439th Troop Carrier Group History

The following squadrons where part of the 439th TCG:
  • 91st Squadron
  • 92nd Squadron
  • 93rd Squadron
  • 94th Squadron
  • The 439th was activated on 14 May 1943. The 439th trained for the allied invasion in France with formation flying, re-supply drops and glider towing. It moved to England in February and March 1944, just before the invasion.

    After it's arrival the 439th continued it's exercises for the invasion in combination with the other Troop Carrier groups and the 101st airborne divisions. The 439th dropped paratroopers of the 101st airborne division on D-day. For their actions 439th Troop Carrier Group earned the Distinguished (Presidential) Unit Citation for the Normandy missions.

    After D-day the 439th flew supply missions and evacuated the wounded from France. In July a detachment of the group was send to Italy. It took part in the invasion of Southern France. On 15 August 1944 it dropped paratroopers from the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. On the days after the invasion it towed gliders into the area and dropped supplies.

    The detachment rejoined the 439th ten days later and the group as a whole moved to France on 11 September 1944. The group took part in operation Market Garden. It dropped troops from the 82nd Airborne division near Groesbeek on 17 September. The 439th towed gliders into Holland on 18 September and 23 September.



    Lt Col Ralph L. Zimmerman, 1 Jun 1943;
    Col Charles H. Young, 21 Jan 1944;
    Col Gordon L. Edris, 6 Oct 1945;


    Trained in the U.S. with C-47s, 1943- Jan1944. Moved to England, Feb-Mar 1944, for duty with Ninth Air Force. Began operations by dropping paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944 and releasing gliders with reinforcements on the following day. The group received a DUC and a French citation for these missions. After the Normandy invasion the group ferried supplies in the United Kingdom until the air echelon was sent to Italy in Jul to transport cargo to Rome and evacuate wounded personnel. The detachment dropped paratroops of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment along the Riviera in support of the invasion of Southern France on 15 Aug, and later towed gliders to provide reinforcements; for these missions the group earned another citation from the French government. After the air echelon returned to England on 25 Aug the group resumed its cargo missions. After moving to France in Sep, the group dropped paratroops of the 82d Airborne Division near Nijmegen and towed gliders carrying reinforcements during the airborne attack on Holland. In Dec, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes-Alsace) by releasing gliders with supplies for the 101st Airborne Division near Bastogne. When the Allies made the air assault across the Rhine River in Mar 1945, each aircraft of the 439th towed two gliders with troops of the 17th Airborne Division and released them near Wesel. The group also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals. Converting from C-47s to C-46s, the 439th used the new aircraft to transport displaced persons from Germany to France and Belgium after V-E Day. The group returned to the U.S., Jul-Sep 1945, and trained with C-46 aircraft until inactivated. From Jun 1949, the group trained in troop carrier operations until mobilized in Apr 1951, its personnel being used as fillers for USAF organizations worldwide. Activated in the Reserve on 15 Jun 1952, the group trained in fighter-bomber operations until phased out in Sep 1957, and the group flew TC-47 and C-119 aircraft until Nov. On 8 Jan 1966 the 439th replaced the 1602d Air Transport Group at Rhein-Main AB, Germany. The group controlled assigned and attached Military Airlift Command airlift units at Rhein-Main, provided air transport and air evacuation services within and occasionally outside Europe. Earned an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for May-Jun 1967 support during the Middle East crisis. . Since 1 Aug 1992 the group has trained for and flown global airlift operations, transporting personnel, equipment, and supplies and participating in numerous exercises.

    Interesting books about WWII Troop Carrier Command:

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    IX Troop Carrier Command


    D-day briefing

    Briefing prior to D-day of the 438th and 439th Glider group.



    91st Squadron 439 Troop Carrier Group 1945. Standing: From left to right. John Bennett, Del Summers, Bill Rankin, Fred Francher, Charlie Scott, Fred Reed, Charlie Balfour, Tom Berry. Kneeling: Gerald "Mac" MacDonald, Rufus Hill, Chuck Skidmore, Roy Sample, Ken Bowers. Photo Courtesy: Mike Skidmore


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