633rd Special Operations Wing

The 333d Special Operations Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was active from July 1968 through March 1970 at Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam. In 1985, the wing was consolidated with the 333d Bombardment Group as the 333d Special Operations Wing.

This article is about the 633d Special Operations Wing. For the 633d Air Base Wing, see 633d Air Base Wing.

333d Special Operations Wing
Active as the 633d Special Operations Wing

Active 1942–1944; 1944–1946; 1968-1970
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Special Operations
Part of Pacific Air Forces
Engagements Pacific Theater
Vietnam War
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat “V” Device
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Insignia
633d Special Operations Wing emblem (approved 29 May 1969)[1]
Military unit

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The 333d Bombardment Group, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Operational Training Unit (OTU) assigned to Second Air Force, was established at Topeka Army Air Base, Kansas in July 1942. The 333d’s original components were the 466th, 467th, 468th and 469th Bombardment Squadrons.[2][3] The squadrons were all initially formed at Salt Lake City Army Air Base, and did not join group headquarters at Topeka until late August.[3]

The OTU program involved the use of an oversized parent unit to provide cadres to “satellite groups”. In February 1943 it moved to Dalhart Army Air Field, Texas, and shifted its mission to become a Replacement Training Unit (RTU). RTUs were also oversized units, but trained individual pilots or aircrews for shipment to theaters of operation.[2][4] However, the Army Air Forces found that standard military units like the 333d, based on relatively inflexible tables of organization, were not proving well adapted to the training mission. Accordingly a more functional system was adopted in which each base was organized into a separate numbered unit.[5] As a result, the group was inactivated and training activities at Dalhart were assumed by the 232d (bomber) and 268th (fighter) AAF Base Units.

B-29 Superfortress as flown by the group

Dalhart became a center for organizing Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombardment groups and the 333d was again activated there in July 1944.[2] However, its original squadrons were not activated along with it. Instead, the 435th, 460th, and 507th Bombardment Squadrons were assigned. These three squadrons had previously been the “fourth” (highest numbered) squadrons in groups that also flew B-29s. The three squadrons had been inactivated in May 1944, when B-29 groups were reorganized to have three, rather than four squadrons.[6] The 435th had seen combat in the Southwest Pacific Theater early in the war.[7]

In January 1945 the group moved to Great Bend Army Air Field, Kansas, where it continued its training until June 1945. The group deployed to Okinawa as part of Eighth Air Force in the Pacific Theater. It arrived in Okinawa, but the end of the war with the defeat of Japan led to a drawdown of Eighth Air Force and the group never engaged in combat. The group helped evacuate prisoners of war from Japan to airfields in the Philippines. The unit was inactivated on Okinawa on 28 May 1946.[2]

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