The 86th Airlift Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, California, where it was inactivated on 1 November 1993.
The group was first activated in the spring of 1943 as the 86th Transport Squadron, one of the original squadrons of the 27th Air Transport Group‘ at RAF Hendon, England to provide air transportation for Eighth Air Force. The 27th group was activated to give a formal organization to several airlift operations that were already serving VIII Air Force Service Command. One of these, located at was a passenger and freight operation at RAF Hendon. The Hendon operation became the 86th Transport Squadron. In the fall of 1944, the group and its squadrons moved to Le Bourget Airport, near Paris, where the 86th continued its operations through V-E Day.
I July 1945, the squadron returned to the United States, where it served as a transport squadron for I Troop Carrier Command until it was inactivated in November 1945.
The squadron was reconstituted in June 1952 as the 86th Air Transport Squadron and activated as part of Military Air Transport Service (MATS)’ 1602d Air Transport Wing in West Germany in July. It provided air transport between USAF bases in Europe until 1954, when it moved to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina in 1955, where it provided airlift until it was inactivated in 1955.
The squadron was reactivated in January 1963 as a Lockheed C-130 Hercules squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California. The squadron received its first C-130E in April. It flew long distance flights from Travis to Hawaii, Guam, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines. It upgraded to Lockheed C-141 Starlifter jet transports in 1967 and usually flew cargo and personnel to and from Travis to aerial ports in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
After the US withdrawal from Indochina in 1975, it flew C-141s on a worldwide basis. In late 1991 the unit was redesignated the 86th Airlift Squadron. The 86th was inactivated in 1993 and its mission, personnel and equipment were transferred to the 20th Airlift Squadron.