23rd Wing
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The 23rd Wing is a front-line
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. Originally created on 1 August 1907, as a part ...
Air Combat Command Air Combat Command (ACC) is one of nine List of Major Commands of the United States Air Force, Major Commands (MAJCOMs) in the United States Air Force, reporting to Headquarters, United States Air Force (HAF) at the Pentagon. It is the primary ...
wing currently assigned to
Moody Air Force Base Moody Air Force Base (AFB) is a United States Air Force installation near Valdosta, Georgia. Geography The base is in northeastern Lowndes County, Georgia, with the eastern border of the base following the Lanier County line. Georgia State ...
, Georgia.


Mission

The mission of the 23rd Wing is to organize, train and employ combat-ready
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twinjet, twin-turbofan, straight wing, straight-wing, Subsonic aircraft, subsonic attack aircraft developed by Fairchild Aircraft, Fairchild Republic for the United States Air Force ...
,
HC-130 The Lockheed HC-130 is an extended-range, search and rescue Search and rescue (SAR) is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger. The general field of search and rescue includes many specialt ...
and HH-60, as well as pararescuemen and force protection assets. It consists of approximately 6,100 military and civilian personnel, including geographically separated units (GSU) at
Nellis AFB Nellis Air Force Base ("Nellis" colloquialism, colloq.) is a United States Air Force military installation, installation in southern Nevada. Nellis hosts Aerial warfare, air combat exercises such as Exercise Red Flag and close air support exerc ...
,
Nevada Nevada ( ; ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. N ...
, Davis-Monthan AFB,
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak ) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States. It is the list of U.S. states and territories by area, 6th largest and the list of U.S. states and territories by population, 14 ...
,
MacDill AFB MacDill Air Force Base (MacDill AFB) is an active United States Air Force installation located 4 miles (6.4 km) south-southwest of downtown Tampa, Florida. The "host wing" for MacDill AFB is the 6th Air Refueling Wing (6 ARW), assig ...
,
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geo ...
and the Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida.


Units

The 23rd Wing consists of the following groups: *23rd Security Forces Squadron *
347th Rescue Group The United States Air Force's 347th Rescue Group (347 RQG) is an active combat search and rescue unit assigned to the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. : ''For additional lineage and history, see 347th Rescue Win ...
(HH-60G, HC-130J) :
38th Rescue Squadron The 38th Rescue Squadron (38 RQS) is an active United States Air Force United States Air Force Pararescue, Pararescue squadron. Part of the 347th Rescue Group, 23rd Wing, it is stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. Th ...
: 41st Rescue Squadron : 71st Rescue Squadron : 347th Operations Support Squadron * 23rd Fighter Group (A-10C) :
74th Fighter Squadron The 74th Fighter Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 23d Fighter Group and stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The squadron is equipped with the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, Fairchild Republic A- ...
:
75th Fighter Squadron The 75th Fighter Squadron (75 FS) is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 23d Fighter Group, Air Combat Command and stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia (U.S. State), Georgia. The squadron is equipped with the Fairchild ...
: 23rd Operations Support Squadron : 598th Range Squadron (
MacDill AFB MacDill Air Force Base (MacDill AFB) is an active United States Air Force installation located 4 miles (6.4 km) south-southwest of downtown Tampa, Florida. The "host wing" for MacDill AFB is the 6th Air Refueling Wing (6 ARW), assig ...
and Avon Park Air Force Range) * 563rd Rescue Group ( Davis-Monthan AFB) (HH-60G, HC-130J) : 48th Rescue Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB) : 55th Rescue Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB) : 58th Rescue Squadron (Nellis AFB) : 66th Rescue Squadron (Nellis AFB) : 79th Rescue Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB) : 563d Operations Support Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB) * 23rd Mission Support Group * 23rd Medical Group * 23rd Maintenance Group


History


Postwar era

The 23rd Fighter Wing was activated on 10 August 1948 at Northwest Guam Air Force Base,
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated territories of the United States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United Stat ...
as part of the Wing-Base organization plan, which prescribed a standard organizational setup for all USAF bases worldwide. The plan called for the creation of a wing headquarters that established policy and supervised four functional groups: an operational group, an air base group, a maintenance and supply group, and a medical group. The 23rd Fighter Group was assigned as the operational group under the new 23rd Fighter Wing. The wing was assigned to
Twentieth Air Force The Twentieth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) (20th AF) is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). It is headquartered at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. 20 AF's primary mission is Intercon ...
. The 23rd's mission on Guam was to provide air defense of the island. The 23rd Fighter Group was assigned the 74th, 75th and 76th Fighter Squadrons, being equipped with Republic F-47 Thunderbolts. The 23rd Fighter Wing was reassigned to
Howard Air Force Base Howard Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of th ...
, Panama Canal Zone, in April 1949, where it also acquired a squadron of Lockheed RF-80 Shooting Stars. The 23rd Fighter Wing conducted
air defense Anti-aircraft warfare, counter-air or air defence forces is the battlespace response to aerial warfare, defined by NATO as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action".AAP-6 It includes Surface-to-air m ...
of the Canal Zone under the
Caribbean Air Command The United States Air Forces Southern Command is an inactive List of Major Commands of the United States Air Force, Major Command of the United States Air Force. It was headquartered at Albrook Air Force Base, Panama Canal Zone, Canal Zone, being ...
until it was again inactivated on 24 September 1949.


Air Defense Command

Reactivated on 12 January 1951, at Presque Isle Air Force Base, Maine, the wing was redesignated the 23rd Fighter-Interceptor Wing with the 74th and 75th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons assigned, as part of the
Air Defense Command Aerospace Defense Command was a major command (military formation), command of the United States Air Force, responsible for continental air defense. It was activated in 1968 and disbanded in 1980. Its predecessor, Air Defense Command, was est ...
(ADC). Equipped with
North American F-86 Sabre The North American F-86 Sabre, sometimes called the Sabrejet, is a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as the United States' first swept-wing fighter that could counter the swept-wing Sov ...
,
North American F-51 Mustang The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is an American long-range, single-seat fighter aircraft, fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II and the Korean War, among other conflicts. The Mustang was designed in April 1940 by a team ...
, Northrop F-89D Scorpion and F-80 Shooting Star aircraft, its mission was to provide air defense for the northeastern United States during the
Korean War , date = {{Ubl, 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953 (''de facto'')({{Age in years, months, weeks and days, month1=6, day1=25, year1=1950, month2=7, day2=27, year2=1953), 25 June 1950 – present (''de jure'')({{Age in years, months, weeks a ...
and conduct basic training for about 500 Air Force recruits. The 23rd was inactivated 6 February 1952 along with the 23rd Fighter-Interceptor Group. The Wing's equipment and personnel were transferred to the 4711th Defense Wing, which had been organized at Presque Isle on 1 February 1952.


Tactical Air Command


McConnell Air Force Base

Following its longest period of inactivation, the group was organized as the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing on 8 February 1964, at
McConnell Air Force Base McConnell Air Force Base is a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the Un ...
, Kansas, under
Tactical Air Command Tactical Air Command (TAC) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. It was a Major Command of the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the U ...
and
Twelfth Air Force The Twelfth Air Force (12 AF; Air Forces Southern, (AFSOUTH)) is a Numbered Air Force of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC). It is headquartered at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The command is the air component to U ...
. The 23 TFW was activated to replace the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at McConnell after its deployment to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Squadrons of the 23 TFW were: *
561st Tactical Fighter Squadron The 561st Weapons Squadron is a United States Air Force squadron assigned to the USAF Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The squadron (aviation), squadron was the last United States Air Force unit to fly the McDonnell F-4 Phanto ...
* 562nd Tactical Fighter Squadron * 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron * 560th Tactical Fighter Squadron (28 January 1964 – 25 September 1968) * 4519th Combat Crew Training Squadron (later 4519th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron) (1 August 1967 – 16 October 1969) * 419th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (15 October 1969 – 8 May 1971) Squadron markings on the natural metal / silver lacquered aircraft included the following: 561 TFS – black/yellow checkerboarding on rudder; 562 TFS – a red, white and black "sharkmouth" on the nose of the aircraft; 563rd Squadron red and white stripes on the rudder, wingtips and stabilizers with a white band on the top of the vertical fin. When Southeast Asian camouflaged, the squadrons carried the following tail codes: 561 TFS "MD"; 562 TFS "ME"; 563 TFS "MF", and later the 4519th and 419th TFTS "MG". Flying the Republic Aviation F-105D/G "Thunderchief" aircraft, the mission of the 23 TFW at McConnell was to provide training for Thud pilots prior to their deployment to
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia, South-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, south-eastern region of Asia, consistin ...
. The 560th acted as a combat training squadron, while the other three squadrons began rotational TDY deployments to Southeast Asia beginning in November 1964. In February 1965, when the 23 TFW deployed three squadrons (the 561st, 562nd and 563rd) to Southeast Asia for combat, these units were initially under the control of the 2nd Air Division. Later, the 6441 TFW (P) was activated at Takhli RTAFB in July 1965, taking control of the 23rd's squadrons deployed there. It was during this five-month tour that the 563rd TFS lost 10 of its 18 F-105's deployed and was awarded two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" for Valor. In addition to the deployments to Thailand, detachments of the 561 TFS also deployed to
Da Nang Air Base Da Nang Air Base ( vi, Căn cứ không quân Đà Nẵng) (1930s–1975) (also known as Da Nang Airfield, Tourane Airfield or Tourane Air Base) was a French Air Force The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'air et de l'es ...
RVN for operations within the borders of the
Republic of Vietnam South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam Cộng hòa), was a state in Southeast Asia that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of th ...
. On 1 August 1967, the 4519th Combat Crew Training squadron was added to the 23rd, and the 560th Tactical Fighter Squadron was inactivated on 25 September 1968. The wing maintained proficiency in tactical fighter operations, and later also functioned as an F-105 replacement training unit and assisted
Air National Guard The Air National Guard (ANG), also known as the Air Guard, is a Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, federal military reserve force of the United States Air Force, as well as the air militia (United States), militia of each U.S. ...
units in their conversion to the F-105 when the Thunderchief left first-line service. For the dual role it played from June 1970 to June 1971 as both an operational and a training unit, the wing received the
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award The Air and Space Outstanding Unit Award (ASOUA) is one of the Awards and decorations of the United States Department of the Air Force, unit awards of the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. It was established in 1954 as the A ...
in March 1971. Two of its squadrons, the 562nd and 563rd, also received the same award for their duty in Vietnam during 1965, but with the combat "V" added, the 563rd receiving two such awards in a five-month period. For its participation in Linebacker I and Linebacker II during 1972 the 561st (Wild Weasels) received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V". During combat operations in Southeast Asia, the 562 TFS lost three aircraft, while the 563 TFS lost eleven aircraft. On 1 July 1972 the 23 TFW was transferred to
England Air Force Base England Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force base in Louisiana, located northwest of Alexandria, Louisiana, Alexandria and about northwest of New Orleans. Originally known as Alexandria Army Air Base, on 23 June 1955 the facility ...
Louisiana and the 561, 562 and 563 TFS were assigned to the 35 TFW at
George Air Force Base George Air Force Base was a United States Air Force base located within the city limits, 8 miles northwest, of central Victorville, California, about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California. Established by the United States Army Air Co ...
California.


England Air Force Base

The 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing moved "on paper" without people or equipment to England Air Force Base, Louisiana, 1 July 1972 and took over the assets and personnel of the 4403rd Tactical Fighter Wing. Assigned to the
Ninth Air Force The Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) is a Numbered Air Force of the United States Air Force headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. It is the Air Force Service Component of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), a joint De ...
, the wing activated all three of its original World War II fighter units – the 74th, 75th and 76th Tactical Fighter Squadrons for the first time since 1949, and began operations with the Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II aircraft. Squadron markings were a blue tail stripe, later adding white stars and a "74" in 1979 for the 74 TFS; s white outlined black tail stripe, later changed to black and white checkered for the 75 TFS, and a red tail stripe with white stars and a "76" for the 76 TFS. All 23 TFW aircraft carried the "EL" tail code at England. On 5 July 1973, the 74 TFS deployed to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on temporary duty with the
354th Tactical Fighter Wing The 354th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force wing that is part of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It is the host wing at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and is assigned to the Eleventh Air Force (11 AF). The wing replaced the 343d Fighter Win ...
(Deployed) from Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina. The 74th replaced the
354th Tactical Fighter Squadron The 354th Fighter Squadron (354 FS) is part of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. It operates A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting close air support missions. The squadron conducts Close Air Support, Air Inte ...
from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona that had completed its temporary duty. For just over a month, until the cessation of all U.S. bombing on 15 August 1973, the 74 TFS supported the air war activities in Cambodia, accounting for the destruction of 311 enemy structures, 25 ground artillery and missile sites, three bridges and 9,500 cubic meters of supplies. The 74 TFS returned to England on 28 December 1973. The 23 TFW took part in a variety of operational exercises both in the United States and overseas, including tactical bombing competitions against the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the World War I, First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal ...
at
RAF Lossiemouth Royal Air Force Lossiemouth or more commonly RAF Lossiemouth is a military airfield located on the western edge of the town of Lossiemouth in Moray, north-east Scotland. Lossiemouth is one of the largest and busiest fast-jet stations in the R ...
, Scotland, during October 1977 and July 1978. In both events, A-7D teams captured the Sir John Mogg Team Trophy. On 23 September 1980, the 74 TFS received the 23 TFW's first operational
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twinjet, twin-turbofan, straight wing, straight-wing, Subsonic aircraft, subsonic attack aircraft developed by Fairchild Aircraft, Fairchild Republic for the United States Air Force ...
aircraft. The 75 and 76 TFS received A-10s within the next few months, and the 23 TFW took top honors in Ninth Air Force's tactical bombing competition (Gunpowder 1981) in July, and advanced to TAC's worldwide
Gunsmoke ''Gunsmoke'' is an American radio and television Western (genre), Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. It centers on Dodge City, Kansas, in the 1870s, during the settlement of the Western United Stat ...
1981 competition at
Nellis Air Force Base Nellis Air Force Base ("Nellis" colloquialism, colloq.) is a United States Air Force military installation, installation in southern Nevada. Nellis hosts Aerial warfare, air combat exercises such as Exercise Red Flag and close air support exerc ...
, Nevada, in September. The Flying Tigers won six of nine events, including top maintenance and munitions awards, and was the top A-10 unit in the competition. The wing's maintenance complex was also awarded the 1981 Daedalian runner-up trophy, and earned the 1984 Daedalian Aircraft Maintenance Trophy. Eight of the 23rd's A-7Ds were transferred to the 4450th Tactical Group, based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in June 1981, during the transition to the A-10. The 4451st Tactical Squadron at Tonopah Test Range Airport used these aircraft to train
F-117 Nighthawk The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is a retired American single-seat, twin-engine stealth attack aircraft An attack aircraft, strike aircraft, or attack bomber is a tactical military aircraft that has a primary role of carrying out airstr ...
pilots and to provide a cover story for F-117A development. Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, Oct/Nov 1983 The 76th Fighter Squadron was deployed to Roosevelt Roads Naval station in Puerto Rico, from where it flew combat missions in support of this operation. The wing set Air Force records for " mission capable" and "fully mission capable" (meaning an aircraft can meet any mission tasking) rates during fiscal year 1985. The marks, 93.1 percent in MC and 92.8 percent in FMC, topped records set by the wing in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984. The wing earned its fourth
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award The Air and Space Outstanding Unit Award (ASOUA) is one of the Awards and decorations of the United States Department of the Air Force, unit awards of the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. It was established in 1954 as the A ...
for the period 1 April 1989, to 31 March 1991.


Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

In response to the buildup of forces following the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was an operation conducted by Ba'athist Iraq, Iraq on 2 August 1990, whereby it invaded the neighboring Kuwait, State of Kuwait, consequently resulting in a seven-month-long Iraqi military occupation of the countr ...
in August 1990, the 74th and 76th Tactical Fighter Squadrons deployed with numerous support personnel to
King Fahd International Airport King Fahd International Airport ( ar, مطار الملك فهد الدولي; KFIA) , also known as Dammam International Airport or simply Dammam Airport or King Fahd Airport, is the international airport serving Dammam Dammam ( ar, الدم ...
, Saudi Arabia, attached to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) as part of
Operation Desert Shield The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as t ...
. The A-10 deployment was the largest ever fielded and consisted of: A total of 144 A/OA-10 aircraft were deployed. Using forward operating locations near the
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, bordering Iraq to Iraq–Ku ...
i border as well as King Fahd AB, A-10s made their combat debut in
Operation Desert Storm Operation or Operations may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media * ''Operation'' (game), a battery-operated board game that challenges dexterity * Operation (music), a term used in musical set theory * ''Operations'' (magazine), Multi-Ma ...
on 17 January 1991. The 23 TFW flew more than 2,700 combat sorties over Iraq and Kuwait while maintaining a mission-capable rate of 95 percent. In addition to providing close air support for ground units, the A-10s performed
Combat Search and Rescue Combat search and rescue (CSAR) are search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones. A CSAR mission may be carried out by a task force of Military helicopter, helicopters, ground-attack aircraft ...
and
SCUD A Scud missile is one of a series of tactical ballistic missile A tactical ballistic missile (TBM), or battlefield range ballistic missile (BRBM), is a ballistic missile designed for short-range battlefield use. Typically, range (aeronau ...
-hunting missions. The combined efforts of the A-10 units resulted in the confirmed destruction of 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 500 armored personnel carriers, 1,106 trucks, 112 military structures, 96 radars, 72 bunkers, 57 SCUD missile launchers, 50 anti-aircraft artillery batteries, 28 command posts, 11 FROG missiles, nine surface-to-air missile sites, eight fuel tanks and 12 aircraft. Both squadrons returned to England Air Force Base at the end of March 1991. Support personnel continued to arrive for months after the aircraft redeployment. In October 1990, the
Base Realignment and Closure Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is a process by a United States federal government commission to increase United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal exec ...
Commission decided that England Air Force Base would be closed by September 1992. A draw down of equipment and personnel began almost immediately. On 1 October 1991, as part of an Air Force-wide reorganization, the wing designation became 23rd Fighter Wing, and on 1 November 1991, the squadrons also dropped "tactical" from their designations. On 2 December 1991, the 75th Fighter Squadron was inactivated. The 74 FS was inactivated on 13 February 1992, and the 76 FS on 29 May. The 23rd Fighter Wing's A-10 aircraft were sent to
Air National Guard The Air National Guard (ANG), also known as the Air Guard, is a Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, federal military reserve force of the United States Air Force, as well as the air militia (United States), militia of each U.S. ...
units, and the wing was inactivated on 1 June 1992. England was closed the same day.


Air Combat Command


Pope Air Force Base

The collapse of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
in 1991 and the end of
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
tensions led senior defense planners to conclude that the structure of the military establishment which had evolved during the Cold War years was not suited to the new world situation. Senior planners reviewed numerous options before agreeing on the final conclusion—a merger of most strategic and tactical air resources and a reorganization of
Military Airlift Command The Military Airlift Command (MAC) is an inactive United States Air Force List of Major Commands of the United States Air Force, major command (MAJCOM) that was headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Established on 1 January 1966, MA ...
(MAC). In addition, the number of Air Force wings was to be reduced by about one-third to reflect the financial constraints of the post Cold War environment. These changes led to
Pope Air Force Base Pope Field is a U.S. military facility located 12 miles (19 km) northwest of the central business district A central business district (CBD) is the commercial and business centre of a city. It contains commercial space and offices, an ...
being transferred to the new
Air Combat Command Air Combat Command (ACC) is one of nine List of Major Commands of the United States Air Force, Major Commands (MAJCOMs) in the United States Air Force, reporting to Headquarters, United States Air Force (HAF) at the Pentagon. It is the primary ...
upon the command's activation on 1 June 1992. Also, the existing 317th Airlift Wing at Pope was blended with the newly activated 23rd Operations Group (last assigned to the wing in 1952 as the 23rd Fighter-Interceptor Group) into the new 23rd Wing on 1 June 1992. In April 1992, A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft were transferred to the 75th Fighter Squadron from the 353rd Fighter Squadron of the 354th Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base prior to the wing's inactivation and the
1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission preliminary list was released by the United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal executive departments, executive ...
-mandated closure of Myrtle Beach in January 1993. In June 1993, Block 40 General Dynamics F-16C/D Fighting Falconss were transferred to the 74th Fighter Squadron from the
347th Fighter Wing The 347th Rescue Wing is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of t ...
at
Moody Air Force Base Moody Air Force Base (AFB) is a United States Air Force installation near Valdosta, Georgia. Geography The base is in northeastern Lowndes County, Georgia, with the eastern border of the base following the Lanier County line. Georgia State ...
, Georgia and the
388th Fighter Wing The 388th Fighter Wing (388FW) is a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of th ...
at
Hill Air Force Base Hill Air Force Base is a major U.S. Air Force (USAF) base located in northern Utah, just south of the city of Ogden, Utah, Ogden, and bordering the Cities of Layton, Utah, Layton, Clearfield, Utah, Clearfield, Riverdale, Utah, Riverdale, Roy, U ...
, Utah. Operational squadrons of the 23rd Wing at Pope were: * 317th Airlift Group ** 2nd Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (1 June 1992 – 1 April 1997) ** 41st Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (16 July 1993 – 1 April 1997) * 23rd Fighter Group ** 74th Tactical Fighter Squadron (15 June 1993 – 1 April 1997)
(F-16C/D 15 June 1993 – 30 June 1996), (A/OA-10A 1 July 1996 – 1 April 1997) ** 75th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1 April 1992 – 1 April 1997) (A/OA-10A) * 18th Air Support Group All aircraft of the 23rd Wing at Pope carried the tail code "FT" (Flying Tigers). In December 1992,
Lockheed C-130 Hercules The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built by Lockheed Corporation, Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin). Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 ...
aircraft from the 2nd Airlift Squadron deployed to
Mombasa Mombasa ( ; ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It was the first capital of the British East Africa, before Nairobi was elevated to capital city status. It now serves as the capital of Mombasa County. The town is ...
, Kenya, to participate in
Operation Provide Relief Operation Provide Relief was part of a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations ...
. The aircraft and crews delivered tons of food and other relief supplies to small airstrips throughout Somalia. 23rd Wing C-130s have also been tasked to assist in other humanitarian relief efforts, to include
Hurricane Andrew Hurricane Andrew was a very powerful and destructive Saffir–Simpson scale#Category 5, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that struck the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana in August 1992. It is the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florid ...
in Florida. They also airdropped relief supplies into Bosnia and Herzegovina and flew relief missions into
Sarajevo Sarajevo ( ; cyrl, Сарајево, ; ''see Names of European cities in different languages (Q–T)#S, names in other languages'') is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 275,524 in its a ...
for more than 28 months. In September 1994, its C-130s participated in what was to be the largest combat personnel drop since World War II,
Operation Uphold Democracy Operation Uphold Democracy was a military intervention designed to remove the military regime installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The operation was effectively authorized by t ...
. They were to assist in dropping more than 3,000 paratroopers from the
82nd Airborne Division The 82nd Airborne Division is an airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute assault operations into denied areasSof, Eric"82nd Airborne Division" ''Spec Ops Magazine'', 25 November 2012. Archived from tho ...
onto Port au Prince Airport,
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; French: ), officially the Republic of Haiti (); ) and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and ...
. The invasion force was recalled at the last minute after word that the Haitian president had resigned upon hearing that the aircraft were on their way. The 75th Fighter Squadron's A-10s were deployed their aircraft to
Shaw Air Force Base Shaw Air Force Base (Shaw AFB) is a United States Air Force (USAF) base located approximately west-northwest of downtown Sumter, South Carolina. It is one of the largest military bases operated by the United States, and is under the jurisdict ...
, South Carolina, where they were scheduled to launch close air support operations for the invasion force before recovering in Puerto Rico. The first operational deployment of a composite wing happened in October 1994, when Iraqi troops began massing near the Kuwaiti Border. Within 72 hours, 56 aircraft and 1,500 personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf region for Operation Vigilant Warrior. Eventually, the 75th Fighter Squadron redeployed to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, becoming the first U.S. fixed-wing aircraft to be stationed in that country since the end of the Gulf War. On 1 July 1996, the 74th Fighter Squadron's F-16C/D Fighting Falcons were transferred to the
27th Fighter Wing 7 (seven) is the natural number following 6 and preceding 8. It is the only prime number preceding a cube (algebra), cube. As an early prime number in the series of positive integers, the number seven has greatly symbolic associations in religion ...
's 524th Fighter Squadron at
Cannon Air Force Base Cannon Air Force Base is a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United ...
, New Mexico, and the squadron transitioned to A/OA-10 Thunderbolt IIs received from the
20th Fighter Wing The 20th Fighter Wing is a wing A wing is a type of fin that produces lift while moving through air or some other fluid. Accordingly, wings have streamlined cross-sections that are subject to aerodynamic force In fluid mechanics, a ...
's
55th Fighter Squadron The 55th Fighter Squadron is part of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. It operates the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions. The squadron is one of the oldest in the Uni ...
at Shaw Air Force Base. This gave the 23rd Group a 2nd A-10 squadron. On 1 April 1997, the 23rd Wing was downsized and redesignated as the 23rd Fighter Group. The 23rd Operations Group was inactivated and its fighter squadrons assigned to the 23 Fighter Group. The 23rd remained at Pope as an operations group assigned to Air Combat Command 347th Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The C-130s formerly assigned to the 23rd and Pope Air Force Base were realigned to
Air Mobility Command Air Mobility Command (AMC) is a major command (MAJCOM) of the U.S. Air Force. It is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, east of St. Louis, Missouri. Air Mobility Command was established on 1 June 1992, and was formed from elem ...
under the 43rd Airlift Wing. On 27 June 2000, the 23rd Fighter Group was reassigned to the
4th Fighter Wing The 4th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command's Ninth Air Force. It is stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, where it is also the host unit. The wing (military aviation unit), w ...
at
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is a United States Air Force (USAF) base located in Goldsboro, North Carolina. The base is named for U.S. Navy Lt. Seymour A. Johnson, a test pilot from Goldsboro who died in an airplane crash near Norbeck, Maryland, ...
North Carolina and continued to operate from Pope, after the 347th Wing was redesignated the 347th Rescue Wing. The group as it existed in 2006 consisted of the: * 74th Fighter Squadron * 75th Fighter Squadron * 23rd Operations Support Squadron * 23rd Maintenance Squadron


=Operation Allied Force

= In April 1999, the 74 FS deployed five aircraft and 60 personnel to
Operation Allied Force The North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernm ...
, the
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, intended to stop ethnic cleansing of
Albanians The Albanians (; sq, Shqiptarët ) are an ethnic group and nation native to the Balkan Peninsula who share a common Albanian Cultural heritage, ancestry, Albanian culture, culture, Albanian history, history and Albanian language, language. ...
by
Serb The Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are the most numerous South Slavs, South Slavic ethnic group native to the Balkans in Southeastern Europe, who share a common Serbian Cultural heritage, ancestry, Culture of Serbia, culture, History of ...
s. The US participation was known as Operation Noble Anvil and officially spanned 24 March 1999 – 10 June 1999. The 74th FS deployed initially to
Spangdahlem Air Base Spangdahlem Air Base (International Air Transport Association airport code, IATA: SPM, International Civil Aviation Organization airport code, ICAO: ETAD, former code EDAD) is a NATO air base with the USAF as a tenant constructed between 1951 and ...
, Germany and then forward deployed to
Gioia del Colle Air Base Gioia del Colle Air Base is an Italian Air Force (Italian Air Force, Aeronautica Militare) base located in the province of Bari, Apulia, Italy, located approximately 1 km south-southeast of Gioia del Colle. World War II During World War II ...
, Italy. Designated the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the unit co-located with the 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron of the
51st Fighter Wing The 51st Fighter Wing (51 FW) is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The wing has been based entirely in the Far East during its entire existence, including its combat role as the ''51st Fighter ...
to form an expeditionary fighter wing. The A-10A aircraft provided
close air support In military tactics, close air support (CAS) is defined as air action such as Airstrike, air strikes by Fixed-wing aircraft, fixed or rotorcraft, rotary-winged aircraft against hostile targets near friendly forces and require detailed integration ...
during missions over the region, provided short-notice alert for combat search and rescue missions and also provided airborne
forward air control Forward air control is the provision of guidance to close air support (CAS) aircraft intended to ensure that their attack hits the intended target and does not injure friendly troops. This task is carried out by a forward air controller (FAC). ...
for NATO fighters attacking Serbian targets found in the Kosovo area.


=Operation Enduring Freedom

= In March 2002, the 23rd Fighter Group landed the first fighter aircraft inside Afghanistan. They deployed from Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, to
Bagram Air Base Bagram Airfield-BAF, also known as Bagram Air Base , is located southeast of Charikar in the Parwan Province of Afghanistan. It is under the Ministry of Defense (Afghanistan), Afghan Ministry of Defense. Sitting on the site of the ancient Bagram ...
, Afghanistan. 23rd Fighter Group personnel operated simultaneously in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was the official name used synonymously by the U.S. government for both the War in Afghanistan (2001–2014) and the larger-scale Global War on Terrorism. On 7 October 2001, in response to the September 11 atta ...
and
Operation Southern Watch Operation Southern Watch was an air-centric military operation conducted by the United States Department of Defense from Summer 1992 to Spring 2003. United States Central Command's Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) had the mission of mon ...
for nearly seven months.


=Operation Iraqi Freedom

= In February 2003, the 23rd Fighter Group deployed to Al Jaber Air Base in preparation of
Operation Iraqi Freedom {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Iraq War , partof = the Iraq conflict (2003–present), Iraq conflict and the War on terror , image = Iraq War montage.png , image_size = 300px , caption ...
, there they launched aircraft to attack
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد , ) is the capital of Iraq and the list of largest cities in the Arab world, second-largest city in the Arab world after Cairo. It is located on the Tigris near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon and the ...
until the major fighting ceased. They then deployed forward to Tallil Air Base, near An-Nasiriyah.


=Milestones

= In 2002, an A-10 of the 75th Fighter Squadron passed the 9,000 flying-hour mark, becoming the most flown attack aircraft in Air Force history. This was exceeded in 2005 by another A-10 from the 75th FS that passed the 10,000 flying-hour mark.


Moody Air Force Base

On 29 September 2006, the 347th Rescue Wing at Moody redesignated as the 347th Rescue Group, while the 23rd Fighter Group was redesignated the 23rd Wing. The 23rd Wing has three operations groups, the 347th Rescue Group, along with the original 23rd Fighter Group (last assigned to the wing at Pope AFB as the 23rd Operations Group), and the 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona and Nellis AFB, Nevada. The 23rd Fighter Group was reassigned to the 23rd Wing as a second operations group at Moody AFB in a ceremony held on 18 August 2006. The 23rd Fighter Group transferred its personnel and equipment from Pope AFB in December 2007 with that installation's transfer to the U.S. Army and redesignation as Pope Field. There are currently two operational active duty A-10C squadrons at Moody AFB plus one Air Force Reserve associate squadron. In addition, twelve additional A-10 aircraft from the
355th Fighter Squadron The 355th Fighter Squadron, nicknamed the ''Fightin' Falcons'', is a United States Air Force unit stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. It is an active-duty unit assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing and operates the Lockheed Martin F-35 ...
of the
354th Fighter Wing The 354th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force wing that is part of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It is the host wing at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and is assigned to the Eleventh Air Force (11 AF). The wing replaced the 343d Fighter Win ...
at
Eielson Air Force Base Eielson Air Force Base is a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United ...
, Alaska were transferred to the 23rd Fighter Group as a result of BRAC 2005. The 23rd Wing inactivated the 23rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in January 2022 whilst at the same time activating the 74th and 75th Fighter Generation Squadrons. The move was part of Air Combat Command's plans to improve the alignment of fighter operations and maintenance.


Lineage

* Constituted as the 23rd Fighter Wing on 10 August 1948 : Activated on 16 August 1948 : Inactivated on 24 September 1949 : Redesignated 23rd Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 19 December 1950 : Activated on 12 January 1951 : Inactivated on 6 February 1952 * Redesignated 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing and activated on 28 January 1964 : Organized on 8 February 1964 : Redesignated 23rd Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991 : Inactivated on 1 June 1992 * Redesignated 23rd Wing and activated on 1 June 1992 : Redesignated 23rd Fighter Group on 1 April 1997 : Redesignated 23rd Wing on 1 October 2006


Assignments

* Twentieth Air Force, 16 August 1948 * Caribbean Air Command, 25 – 24 April September 1949 *
Eastern Air Defense Force The Eastern Air Defense Force (EADF) is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed ...
, 12 January 1951 – 6 February 1952 *
Air Defense Command Aerospace Defense Command was a major command (military formation), command of the United States Air Force, responsible for continental air defense. It was activated in 1968 and disbanded in 1980. Its predecessor, Air Defense Command, was est ...
, 7 February 1952 * 32nd Air Division, 16 February 1953 – 1 March 1956 * Tactical Air Command, 28 January 1964 (not organized) * Twelfth Air Force, 8 February 1964 * 835th Air Division, 1 July 1964 * Twelfth Air Force, 30 June 1971 *
Ninth Air Force The Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) is a Numbered Air Force of the United States Air Force headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. It is the Air Force Service Component of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), a joint De ...
, 1 July 1972 *
347th Wing The 347th Rescue Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command, stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. It was inactivated on 1 October 2006. History : ''For additional ...
, 1 April 1997 *
4th Fighter Wing The 4th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command's Ninth Air Force. It is stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, where it is also the host unit. The wing (military aviation unit), w ...
, 23 June 2000 * Ninth Air Force (later, Ninth Air Force ir Forces Central, 1 October 2006 – 5 August 2009 *
Ninth Air Force The Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) is a Numbered Air Force of the United States Air Force headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. It is the Air Force Service Component of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), a joint De ...
, 5 August 2009 – 20 August 2020 *
Fifteenth Air Force The Fifteenth Air Force (15 AF) is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command (ACC). It is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base. It was reactivated on 20 August 2020, merging the previous units of the Ninth Air Force ...
, 20 August 2020 – present


Components

Groups * 23rd Fighter Group (later 23rd Fighter-Interceptor Group 23rd Operations Group, 23rd Fighter Group): 16 August 1948 – 24 September 1949; 12 January 1951 – 6 February 1952; 1 June 1992 – 1 April 1997; 1 October 2006 – present * 347th Rescue Group: 1 October 2006 – present * 563rd Rescue Group: 1 October 2006 – present Squadrons * 6th Special Operations Training Squadron: 1 – 15 January September 1974 * 74th Tactical Fighter Squadron (later 74th Fighter Squadron): 1 July 1972 – 15 February 1992 (detached 2 – 28 July December 1973; 29 August 1990 – 20 April 1991); 1 April 1997 – 1 October 2006 * 75th Tactical Fighter Squadron (later 75th Fighter Squadron): 1 July 1972 – 2 December 1991; 1 – 1 April June 1992; 1 April 1997 – 1 October 2006. * 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron (later 76th Fighter Squadron): 1 October 1972 – 29 May 1992 (detached 27 August 1990 – c. April 1991) * 132nd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron: attached 21 July 1951 – 6 February 1952 * 134th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron: attached 1 April 1951 – 6 February 1952 * 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron: 15 October 1970 – 22 March 1971 * 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached c. 8 November 1965 – 28 January 1966; assigned 15 – 22 March 1971 * 419th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron: 15 October 1969 – 1 October 1971 * 560th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 8 February 1964 – 25 September 1968 * 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron: 8 February 1964 – 1 July 1972 (detached 6 – 10 March July 1965 and 9 – 30 April June 1972) * 562nd Tactical Fighter Squadron: 8 February 1964 – 1 July 1972 (detached 13 – 6 August December 1965) * 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron: 8 February 1964 – 1 July 1972 (detached 8 – 15 April August 1965) * 598th Range Squadron: 22 September 2015 – Present * 4519th Combat Crew Training Squadron: 1 August 1967 – 15 October 1969 Detachments and Operating Locations * Detachment 1, Deployed Unit Complex (DUC),
MacDill Air Force Base MacDill Air Force Base (MacDill AFB) is an active United States Air Force installation located 4 miles (6.4 km) south-southwest of downtown Tampa, Florida. The "host wing" for MacDill AFB is the 6th Air Refueling Wing (6 ARW), assig ...
, Florida ** Redesignated as 598th Range Squadron, 25 September 2015 * Detachment 1, Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida ** Redesignated as 598th Range Squadron, 25 September 2015


Stations

* Northwest Guam Air Force Base, Guam, 16 August 1948 – 3 April 1949 * Howard Air Force Base, Panama Canal Zone, 25 – 24 April September 1949 * Presque Isle Air Force Base, Maine, 12 January 1951 – 6 February 1952 * McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, 8 February 1964 * England Air Force Base, Louisiana, 1 July 1972 – 1 June 1992 * Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, 1 June 1992 – 1 April 1997 * Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, 1 October 2006 – present


References


Footnotes


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Official History of theFlying Tigers



Flying Tiger Association Website


{{USAAF 14th Air Force World War II Military units and formations in Georgia (U.S. state) 0023 Military units and formations established in 1948