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319th Air Refueling Wing
319th Air Refueling WIng.jpg
319th Air Refueling Wing Shield
Active 1949 – present
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Type Air Refueling
Size 2,600
Part of Air Mobility Command
Garrison/HQ Grand Forks Air Force Base
Nickname Warriors of the North
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg Southwest Asia Service ribbon.svg
AFEMRib.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1942–1945)
  • Vietnam Service (1965–1973)
  • Southwest Asia (1990–1991)
  • Expeditionary Service
Multiple Operations (1990s)
  • Global War on Terrorism
Afghanistan Service (2001–TBD)
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Ruban de la croix de guerre 1939-1945.PNG FCdG w/ Palm
Colonel Donald L. Shaffer
Joseph R. Holzapple
Warriors of the North

The 319th Air Refueling Wing (319 AFW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command Eighteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The wing is also the host unit at Grand Forks.

The 319 ARW is one of only three "super tanker" wings in the United States Air Force. The 319th guarantees global reach and engagement for the U.S. and its allies through robust air refueling and airlift capabilities.

The wing has a long and distinguished history, its 319th Operations Group being a successor unit to the World War II 319th Bombardment Group. The 319 BG was the first Martin B-26 Marauder group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during the war. The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations during the war. Active for over 60 years, the 319th Bombardment Wing was a component organization of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War, as a strategic bombardment wing.

The 319th Air Refueling Wing is commanded by Colonel Donald L. Shaffer. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Scott A. Fuller.



The mission of the 319th Air Refueling Wing is to guarantee extensive "Global Engagement" capability through worldwide mobility operations, including air refueling and airlift requirements executed by 48 KC-135R aircraft and 3,400 personnel.

The wing supports global contingency and conventional operations and the Single Integrated operational Plan (SIOP). It also provides support functions for an Air Mobility Command (AMC) major weapons system and supports a wide range of conventional and nuclear plans.

The wing also provides infrastructure support for an Air Force Space Command group equipped with Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The 319th Air Refueling Wing won the 2002 Solano Trophy on April 26, 2002 for the best active-duty unit within Headquarters 15th Air Force.

Global War on Terrorism

After September 11, 2001, the wing was the first to fly an Air Mobility Command sortie supporting the Air Force's response to the terrorist attacks by refueling the F-16 that delivered the Federal Emergency Management Agency director to New York only three and a half hours after the attacks. All of the 319th Air Refueling Wing's mission-capable aircraft were prepped, fueled and cocked within 24 hours.

By the end of 2001, the wing had flown more than 120 Operation Noble Eagle sorties, off-loading more than 4.8 million pounds of fuel to 260 combat air patrol and support aircraft. KC-135 tankers from the 319th were the first on the ground, first in the air, first to fly over enemy territory, and first to provide aerial refuelings while a base of operations in the Persian Gulf was being established for Operation Enduring Freedon. In total, they had flown more than 890 sorties, flying 6,700 hours and off-loading more than 50 million pounds of fueld to more than 3,000 receivers.

The wing also earned an "excellent" and "solid green" for the deployed 319th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during the first-ever Expeditionary Operational Readiness Inspection while conducting operations at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Additionally, for the second year in a row, the 319th Aircraft Generation Squadron earned top Air Mobility Comman aircraft maintenance effectiveness honors for the medium category.

The 319th Air Refueling Wing reached a significant milestone July 3, 2002 by flying its 1,000th hour in support of Operation Noble Eagle. The milestone-marking mission started the evening of July 2 and was commanded by Capt. Kulka of the 905th Air Refueling Squadron. The crew’s mission was to provide fuel to F-16’s from Shaw Air Force Base, SC, while they patrolled the skies over the nation’s capitol.

Subordinate organizations

319th Operations Group (319 OG)

319th Maintenance Group (319 MXG)

  • 319th Maintenance Squadron (319 MXS)
  • 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (319 AMXS)
  • 319th Maintenance Operations Squadron (319 MOS)

319th Mission Support Group (319 MSG)

  • 319th Civil Engineer Squadron (319 CES)
  • 319th Communications Squadron (319 CS)
  • 319th Contracting Squadron (319 CONS)
  • 319th Force Support Squadron (319 FSS)
  • 319th Security Forces Squadron (319 SFS)
  • 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron (319 LRS)

319th Medical Group (319 MDG)

  • 319th Aerospace Medicine Squadron (319 AMDS) *Deactivated July 22, 2008*
  • 319th Medical Operations Squadron (319 MDOS)
  • 319th Medical Support Squadron (319 MDSS)

319th Comptroller Squadron (319 CPTS)


See the 319th Operations Group for additional history and lineage prior to 1949


  • Established as 319 Bombardment Wing, Light, on 10 May 1949
Activated in the Reserve on 27 Jun 1949
Inactivated on 2 Sep 1949
  • Activated in the Reserve on 10 Oct 1949
Ordered to active service on 10 Mar 1951
Inactivated on 28 Mar 1951
  • Redesignated 319 Fighter-Bomber Wing on 12 Apr 1955
Activated in the Reserve on 18 May 1955
Inactivated on 16 Nov 1957
  • Redesignated 319 Bombardment Wing, Heavy, and activated, on 15 Nov 1962
Organized on 1 Feb 1963
Redesignated: 319 Wing on 1 Sep 1991
Redesignated: 319 Bomb Wing on 1 Jun 1992
Redesignated: 319 Air Refueling Wing on 1 Oct 1993.





. Squadrons

Aircraft operated

Operational History

Cold War

319th replaced the 514th Troop Carrier Wing in Oct 1949 and performed Reserve training until ordered to active service in Mar 1951, when wing personnel were used to fill other USAF units. In May 1955 it replaced the 8710th Pilot Training Wing, and again performed reserve training and, from July 1956 through August 1957, maintained two F-84s on "runway alert" at Memphis Municipal Airport under operational control of 20th Air Division, Air Defense Command. It was replaced by the 445th Troop Carrier Wing in November 1957

The 319th replaced the 4133d Strategic Wing in February 1963. During the following years, it conducted global bombardment training and air refueling operations to meet Strategic Air Command (SAC) commitments, earning the Omaha Trophy as the outstanding wing in SAC for 1978. It participated in a SAC program to test admission of females to the inflight refueling career field, January–December 1979. The wing converted from B-52 to B-1 bombers, 1986–1987 and flew training missions with conventional and nuclear configurations.

Modern era

Tanker crews assigned to the wing assisted in air refueling efforts during the invasion of Panama in December 1989. It deployed tankers to Oman, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia to provide air refueling and cargo missions in Southwest Asia, August 1990 – April 1991. The wing briefly lost its refueling mission in September 1992, but in October 1993, having lost its bombardment squadron, regained the refueling mission. The 319th supported worldwide Tanker Task Forces, as well as, combat operations in Southwest Asia, Central Europe, and Counter Narco-Terror operations in Central America by providing air refueling for combat aircraft, 1993–present.


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

  • 319th Air Refueling Wing Factsheet
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-91279-912-9.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links


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