Academy football team to honor Air Force units with patches on uniforms in 2007
Aug. 28, 2007
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force football team will honor several different units throughout the Air Force by wearing their official patches on its uniforms in 2007. The team will honor 10 of the Air Force's Heritage Wings and Groups by wearing patches on their home uniforms; and six USAF Air and Space Expeditionary Wings by wearing patches on their away uniforms.
The Heritage Wings and Groups date back to the foundations of the Air Force, beginning on Aug. 1, 1907, when the U.S. Army Signal Corps established a small Aeronautical Division to take "charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines and all kindred subjects." But, it was not until May 26, 1909, that military aviation was born, when Lts. Frank P. Lahm and Benjamin D. Foulois made their first ascent and qualified as the airship's first Army pilots. The National Security Act of 1947 created a separate Department of the Air Force, headed by a Secretary of the Air Force; from that law, today's Air Force was officially born on Sept. 18, 1947.
The 10 patches represent active duty units that have colorful and distinguished histories. These "heritage units" not only represent the legacy of the Air Force past, but also the promise of its future. Each Air Force mission and capability is represented with this cross-section of units.
The Air and Space Expeditionary Force concept is the Air Force's vision for the 21st century to organize, train, equip and deploy forces for contingency operations while remaining ready to meet national crises. AEF also helps create a mindset and culture that embraces the unique characteristics of air and space power - range, speed, flexibility and precision. A typical AEF consists of a full spectrum of air and space capabilities and is balanced, flexible and sustainable. It is also tailored to meet combatant commander requirements. Military personnel that are deployed become a part of one of these six wings.
A detailed listing of each Heritage wing/group follows:
8th Fighter Wing: Located at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, the wing equips and trains the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons to conduct air-to-ground and air-to-air missions in the 40 F-16s assigned to the wing.
31st Fighter Wing: Located at Aviano Air Base, Italy, its mission is to conduct and support air operations in Europe's southern region and to maintain munitions for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and national authorities.
3rd Wing: Located at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, it's the largest and principal unit within the 11th Air Force and trains and equips Air Expeditionary Forces while providing air supremacy, surveillance, worldwide airlift and agile combat support forces to project global power and reach.
14th Flying Training Wing: Located at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, the wing conducts year-long Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training programs for many of the Air Force's new pilots, about half of whom graduate from the Air Force Academy each year.
2nd Bomb Wing: The 2nd Bomb Wing is nearly as old as that of American air power itself, dating back to 1918. Operating from locations around the world, the wing is dedicated to aerial bombardment and is the largest bomb wing in Air Combat Command and is part of the historic "Mighty Eighth" Air Force. Its motto is "Liberty We Defend."
19th Air Refueling Group: Located at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., its mission is to provide worldwide in-flight refueling for intercontinental and inter-theater combat, logistics and combat support aircraft of the United State and its allies.
9th Reconnaissance Wing: The wing is headquartered at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and is responsible for providing national and theater command authorities with timely, reliable, high-quality, high-altitude reconnaissance products; it is equipped with the nation's finest fleet of U-2 and RQ-4 reconnaissance aircraft and associated support equipment. The wing is comprised bases from multiple operating locations.
341st Space Wing: Headquartered at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., is one of the three U.S. Air Force bases that maintains and operates the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. Its mission is to keep America free and strong by providing combat-ready people and aerospace forces.
1st Special Operations Wing: The wing is located at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and is the only active duty Special Operations wing falling under the direction of the Air Force Special Operations Command. The wing's mission is unconventional warfare: counter-terrorism, combat search and rescue, personnel recovery, psychological operations, aviation assistance to developing nations, "deep battlefield" supply, interdiction and close air support.
315th Airlift Wing: The Air Force Reserve wing, along with its active wing, the 437th Airlift Wing, is headquartered at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., and provides a large part of the Air Mobility Command's global reach airlift capacity. This rapid, flexible and responsive air mobility promotes stability in regions by keeping America's capability and character highly visible.
A detailed listing of each Air and Space Expeditionary Force wing follows.
380th Air Expeditionary Wing: Located in the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility, it serves as both the enabler and force multiplier for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to wage America's global war on terrorism.
455th Air Expeditionary Wing: Located at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, the wing is responsible for flying airlift and strike missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit also provides 24-hour support and maintains the infrastructure necessary to conduct combat operations in Afghanistan.
379th Air Expeditionary Wing: The 379th transitioned from a predominately fighter-based wing during Operation Iraqi Freedom to a multi-purpose wing. Once touted as "the largest concentration of coalition airpower in history," the wing now supports a wider range of missions including bomber, airlift, refueling, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as humanitarian airlift and aeromedical evacuation. The specific location of the wing is not releasable due to host-nation sensitivities.
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing: Located at Balad Air Base in the southeastern corner of the Sunni Triangle. The wing is the most forward deployed Air Force Wing in the Iraq war and uses advanced weapons systems such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for close air support, traditional and non-traditional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The heritage of the 332nd AEW is tied to the famous 332nd Fighter Group led by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.
376th Air Expeditionary Wing: Located at Manas International Airport, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, the wing is made up of 1,000 airmen representing more than 85 bases and covering every aspect of the Total Force: active duty, Air National Guard, AF Reserve, civilians and contractors. The wing is responsible for providing air combat power projection throughout the US Central Command Area of Responsibility, including tactical airlift and air refueling, principally in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
386th Air Expeditionary Wing: Located in Southeast Asia, the wing can trace its roots to the deactivated 386th Bombardment Group. The wing has a diverse mission which canvases the CENTCOM AOR. The wing is the primary aerial hub for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and provides airlift support for Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Horn of Africa. The wing is comprised of the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance, Mission Support, Medical and Operations Groups and the 586th Expeditionary Mission Support Group.