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374 AW celebrates 75th birthday of combat airpower Aug. 17, 2023

Members of the Yokota community gathered at the enlisted club to celebrate the 374th Airlift Wing’s birthday, Aug. 16.


Approximately 100 Airmen, guests from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and dignitaries from surrounding cities convened to celebrate, where Lesleigh Jones, 374th AW historian, gave a summary of the overall history of the wing and its evolution.


“Over the course of 75 years, the wing has experienced many changes from inactivation, reactivation, personnel growth, and mission change,” said Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th AW commander. “Throughout the years, we have continued with our dedication to our mission and our partnership with our allied nation - Japan.”


The 374th AW was established Aug. 10, 1948, and activated on Aug. 17, 1948 under the command of Col. Charles K. Moore at Harmon Airfield, Guam. Originally called the 374th Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy, the wing’s primary mission was to ferry troops around the Pacific.


“During the Korean War, we performed combat airlift, airdrops, and aeromedical evacuations,” Jones said. “At armistice in 1953, members of the wing transported the first group of repatriated Prisoners of War from Korea to Japan.”


Throughout the years, the wing has moved across the Indo-Pacific to different bases with varying missions before finally arriving at Yokota in 1992, where the 374th AW currently serves as the primary airlift and support operations hub in the Western Indo-Pacific.


Members of various units also summarized the histories and evolutions of their respective units through those years.


In military tradition, Roddan and Airman 1st Class Renny Rodriguez, 36th Airlift Squadron Aviation Resource Management technician, together sliced the birthday cake. The tradition showcases the heritage that passes between generations by having the wing’s youngest Airman in attendance help slice the birthday cake with either the wing commander or the oldest in attendance.


“Today symbolizes 75 years of continued efforts made by the men and women of the 374th AW and their determination to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Roddan said. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments and achievements the wing has experienced throughout the decades.”