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TCS, TAS, AS...............when did the changes occur


gizzard
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As many of you know who follow this site, my mind wanders around all over the place. This item came up.....When did the designation for airlift squadron change?? Meaning when did they go from TCS ( troop carrier squadron) to TAS ( tactical airlift squadron) and now AS (Airlift squadron)? Were the TCS's not under TAC before??

Did the MAC squadrons and wings change ( I think when I was in, they were MAS, MAW) when MATS ( Military Air transport Service, or as one of my best instructors always called it, Might arrive tomorrow sometime) became MAC.

Just another historical tidbit that my feeble mind brought up, probably in a vain attempt to bring back old memories.

I'll take my medicine and go to bed now............................

load clear

Giz

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I'm going to stick my oar in hetre and muddy the water some more. I have in front of me, my "Permanant Change of Station Orders", 776 TCS, CCK Air Base to 316 Troop Carrier Wing Langley, dated 20 Jan. 1967. Next page is my travel voucher for that change of station CCK Taiwan, to 38th TCS Langley, dated 27 Feb. 1967. So, apparently, as of the 27th of Feb. 1967 Langley still was TCS. Just for the record, I was still refered to as A1C, the Air Force still hadn't gone over the Sergent designation at that time.

Chris

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When I showed up at the 50th in Feb '93, everyone was still wearing TAS patches, but supply was handing out both. After I got back from the schoolhouse in July or so, everyone was wearing the AS patches. I've got both, but that's what made me put it at that timeframe. The patch changes happened in late '94...or at least was implemented around then.

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From TCS to TAS supposedly happened as a result of the switch from MATS to MAC in 1966. I had orders to 37TAS in 1969 but when I got there it was sort of half and half. All my patches were 37TCS. I thought I remembered the switch from TAS to AS sometime in the 70's when the Herks got shanghai'd to MAC.

Bob

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The change from TCW/TCS to TAW/TAS was officially in 1966. It took some time to take hold in each unit, changing patches, letterhead, etc.

The "Objective Wing organization" effort, which was the change from TAS/TAG/TAW to AS/AG/AW, started in 1991 and was supposedly complete in 1992. This was not a mass change all at one time.

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The Change from TAS to AS happened in 93, when I left the 37th in Jan 93 they were still a TAS but when I came back through in July on the way to Turkey they were an AS.

Reasoning is Mc Dork refused to allow smelly airlifters to think they were tactical, after all they weren't hairy chested manly men fighter jocks.

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The Change from TAS to AS happened in 93, when I left the 37th in Jan 93 they were still a TAS but when I came back through in July on the way to Turkey they were an AS.

Reasoning is Mc Dork refused to allow smelly airlifters to think they were tactical, after all they weren't hairy chested manly men fighter jocks.

I think my memory serves me, partly anyway, that Momyer wouldn't allow aerial port to move airdrop loads around at Langley during daytime because he felt they were unattractive. Horse's ass fighter puke!!!!!!!!!!

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From TCS to TAS supposedly happened as a result of the switch from MATS to MAC in 1966. I had orders to 37TAS in 1969 but when I got there it was sort of half and half. All my patches were 37TCS. I thought I remembered the switch from TAS to AS sometime in the 70's when the Herks got shanghai'd to MAC.

Bob

So up until this time, tactical airlift was a part of MATS, or MAC???? When did the trash-haulers go to TAC???? Late 60's perhaps??? I was at Langley in 1965, as a Civil air patrol cadet, and they had silver 130's there then, it was a TAC base, but I don't know if the herks were TAC or not.

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Dyess switched in 1966. When I went there in late 65 it was TCS and sometime in the middle of 66, about the time we rotated to France on crossswitch, we were TAS. Also they switched from Troop Carrier Wings to Tactical Airlift Wings. I think that happened first.

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  • 1 month later...

Troop carrier was replaced by tactical airlift on August 1, 1967. A notice came out from the Vice-Chief of Staff, Gen. Bruce Holloway, in July. Originally, troop carrier units were called Transport, but that changed in 1942. The change to tactical airlift was supposed to have been because the new name "more accurately represented the mission as it was being performed." Hell, there's no difference now from what troop carriers were doing in 1942! Read my book Anything, Anywhere, Anytime and you'll see what I mean. As for General Momyer, who just passed away, he was a true friend to airlift. He was the C-130 project officer during its development and was the one senior officer who said that transferring tactical airlift to MAC would be a big mistake. He commanded Seventh Air Force at the height of the Vietnam War - Khe Sanh, Kham Duc, A Loi, you name it. He was a firm believer in tactical airpower, including tactical airlift.

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So up until this time, tactical airlift was a part of MATS, or MAC???? When did the trash-haulers go to TAC???? Late 60's perhaps??? I was at Langley in 1965, as a Civil air patrol cadet, and they had silver 130's there then, it was a TAC base, but I don't know if the herks were TAC or not.

The troop carrier mission was part of TAC from the beginning. TAC was established right after World War II. Eighteenth Air Force was the troop carrier organization. MATS was a DOD service administered by the Air Force. MAC activated as a command on January 1, 1966 but troop carrier remained with TAC. MATS did pick up some TAC C-124 troop carrier squadrons in 1958 and they retained their troop carrier identity. Troop carrier changed to tactical airlift on August 1, 1967. MAC managed to get control of the tactical airlift mission after Vietnam because an Air Force study determined that there was duplication of aerial port facilities and it would be a cost savings measure. After the Gulf War, most tactical airlift went to ACC. In 1999 AMC managed to get it back.

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The troop carrier mission was part of TAC from the beginning. TAC was established right after World War II. Eighteenth Air Force was the troop carrier organization. MATS was a DOD service administered by the Air Force. MAC activated as a command on January 1, 1966 but troop carrier remained with TAC. MATS did pick up some TAC C-124 troop carrier squadrons in 1958 and they retained their troop carrier identity. Troop carrier changed to tactical airlift on August 1, 1967. MAC managed to get control of the tactical airlift mission after Vietnam because an Air Force study determined that there was duplication of aerial port facilities and it would be a cost savings measure. After the Gulf War, most tactical airlift went to AAC. In 1999 AMC managed to get it back.
In fact TAC-Trained Killers HATED MAC! Former MAC personnel, particularly loadmasters, had to be retrained to perform under combat conditions. They thought they were airline employees and had to be educated.
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I had a Colonel as DO in the 616th MAG. He flew B-52s for a time and many other aircraft. He loved flying the Herk and a damn good stick. He yanked and banked the Herk all over the Nevada dessert during Red Flag. I swear I heard him chuckling to himself. Zooming along at 250 ft AGL and I'd mention to him we were below 300 ft. All he said was unless I go any lower don't worry. Zooming along at 300 knots, "gotta keep the energy up." That was a blast. Some may know him, Col. Baxter F. Snider.

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When I was at the 5-sided Puzzle Palace 8/81-2/85, this topic became an "in-house" doctrinal issue. The question came up when somebody proposed that the C-141 crews who flew CAM would actually be tactical airlifters when flying that mission. As the discussion went on, the only clear thing was that the doctrinal line between "tactical" and "strategic" airlift was blurred. Were the Herk tactical airlift units actually performing a strategic mission when they self-deployed for rotes? When the C-141s flew inter-theater air-land missions, were they performing a tactical mission? The more the doctrinaires talked the confusder they got. Everybody agreed that while the mission definitions were pretty clear, the units could cross back-and-forth depending on what they were doing at the time. The AS thingy grew out of that.

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Here's the difference - "tactical" refers to direct support of troops in combat. "Strategic" is a word the MAC staff dreamed up for what is actually the "logistical" mission, which is moving supplies into rear area depots. During World War II, it was all called air transport but only troop carrier units were involved in direct combat. In Vietnam we flew both logistical and tactical missions, which is the way its always been. Logistical missions carried cargo from Cam Ranh and Tan Son Nhut to places like Qui Nhon and Da Nang. Tactical missions were into the forward fields in direct support of combat operations. There was also some airdrop, but really not as much as many might think. Most airdrop was in 1968-early 1969 and 1972. Read my book ANYTHING, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME and you'll understand the difference. Troop carrier units flew logistical missions but their mission was combat. Air Transport was purely logistical and were not allowed to operate into forward areas. In fact, ATC only lost 7 airplanes in the entire war.

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What about the former B-52 pilots that did not like flying from short strips?
I flew with Howie Seabolt for a year in the 29th at Clark. He loved short strips (and everything else about tactical airlift.) By the way, the 29th pilots at Forbes came out of B-47s. The 313th TCW was formed when a B-47 wing at Forbes inactivated.
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