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451st Air Expeditionary Wing
451 AEW Patch-Subdued.jpg
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Emblem - Combat Subdued Colors
Active 1943–Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part of United States Air Forces Central
Garrison/HQ Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1943–1945)
  • Global War on Terrorism
Afghanistan campaign (To Be Determined)
Brig Gen Guy M. Walsh
An MQ-1 Predator at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, taxis out for a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on Friday, June 2, 2006.
An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter lands as an Army UH-60 Blackhawk prepares to pick up a medivac patient June 13. The 33d Expeditionary Rescue Squadron is the first squadron to have a combat-search-and-rescue mission and a medevac mission, and is based at Kandahar

The United States Air Force's 451st Air Expeditionary Wing (451 AEW) is located at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan and includes an expeditionary fighter squadron, expeditionary airlift squadron, expeditionary reconnaissance squadron, expeditionary rescue squadron and an expeditionary air control squadron.




  • 451st Expeditionary Operations Group
    • 451st Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron
    • 451st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight
    • 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron
    • 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron
    • 30th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron
    • 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron
    • 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron
    • 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron
  • 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Group
    • 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
    • 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron
  • 451st Expeditionary Mission Support Group
    • 451st Expeditionary Communications Squadron
    • 451st Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron
    • 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron
    • 451st Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron
    • 451st Expeditionary Force Support Flight

Tenant Units

  • 755th Air Expeditionary Squadron
  • 755th Explosive Ordanance Disposal
  • 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron





  • Constituted as 451st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on April 6, 1943.
Activated on May 1, 1943
Inactivated on September 26, 1945
  • Established as the 451st Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan)l April 26, 1961
Activated on April 26, 1961
Bestowed history, honors, and heraldry of 451st Bombardment Group passed to wing by HQ USAF upon activation.
Discontinued and inactivated June 25, 1965
  • Redesignated 451st Air Expeditionary Group 2002 (exact date uncertain)
Activated 2002 (exact date uncertain)
  • Redesignated 451st Air Expeditionary Wing 2 Jul 2009

Note: Reference for unit lineage.[1][2] As with most public information about Air Expeditionary Units activated during the Global War on Terrorism, the status of the bestowed Honors, and Heraldry of the unit is unclear.


47th Bombardment Wing, December 11, 1943 – April 6, 1944
49th Bombardment Wing, April 6, 1944 – June 19, 1945
  • Continental Air Forces
First Air Force, June 19 – September 16, 1945
13th Air Division, July 1, 1961 – June 25, 1965
455th Air Expeditionary Wing,  ?? ??? 2002 - July 2, 2009
Ninth Air Force, July 2, 2009- Present


Aircraft assigned

Operational history

World War II

451st Bomb Group Consolidated B-24H-30-CF Liberator AAF Ser. No. 42-50443 displaying 304th Wing markings c. 1945. The upper tail surface and circle were red in color.

Constituted as 451st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on April 6, 1943. Activated on May 1, 1943. Prepared for combat with B-24s. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, November 1943 – January 1944, with the air echelon training in Algeria for several weeks before joining the remainder of the group in Italy.

Operated with Fifteenth Air Force, January 1944 – May 1945, functioning primarily as a strategic bombardment organization. Attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges, and airfields in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece.

Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for each of three missions: to an aircraft factory at Regensburg on February 25, 1944, to oil refineries and marshalling yards at Ploesti on April 5, 1944, and to an airdrome at Vienna on August 23, 1944; although encountering large numbers of enemy fighters and severe antiaircraft fire during each of these missions, the group fought its way through the opposition, destroyed many interceptors, and inflicted serious damage on the assigned targets.

At times the group also flew support and interdictory missions. Helped to prepare the way for and participated in the invasion of Southern France in August 1944. Transported supplies to troops in Italy during September 1944. Supported the final advances of Allied armies in northern Italy in April 1945.

Returned to the US in June 1945. Inactivated on September 26, 1945.

Cold War

Established as the 451st Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan) and activated on April 26, 1961. Organized on July 1, 1961 at Lowry AFB, Colorado.

The 451st replaced the 703d Strategic Missile Wing in July 1961 with two Titan I missile squadrons (724th, 725th MS). The first wing missile complex was accepted on April 18, 1962. All wing missiles went off alert status on March 26, 1965 and the wing phased down for inactivation.

Discontinued and inactivated June 25, 1965.

Global War on Terrorism

The 451st Air Expeditionary Group was activated in 2002 as part of the Global War on Terrorism, conducting operations from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanitsan. The group was responsible for air control of the southern region of Afghanistan, launch and recovery operations for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft, the employment of combat search and rescue forces throughout the entire country and ground security and defense of the airfield. Included in the group are safety, logistics, communications, civil engineer.

Due to the growth in size and requirements of the USAF mission at Kandahar, the 451 AEG was enlarged to a wing-level organization, redesignated as the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing (451 AEW) and activated as such on 2 July 2009.[3]


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


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  3. ^ General takes to the sky in Afghanistan


  • Hill, Michael. The 451st Bomb Group in World War II: A Pictorial History. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-76431-287-1.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • 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.

External links


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