Welcome to the 1st TATS History Page
BUCKEYE FLYER March, 1973
First TATS Farewell
By Mr. Jim Doherty Wing Information Officer
On the 25th of March 1973 the books will close on one of the finest organizations I've ever had the good fortune to work with. A more dedicated group of reservists has never existed and the performance of the whole unit since its inception on 1 April 1968, as 302nd Combat Crew Training Squadron (Provisional), can only be described as Outstanding!
Space precludes our listing all of 1st TATS accomplishments here but we'll touch on as many as possible.
On 1 July 1968 the unit was redesignated 1st Combat Crew Training Squadron (1st CCTS) and 1 January 1970 received the name it proudly bore until its deactivation this month.
During its five years of existence the Mission of 1st Tactical Airlift Training Squadron was to provide C-119 Phase I aircrew training for pilots, navigators, flight mechanics and ground training for selected aircraft maintenance personnel of the regular Air Force and personnel of friendly foreign nations under the Military Assistance program.
1st TATS was conceived and formed to provide AF Reserve support to the initial C-119 aircrew training for USAF crews in the AC-119G/K Gunship Mission because of the acknowledged expertise of AFRES personnel in the C-119 "Flying Boxcar", so long a part of the reserve inventory. Due to the wind-down of the Viet Nam conflict the production requirements for AC-119 Gunship crews terminated and the last USAF crews graduated from 1st TATS 15 November 1972.
Total Personnel graduated, by crew position is as follows: Pilots 457, Navigators 264, Flight Mechanics 202, Maintenance 1573 for a Personnel Total of 2496.
Our foreign training under the Military Assistance Program (MAP) resulted in 242 aircrew and maintenance personnel being trained from Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Jordan and Morocco. Certainly an enviable record of productivity from a unit manned with absolute minimum essential personnel.
During its existence 1st TATS utilized a total of 13,381.2 aircraft flying hours, all of which were accident-incident free.
This record is considered of noteworthy interest and a monument to the expertise and professionalism of the aircrew instructor personnel assigned. The Tactical Air Command (TAC) Unit Achievement Award was presented to 1st TATS for the period 1 April 1968 thru 31 March 1969. Although a perfect safety record was maintained each year thereafter, while operating under high accident exposure conditions compounded by the training of foreign nationals with the inherent language barriers involved, 1st TATS was not allowed to continue eligibility for further safety awards since its organizational structure did not provide for assignment and possession of aircraft. All C-119's utilized were assets of other 302nd Tactical Airlift Wing subordinate units.
When the last Air Force Reserve C-119 was turned-in to Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC), at Davis Monthan AFB Arizona on March 3rd 1973 it was fitting that a good many of "old 878's" final hours were spent in the valuable AFRES training mission of 1st TATS. It's also good to know that many of those active duty USAF pilots who flew the famed "Shadow" Gunship in support of our ground forces in Southeast Asia received their Phase I training in "old 878" and her sisters, from 1st TATS personnel. It's also good to know that South Vietnamese pilots trained by 1st TATS are able to continue using the "Shadow" to defend their nation on their own, since our withdrawal. In other areas of the world C-119's flown and maintained by 1st TATS trained foreign personnel may be flying missions of mercy in such nations as Jordon, Ethiopia or Morocco.
The 1st TATS shared in the coveted Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with the 302d Tactical Airlift Wing and its 906th and 907th Tactical Airlift Groups for the period January through December 1970 and played an important part in the 302nd receipt of the AFA Outstanding Air Force reserve Flying Wing Award in September of 1971.
It's impossible to name all the people who made up this unique reserve unit, but rest assured our salute is to each of you. The commanders of record during the life of 1st TATS were: Lt. Colonel Frank R. Hamilton - April 1968 to October" 1970, Lt. Colonel Ralph T. Carlson - November 1970 to November 1972 and Major David L. Skillings - December 1972 to March 1973.