438th Air Expeditionary Group: Wikis


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438th Air Expeditionary Wing
Emblem of the 438th Air Expeditionary Group
Active 1943-1945; 1949-1951; 1952-1957; 1991-1994; 2001-TBD
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Air Expeditionary Group
Garrison/HQ Al Asad Air Base, Iraq
Brig Gen Walter Givhani
Two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 438th Air Expeditionary Group at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, taxi out for a mission to provide close-air support for coalition forces in the region.

The United States Air Force's 438th Air Expeditionary Group (438th AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to Air Combat Command, and is stationed at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

The 438th AEG stood up on 15 January 2007.

The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 438th Troop Carrier Group was a C-47 Skytrain transport unit assigned to Ninth Air Force in Western Europe.



The unit was activated in Al Anbar province to provide close-air support to coalition forces in the region with A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. It is composed of deployed aircraft, equipment and personnel from Air Force units around the world.


For additional history and lineage, see 438th Air Expeditionary Wing


  • Constituted as 438th Troop Carrier Group on 14 May 1943
Activated on 1 June 1943
Inactivated on 16 Sep 1945
  • Redesignated 438th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) and allocated to the Reserve on 1 Jun 1949
Activated on 27 Jun 1949
Called to active duty on 10 Mar 1951
Inactivated on 14 Mar 1951
  • Redesignated 438th Fighter-Bomber Group and allocated to the Reserve on 1 Jun 1952
Activated on 15 Jun 1952
Inactivated on 15 Nov 1957
  • Redesignated 438th Operations Group and activated on 1 Nov 1991
Inactivated on 1 Oct 1994
  • Redesignated 438th Air Expeditionary Group, and converted to provisional status on 4 Dec 2001


Attached to: 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, 2001-TBD
Attached to: United States Air Forces Central, 15 Jan 2007 - TBD


  • 6th Airlift Squadron, 1 Nov 1991–1 Oct 1994
  • 30th Airlift Squadron, 1 Nov 1991–1 Oct 1993
  • 87th Troop Carrier (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron (3X), 1 Jun 1943-22 Sep 1945; 27 Jun 1949-14 Mar 1951; 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957
  • 88th Troop Carrier (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron (M2), 1 Jun 1943-22 Sep 1945; 27 Jun 1949-14 Mar 1951; 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957
  • 89th Troop Carrier (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron (4U), 1 Jun 1943-22 Sep 1945; 27 Jun 1949-14 Mar 1951; 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957
  • 90th Troop Carrier (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron (Q7), 1 Jun 1943-22 Sep 1945; 27 Jun 1949-14 Mar 1951; 15 Jun 1952-16 Nov 1957


Deployed to: Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, 15 Jan 2007-TBD


Operational History

World War II

World War II Emblem of the 438th TCG
C-47 of the 438th Troop Carrier Group - RAF Greenham Common, England - World War II.
C-47 of the 438th Troop Carrier Group - RAF Greenham Common, England - World War II

Constituted as 438th Troop Carrier Group on 14 May 1943. Activated on 1 June 1943. Trained with C-47's. Moved to RAF Langar, England in February 1944 and assigned to Ninth Air Force. At Langar, the group was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing, however after a month the group was moved south to a new station at RAF Greenham Common. The 438th had the following Troop Carrier squadrons and fuselage codes:

The squadrons had 18 airplanes apiece, mostly C-47s but also a few C-53s. At Greenham Common the 438th TCG trained for and participated in airborne operations, flew resupply and reinforcement missions to combat zones, evacuated casualties, and hauled freight.

D-Day Operations

For its superior flying skills exhibited in extensive daylight and night training, the 438th TCG was selected to lead the IX Troop Carrier Command force in the American airborne landings in Normandy. Prior to the launch, both General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lt Gen Lewis H. Brereton, Ninth Air Force Commanding General, visited Greenham Common to watch preparations and speak with the troops of the 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Eighty-one aircraft, divided into two serials of 36 and 45 aircraft and led by the 87th Troop Carrier Squadron (3X), took off from the main runway in 15 minutes, commencing at 23:48 hours on 5 June. Despite radio black-out, overloaded aircraft, low cloud cover and lack of marked drop zones, they carried 1,430 men of the US 101st Airborne Division's 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment, who were dropped soon after midnight in the area northwest of Carentan. Glider-borne reinforcement missions followed, and for its determined and successful work the group received a Distinguished Unit Citation.

Losses amounted to one C-47 and a C-53, both lost to flak on 7 June.

Operation Dragoon

On 20 July the air echelons of the 87th, 88th and 89th Troop Carrier Squadrons departed for Canino airbase in Italy in preparation for the August invasion of Southern France, Operation Dragoon. In the invasion, the squadrons dropped paratroops and towed gliders that carried reinforcements. The group also hauled freight in Italy.

The 90th TCS stayed in the UK and operated from RAF Welford until the rest of the groups aircraft returned from Italy on 24 August.

Operation Market-Garden

In September the 368th group helped to supply the Third Army in its push across France, and transported troops and supplies when the Allies launched the airborne operation in Holland.

As part of Operation Market Garden, 90 aircraft from the 438th dropped 101st Airborne paratroopers near Eindhoven without loss on 17 September. The next day, 80 aircraft towed gliders again without loss of aircraft, although two gliders aborted and 11 C-47s suffered flak damage. However, when 40 C-47s towing 40 CG-4A Horsa Gliders left Greenham Common on 19 September, things did not go so well in adverse weather. Only half of the gliders were released in the landing zone area, and one C-47 was shot down and several gliders were lost.

A further glider mission by a similar number of aircraft fared no better and another C-47 was lost. Re-supply missions were flown on 20 September and on the 21st to Overasselt and on the 21st to Son.

During the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945), the group, again headed by the 87th Troop Carrier Squadron, flew air supply missions to battle areas, including the first two flights into beleaguered Bastogne. In February 1945 the groups of the 53d TCW were moved to France, the 438th going to A-79 Advanced Landing Ground at Pronses.

On the continent, the 438th TCG used the following Advanced Landing Grounds:

  • A-79 Pronses, France February 1945
  • B-48 Amiens/Glisy, France May – 3 August 1945

The group evacuated Allied prisoners of war after V-E Day. It returned to Baer AAF Indiana on 16 September 1945.

Cold War

The 438th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) was established on 10 May 1949, at Offut AFB, Nebraska. It was activated in the USAF reserve on 27 June 1949. The group flew C-45, C-46 and C-47 aircraft. It was ordered to active service on 10 March 1951. It was inactivated on 14 March 1951.

The 438th Fighter-Bomber Group was activated at General Billy Mitchell Field, Wisconsin in the reserves flying F-80 Shooting Stars and later F-86 Sabres on 15 June 1952. It was inactivated 16 November 1957.

Modern era

On 1 December 1991, the unit was activated as the 438th Operations Group as the operational component of 438th Airlift Wing as part of the objective wing implementation. .

On 1 October 1993, the 30th AS was moved w/o/p/e to the 374th Operations Group, Yokota AB, Japan, replacing the 20th AS as part of the Air Force illustrious units realignment. It was replaced by the 13th Airlift Squadron at McGuire which was transferred w/o/p/e from the 18th Operations Group, Kadena AB, Okinawa.

A KC-10 air refueling squadron, the 2d ARS, was assigned to the wing from the former 2d Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana as part of a major Air Force realignment on 1 October 1994 to have KC-10 bases with two squadrons of 10 aircraft each.

On 1 October 1994, the 438th Airlift Wing was inactivated, being replaced at McGuire by the 305th Air Mobility Wing which was transferred from Grissom AFB, Indiana when Grissom was realigned to the Air Force Reserve.

Global War On Terrorism

The 438th Air Expeditionary Group was activated as part of the Global War On Terror in 2001.


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

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0900913800
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1996) The Ninth Air Force in Colour: UK and the Continent-World War Two. After the Battle ISBN 1854092723
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • A-10s set to soar in Al Anbar province

External links


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