by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
2/4/2013 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- The 917th Fighter Group at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., will host a 917th Reunion celebrating their 50th Anniversary Feb. 8-9, 2013. Hundreds of former 917th Airmen are scheduled to attend the event, which will consist of three separate venues including a tour of the base to compare it then and now.
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.
Reflecting 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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-10C Thunderbolt II.
Over the years, many have served the Air Force and country as Citizen Airmen at Barksdale. This reunion will allow some to see those they haven't seen in years and meet those who followed in their footsteps.
Source (no photos included)