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Team Fairchild welcomes the 'Squarepatchers'

The 384th Air Refueling Squadron joins the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Mar. 23, the 73rd anniversary of the 384th’s first combat mission in World War II. Globally known as the “Squarepatchers,” the 384th ARS comes to Fairchild after calling McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, home for more than 43 years. In September 2016, they were directed to relocate after McConnell was designated as the next KC-46 Pegasus base. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

The 384th Air Refueling Squadron joins the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Mar. 23, the 73rd anniversary of the 384th’s first combat mission in World War II. Globally known as the “Squarepatchers,” the 384th ARS comes to Fairchild after calling McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, home for more than 43 years. In September 2016, they were directed to relocate after McConnell was designated as the next KC-46 Pegasus base. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The 384th Air Refueling Squadron joins the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Mar. 23, the 73rd anniversary of the 384th’s first combat mission in World War II.

Globally known as the “Squarepatchers,” the 384th ARS comes to Fairchild after calling McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, home for more than 43 years. In September 2016, they were directed to relocate after McConnell was designated as the next KC-46 Pegasus base.

“The 384th ARS is going to be an integral part of Team Fairchild’s responsibility to deliver global reach, global power and global vigilance to America,” said Lt. Col. Sean McClune, inbound 384th ARS commander. “We’re really excited about the opportunity to bring additional capabilities to the wing; delivering operational capability around the world to support national interests.”

The 384th ARS was activated as the 584th Bombardment Squadron on Mar. 5, 1943, and originally flew B-26 Marauders in support of the Normandy landings in June 1944, and the Battle of the Bulge six months later. In May 1945, the squadron flew A-26 Invaders in support of various occupational duties in Germany and was inactivated in 1946.

The 384th ARS was activated in April 1955, and received its first KC-97 Stratofreighter to support Strategic Air Command’s alert mission in Newfoundland, England and Greenland. They were inactivated in June 1966. Nearly six years later, the squadron reactivated at McConnell AFB with 15 KC-135 Stratotankers as a component of the 384th Air Refueling Wing. They supported the Vietnam War, and continued alert support. Through the 1990s, the 384th ARS supported operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and continued to support Northern and Southern Watch until 2003.

The 384th ARS is often called “unique” for their heritage, strong sense of pride and the square patch that sits upon their shoulders.

“I’ve been a boom operator for over 20 years and after being a member of the community for so long, certain squadrons really begin to stand out and the 384th ARS is one of those squadrons. It’s not just the awards and the extensive heritage, it’s the whole ‘squarepatcher’ concept,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael O’Connor, inbound 384th ARS superintendent. “They go against the grain a little bit and I find that pretty amazing to be a part of.”

The 384th ARS will be Fairchild’s third air refueling squadron, standing beside the 92nd and 93rd ARSs. In 2016, the Air Force delivered 1.2 billion pounds of fuel and the 384th ARS is looking forward to furthering Fairchild’s global reach, McClune said.

“We’re going to work hard and it’s not going to be easy, but when we’re done I hope everyone has a feeling of accomplishment and success and that everyone really enjoyed what we’re doing here,” McClune said.

The assumption of command is scheduled for Mar. 23, at 10 a.m. in Hangar 2.