Continuing the legacy of adaptability

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nestor Cruz
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, have another reason to stand proudly as the unit celebrates its 58th birthday. A geographically separated unit of the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base since 2012, the mission of the 924th FG is to forge the world’s most lethal A-10 Thunderbolt II attack pilots.

The 924th FG was activated as the 924th Troop Carrier Group on December 28, 1962 in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. For the first few years, the group supported NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, flying air drop missions of Gemini spacecraft and Paraglider mockups.

At the same time, the 924th also participated in various humanitarian missions including transporting an iron lung to South America and airlifting supplies for hurricane relief. They were the first Air Force Reserve unit assigned the C-130B Hercules, flying more than 120 missions to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

“The 924th Fighter Group’s history is something that we continue to be proud of,” said Col. Abel Ramos, 924th FG commander. “We’re proud of the fact that the 924th’s record shows our unit’s adaptability and versatility.”

In the early 1970’s, the group resumed flying humanitarian missions from fighting forest fires in California to searching for survivors of an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and was eventually transferred to the Military Airlift Command and moved to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. In 1981, the group moved back to Tactical Air Command, realigned as the 924th Fighter Group, and took on a new flying mission.

“The 924th personnel have always excelled in their assigned mission, be it flying personnel and cargo in C-119s and C-130s, to flying high performance fighter aircraft like the F-4 Phantom and the F-16 Fighting Falcon,” Ramos said.

The 924th was deactivated in September 1996 as part of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission and was reactivated at Davis-Monthan AFB in 2011 with administrative control going to the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. A year later, the 924th was realigned for the last time under the 944th FW.

“We’ve carried on the tradition of adaptability to this day,” Ramos said. “Change has not stifled us and I think our 924th FG predecessors would be proud of how we have continued the legacy of the 924th.”

The group’s strong legacy continues as they are the only unit-equipped formal training unit in Air Force Reserve Command with A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft. They are responsible for training and producing highly qualified A-10 pilots for theatre commanders worldwide.