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506th Air Expeditionary Group: Wikis


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506th Air Expeditionary Group
Emblem of the 506th Air Expeditionary Group
Active 1944–1945; 1952–1959; 1972–1973; 2003–Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ United States Central Command Air Forces
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1944–1945)
  • Global War on Terrorism
Iraq Campaign (2003–Present)
Liberation of Iraq: March 19, 2003 – May 1, 2003
Transition of Iraq: May 2, 2003 – June 28, 2004
Iraqi Governance: June 29, 2004 – December 15, 2005
National Resolution: December 16, 2005 – Present

The 506th Air Expeditionary Group (506 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit. The group is assigned to the United States Air Forces Central 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, stationed at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The 506 AEG secures the base, conducts safe flight operations and supports the nation builders in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and other US Air Forces Central and US Central Command contingency plans. As a provisional unit, the 506 AEG may be activated or inactivated at any time.

The group's lineage begins in 1944 as the 301st Fighter Group which flew P-51 Mustangs as part of Twentieth Air Force in the Western Pacific. During the Cold War, the unit was a Strategic Air Command fighter-escort unit and later active with Tactical Air Command and the Air Force Reserve as a tactical fighter unit.



Among the base agencies the 506 AEG actively supports are:

  • 52d Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron
  • 521st Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron
  • 521st Base Support Unit
  • 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, Detachment 1
  • 2d Brigade Combat Team (United States Army)
  • 1st Cavalry Division (United States Army)

The 506 AEG is composed of:

  • 506th Expeditionary Medical Services Squadron
  • 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron
  • 506th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron
  • 506th Expeditionary Logistic Readiness Squadron
  • 506th Expeditionary Communications Squadron
  • 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron
  • 506th Expeditionary Services Squadron
  • Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team, or PRT.

Approximately 1,000 active-duty, Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen are assigned to the 506 AEG during any given Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation. Additionally, approximately 5,000 Soldiers are assigned to Forward-Operating Base Warrior.




  • Constituted as 506th Fighter Group on 5 Oct 1944
Activated on 21 Oct 1944
Inactivated on 16 Dec 1945
  • Established as 506th Strategic Fighter Wing on 20 Nov 1952
Activated on 20 Jan 1953 by redesignation of 4004th Air Base Squadron
Redesignated: 506th Fighter-Day Wing on 1 Jul 1957
Redesignated: 506th Fighter-Bomber Wing on 1 Jan 1958
Redesignated: 506th Tactical Fighter Wing on 1 Jul 1958
Inactivated on 1 Apr 1959
  • Redesignated as 506th Tactical Fighter Group on 4 May 1972
Activated in the reserve on 8 Jul 1972
Inactivated on 25 Mar 1973
  • Redesignated 506th Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status on 22 Apr 2003


Attached to 39th Air Division [Defense], 13 Aug-7 Nov 1953
Attached to: 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, 22 Apr 2003


  • 457th Fighter (later Strategic Fighter; Fighter-Day; Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 21 Oct 1944-16 Dec 1945; 20 Jan 1953-1 Apr 1959 (detached 20 Mar–c. 19 Aug 1958)
  • 458th Fighter (later Strategic Fighter; Fighter-Day; Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 21 Oct 1944-16 Dec 1945; 20 Jan 1953-1 Apr 1959 (detached c. 13 Aug 1958—c. 18 Feb 1959)
  • 462d Fighter (later Strategic Fighter; Fighter-Day; Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 21 Oct 1944-16 Dec 1945; 20 Jan 1953-1 Apr 1959.
  • 470th Fighter-Day (later Fighter-Bomber) Squadron, 25 Sep 1957-1 Apr 1959
  • 475th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8 Jul 1972-25 Mar 1973
  • 506th Air Refueling: 25 Sep 1953-1 Mar 1955




World War II

506th fg.gif

The 506th AEG traces its history back to the 506th Fighter Group, Single Engine, which was established on October 5, 1944 and activated on October 21, 1944, at Lakeland Army Air Field/Drane Field, Florida. Flying the P-51 Mustang, the group trained in fighter formation flying, long range navigation and gunnery prior to deploying to Guam in March 1945. The group consisted of three squadrons: 457th, 458th and the 459th Fighter Squadrons.

The 506th served in the Western Pacific from March 1945 to December 1945. The group was assigned to the Twentieth Air Force VII Fighter Command, 301st Fighter Wing.

The group was stationed at North Field, Iwo Jima, from April 25, 1945 to December 3, 1945. From March 23, 1945, to May 11, 1945, the group's air echelon operated from West Field, Tinian. From Tinian the air echelon flew combat patrol missions under the control of Air Defense Command, Saipan, from March 28, 1945 to April 28, 1945. The air echelon joined the ground echelon at Iwo Jima in May 1945.

From Iwo Jima, the 506th's squadrons attacked airfields, antiaircraft emplacements, shipping, barracks, radio and radar stations, railway cars, and other targets in the Bonin Islands and Japan. The group also provided air defense of Iwo Jima and escorted B-29s bombers in raids against Japan.

In December 1945 the group moved to Camp Anza, California, and was inactivated December 16, 1945.

Cold War

506th sfw.gif

The 506th Strategic Fighter Wing was established November 20, 1952, and activated January 20, 1953, at Dow Air Force Base, Maine. It was redesignated three times - 506th Fighter-Day Wing, 506th Fighter-Bomber Wing and 506th Tactical Fighter Wing - between 1957 and 1959.

As a fighter wing, the 506th provided air defense from Dow AFB between 1953 and 1955 and from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, starting in March 1955. The 506th flew the F-84 Thunderjet from 1953 to 1957. From August to November 1953, the 506th provided air defense of northern Japan while deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan. The group started flying the F-100 Super Sabre in 1957. From 1957 to 1958 the 506th participated in tactical exercises and rotated squadrons to Europe. It was inactivated on April 1, 1959.

The 506th was redesignated the 506th Tactical Fighter Group on May 4, 1972 and activated in the Air Force Reserve on July 8, 1972 at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. During that time, the 506th trained in F-105 Thunderchief fighter operations. The group was inactivated on March 25, 1973.

Global War On Terrorism

The 506th was redesignated the 506th Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status on April 22, 2003, and assigned to Kirkuk AB. The group has been supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom ever since.

The 506th Air Expeditionary Group was assigned to Kirkuk Regional Air Base on April 23, 2003, nearly one month after Operation Iraqi Freedom started. At that time, the group flew A-10 Thunderbolts, which flew close air support and focused intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The last A-10 departed the base in the Spring of 2004.


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

  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • 506th Air Expeditionary Group at

External links


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