In 1968, the 944th Military Airlift Group became the first unit in the Associate Reserve Program. Today, “Total Force” means that the Air Force Reserve provides fifty percent of the U.S. strategic airlift, and the 445th MAW has historically spearheaded that capability. The 445th Military Airlift Wing is one of the largest reserve units in the Air Force today, with over 3,000 reservists assigned. The 445th MAW has proudly served beside it’s regular counterpart, the 63rd MAW, at Norton AFB, California flying C-141A’s and now C-141 B’s. In 1969, crews from the 445th MAW transported lunar samples from Apollo XII. 1969 also found the 445th receiving the Air Force Association’s “Outstanding Unit Award”.
During Vietnam, the Wing flew support missions including the 1972 Bob Hope Christmas tour. 1973 was marked by the 445th crews flying in “Operation Homecoming” returning American POW’s and the Israeli-Arab “Ten Day War” in October. “Operation New Life”- the mass evacuation of Vietnam refugees, was supported in 1975. Today the men and women of the 445th Military Airlift Wing regularly fly all over the world, proving that the “Professionals” of the Air Force Reserve stand ready.
The C-141 B “Starlifter”, manufactured by the Lockheed-Georgia Company, is a long-range, high-speed, high-altitude, sweptwing aircraft designed as a heavy logistic transport. Powered by four Pratt & Whitney turbofan jet engines, each producing 21,000 pounds of thrust, the C-141 B is inflight refuelable, and airlifts combat support equipment, troops, air-evac patients, and fully assembled missiles. The C-141 B carries a maximum payload of 90,200 lbs. has a maximum gross weight of 343,000 lbs. and a top speed of 566mph.