Air Force Special Operations Command on May 10 inactivated the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center, and activated in its place the storied 492nd Special Operations Wing. The wing, which oversees the Air Force Special Operations School, AFSOC flight testing, and aircrew training, now carries the legacy of the Carpetbaggers of the 492nd Bombardment Group. This group carried out Operation Carpetbagger during World War II, in which the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA, used B-24s to arm the French resistance. During the war, the Carpetbaggers delivered more than 5,000 tons of supplies to the French. Three members of this group attended the activation ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Fla. “Intrepid men like Capt. [Eugene] Polinsky, 1st Lt. [Hewitt] Gomez, and Sgt. [Bill] Becker, who flew heavily modified B-24s deep into Germany’s Fortress Europe. And, so started some of the most relevant, aviation special operations in WWII,” AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said at the ceremony, according to a Hurlburt release. “With Carpetbagger missions designated as special flights, the 492nd Bombardment Group is rightfully among the first, certainly in Europe, who can claim the title of being special operators.” In addition to the wing, AFSOC activated the 492nd Special Operations Group and 492nd Special Operations Training Group.
Note: This entry was updated May 17 to accurately reflect the name of the Office of Strategic Services.