The 917th operates the A-10A Thunderbolt II. Located at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., the Group employs approximately 500 Air Force Reserve personnel. The mission of the 47th Fighter Squadron is to employ the A-10 in combat.
The 917th Fighter Group was originally formed as the 917th Troop Carrier Group on Jan. 17, 1963, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and was assigned to the 435th Troop Carrier Wing. Its mission was to administer and support its assigned 78th Troop Carrier Squadron, which was equipped with C-124s.
On July 1, 1963, both the group and squadron were reassigned to the 442nd Troop Carrier Wing because their new gaining command, Military Air Transport Service, wanted all five Air Force Reserve C-124 Groups assigned to the same wing. The units were reassigned to the 512th Troop Carrier Wing on March 25, 1965.
Reflecting similar changes in the active force, the 917th was re-designated twice -- to the 917th Air Transport Group in 1965, and then to the 917th Military Airlift Group in 1966. The 917th Military Airlift Group was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its exceptional safety record of more than 55,000 accident-free flying hours and global support missions.
As the A-37 Dragonfly conversion began on April 13, 1971, the group was reassigned to the 434th Special Operations Wing. On April 26, 1972, the unit was re-designated the 917th Special Operations Group, with Tactical Air Command as the gaining major air command.
As the hardware and missions changed, the unit was re-designated the 917th Tactical Fighter Group on October 1, 1973. The 78th Troop Carrier Squadron was subsequently deactivated and replaced by the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Assigned to the 434th Tactical Fighter Wing at Grissom Air Force Base, Ind., the 917th reached combat-ready status 45 days ahead of schedule and garnered honors as the first fighter group in the Air Force Reserve to achieve this distinction.
When the A-37B Dragonfly was eventually phased out, the group converted to the A-10 Thunderbolt II airframe. The 917 TFG assumed replacement-training responsibilities on October 1, 1983. This ultimately led to the creation of the 46th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, in addition to the 926th Tactical Fighter Group in New Orleans, La.
Due to Air Force restructuring in June 1992, Tactical Air Command was combined with Strategic Air Command to form Air Combat Command. The 917th Tactical Fighter Wing joined Air Combat Command and "Tactical" was dropped from its name.
On Oct. 1, 1993, the 917th Fighter Wing saw important changes once again. The 46th Fighter Training Squadron was deactivated when the active-duty Air Force took control of all fighter replacement training. On this same day, the 917th became the first unit in Air Force Reserve history to acquire a strategic mission: B-52s were added to the wing make-up and the 93rd Bomb Squadron was activated with ten B-52s. Now a composite wing, the 917th dropped "Fighter" from its name and became the 917th Wing.
In December 1993, the wing deployed its A-10 aircraft, personnel and equipment to Aviano Air Base, Italy, to support the United Nations' no-fly rule over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dubbed "Operation Deny Flight," the 917th returned to Aviano Air Base in August 1994 and again in May 1995 to uphold the U.N. ban on military flights in the Bosnia-Herzegovina airspace.
In November 1995, the 917th Wing was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, for exceptionally meritorious service during deployments to support Operation Deny Flight and successfully converting a fighter unit to the Reserve's first heavy bomber unit. Oct. 7, 1996, marked the return of pilot training to the 917th as the 47th Fighter Squadron became an A-10 replacement-training unit.
The Wing again received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in December 1999, primarily for winning the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award and Secretary of Defense Award for the Self-Inspection Tracking System. The award also noted the unit's sponsorship of the STARBASE program, which creates interest in math, science, and technology by using an aviation theme. Also, that year the 917th Maintenance Squadron won the Maintenance Effectiveness Award.
In September 2000 the Wing again won the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award for the Smart Pay Tracking System.
The 917th Wing hosts one other Reserve unit at Barksdale: Detachment 1, 307th Civil Engineering Squadron, RED HORSE (Rapid Engineering Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer).
In September 2001, the 93rd Bomb Squadron received war-tasking orders and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. At the same time security policemen, firefighters, maintenance personnel and various other personnel from the 917th Wing were also activated in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.
In September 2002, the 93rd Bomb Squadron returned home from a forward operating area and activated reservists were demobilized. In March 2003, approximately 250 personnel from the 917th Wing mobilized again to support the war on terrorism through Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. They deployed in support of Central, European, and Pacific Commands.
In August 2003, Wing personnel returned to Barksdale where they remain operation ready to support and defend. In December 2003 the Wing was again awarded the Outstanding Unit Award for their participation in the war against terrorism for the period 1 Oct 01 - 1 Aug 03.
In January 2005, the 917th Wing deployed six B-52s and approximately 300 personnel to Anderson AFB, Guam as part of a 60-day Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the Asian-Pacific region.
In 2006 under Base Realignment and Closure the 917th Wing gained eight A-10 aircraft and a number of full-time and part-time positions from the closure of NAS JRB New Orleans, La., bringing the total A-10s assigned to 26.
In December 2007, the 917th Wing Command Post merged with the 2d Bomb Wing Command Post to become one integrated force, called the Barksdale Command Post as part of the total force concept.
In 2008, the 917th Civil Engineers Squadron became part of a test program for integrating active duty and reserve civil engineers to include the Readiness Flight called the ECS Test Program.
In December 2008, the 93rd Bomb Squadron took top honors at the five day Buff Smoke competition held at Barksdale. They won four out of the five top award; Best Squadron, Best Crew, Best Aircraft Maintenance Unit, and Best Crew Chief Awards.
On July 7, 2009, the 93 BS and 917th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron received 11 B-52s, approximately 320 maintenance/40 operations personnel from Regular Air Force to form an active associate unit. The move placed the 93rd in a joint capacity with Regular Air Force in the nuclear mission, under the total force initiative. At the same time the squadron transitioned from a combat-coded unit to the B-52 formal training schoolhouse.
In November 2009 the 917th Wing stood up a new A-10 flying squadron designated the 45th Fighter Squadron. The squadron was located at Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz. Providing A-10 IPs to the 355th Fighter Wing.
In August 2009, Wing personnel maintained a maximum degree of war readiness and combined three Reserve units with three Regular Air Force units. The wing garnered top honors at BUFFSMOKE as well as receiving Air Force Reserve Command's 2008 Command Post of the Year award. In December 2009 the Wing was again awarded the Outstanding Unit Award for their professionalism and maintaining high standards in accomplishing their mission for the period 1 Oct 07 - 30 Sept 09.
On Nov. 1, 2009 the 45th Fighter Squadron was re-activated under the 917th Wing as an associate unit with the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz. Their mission consists of training A-10 Thunderbolt pilots.
The 343th Bomb Squadron was officially reactivated on April 1, 2010 under the 917th Wing, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The squadron's role is a classic associate unit with the 2nd Bomb Wing, at Barksdale. They provide a venue for Reserve aircrew to season, upgrade and fill B-52 FTU flight instructor positions. Their association is to maintain and/or increase CAF support for Air Expeditionary Force and Global Deterrence Force rotations through Nuclear and Conventional Methods.
The 917th Wing's A-10 training squadron, the 47th Fighter Squadron changed from a schoolhouse to a combat coded unit on 1 October 2010.
October 15, 2010 the 917th Mission Support Flight merged with 917th Services Flight and was re-designated as the 917th Force Support Squadron.
On January 1, 2011, the 917th Wing was deactivation and the 917th Operations Group was re-designated as the 917th Fighter Group. The Group realigned under the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo. The assigned aircraft is the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
(Current as of March 2011)