Tag Archives: United States Air Force

Moving From Hickam: Operation Blue Light and The Tropic Lightning Division

I’ve always been fascinated with military transport.  I don’t know why, but having the ability to move large amounts of soldiers, equipment and related "gear" is fascinating if you stop and think about all the requirements.  It’s also awe-inspiring if you’ve ever seen a  whole division or more roll past you on the desert floor!

Well, I better back up as this post isn’t about me…but about moving stuff!  More to the point, I ran across a military operation just now that has been lost in time for me:  Operation Blue Light!

Lightning_Div_Patch_Mil_Source

Not to be confused with later operations with the same name, this particular mission involved moving massive amounts of troops and equipment from the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning) based in Hickam AFB to Pleiku (Vietnam) starting in December of 1965 and ending in early 1966.  With over 3,000 troops and over 4,000 tons of equipment (2) transported via military airlift, the scope and resources required to pull this off remained unchallenged until the Desert Storm era.

(3)

Hit the links below for the fascinating background and information on the airlift as well as the divisional history surrounding it….

Links:

25th Infantry Division (Background), Wikipedia

25th Infantry Division (More history, etc.)

25th Infantry Division (U.S. Army official site)

Operation Blue Light (background)

Beyond The Wild Blue:  A History of the United States Air Force

3rd Brigade, 25th ID (Globalsecurity.org) move info.

35th Inf. Reg. (Blue Light background)

776 Tactical Airlift Squadron

Sources:

(1)(Tropic Lightning Division Patch) Courtesy The Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army

(2)Military Airlift Command : historical handbook, 1941-1984

(3)Travis Air Force Base (Google Books)