24th Wing: Wikis


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24th Wing
24 WG.jpg
Active 1942-1999
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Garrison/HQ Howard Air Force Base
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

The 24th Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Twelfth Air Force, stationed at Howard Air Force Base, Panama. It was inactivated on 1 November 1999.

The inactivation of the 24th Wing and the closure of Howard Air force Base ended an 82-year United States Air Force presence in Panama, which began with the formation of the 7th Aero Squadron on 29 March 1917.





Azure, a stylized square-rigged ship of three mast sails set, flag and pennants flotant sailing to sinister above an arced olive branch to dexter and an arced lightning flash to sinister conjoined in base Or, all within a diminished bordure of the like. Motto: LOS PROFESIONALES -- The professionals. Approved on 16 Aug 1994; replaced emblem approved in 1968 (KE 35833).


Legacy emblem of the 24th Composite Wing prior to 16 Aug 1994
  • Established as 24th Composite Wing (Special) on 19 Nov 1942
Activated on 25 Dec 1942
Disestablished on 15 Jun 1944
  • Reestablished as 24th Composite Wing on 5 Aug 1946
Activated on 25 Aug 1946
Inactivated on 28 Jul 1948
  • Activated on 30 Oct 1967
Organized on 8 Nov 1967
Redesignated: 24th Air Commando Wing on 15 Mar 1968
Redesignated: 24th Special Operations Wing on 15 Jul 1968
Redesignated: 24th Special Operations Group on 30 Jun 1972
Redesignated: 24th Composite Group on 15 Nov 1973
Redesignated: 24th Composite Wing on 1 Jan 1976
Inactivated on 31 Jan 1987
  • Activated on 1 Jan 1989
Inactivated on 15 Feb 1991
Redesignated 24th Wing on 1 Feb 1992
Activated on 11 Feb 1992
Inactivated on 1 Nov 1999




  • 24th Operations: 11 Feb 1992-1 Nov 1999
  • 130th Special Operations: attached 30 Jan-27 Feb 1971; attached 5-14 Feb 1973
  • 134th Anti-Aircraft Artillery: attached 1 Nov 1943-15 Jun 1944
  • 143d Air Commando: attached 8 Feb- 9 Mar 1969
  • 342d Composite: 25 Dec 1942-18 Mar 1944


  • 24th Air Transport: 15 Mar 1968-30 Jun 1971
  • 24th Special Operations (later, 24th Composite; 24th Tactical Air Support): 18 Mar 1969- 1 Jul 1975; 1 Jan 1976-31 Jan 1987; 1 Jan 1989-15 Feb 1991
  • 33d Fighter: 18 Mar-15 Jun 1944
  • 91st Reconnaissance: 12 Jan-26 Jul 1948
  • 330th Transport: 25 Aug-15 Oct 1946
  • 605th Air Commando (later, 605 Special Operations): 8 Nov 1967-30 Apr 1972


  • Det A, Fighter Command (IBC, US Army Forces, Iceland): attached 12 Feb-15 Jun 1944
  • Det, 314 Troop Carrier Group: attached 1 Oct 1946-26 Jul 1948
  • TAC A-7 Rotational Element (various detachments): attached 13 Nov 1972-30 Sep 1978
  • ANG A-7 Rotational Element (various detachments): attached 1 Oct 1978-31 Jan 1987
  • ANG A-10 Rotational Element (various detachments): attached Feb-Apr 1985
  • TAC C-130 Rotational Element (various detachments): attached 8 Nov 1967-30 Nov 1974
  • MAC C-130 Rotational Element (various detachments): attached 1 Dec 1974-30 Sep 1977
  • AFRES and ANG C-130 Rotational Element (various detachments): attached 1 Oct 1977-c. 1 Dec 1984.



The 24th served in the defense of Iceland from December 1942–June 1944.

From August 1946 until replaced by the Antilles Air Division in July 1948 the wing supervised large numbers of major and minor bases and Air Force units in the Caribbean area from Puerto Rico to British Guiana.

It Organized once more in November 1967 in the Panama Canal Zone, replacing the 5700th Air Base Wing. The wing assumed operation and maintenance responsibilities for Howard and Albrook Air Force Bases and a special operations mission that included air transport, paramilitary operations, exercise participation, civic actions in Central and South America, search and rescue missions, humanitarian operations, mercy missions, aeromedical evacuation, and support of Army Special Forces, U.S. military assistance units, and training of Latin American air forces. From its activation in 1967 until mid-1972, the 24th Wing operated the USAF Tropic Survival School at Albrook. It also controlled various rotational detachments from 1967–1987. The wing lost UH–1 helicopters and control of search and rescue missions in the area after 1 March 1983. The wing inactivated on 31 January 1987, its subordinate components reassigned directly to the USAF Southern Air Division.

The 24th was reactivated on 1 January 1989, as the 24th Composite Wing assuming responsibilities for Howard AFB and Albrook AFS. The wing flew combat sorties in the Invasion of Panama, December 1989–January 1990. The wing trained foreign and domestic pilots in forward air control. It again flew search and rescue, aeromedical airlift and disaster relief missions in the Latin American region from 1989–1990. Members of the wing deployed to Southwest Asia to provide air liaison support between ground forces and air operations from 1 October 1990–February 1991. When the 24th Composite Wing inactivated in 1991, its assets were placed under Air Forces in Panama.

On 11 February 1992 the wing again reactivated as the 24th Wing and became the senior USAF organization in Panama and replaced the previous command and division-level Air Force host units.

In June 1992, it began operating the only C–21, CT–43, C–27 and special mission C–130s in Air Combat Command. The wing provided control and support to multi-service units directed by United States Southern Command and United States Southern Air Force from 1992–1999. Missions included counter-narcotics operations, aerial command and control, intratheater airlift, security assistance and defense of the Panama Canal. The wing operated both Howard Air Force Base and Albrook Air Force Station.

On 1 April 1997 the 310th Airlift Squadron was reassigned to Air Mobility Command's 21st Air Force. The 24th Wing was inactivated on 1 November 1999 with the closure of Howard AFB and its turnover to the Panamanian government.


External links


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