers of the 307th and aircraft 63-7990. This accident occurred at 12:10 when the water injection failed on takeoff. There were 7 crewmembers and 12 passengers on board enroute to Hickam AFB and Guam. The other crew members from the 410th OMS were, Sgt Andrew W Neher, SrA Richard D Smith and A1C Jay M Galioneau. The passengers were, Amn Noel R David, 410th CES, SrA Leopoldo L Conge, Jr, 410th Svcs Sq, Msgt Douglas E Juneau, Anderson AB, MSgt Ret Berlin B "Woody" Wooldridge, his wife Margaret and grandson Jordan, Donald M Clark, USN Ret, and his wife June, Robert W Curtis, LtCol Ret, TSgt Ret James A Phillips and one casualty whose name was not released due to family request. The 410th lost another KC-135 in an accident on February 6, 1976, on  approach to Terrejon AB, Spain. It was being flown from Mildenhall AB by a crew from Seymore Johnson and a passenger CP from Pease ; Jeffery Nye, Steven Sterling, Timothy Kline, John Barners and Lloyd Baker, however, the crew chiefs, TSgt Joe McCalister and A1C John Hancock were from the 410th OMS. 


46TH Air Refueling Squadron Commanders

Winfred H. Meibohm

C. Hunter Smith**

Laurence Maher, Jr**

Ronald L. Brumbaugh**

Wilson W. Howard**

Samuel E. Dyke**

Bertram G. Brunner**

Edward G. Palm**

Martin D. Klena

Frank Elliott**

Alvin W. Langford

Donald D. Luenenberg**

Richard E. Ring

Donald S. Croston

Richard L. Trail

Robert L. Hohman

Ronald B. Childers

Dale R. Liesch

William G. Manire

Richard W. Salsbury

William E. Rutter

Brian W. Horst

Russell Deming

James Nakauchi

** Deceased

Last photo of the 46th ARS
Photo taken of the 46th ARS just prior to closing.

46th ARS Association
520 Cherry Creek Road, Marquette, MI 49855