The 57th Alumni Association is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and will convene its reunion on Oct. 11-14 in Altus at the Holiday Inn Express.
The 57 Alumni Association is made up of individuals from the 1741st Air Transport Squadron (ATS), 57th Military Airlift Squadron (MAS), 57th Airlift Squadron (AS) and the 57th Weapons Squadron (WPS).
Maj Gen Timothy Zadalis Director of Intelligence, Operations and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas will be the special guest this year and speaker at the banquet dinner. In addition a long time residence of Altus, Gail Miller will be inducted into the 57th Alumni Association at our banquet Saturday evening.
The 57th TCS was activated at Bowman Field, KY in November 1942. During WWII the 57th TCS supported the Pacific Campaign war effort by providing airlift support to the Australians and American ground troops delivering food, ammunition and other vital supplies. The 57th TCS served throughout the Pacific during World War II in places like; New Guinea, Guadalcanal, Philippine Islands, Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan.
After surrender documents were signed by Japan the requirement for air transport was reduced in the Pacific area, and therefore the 57th TCS was inactivated on 25 March 1946. Between 1946 and 1954 the 57th was utilized in the reserves and on active duty off and on but was officially inactivated on 1 April 1954.
During the early sixties the Air Force ordered a new jet transport aircraft designated the C-141. With a new aircraft the Air Force needed a squadron equipped to provide aircrew training to Pilots, Navigators, Flight Engineers and Loadmasters for the C-141 aircraft. The unit chosen in 1964 to become the C-141 training squadron was the 1741st ATS located at Tinker AFB, OK. In January 1966 the Air Force reactivated the 57th with the designation of 57th MAS and the squadron would absorb the men and equipment of the 1741st ATS. So it was that the 57th would take to the sky once again.
On April 21, 1969, the 57th MAS, as part of the 443rd Military Airlift Wing, relocated to Altus AFB from Tinker AFB. On Oct. 1 1991 the unit was redesignated the 57th AS. In April 1993, with the transfer of 285 flightline maintenance personnel to the 57th AS, the squadron combined aircrew operations with maintenance operations to form the largest combined maintenance and aircrew operational C-141B squadron in the Air Force. On July 1 1993 the squadron came under the Air Education and Training Command.
After 32 years as the primary C-141 training provider the 57th was ceremoniously inactivated on July 28 2001 at Altus AFB.
The 57th known for its safety record, professionalism and high moral was not dormant very long as the squadron was reactivated once again on June 1 2003 at McGuire AFB, NJ and designated the 57th WPS. The 57th WPS was given the task to provide graduate-level instructor academic and flying courses to C-17 crew members.
The 57th has flown several different aircraft during its operational years. First the C-47, 1942-1945; B-17, 1944; C-46, 1944-1946; C-46, 1947-1950; C-82, 1950-1952; C-46, 1953-1954; C-141, 1966-2001; C-17, 2003-.
The 57th Alumni Association is delighted to return to Altus as many of its members still reside in the local area. If you have served with the 57th in any capacity you are welcome to attend the reunion. For additional information about the 57th Alumni Association reunion call Paul Zender at: 580-471-0621 or Gary Snyder: 580-481-7277. Please visit their website at http://www.57thalumni.com or visit them on FaceBook @ https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/57th.alumni/