Squadron activated in late 1942 as a B-17 Flying Fortress Operational Training Unit for pilots and aircrews. Transitioned in April 1943 to a B-24 Liberator Replacement Training Unit. Inactivated in April 1944 when heavy bombardment training was discontinued.
Reactivated at Limestone (later Loring) AFB on 18 January 1955 to support the 42d Bombardment Wing.
On 5 September 1983, members of the 42d escorted a crippled F-4E Phantom II over the Atlantic Ocean after it experienced the loss of an engine. For its actions, crew E-113 received the Mackay Trophy for refueling it four times and towing it with its refueling boom.
Remained assigned to the 42d BMW until its inactivation as part of the drawdown after the end of the Cold War on 1 September 1991.
Operations and Decorations
Combat Operations: American Theater, 1943–1944
Constituted as 542d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 October 1942
Activated on 3 November 1942
Inactivated on 1 April 1944.
Re-designated as 42d Air Refueling Squadron, and activated 1 September 1955[dubious– discuss]
Consolidated with 542d Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, 19 September 1985