49th Fighter Wing: Wikis


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49th Fighter Wing
49th Fighter Wing.png
Active November 20, 1940 – present
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Part of Air Combat Command
Garrison/HQ Holloman Air Force Base
Motto TUTOR ET ULTOR - "Protector and Defender"
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg KSMRib.svg
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
  • Army of Occupation (Japan)
  • Korean Service (1950–1951)
  • Vietnam Service (1972)
  • Global War on Terrorism
Iraq Campaign (2003, TBD)
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA w/ V Device
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines).svg PPUC
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea).svg ROK PUC
Brigadier General David Goldfein
Bruce Carlson
William L. Kirk
Lloyd W. Newton
The first F-22 Raptor arrives at Holloman AFB on June 2, 2008

The 49th Fighter Wing (49 FW) is an air combat unit of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 49 FW is part of the Air Combat Command (ACC) Twelfth Air Force.

The 49 FW supports national security objectives with mission-ready F-22A Raptor Stealth Fighters, Air Transportable Medical Clinic and BEAR Base assets; deploys combat-ready and mission-support forces supporting Air Expeditionary Force operations, Global War on Terrorism and peacetime contingencies; the T-38A aircraft; and provides support to over 18,000 personnel to include training pilots in the F-22 Raptor and German Air Force Tornado operations. The wing has a proud history of service in Korea, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and NATO-led Operation Allied Force.



The 49th Operations Group supports national security objectives, as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by utilizing the Air Force's F-22A Stealth Fighter aircraft and in training U.S. Air Force and allied aircrews in F-22A and T-38 transition, instructor and fighter weapons instructor courses. All aircraft use the tail code of HO.

6th Reconnaissance Squadron (6 RS) (MQ-9)
7th Fighter Squadron (7 FS) (F-22A)
8th Fighter Squadron (8 FS) (F-22A)
16th Training Squadron (16 TRS) (MQ-9)
29th Attack Squadron (29 ATKS) (MQ-9)
49th Operations Support Squadron (49 OSS)
  • 49th Maintenance Group (49 MXG)

The 49th Maintenance Group maintains aircraft, propulsion, avionics and accessory systems for the F-22A Raptor. The group also directs all maintenance, qualification, on-the-job and ancillary training for over 1,200 people; manages over $4.3 billion in aircraft and equipment; and supports flying activities, exercises and worldwide taskings as assigned by the war-fighting CINCs and the Secretary of Defense against high-value, heavily defended targets.

49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (49 AMXS)
49th Maintenance Operations Squadron (49 MOS)
49th Maintenance Squadron (49 MXS)
849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (849 AMXS)
  • 49th Mission Support Group (49 MSG)

The 49th Mission Support Group provides a wide spectrum of support services for wing and tenant organizations -- these include military and civilian personnel support, maintenance of facility and utility systems, security police duties, communication capabilities, and family leisure programs for Holloman.

49th Civil Engineering Squadron (49 CES)
49th Communications Squadron (49 CS)
49th Contracting Squadron (49 CONS)
49th Logistics Readiness Squadron (49 LRS)
49th Security Forces Squadron (49 SFS)
49th Force Support Squadron (49 FSS)
  • 49th Material Maintenance Group (49 MMG)

The 49th Materiel Maintenance Group is responsible for the storage, inspection, repair, deployment and accountability of bare base assets belonging to Air Combat Command. The group's 431 authorized personnel encompass 42 Air Force specialties and are responsible for bare base assets worth over $234 million.

  • 49th Medical Group (49 MDG)

The healthcare professionals of the 49th Medical Group are dedicated to providing the best health care possible to the 49th Fighter Wing and its units. The 49th Medical Group provides outpatient services from 0730 to 1630, Monday through Friday, and is closed on weekends, federal holidays, wing down days and Air Combat Command family days.

49th Medical Operations Squadron (49 MDOS)
49th Aeromedical-Dental Squadron (49 ADOS)
49th Medical Support Squadron (49 MDSS)


For additional history and lineage, see 49th Operations Group


  • Established as 49th Fighter Wing on August 10, 1948
Activated on August 18, 1948
Redesignated: 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing on February 1, 1950
Redesignated: 49th Tactical Fighter Wing on July 8, 1958
Redesignated: 49th Fighter Wing on October 1, 1991


Attached to 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 16-31 Mar 1953
  • Japan Air Defense Force, 1 Apr 1953
Attached to: Fifth Air Force, 1 Apr-7 Nov 1953
Attached to: 39th Air Division [Defense], 7 Nov 1953-
Remained attached to 39th Air Division [Defense] to 1 Mar 1955
Attached to: Seventeenth Air Force, 15 Jan-4 Apr 1969
Attached to: Seventeenth Air Force, 14 Sep-7 Oct 1970
Attached to: Thirteenth Air Force, 5 May-2 Oct 1972



  • 49th Fighter (later, 49th Fighter-Bomber; 49th Operations): August 18, 1948 – December 10, 1957 (detached July 9 – November 30, 1950; March 16–31, 1953; November 2, 1953 – April 15, 1957); November 15, 1991 – Present
  • 543d Tactical Support: attached December 1, 1950 – January 26, 1951


  • 76th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons: attached 5 – c. January 25, 1951
  • 753d Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun: attached c. September – c. November 1950
  • 865th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons: attached c. September – c. November 30, 1950


  • 4th Fighter-Interceptor: attached August 10, 1954 – April 15, 1957
  • 7th Fighter-Bomber (later, 7th Tactical Fighter; 7th Fighter): attached July 9 – August 17, 1950 and August 7, 1956 – April 15, 1957; assigned December 10, 1957 – November 15, 1991 (detached September 10 – October 6, 1971; March 2 – April 4, 1973; April 2 – May 3, 1974; October 4 – November 6, 1975; August 23 – September 25, 1976); January 16, 1941 – December 10, 1957; November 15, 1991 – Present
  • 8th Fighter-Bomber (later, 8th Tactical Fighter; 8th Fighter): attached April 15 – October 15, 1957; assigned December 10, 1957 – November 15, 1991 (detached c. September 12 – c. October 11, 1970; September 10 – October 6, 1971; March 3 – April 5, 1973; September 5 – October 6, 1975; September 21 – October 20, 1976; August 22 – September 22, 1977; September 10 – November 15, 1991); January 16, 1941 – December 10, 1957; November 15, 1991 – Present
  • 9th Fighter-Bomber (later, 9th Tactical Fighter; 9th Fighter): attached August 17 – c. September 6, 1950 and April 15 – December 9, 1957, assigned December 10, 1957 – November 15, 1991 (detached c. September 12 – c. October 11, 1970; September 9 – October 7, 1971; February 4 – March 15, 1973; September 6 – October 7, 1975; September 22 – October 21, 1977; September 10 – October 10, 1977; June 20 – November 15, 1991); January 16, 1941 – December 10, 1957; November 15, 1991 – Present
  • 20th Fighter: July 1, 1993 – December 20, 2004.
  • 39th Fighter-Interceptor: attached July 14–20, 1954
  • 45th Tactical Reconnaissance: attached December 27, 1950 – February 24, 1951
  • 48th Rescue: May 1, 1993 – February 1, 1999
  • 334th Fighter-Interceptor: attached February 24 – March 1, 1951
  • 336th Fighter-Interceptor (later, 336th Fighter-Bomber; 336th Fighter-Day): attached November 18, 1954 – August 6, 1956
  • 339th Fighter-Interceptor: attached July 20 – November 18, 1954
  • 356th Tactical Fighter: attached October 12 – November 9, 1959
  • 415th Fighter: July 8, 1992 – July 1, 1993
  • 416th Fighter: July 8, 1992 – July 1, 1993
  • 417th Tactical Fighter: November 15, 1970 – April 30, 1977 (detached September 9 – October 2, 1971; February 3 – March 14, 1973; March 5 – April 5, 1974; October 3 – November 5, 1975; August 24 – September 26, 1976); November 15, 1991 – July 8, 1992
  • 421st Air Refueling: February 15, 1954 – October 1, 1957 (detached)
  • 434th Tactical Fighter: attached August 12 – October 6, 1972
  • 435th Fighter: May 12, 1993 – April 1, 1997.
  • 465th Tactical Fighter Training: August 1, 1973 – January 1, 1977
  • 4449th Tactical Fighter: July 12 – October 10, 1972


  • Battery A, 76th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion: attached January 1–25, 1951
  • Battery A, 933d AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion: attached December 18, 1950 – January 5, 1951



Operated from Chalons-Vatry AB, France, September 1 – November 30, 1958
Deployed at Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, May 4 – October 3, 1972

Aircraft operated


Established as 49th Fighter Wing on 10 Aug 1948. Activated on 18 Aug 1948 in Japan. Equipped with Lockheed F-80 Shooting Stars. In February 1950, the unit was redesignated as the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing.

Korean War

Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star serial 49-689 of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group at Taegu AB (K-9) South Korea, 1950
F-84G-25-RE Thunderjet serial 52-3249 of the 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron being refuled over Korea, 1953

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing was one of the first USAF units dispatched to Korea from Japan, its tactical squadrons began operations with P-51D Mustangs. Initially under its parent wing, the 49th was reassigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing during July through September, and finally the 6149th Tactical Support Wing during October and November 1950. Korean War squadrons of the 49th were the 7th, 8th and 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons.

The 49th's first task in South Korea was to cover the evacuation of civilians from Kimpo and Suwon. Next, it flew close air support missions to help slow the advancing North Korean armies. Later, it turned to the interdiction of enemy troops, supplies and communications.

Phasing out its F-51s for Lockheed F-80C Shooting Stars jets, the 49th FBW moved to Taegu AB (K-9) on October 1, 1950, becoming the first jet fighter outfit to operate from bases in South Korea. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its combat operations during the first five months of the war.

When the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) Intervention Campaign gained momentum in 1950–1951, the group again concentrated on ground support missions. It converted to Republic F-84G Thunderjets, June–September 1951, one squadron at a time, while the others continued combat operations. The 49th FBG earned another DUC for its contribution to the success of the 1st UN Counteroffensive Campaign (1951). Afterwards, it engaged primarily in air interdiction operations against the main enemy channel of transportation, the roads and railroads between Pyongyang and Sinuiju. Also, it flew close air support missions for the ground forces and attacked high value targets, including the Sui-ho hydroelectric plants in June 1952 and the Kumgang Political School in October 1952.

On July 27, 1953, the 49th FBG joined the 58th FBG to bomb Sunan Airfield for the final action of F-84 fighter-bombers during the Korean War. The unit was one of the most decorated Air Force units in the Korean conflict, having earned two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit citations and another eight battle honors. Such accomplishments earned the wing a niche in United States Air Force history.

The wing remained in Korea for a time after the armistice. It was reassigned to Misawa AB, Japan on November 2, 1953 and provided air defense for Japan through 1957.

United States Air Forces in Europe

On April 15, 1957 the detached 49 Fighter-Bomber Group became a paper unit, and the wing assumed the fighter-bomber mission the group had been performing, continuing it to September 15, 1957, when the wing prepared to move to Europe. Worldwide DOD Budget restrictions during FY 1958 affected PACAF as well as USAFE and the 49th FBW based in Japan had to be retired.

The 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing was reassigned to Etain-Rouvres Air Base, France where it absorbed the assets of the former host unit, the 388th FBW. As the 388th was originally formed in December 1942, and the 49th was formed in November 1940, the older wing's heritage was preserved by transferring its lineage to Etain.

North American F-100D-40-NH Super Sabre Serial 55-2760 assigned to the 8th TFS/49th TFW
Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief Serial 63-8311 of the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing. During the Vietnam War, this aircraft was modified to the F-105G "Wild Weasel" configuration.

The transfer was a strict designation change with no personnel, equipment or aircraft being transferred. All 388th FBW wing units, personnel, equipment and aircraft were redesignated to the 49th FBW and the mission of the 49th FBW was exactly the same as the 388th's. The fighter squadrons were redesignated the 7th, 8th and 9th Fighter-bomber Squadrons.

The stay of the 49th in France was short, as in 1957, the French Government decreed that all nuclear weapons and delivery aircraft had to be removed from French soil by July 1958. As a result, the F-100's of the 49th TFW had to be removed from France.

On July 8, 1958 the name of the wing was changed to the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing as a result of an Air Force wide redesignation. Its squadrons were renamed Tactical Fighter Squadrons. On August 25, 1959, the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing relocated to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and assumed host unit duties, replacing the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing which was moved to RAF Alconbury England. Tactical Fighger Squadrons of the 49th TFW at Spangdahlem were the 7th, 8th and 9th.

The 49 TFW flew F-100s until 1961 when it converted to the Republic F-105D/F Thunderchief, commonly known as the "Thud". The 49th TFW was only the third USAF unit to operate the F-105.

The 49th received two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for F-105 operations at Spangdahlem. On March 9, 1967, the Wing began receiving the McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II.

The 49 TFW remained at Spangdahlem AB until July 1, 1968 when it relocated to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to serve as the US Air Force’s first dual-based, NATO-committed wing.

Holloman Air Force Base

On July 1, 1968, the 49th arrived at Holloman Air Force Base, becoming the first dual-based tactical fighter wing. Under the dual-basing concept, the 49th, stationed at Holloman, deployed individual squadrons periodically to Europe, fulfilling their NATO commitment. At Holloman, the wing continued participation in tactical exercises and firepower demonstrations to maintain combat readiness. It had base host responsibility January 1, 1971 – August 1, 1977 and November 15, 1991 to the present. In the autumn of 1971 the wing's four tactical squadrons deployed in Europe.

In 1969, the wing participated in its first dual-basing exercise, Crested Cap I, deploying 2,000 personnel and 72 aircraft to NATO bases in Europe. Also in 1972, the 49th earned the coveted MacKay Trophy for the "most meritorious flight of the year," for the redeployment from Germany to Holloman after Crested Cap II. The MacKay Trophy recognized the 49th for the fastest non-stop deployment of jet aircraft accomplished by a wing's entire fleet.

Operation Linebacker

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-41-MC Phantom II Serial 68-0531 of the 49th FW. This aircraft was brought out of AMARC storage in 1997 as part of the USAF 50th Anniversary and repainted in a Southeast Asia camoflauge motif. It was later used by the 20th FS as part of the German Air Force Tactical Training Center. Today this aircraft is maintained in flyable condition as part of Air Combat Command's Heritage Flight.
McDonnell Douglas F-15A-19-MC Eagle Serial 77-0115 of the 8th Fighter Squadron. After the end of its active service, this aircraft was transferred to the 101st Fighter Squadron of the Massachusetts Air National Guard based at Otis ANGB.

On May 4, 1972, after North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, the entire wing, except for a rear echelon that remained to run Holloman, deployed at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The wing conducted combat operations in Southeast Asia from May 11 – September 27, 1972, to help blunt a strong North Vietnamese offensive. The 49th flew combat sorties in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from July 1 – September 24, 1972 during Operation Linebacker, the bombardment campaign in North Vietnam. During this deployment, Operation Constant Guard, the 49th flew more than 21,000 combat hours over just about every battle zone from An Loc to vital installations in the Hanoi vicinity. During five months of combat, the wing did not lose any aircraft or personnel—a testament to the outstanding training and proficiency of all members of the 49th. The unit officially closed out its Southwest Asia duty October 6, 1972, receiving an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device for its participation.

Post-Vietnam Era

The wing returned to Holloman Air Force Base in early October 1972, and continued rotating tactical components to Europe to support NATO through September 1977. It also provided USAF fighter lead-in training from February 1974 – December 1976.

In October 1977, the wing ceased its "dual-base" commitment to NATO and changed to an air superiority mission with the wing beginning a conversion from the F-4 to the F-15. The transition was completed June 4, 1978. Training was refocused on dissimilar air combat tactics for multi-theater operations.

History was made during February 1980, when two pilots from the 49th each flew their F-15s, 6,200 miles (10,000 km) in just over 14 hours, establishing a record for the longest flight of a single-seat fighter aircraft. The flights required six aerial refuelings, proving the global power of the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing.

In July 1980, the wing acquired the commitment of a primary Rapid Deployment Force unit. This tasking, which lasted for a year, required the wing to be ready to deploy its aircraft, crews, and support personnel on short notice. The wing served with the Rapid Deployment Force until July 1981, when the tasking was transferred to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

The 49th won the 1988 William Tell air-to-air meet. The wing outdistanced the nearest competitor by more than 2,000 points. The 49th won a variety of awards, including the coveted "Top Gun" for best fighter pilot.

It deployed aircraft and personnel to Southwest Asia to fly combat air patrol for coalition operations from June 20 – December 19, 1991.

In 1992, the 49th underwent a number of transitions. The last F-15 departed Holloman June 5, 1992, ending 14 years of Eagle operations. On May 9, 1992, four F-117 stealth fighters from Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, arrived at Holloman taking over for the 37th Fighter Wing the 49th served as the only stealth fighter wing in the world. Also, F-4s returned to Holloman, as part of the 9th Fighter Squadron, in May 1992

After conversion to the F-117 in May 1992, It deployed fighters and their crews to Southwest Asia during the 1990s to support United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq, to enforce the no-fly zone over the southern part of that country, and for shows of force.

Post-Cold War

German Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4F-54-MC Phantom Serial 72-1164 flown by the 20th Fighter Squadron in USAF markings. Today this aircraft is flown by Jagdgeschwader 74 at Neuburg Air Base in Germany
Lockheed F-117A of the 49th FW

The 48th Rescue Squadron served at Holloman AFB from May 1, 1993 – February 1, 1999. With its six HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, the personnel of the 48th deployed six times in support of Operations Northern and Southern Watch. Additionally, during its six years of service, the 48th saved 33 lives in real-world rescues in the American Southwest.

Using helicopters, the wing also performed a search and rescue mission from May 1993 to February 1999. It provided early flight training for Second Lieutenant Jeannie M. Flynn, who eventually became the first woman USAF combat fighter pilot. The 49th also trained Taiwan Air Force fighter pilots in AT-38 aircraft from 1993–1997, and German Air Force fighter pilots in F-4 aircraft from 1992 to the present.

In early 1999, the wing deployed F-117 and their crews to Aviano Air Base, Italy and Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany from February 21 – July 1, 1999, in support of Operation Allied Force. Flying more than 1,000 total sorties, pilots flew into heavily defended skies, littered with surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft fire. In particular, F-117A pilots bravely trusting in their aircraft's low observable technology struck some of the most valuable and highly guarded targets in Serbia. The F-117s successfully penetrated the heavily defended areas, which conventional aircraft could not reach.

People, airplanes, and equipment of the 49th Fighter Wing played a key role in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The wing's F-117s played a major role, dropping the first bombs against an Iraqi leadership target in Baghdad on March 19, 2003. In all, F-117 pilots flew more than 80 missions and dropped nearly 100 enhanced guided bomb units against key targets. Approximately 300 people deployed with the air package and provided direct support to the F-117 mission. Additionally, hundreds of other 49ers such as explosive ordinance disposal teams of the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron served on the frontline of the war against Iraq providing freedom for the people of Iraq and security for the people of the world.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Early in 2003, stealth fighters and crews of the wing deployed to Southwest Asia. The 49th dropped the initial bombs of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and continued to support combat operations there until the country was occupied.

The 49th continued to demonstrated its versatility, when on September 3, 2005, the wing answered a humanitarian call from the gulf coast area of the United States. Responding to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the wing deployed fifty-nine Airmen from the 49th Materiel Maintenance Group as part of Joint Task Force Katrina. The BEAR Base team sent 120 short tons of cargo and built a tent city and housekeeping facilities for workers providing Hurricane Katrina relief operations.

Today, the 49th Fighter Wing continues to serve at the forefront of military operations, with its F-22 Raptor.


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

  • McAuliffe, Jerome J. US Air Force in France 1950-1967. San Diego, California: Milspec Press, Chapter 11, Etain-Rouvres Air Base, 2005. ISBN 0-9770371-1-8.
  • Martin, Patrick. Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History, 1994. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947-1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-91279-912-9.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

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