914 AW Short History

The 914th Airlift Wing traces its lineage back to the 3rd Combat Cargo Group which flew C-47 aircraft over the Himalaya Mountain range during World War II.  As a part of this unit, the 512th Troop Carrier Group, activated on 15 April of 1944, completed service within the China-India-Burma Theater during the War. Known unofficially as the "Lucky Third" due to its safety record during war time operations, the unit has maintained this stellar reputation throughout modern conflicts. The only flight fatality that has been recorded at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station occurred during a 1985 Air Show event in which two aircraft assigned to the US Navy Blue Angels collided with an outcome of one fatality.

 Following the conclusion of World War II, Niagara became the home site for the original Camp Bell military installation. Along with this designation, Niagara also served as the home station for Bell Aerospace, who manufactured the Bell X-1A experimental aircraft.  In 1947, General Chuck Yeager tested the Bell aircraft at Niagara before breaking the sound barrier at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Additionally, Niagara was home to the original Bell helicopter and the Bell rocket belt prototype.

 The unit was recalled to active duty for the Cuban Missile Crisis during 1962 and was re-designated as the 914th Troop Carrier Group on 11 February 1963. Following this, the unit was re-designated once again on 1 July 1967 as the 914th Tactical Airlift Group. This is significant as the 914th Tactical Airlift Group (TAG) included the 328th Tactical Airlift Squadron.  Then on 01 Oct 1994 the 914th TAG re-designated to the 914th Airlift Wing (AW).

 In December of 1970, the 328th Airlift Squadron began its conversion to C-130A Aircraft while the 914th Tactical Airlift Group assumed command of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on 1 January 1971.  The C-130A model aircraft was flown until June of 1986 when it was retired in favor of the C-130E model. The unit flew the C-130E airframe until September of 1992 when it converted to the newer C-130H3.

 The 914 AW was recalled to active duty once again during 1990 in order to participate in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, and then returned to reserve status following the conclusion of hostilities. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the unit was activated during 2003 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  Along with these activations, the 914 AW has participated in several Operation CORONET OAK missions that flew out of Howard Air Force Base, Panama until the installation was handed over to the military of Panama during 1999.  Following the closing of operations within Panama, the mission moved to Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico where the 914 AW still flies rotations when tasked.

 In response to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission hearing of 2005, the Commission decided to keep the 107th Air Refueling Wing, New York Air National Guard open, but convert them from air refueling to airlift and became an associate partner with the 914 AW under the Air Force Reserve Command.  This became known as an Air Reserve Component (ARC) association, the first ever in the history of Tactical Airlift.