The History of the Rainier Wing


Brief Overview
The 446th Airlift Wing is an Air Force Reserve Command tenant unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma in Pierce and Yakima Counties, Washington associated with the 62nd Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command. The 446th AW is comprised of 3 groups, 14 squadrons and 1 flight. Our mission is to provide ready Airmen to support global operations and our vision is Airmen first, a cohesive and ready team. The history of the Wing dates back to World War II as the 446th Bombardment Group flying the B-24 Liberator. After the war, the Wing was deactivated then activated and deactivated twice more before finally being reactivated for good in 1973 when the 446th became an airlift wing assigned to McChord Air Force Base, first flying the C-141 Starlifter then transitioning to the C17 Globemaster III in 1999.

The 446 is comprised of three groups, 14 squadrons, and one flight.

General Information
There are a number of various and distinctive missions, which operate out of the McChord Field side of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The 'Rainer' Wing serves in tandem with its active-duty sister unit – the 62nd Airlift Wing – to seamlessly blend into regular Air Force operations. Together, the two wings provide combat airlift for America. McChord Field also hosts the Washington Air National Guard’s Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, and the 373rd Field Training Squadron, Detachment 12. 

The history of the 446th Airlift Wing dates back to World War II as the active-duty 446th Bombardment Group. The 446th Bombardment Group was activated in 1943 with squadrons at Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz.; Lowry Field, Colo.; Flixton, England; and Sioux Falls Army Air Field, S.D., before being deactivated in 1945.

The 446th AW was first activated in the Air Force Reserve in 1948 as the 446th Troop Carrier Group at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, and then deactivated in 1951. In 1955, the 446th Troop Carrier Group was reactivated at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, and again deactivated in 1972.

In 1973, the 446th was reactivated and re-designated the 446th Military Airlift Wing (Associate), at McChord Air Force Base, Wash, which is also when it earned its nickname, the Rainier Wing.

In February 1992, the wing was re-designated again, this time as the 446th Airlift Wing.

Worldwide Humanitarian Operations:
◾ Operation UNIFIED ASSISTANCE, delivering equipment for the Joint Task Force-Port Opening and providing vital efforts to the anti-Ebola fight in West Africa
◾ Medical aid – South Pacific, Cambodia, Vietnam, Native American Reservations
◾ Hurricanes Katrina & Rita: 1,100-plus evacuated
◾ First to fly relief supplies to Pakistani earthquake
◾ Afghanistan air drop of humanitarian rations
◾ Denton Amendment – Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Iraq

Aeromedical Evacuation
The Rainier Wing plays a vital role in providing AE and Critical Care Transport Teams (CCATT). As McChord Field’s sole provider of AE, CCATT, and Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility (CASF) support, the 446th Aeromedical Staging and 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons deploy and support transporting critical care patients throughout the world.

Video by Laurie Flores
AFRC Annual Award Winners 2019
Air Force Reserve Command
April 3, 2020 | 11:45
AFRC Leadership Virtually Congratulates the Annual Award Winners!

Watch as Lt General Scobee, Command Chief White, and Chief Dennis surprise Airmen of their AFRC annual award, all from the comfort of their homes!

Video recorded and edited by SMSgt Kori Conaway

Up Next

More Videos