History of the 18th Air Force
Published March 19, 2012
Organized on March 28, 1951, at Donaldson AFB, S.C., and assigned to Tactical Air Command, the primary mission of the 18th Air Force (Troop Carrier), was the training of troop carrier crews. Immediately after activation, it began to provide trained troop carrier crews and other personnel for the Korean War.
Redesignated as 18th Air Force on June 26, 1951, it quickly became involved with numerous activities including troop movements in the continental United States, Defense Early Warning (DEW) line operations in numerous allied nations, and support of US efforts at the South Pole in Antarctica.
During this period, there were 16 troop carrier wings assigned to 18th Air Force flying C-45, C-46, C-47, C-54, C-82, C-119, C-122, C-124 and C-130 aircraft. Additionally, some wings flew H-19 and H-21 helicopters as well as the L-5, L-16, and L-20.
As part of the implementation of the Single Manager Airlift Service concept for the Air force, 18th Air Force moved on Sept.1, 1957, to Waco, Texas, transferred its troop carrying aircraft to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) and received other combat units as it assumed command responsibilities for all TAC bases and organizations in the south central and western states. During the short time 18th Air Force was in Waco, assigned wings flew KB-29, KB-50, F-84, F-100 and F-101 aircraft.
Eighteenth Air Force had hardly settled into its new home and mission when it was inactivated. On Jan. 1, 1958, 18th Air Force was inactivated and all personnel and equipment were transferred in place to the newly reactivated 12th Air Force.
Reactivated in 2003, today's new 18th AF has an incomparable combination of airlift and air refueling missions, as well as the command and control of air mobility assets around the globe. Its people and aircraft ensure America maintains global reach throughout the world.