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486th Air Expeditionary Wing: Wikis


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486th Air Expeditionary Wing
486th Air Expeditionary Wing.PNG
486th Air Expeditionary Wing emblem
Active 1943-1945; 1956-1962; 1987-1988; 2003
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force

The 486th Air Expeditionary Wing (486 AEW) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command. As a provisional unit, it may be activated or inactivated at any time.

The unit was last known to be active during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003

During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was a Eighth Air Force heavy bombardment unit in England, stationed at RAF Sudbury. The group operated chiefly against strategic objectives in Germany until May 1945, flying 188 missions and losing 33 aircraft.





  • Established as 486 Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943
Activated on 20 Sep 1943
Redesignated 486 Bombardment Group, Heavy on 25 Jan 1944
Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945
  • Consolidated (10 Oct 1984) with the 586 Tactical Missile Group, which was established on 3 Aug 1956
Activated on 15 Sep 1956
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 Sep 1962
  • Consolidated establishment redesignated 486 Tactical Missile Wing on 10 Oct 1984
Activated on 27 Aug 1987
Inactivated on 30 Sep 1988
Redesignated 486 Air Expeditionary Wing, and converted to provisional status, on 30 Jan 2003


Attached to: 4th Combat Bombardment Wing (Provisional), 15 Nov 1944-c. Feb 1945


  • 69 Tactical Missile: 15 Sep 1956-18 Jun 1958
  • 405 Tactical Missile: 18 Jun 1958-25 Sep 1962; 27 Aug 1987-30 Sep 1988
  • 832 Bombardment: 20 Sep 1943-7 Nov 1945
  • 833 Bombardment: 20 Sep 1943-7 Nov 1945
  • 834 Bombardment: 20 Sep 1943-7 Nov 1945
  • 835 Bombardment: 20 Sep 1943-7 Nov 1945


Aircraft and missiles


World War II

B-24s (Square-O) of the 486th Bomb Group. Identifiable is Ford B-24M-5-FO Liberator Serial 44-50561 of the 833d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft survived the war and was sent to RFC Walnut Ridge Arizona on 3 January 1946 for scrapping.
B-17s (Square-W) of the 486th Bomb Group. Identifiable is Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-15-DL Fortress Serial 42-37891 of the 833d Bomb Squadron.

Constituted as 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943 and activated on 20 Sep. Moved to England in Mar 1944 and assigned to Eighth AF.

The 486th was assigned to the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code initially was a "Square-O". When the group converted from B-24s to B-17s during the summer of 1944, the Group ID was changed to "Square-W", perhaps to avoid confusion with the Square-D on B-17s of the 100th Bomb Group. The 486th was the only group to change its ID.

The group flew both the B-24 Liberator and the B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and operated chiefly against strategic objectives in Germany until May 1945. Targets included marshalling yards in Stuttgart, Cologne, and Mainz; airfields in Kassel and Münster; oil refineries and storage plants in Merseburg, Dollbergen, and Hamburg; harbours in Bremen and Kiel; and factories in Mannheim and Weimar.

Other missions included bombing airfields, gun positions, V-weapon sites (total of nine "No Ball" missions beginning June 20),[1] and railway bridges in France in preparation for or in support of the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; striking road junctions and troop concentrations in support of ground forces pushing across France, Jul-Aug 1944; hitting gun emplacements near Arnheim to minimize transport and glider losses during the airborne invasion of Holland in September 1944; and bombing enemy installations in support of ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945) and the assault across the Rhine (Mar-Apr 1945).

The 468th Bomb Group returned to the Drew AAF Florida during August 1945 and was deactivated on 7 November.

Cold War

The Tactical Missile Group activated in Sep 1956 at Hahn AB, Germany, assuming most of the personnel of the 69th Tactical Missile Squadron. Equipped with TM-61 Matador missiles, the group trained and remained prepared for tactical missile operations. Beginning in early 1960, the group converted to TM-76 Mace missiles. The group inactivated at Hahn on 25 Sep 1962

The 486th Tactical Missile Wing was the final GLCM (Ground Launch Cruise Missile) wing to activate in Europe and the first to inactivate following the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Wing did not receive any missiles before beginning to phase down in Jan 1988.

Global War On Terrorism

The 486th Air Expeditionary Wing was activated as part of the GWOT. It was most recently located at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait.


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

  1. ^ Albanese, John Doodlebugs and Rockets (V-1 and V-2)"[1]

External links


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