307th AREFS HISTORY
The 307th was first activated in June 1950 and attached to the 307th Bombardment Wing at MacDill AFB, Florida. Crews flew the KC-29M, a hose-type refueling aircraft. Later that year the squadron moved to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona to fly within the 43rd Bombardment Group. In August 1951, upon relocating to Walker AFB, N.M., the 307th refueled other aircraft using the KB-29T, a boom-type refueling system. It was at Walker that the squadron performed the first U.S. Air Force3 over-water fighter refueling mission. Many people assigned to the squadron during this time participated in the Project Ivy atomic tests in the Pacific. After relocating to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, the unit performed refueling missions for F-84 aircraft within the 42nd Air Division. However, when everyone but one officer and one airman were reassigned, the squadron was deactivated on November 18, 1953. Just six month later, the unit was reactivated and flew out of Maxwell AFB, AL, with KC-97 aircraft while assigned to the 321st Bomb Wing at Pinecastle AFB, Florida
The 307th Air Refueling Squadron was assigned to Lincoln AFB, Nebraska in the spring of 1954 under the leadership of Lt. Col. Everett B. Thurlow. The squadron was assigned to the 307th Bombardment Wing, 818th Air Division, both headquartered at Lincoln AFB.
The first of many extended deployments took place in March 1955 when the squadron was assigned TDY to Goose AB, Labrador for approximately 45 days. In the summer and fall of 1956 the second on the so-called “90 day” TDY’s was spent in jolly old England at Greenham Common AB.
We spent a lovely summer and early fall in 1957 at the “top of the world” at Thule AB. Those lucky souls on this TDY will undoubtedly remember the midnight sun shining in their bleary eyes from the North Pole vicinity as they left the clubs at midnight or later. The cold storage vault-like doors on the barracks and the ingenious mechanical design of the commodes were a likely subject of conversation at the bar. The squadron pulled the first ground alert in SAC’s history that fall. In the usual confusion of organizing “firsts” many also remember that the now commander, Lt. Col. Oliver Fowler, demanded we sleep in our flight suits (with boots on) so as to be able to respond to the alert timing demanded by SAC HQ.
Starting in November 1957 we participated in initial operational program to refuel TAC fighters with short TDY’s to MacDill AFB, FL. Other glimpses of that time included for many the “achievement of the much sought after status” as test flight crew for the week or possible their selection as taxi crew for the day.
In July many in the squadron, even though their mobility bags were stuffed with newspaper to lighten that often lifted load, were pleased to receive the written verification the: Verbal Orders of the Commander” (VOC) were confirmed and that their presence at Ernest Harmon AB, Newfoundland after the unexpected launch of the alert aircraft from Lincoln, was officially sanctioned. That September the entire squadron was given the pleasure of seeing Harmon AB as we deployed on yet another extended TDY under the nickname of “Operation Sand Tiger”.
For those in attendance the next spring at a briefing, Lt. Col. Fowler’s historic statement that “the 307th AREFS will not go on any extended TDY’s in the foreseeable future” most certainly was a great relief. However, his concept of “foreseeable future” was rather limited at least to those of us who “On or about D/A 11 July 1959” found ourselves in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean at Lajes Field, Azores for “QUOTE--QUOTE 90 days (Perhaps his definition of “extended” was suspect too).
Periodic visits of week duration to the alert facility at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, improved our morale during the winter of 1959-60 upon our return from Lajes.
Many good people and several aircraft “dogs” were reassigned from Hunter AFB, GA to Selfridge AFB, Michigan to augment the 307th AREFS’ “Permanent Change of Station” to the same location in the late spring of 1960. Upon arrival, we immediately discovered that SAC’s vaunted planning staff and computer support were not as infallible as we had been led to believe. The 307th had not been programmed in the General War Plan. One bomber unit had no assigned tankers in their portion of the same plan (SIOP), so we had the good fortune of supporting their requirement from Malstrom AFB, Montana, for several months in Mid-1960 while the planning staff at Offutt tried to unravel the mess so we could pull our alerts at our home base.
Lt. Col. Clyde Taylor assumed command in the spring of 1962 when Lt. Col. Fowler was “bumped upstairs” to the 4045th Air Refueling Wing Staff. April of 1962 saw us basking in the sun in the mid’atlantic once more for several fun filled months or as the orders read “approximately 90 days TDY to APO NY, NY” This TDY also included approximately 2 months of little or no per diem because of changes in finance rules.
The loss of the 4045th Air Refueling Wing in December 1962 provided absolutely no lapse in the alert schedule as the 500th Air Refueling Wing (same place, same people, same aircraft, same BS) assumed all the duties of the 4045th.
The fall and winter and into the spring of 1963 found the 307th and our sister squadron, the 44th AREFS enjoying cold—colder---coldest weather on alert at Frobisher Bay and Ft. Churchill AB’s in Canada.
Due to the runway repair at Selfridge, we spent our summer in 1963 “Down East” at Dow AFB, Maine. The live lobster (which were affordable then) and the landings at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for weekend ?”honeymoon” flights were the highlights of this TDY.
In late 1963, Lt. Col. Carson Gallien replaced Lt. Col. Taylor as Commander. He nicely managed to arrange reflex alert operations at Namao AB, Canada, for the squadron. I suspect, since he knew the squadron had enjoyed most of Eastern Canada at various times and places, that we would certainly prefer to spend our alert time away form home in Western Canada instead. So, for the early part of 1964 this arrangement took place on schedule.
In 1964 we saw the demise of the 500 ARWg, leaving the 307th Squadron as an independent unit, operating directly under the 40th Air Division at Wurtsmith with Col. Joe Young as Squadron Commander. Col. Young was transferred to Division Headquarters in 1965 and Lt. Col. Osborn assumed command until his retirement in early 1966 when the work of “turning out the lights” became the job of Major Francis McMullen. The doors were finally “locked” on 25 June 1966.
On September 30, 1985, the 307th AREFS was reactivated at a formal ceremony at K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI. The squadron, assigned to the 410th Bombardment Wing at Sawyer, flew for the first time – the KC-135.
It has since been deactivated again.
The above History of Activities at Lincoln and Selfridge was initially compiled by the late Barry Thompson in 1964 and since updated by subsequent members; although not
named, their contributions are greatly appreciated.
Former Squadron Commanders – Lincoln and Selfridge
L/Col. Everett Thurlow
L/Col. Oliver Fowler
L/Col. Clyde Taylor
L/Col. Carson Gallien
L/Col. Robert Christensen
Col. Joseph Young
L/Col. Allen Osborn
Maj. Francis McMullin