NAVY MATS HISTORY


In 1948, under the auspice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a new military airlift organization was formulated.  It's purpose would be to provide priority airlift of supplies and personnel to the far reaches of the globe in support of the U.S. fighting forces.  This organization would supplement U.S. naval fleet requirements currently being provided by the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS).  It would combine the capabilities of the U.S. Air Force's Air Transport Command (ATC) and several units of NATS.


The naval units selected for inclusion in the new MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE (MATS), were AirTranSron 3 (VR-3), 6 (VR-6) and 8 (VR-8).


The first test of the capability of this new organization came when the USSR sealed off the allied sections of Berlin from East Berlin and East Germany.  Two of these units (VR-6 and VR-8) were relocated from their respective bases, to bases in West Germany to take part in what was to become the most concerted and successful airlift operation, up to that time.  The mission (Operation Vittles) was so successful, that the USSR decided to lift the blockade after little more than a year.


Upon completion of that mission, the naval units were returned to the U.S..  VR-3 was returned to NAS Moffett Field, CA., VR-6 to Westover  AFB, and VR-8 to Hickam AFB.  There they would continue there service in MATS until 1968.


In 1956, VR-3 was moved to Westover AFB, joining VR-6 in what was then designated as the Atlantic Division of MATS.  In 1953  VR-7 was re-commissioned at Hickam AFB and joined VR-8 in the Pacific Division of MATS.  This placed two Navy squadrons in the Eastern Division now designated Eastaff, and two in the Western Division designated Westaff under the newly named Military Airlift Command (AMC).  In 1956, the two Westaff squadrons (VR-7 and VR-8 were relocated to NAS Moffett Field CA.


With the increasing activity in the Western Pacifiic area, (Viet Nam), Naval Air Transport Squadron Twenty-Two (VR-22) was transferred to MATS control and relocated to NAS Moffet Field CA. from NAS Norfolk, VA. joining VR-7 and VR-8 in the heavily  needed airlift of troops, supplies and equipment to S.E. Asia in support of the Viet Nam campaign.  This organizational situation would continue until 1967, at which time the inter-service association was discontinued.  All naval units then assigned to the Air Mobility Command were decommissioned as surplus to Naval requirements in 1967.