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100th Air Refueling Wing
100th Air Refueling Wing.png
100th ARW Emblem
Active 28 January 1942 – present
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Type Air Refueling
Part of United States Air Forces Europe
Garrison/HQ RAF Mildenhall
Nickname Bloody 100th
Motto Peace Through Strength
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1943–1945)
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUCtation
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Ruban de la croix de guerre 1939-1945.PNG FCdG w/ Palm
Colonel Eden Murrie
100 ARW KC-135s lined up on the taxiway at RAF Mildenhall
Tail of a 100ARW Boeing KC-135A-BN Stratotanker, Serial 58-0100, displaying the crest of RAF Mildenhall and the historic "Square D" badge as used by the unit during the second world war

The 100th Air Refueling Wing (100 ARW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe Third Air Force. It is stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England. It is also the host wing at RAF Mildenhall.

The 100 ARW is the only permanent U.S. air refueling wing in the European theater. The wing provides the critical air refueling "bridge" that allows the Expeditionary Air Force to deploy around the globe on a moment's notice.

During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 100th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was a Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England, stationed at RAF Thorpe Abbotts. Flying over 300 combat missions, the group earned two Distinguished Unit Citations (Regensburg, 17 Aug 1943; Berlin, 4/6/8 Mar 1944). The group suffered tremendous losses in combat, with 177 Aircraft MIA, flying its last mission on 20 Apr 1945.

The 100th Air Refueling Wing has been bestowed with the lineage, honors, and history of the 100th Bombardment Group. One of these honors is that it is the only modern USAF operational wing allowed to display on its assigned aircraft the tail code (Square-D) of its World War II predecessor.



USAFE's only KC-135 air refueling wing composed of 15 permanently assigned aircraft, and is responsible for U.S. aerial refueling operations conducted throughout the European theater. The unit supports some 16,000 personnel, including Third Air Force, four geographically separated units, and 15 associated units.

100th Operations Group (100 OG)

100th Maintenance Group (100 MXG)

  • 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (100 AMXS)
  • 100th Maintenance Squadron (100 MXS)
  • 100th Maintenance Operations Squadron (100 MOS)

100th Mission Support Group (100 MSG)

  • 100th Civil Engineer Squadron (100 CES)
  • 100th Communications Squadron (100 CS)
  • 100th Contracting Squadron (100 CONS)
  • 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron (100 LRS)
  • 100th Mission Support Squadron (100 MSS)
  • 100th Security Forces Squadron (100 SFS)
  • 100th Services Squadron (100 SVS)




  • Established as 100th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 January 1942.
Activated on 1 June 1942.
Inactivated on 21 December 1945.
  • Redesignated 100th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 13 May 1947.
Activated in the Reserve on 29 May 1947.
Inactivated on 27 June 1949.
  • Consolidated (31 January 1984) with the 100th Bombardment Wing, Medium, which was established on 23 March 1953.
Activated on 1 January 1956.
Inactivated on 30 April 1966
  • Redesignated: 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 25 June 1966 and replacing 4080th Strategic Wing (inactivated)
Activated on 25 June 1966 assuming the resources (Manpower, Aircraft, Equipment, Weapons, & Facilities) of the 4080th Strategic Wing
Redesignated: 100th Air Refueling Wing, Heavy on 30 September 1976.
Inactivated on 15 March 1983.
  • Redesignated: 100th Air Division on 15 June 1990.
Activated on 1 July 1990.
Inactivated on 26 July 1991.
  • Redesignated 100th Air Refueling Wing, and activated, on 1 February 1992.


Attached to: 402d Provisional Combat Bombardment Wing, 6 Jun 1943
Attached to 7th Air Division, 29 Dec 1957-1 Apr 1958




  • 100th Operations Group: 1 Feb 1992–Present


  • 9th Air Refueling Squadron: 30 Sep 1976-27 Jan 1982
  • 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: 1 Nov 1972-30 Jun 1976
  • 100th Air Refueling Squadron: 16 Aug 1956-25 Jun 1966
  • 349th Bombardment (later, 349 Strategic Reconnaissance; 349 Air Refueling) Squadron (XR): 1 Jun 1942-1 Dec 1945; 29 May 1947-27 Jun 1949; 1 Jan 1956-15 Mar 1983
  • 350th Bombardment (later, 350 Strategic Reconnaissance; 350 Air Refueling) Squadron (LN) : 1 Jun 1942-15 Dec 1945; 16 Jul 1947-27 Jun 1949; 1 Jan 1956-1 Jul 1976 (detached 4 Mar-c. 4 Apr 1958); 28 Jan 1982-15 Mar 1983
  • 351st Bombardment Squadron (EP): 1 Jun 1942-15 Dec 1945; 17 Jul 1947-27 Jun 1949; 1 Jan 1956-25 Jun 1966
  • 418th Bombardment Squadron (LD): 1 Jun 1942-19 Dec 1945; 29 May 1947-27 Jun 1949; 1 Mar 1959-1 Jan 1962
  • 509th Air Refueling Squadron: attached 8 Apr-8 Jul 1958.


United States Army Air Forces

United States Air Force

Aircraft/Missiles assigned


World War II

Emblem of the 100th Bombardment Group
Boeing B-17G-70-BO Fortress 43-37812 (EP-A) 351st BS lost 23 Mar 1945
Boeing B-17F-110-BO Fortress 42-30604 (LN-T) 350th BS, *Badger's Beauty V*. Crashed landed in Normandy near Villers, France 4 Oct 1943. All crew survived, 5 POW, 5 evaded.

On 1 June 1942, the Army Air Forces activated the 100th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (100th BG) as an unmanned paper unit assigned to III Bomber Command. The group remained unmanned until 27 October 1942, when a small number of men transferred from the 29th Bombardment Group to Gowen Field, Idaho, to serve as the group's initial cadre. Within four days, on 1 November, the small cadre forming the 100 BG moved the unit to Walla Walla Army Air Base, Washington, where it received its first four aircrews and four B-17Fs from the Boeing factory in Seattle. Following receipt of crews and aircraft, the 100th BG relocated to Wendover Field, Utah, on 30 November where it added additional personnel, aircraft, crews, and began operational training (bombing, gunnery, and navigation).

With the first day of 1943, members of the fledgling group again transferred operations to two separate bases, with the aircraft and aircrews moving to Sioux City AAB, Iowa, while the ground echelon went to Kearney Field, Nebraska. In both instances, members of the 100th BG assisted in air and ground training for other groups bound for overseas. In mid-April, the aircrew element joined its ground echelon at Kearney Field, and received new B-17s. After additional training, the group's aircrews departed Kearney on 25 May 1943, flying the North Atlantic route to England and into the war in Europe. Prior to the departure of aircraft and aircrews from Kearney, the 100 BG's ground echelon departed for the East Coast on 2 May. On 27 May 1943, the ground personnel set sail aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth bound for Podington, England from New York. At Podington the ground crews rendezvoused with the air echelon, and together moved to Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk, where they remained throughout World War II, operating as a strategic bombardment organization.

On 25 June 1943, the 100 BG flew its first Eighth Air Force combat mission in a bombing of the Bremen U-boat yards -- the beginning of the "Bloody Hundredth"'s legacy. The group inherited the "Bloody Hundredth" nickname from other bomb groups due to the amount of losses it took. In the early summer of 1943, 100 BG became a "marked outfit" by Luftwaffe fighters after a B-17 pilot first lowered his landing gear to surrender to three Messerschmitt Bf 109s, started to descend after the fighters stopped shooting, then changed his mind and the B-17 gunners shot the three fighter aircraft (one Bf 109 pilot bailed out and presumably reported the event).[1]:94 The group experienced several instances where it lost a dozen or more aircraft on a single mission, and for the next six months, the group focused its bombing attacks against German airfields, industries, and naval facilities in France and Germany.

In August 1943, the group received its first Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) after attacking the German aircraft factory at Regensburg on 17 August 1943, resulting in serious disruption to German fighter production. From January-May 1944, the 100th BG regularly bombed airfields, industries, marshaling yards, and missile sites in Western Europe. The group participated in the Allied campaign against German aircraft factories, Operation Argument, during "Big Week" in the last week of February 1944. In March 1944, aircrews completed a succession of attacks on Berlin and received its second DUC of the war.

While bombing during the Oil Campaign of World War II as the summer of 1944 approached, the group also conducted interdictory missions such as the June bombing of bridges and gun positions to support the Invasion of Normandy. The next month aircrews bombed enemy positions at Saint-Lô, followed by similar campaigns at Brest in August and September. In October 1944, the 100th BG attacked enemy and ground defenses in the allied drive on the Siegfried Line, then bombed marshaling yards, German occupied villages, and communication targets in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 to January 1945. For its extraordinary efforts in attacking heavily defended German installations in Germany and dropping supplies to the French Forces of the Interior from June through December 1944, the 100 BG received the French Croix de guerre with Palm.

The 100 BG flew its last combat mission of World War II on 20 April 1945. The following month the unit's aircrews dropped food to the people in the west of the Netherlands, and in June transported French Allied former prisoners of war from Austria to France. In December 1945, the group returned to the U.S., where it inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 21 December 1945.

Cold War

Emblem used by the 100th Wing
Emblem of the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing

On 29 May 1947, Headquarters Army Air Force reactivated the 100 BG at Miami Army Air Field. From the time of its activation the group trained and operated as a reserve B-29 Superfortress unit being attached to the 49th Bombardment Wing (Later Air Division). It is not clear whether or not the unit was fully manned or equipped. It was inactivated on 27 June 1949 due to budget reductions.

100th Bombardment Wing

The 100th Bombardment Wing, Medium was established on 23 March 1953 as part of Strategic Air Command, but the wing was not activated until 1 January 1956. The delay was due to construction at the units programmed base, Portsmouth Air Force Base, New Hampshire. Construction was completed in late 1955 and when activated, the 100th BW was assigned to the Eighth Air Force 817th Air Division. For the next ten years the wing performed global strategic bombardment training, and global air refueling flying the B-47 Stratojet. The wing was inactivated on 30 April 1966 as part of the phaseout of the B-47 from the USAF inventory.

100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing

Following a brief nonoperational period (April–June 1966), the Air Force redesignated the wing as the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, and moved it without personnel or equipment to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, on 25 June 1966.

At Davis-Monthan the 100th SRW replaced the SAC 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. The 4080th had been at Davis-Monthan since 1 July 1963, performing various reconnaissance missions with a combination of Sikorsky CH-3 Helicopers, AQM-34 Aerial Drones, Lockheed U-2s and DC-130 Hercules aircraft. The 4080th was a SAC MAJCOM provisional wing, and in order to retain the lineage of its MAJCOM 4-digit combat units and to perpetuate the lineage of many currently inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records, Headquarters SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue its MAJCOM strategic wings that were equipped with combat aircraft and to activate AFCON units, most of which were inactive at the time which could carry a lineage and history.

After its move, the 100th SRW performed strategic reconnaissance with the U-2 and drone aircraft. It used one overseas-based squadron (99th SRS), and deployed operating locations as needed, 1972–1976, earning the P.T. Cullen Award as the reconnaissance unit that contributed most to the photo and signal intelligence efforts of SAC in 1972.[2] On 1 July 1976 the wing changed missions again when it transferred its drone operations and associated DC-130 Hercules launch aircraft and CH-3 Jolly Green Giant recovery helicopters to the Tactical Air Command 432d Tactical Drone Group, and its U-2s to the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (9 SRW) at Beale AFB, California.

100th Air Refueling Wing

After completing the transfer of its aircraft in September 1976, while simultaneously phasing down operations at Davis-Monthan, the Air Force redesignated the wing as the 100th Air Refueling Wing, and relocated it to Beale AFB, California without personnel or equipment, where on 30 September 1976 it absorbed the KC-135 Stratotanker resources of the 17th Bombardment Wing, Heavy. While at Beale, the 100 ARW assumed responsibility for providing worldwide air refueling support from 30 September 1976 until its inactivation on 15 March 1983 when it was absorbed by the host 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale, which became a composite wing under the one-base, one-wing concept.

100th Air Division

After an inactive status for over seven years, SAC again reactivated the 100th, but this time as the 100th Air Division at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, on 1 July 1990, an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command. It assumed host unit responsibilities at Whiteman. In addition, the division controlled the 509th Bombardment Wing, which was not operational while waiting for production B-2 Spirit stealth bombers to arrive and appropriate facilities for the B-2s to be constructed. It also controlled the 351st Missile Wing, an LGM-30F Minuteman II ICBM wing at Whiteman.

Air Force reorganizations in 1991 put the 351st MW under the reactivated Twentieth Air Force on 29 March 1991, and the 509th Bomb Wing took over host duties at Whiteman. As a result, SAC inactivated the 100th AD again on 1 August 1991.

Modern era

Six months after its inactivation as an Air Division, and over 46 years after departing England at the end of World War II, the Air Force activated the 100 ARW, stationed at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, on 1 February 1992. It was assigned to Strategic Air Command, Fifteenth Air Force, 14th Air Division. It was then reassigned to Third Air Force on 1 February 1992. From the time of its reactivation, the 100 ARW has served as the United States Air Forces Europe's lone air refueling wing. It also serves as the host unit at RAF Mildenhall where it deployed aircraft and managed the European Tanker Task Force.

The 100th In Print

  • Harry H. Crosby, a navigator in the 100th BG ("Bloody Hundredth") during World War II, wrote A Wing and a Prayer: The Bloody 100th Bomb Group of the US Eighth Air Force in Action over Europe in World War II [1] (Harpercollins 1993 / Hdcvr ISBN 0-06-016941-9 / Ppbk ISBN 0-595-16703-9). The account is an insightful look into the life of a typical air officer assigned to one of the 8th Air Force's most revered units.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present
  1. ^ Template:Last=Richards
  2. ^ Battermix publishing material

External links


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