32d Air Operations Group: Wikis


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32d Air Operations Group
Active 1941 - 2006
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ Kapaun Air Station, Germany

The 32d Air Operations Group is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. It was last assigned to the USAFE Theater Air and Space-operations Center, Kapaun Air Station, Germany. It was inactivated on 1 December 2006 and replaced by the Third Air Force 603rd Air Operation Center.



The USAFE Theater Air and Space-operations Center is an operational echelon which functions to consolidate operational command and control of joint space forces, similar to the functioning of a traditional Air Operations Center, but is classed, by AF doctrine, as a "Functional AOC." The USAFE TASOC, supplies the Joint Functional Component Command for Space operations expertise to create space situational awareness and command and control space forces. All of these efforts are in continuous around-the-clock support of global and theater operations.




  • Constituted as 32d Pursuit Group on 22 Nov 1940
Activated in Panama on 1 Jan 1941
Redesignated: 32d Fighter Group in May 1942
Disbanded: on Nov 1943.
  • Reconstituted and redesignated 32d Fighter Group (Air Defense), on 11 Dec 1956
Activated on 8 Feb 1957
Discontinued and inactivated 1 Feb 1961
  • Consolidated with 32d Fighter Wing (Air Defense), 31 Jan 1984
Established as: 32d Composite Wing, 10 Aug 1948
Activated: 10 Aug 1948
Inactivated: 1 April 1949
Redesignated as: 32d Fighter Wing (Air Defense), 28 Dec 1960
Activated on: 28 Dec 1960
Discontinued and Inactivated on: 1 Jul 1962
Redesignated: 32d Tactical Fighter Wing and activated, 1 Apr 1964
Inactivated on: 25 July 1964
  • Consolidated group redesignated: 32d Tactical Fighter Wing, on 31 Jan 1984
Activated as: 32d Tactical Fighter Group on 16 Nov 1989
Inactivated on: 1 Oct 1994
  • Redesignated and reactivated as: 32d Air Operations Group, 22 May 2003-1 Dec 2006




51st Pursuit Squadron (Fighter)/Fighter Squadron (twin engine)
52d Pursuit Squadron (Fighter)/Fighter Squadron (twin engine)
53d Pursuit Squadron (Fighter)/Fighter Squadron (twin engine)
23d Reconnaissance Squadron
31st Reconnaissance Squadron
433d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (8 Feb 1957-1 Jul 1960)
5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (8 Feb 1957-1 Jul 1960)
782d Tactical Fighter Squadron
783d Tactical Fighter Squadron
784th Tactical Fighter Squadron
785th Tactical Fighter Squadron
68th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
433d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
497th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
32d Fighter Squadron


Operational History

Convair F-106A Delta Dart Serial 56-460 of the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Minot AFB. Today, this aircraft is on static display at Minot.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C-24-MC Eagles of the 32d Tactical Fighter Group, Serials 79-015, 019, 026 and 027. When the 32d TFG was deactivated in 1994, These aircraft were sold to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Sixth Air Force
The United States Army Air Corps constituted the 32d Pursuit Group on 22 November 1940. Shortly afterwords, on 1 January 1941, the Air Corps activated the group at Rio Hato Army Air Base, Panama. The group and its three assigned flying squadrons, the 51st, 52d, and 53d Pursuit Squadrons, had the mission of protecting the Panama Canal using obsolete Boeing P-26 Peashooters. On 9 December 1941, just after Pearl Harbor, the newly redesignated Caribbean Air Force moved the 32d Pursuit Group to France Field in the Panama Canal Zone. The Air Corps equipped the 32d Pursuit Group with Curtiss P-36 Hawks to strengthen the defenses of the canal region.

On 15 May 1942, the US Army Air Forces redesignated the unit as the 32d Fighter Group (Twin Engine) and provided it P-38 Lightnings. However, the group swapped these fighters for P-40 Warhawks to defend the Panama Canal Zone, subsequently being redesignated as the 32d Fighter Group (Single Engine) on 28 September 1942. During 1941 to 1943, the group trained in flying intercept and fighter sweeps over the area surrounding the Canal Zone. However, as the perceived threat to the Canal Zone diminished, the US Army Air Force disbanded the 32d Fighter Group at France Field on 1 November 1943.

Far East Air Force
On 10 August 1948, the United States Air Force established the 32d Composite Wing. Replacing the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 32d Composite Wing was activated at Kadena Field, Okinawa, to provide the Thirteenth Air Force with photographic reconnaissance and search and rescue support. The wing, along with its 23d and 31st Reconnaissance Squadrons, used B/FB-17 Flying Fortresses, RB-29 Superfortresses, and C-46 Commandos to accomplish this mission until the Air Force inavtivated the wwing on 1 April 1949.

Air Defense Command
On 11 December 1956, the Air Force reestablished and redesignated the unit as the 32d Fighter Group (Air Defemse), subsequently activating it at Minot AFB, North Dakota, as part of the Air Defense Command on 8 February 1957. The 32d Fighter Group trained air defense combat crews such as those belonging to the 433d Fighter Interceptor Squadron using F-106 Delta Darts. On 1 April 1959, the 32d FG was redesignated as the Minot Air Defense Sector.

The Air Force activated the redesignated 32d Fighter Wing (Air Defense) at Minot on 28 December 1960. The wing, along with its 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, flew F-106 Delta Darts to provide air defense in the Minot Air Defense Sector. On 1 July 1962, the Air Force discontinued and inactivated the wing.

Tactical Air Command
In April 1964, the Air Force activated the redesignated 32d Tactical Fighter Wing at George AFB, California, to be equipped with McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom IIs. The wing had seven assigned fighter squadrons, consisting of the 68th, 431st, 497th, 782th, 784th, and 785th Fighter Interceptor Squadrons. But, before it had become fully equipped and trained with the new fighters, the Air Force replaced the wing with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, thus discontinuing and inactivating the 32d Tactical Fighter Wing at George on 25 July 1964.

United States Air Forces in Europe
In 1989, the Netherlands government allowed the US Air Force squadron at Soesterberg Air Base to assume group status. Thus, on 16 November 1989, the United States Air Forces in Europe activated the recently redesignated 32d Tactical Fighter Group (consisting of the old 32d Fighter Group and 32d Tactical Fighter Wing) at Soesterberg. The group assumed command over the 32d Tactical Fighter Squadron, along with eight support squadrons, a medical clinic, and an explosive ordnance disposal flight. With the end of the Cold War a major force draw-down occurred in Europe, the USAF reduced its fighter force structure. on 1 October 1994, the 32d Tactical Fighter Group was inactivated.

On 22 May 2003 USAFE activated the unit as the 32d Air Operations Group, as part of the USAFE Theater Air and Space-operations Center, Kapaun Air Station, Germany.


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

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