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This month in Pope History

  • Published
  • By Keith Alexander
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Historian
Pope Field
From June 29 through Oct. 23, 1929, 1st Lieutenant Ulysses Jones commanded Pope Field. Nearly a year later, the 2nd Balloon Company became the host unit on June 19, 1930. 

World War II
On June 16, 1943, Capt. Jay Zeamer and Lt. Joseph Sarnoski from the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) earned Medals of Honor for their actions over Rabaul. Lieutenant Sarnoski's decoration was a posthumous award. In addition, the seven remaining crew members each received a Distinguished Service Cross. 

On June 6, 1944, the 440th Troop Carrier Group participated in the invasion of Europe. Prior to this operation, this unit was stationed at Pope Field, where it trained for airborne operations. This group dropped paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division near Carentan on the Cotentin Peninsula. 

Korean War Era
At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the Arizona desert, the 43rd Bombardment Wing (Medium) was inactivated June 16, 1952. 

Humanitarian Missions
Starting June 24, 1972, C-130 airplanes and crews from Pope's 317th Tactical Airlift Wing participated in the Tropical Storm Agnes recovering efforts. This storm struck portions of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. These aircraft delivered 164 tons of cargo including food, medicine, cots, blankets, sandbags, clothing, generators, helicopter gasoline fuel, and water purification equipment. 

Post Cold War
On June 1, 1992, the 23rd Fighter Wing, known as the Flying Tigers, started operations at Pope. Meanwhile, the USAF activated the 43rd Air Refueling Wing that same day at Malmstrom AFB near Great Falls, Montana. Two years later, this wing was redesignated as the 43rd Air Refueling Group June 1, 1994.