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86th Operations Group
86 OG.jpg
Emblem of the 86th Operations Group
Active 1942–1958; 1975–1985; 1991–Present
Country United States United States
Branch Flag of the United States Air Force.png Air Force
Type Airlift
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe
Garrison/HQ Ramstein Air Base
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg Army of Occupation ribbon.svg AFEMRib.svg
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign (1943–1945)
  • Army of Occupation
Germany (1946–1949)
  • Expeditionary Service
Operation Northern Watch
Operation Support Hope
Operation Unified Assistance
  • Global War on Terrorism
Afghanistan Service (Dates TBD)
Iraqi Service (Dates TBD)
C-130s of the 86th OG on the ramp at Ramstein AB
C-130 of the 86th OG Flying over the Normandy beachhead
A C-130E Hercules from the 86 OG delivers U.S. Air Force and Bulgarian Special Forces paratroopers to a drop zone near Bezmer Aviation Base, Bulgaria, during Exercise Thracian Spring 2008.

The 86th Operations Group (86 OG) is the flying operational component of the 86th Airlift Wing. The group is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The mission of the 86 OG (Tail Code: RS) is to conduct airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation as well as VIP transport operations flying the C-21, C-20H, C-37, C-40B and C-130E/J aircraft.



The group provides theater airlift, distinguished visitor transport and aeromedical evacuation capability by maintaining readiness to deploy and employ all assets across the spectrum of air combat support missions. The fleet consists of one C-40B, two C-20H's, 10 C-21A's, one C-37 and 17 C-130E's, and one C-37 based at Chievres Air Base, Belgium.

The group also leads operations at two geographically separated airfields, Moron AB, Spain, and Chievres AB, Belgium.

Assigned Units

Stationed at: Chièvres Air Base, Belgium
  • 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
  • 86th Operational Support Squadron
  • 496th Air Base Squadron
Stationed at: Morón Air Base, Spain




  • Established as 86th Bombardment Group (Light) on 13 Jan 1942
Activated on 10 Feb 1942
Redesignated: 86th Bombardment Group (Dive) on 3 Sep 1942
Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Bomber Group on 23 Aug 1943
Redesignated: 86th Fighter Group on 30 May 1944
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946
  • Activated on 20 Aug 1946
Redesignated: 86th Composite Group on 15 May 1947
Redesignated: 86th Fighter Group on 25 Jan 1948*
Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Bomber Group on 20 Jan 1950
Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Interceptor Group on 9 Aug 1954
Inactivated on 8 Mar 1958
  • Redesignated 86th Tactical Fighter Group on 11 Sep 1975
Activated on 22 Sep 1975
Inactivated on 14 Jun 1985
  • Redesignated 86th Operations Group, and activated, on 1 May 1991.

* Note: Became subordinate unit of 86th Fighter Wing 1 Jul 1948


Attached to 23d Provisional Training Wing, c. Sep 1942-c. Mar 1943
  • Northwest African Training Command, c. 11 May 1943
  • Northwest African Tactical Air Force, c. 29 Jun 1943
  • 64th Fighter Wing, Jul 1943
  • XII Air Support (later, XII Tactical Air) Command, c. Nov 1943
  • 87th Fighter Wing, 9 Sep 1944
  • XII Fighter (later, XXII Tactical Air) Command, 15 Sep 1944
  • XII Tactical Air Command, 20 Feb 1945
Attached to 64th Fighter Wing, 21 Feb 1945-unkn
  • I Tactical Air Force (Provisional), c. 30 Apr 1945
Attached to XII Tactical Air Command, c. 30 Apr – 19 Jun 1945



Deployed at Munich-Riem AB, Germany, Jul-7 Aug 1948
Deployed at Giebelstadt AB, Germany (Later West Germany), 20 May – 3 Aug 1951


  • B-26 Invader, 1947–1948
  • F-6, 1947–1948
  • B-26 Invader, 1947
  • F-84, 1950–1953
  • F-86, 1953–1954, 1955–1956
  • F-4, 1975–1985
  • F-16, 1991–1994
  • C-135, 1992
  • C-12, 1992–1994
  • C-20, 1992–Present
  • C-21, 1992–Present
  • CT-43, 1992–1996
  • UH-1, 1992–1993
  • C-9, 1993–Present
  • C-130, 1994–Present
  • C-37, 2000–Present

Operational History

World War II

86th FG A-36A Mustang being serviced in Italy, 1944
F-47D's of the 526th Fighter Squadron at Neubiberg Air Base
Republic F-84E-5-RE Thunderjet AF Serial No. 49-2133 of the 527th Fighter-Bomber Squadron at Neubiberg Air Base, West Germany.
North American F-86F-25-NH Sabre AF Serial No. 51-13194 of the 527th Fighter-Bomber Squadron - 1954
North American F-86D-35-NA Sabre AF Serial No. 51-6165 of the 526th Fighter-Inteceptor Squadron
McDonnell Douglas F-4E-41-MC Phantom AF Serial No. 68-0527, 527th TFS
86 OG General Dynamics F-16C Block 30F Fighting Falcon AF Serial No. 87-0242

Activated on February 10, 1942, the 86th Fighter Group at Will Rogers Field, near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, trained in the United States for several months until moving to North Africa in September 1942, being assigned to the Twelfth Air Force Northwest African Training Command, at La Senia, Algeria in early May 1943.

In the Western Desert Campaign, the 86th flew A-36 Mustangs, P-40 Warhawks and later P-47 Thunderbolts engaging primarily in close support of ground forces, beginning in early July against German positions in Tunisia. Later that month, the group moved to Sicily, where it attacked German forces retreating across the island and evacuating to the southern coast of the Italian mainland.

The 86th provided air support for Allied landings at Salerno in September 1943 and later that month moved from Sicily to the beachhead area. During the winter of 1943–1944, the group supported advancing Allied forces in Italy by attacking enemy lines of communication, troop concentrations, and supply areas. It also attacked rail and road targets and strafed German troop and supply columns during late spring, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation (DCU) for outstanding action against the enemy on May 25.

In July, 1944 the group moved to the island of Corsica, from which it attacked enemy-held road and rail networks in northern Italy. It supported the Allied invasion of southern France in August, the 86th escorted bombers attacking coastal defenses. In September the group moved back to Italy and began attacking transportation lines in the Po Valley. In February 1945, the group moved into southeast France and began attacking enemy targets such as rail lines, roads, supply dumps, and airdromes in southern Germany. The group again moved, this time to Germany, in April. It earned a second DUC for concentrated attacks on enemy transportation targets on April 20. By May 8, the group had flown a total of 3,645 combat missions.

Cold War

Just after the war, the group performed occupation duty at Braunschardt and Schweinfurt Germany as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). It moved without personnel or equipment to Bolling Field in Washington, DC, in February, 1946, where it inactivated at the end of March.

The 86th Fighter Group was reactivated in Germany on August 20, 1946, being assigned to USAFE and being stationed at Nordholz Air Base, near Bremerhaven.

At the dawn of the Cold War, USAFE strength was low both in quantity and quality. The wartime F-47s of the 86th Fighter Group was pressed into service, flying patrols along the American and British side of the Soviet occupation zone border as a deterrent to Soviet fighters intruding on western airspace.

On September 28, 1950, the 27th Fighter-Escort Wing flew en-masse Republic F-84E Thunderjets across the Atlantic to West Germany. The F-84s replaced the F-47s of the 86th and helped USAFE modernize its arsenal. With the arrival of the jets, the unit was redesignated as the 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing. The 86th was one of two active USAF fighter units in Germany (the other being the 36th FG) during the immediate postwar years. Over the next several years, the 86th underwent several redesignations and several station assignments in occupied Germany. In June 1948, the 86th Fighter Wing was stationed at Neubiberg Air Base, near Munich when tensions with the Soviet Union culminated in the Berlin Blockade.

The F-84s of the 86th FBW had elaborate red-and-white checkerboard patterns covering all tail surfaces, with checkerboard patterns on the outer halves of the tip tanks and intakes. In the fall of 1952, the USAFE Skyblazer acrobatic team was assigned to the 86th FBW. The last demonstration flight was made in July 1953.

With the arrival of the jet age in Europe, USAFE wanted to move its units west of the Rhine River, as its bases in the Munich area were just a few minutes flying time from Soviet Mig-15 bases in Czechoslovakia. In late 1952, enough construction was completed at Landstuhl and the 86th Fighter-Bomber Group was reassigned to the new base.

The mission of the 86th during the 1950s was the air defense of West Germany and to provide USAFE a deterrent against Soviet aggression in Europe. During the Korean War, the USAF found the first generation F-84 Thunderstreak to be inadequate against Soviet MiG-15s. In August 1953, the 86th FBW was re-equipped with the North American F-86F Sabre, which in Korea had swept the skies of the MiG threat. The 527th FIS became a Fighter-Day squadron in October 1954, and was inactivated on February 8, 1956. Personnel and aircraft were assigned to the newly-formed 461st FDS at Hahn Air Base in May

The group was not operational from 22 May 1954 to 8 Oct 1955 and 10 Aug 1956 to 8 Mar 1958, when it inactivated.

Between September 1975 and June 1985, the 86th Tactical Fighter Group trained and provided tactical air capability in Europe for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Modern era

On 1 May 1991, the 86th Operations Group was activated as a result of the 86th Fighter Wing implementing the USAF objective wing organization. Upon activation, the 86 OG was bestowed the lineage and history of the 86th Fighter Group. The 86 OG was assigned control of the wing's tactical units.

After activation again in Germany in May 1991, flew fighter missions to enforce no-fly zones in northern Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the 86th was realigned to become an Airlift Wing. On 1 June 1992, the 86 OG added an airlift mission and began performing special airlift missions with C–12, C–20, C–21, CT–43 and C–135 aircraft.

By 1994, the tactical fighters of the 86 OG began to be transferred to other USAFE bases. On July 1, the 526th FS deactivated and its aircraft and personnel moved to Aviano Air Base, Italy to form the 555th FS. The 512th FS was deactivated on October 1, with its aircraft and personnel also being moved to Aviano, being assigned to the 510th FS.

In October 2000, the 75th AS provided airlift in support of evacuation operations of U.S. Navy sailors injured as a result of the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen. The mission to Yemen and Djibouti brought 28 sailors to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

In 2006, the 86 OG acquired a sole C-40B previously operated by the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, MD to replace the C-9A Nightingale which was retired in 2005. The C-9A, AF Serial No. 71-0876, was used to ferry the USAFE Commander to other areas in the European theater, and was not set up for medevac purposes. It was the last C-9A in service with USAF. The aircraft left Ramstein on September 20, 2005 and is now on display at Andrews AFB, MD. The C-40B, AF Serial No. 01-0040, (the USAF version of the Boeing 737-700 BBJ) is configured as an airborne command post.

Today, the 86 OG provides theater airlift, distinguished visitor transport and aeromedical evacuation capability by maintaining readiness to deploy and employ all assets across the spectrum of air combat support missions. The fleet consists of one C-40B, two C-20H's, 10 C-21A's, one C-37 and 17 C-130E's, and one C-37 based at Chievres.

The group also leads operations at two geographically separated airfields, Moron AB, Spain, and Chievres AB, Belgium.


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

  • 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.
  • Donald, David. Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War. AIRtime, 2004. ISBN 1-88058-868-4.
  • Luce, Steve. 86th Fighter Group in WWII. Hamilton, Montana: Eagle Editions Ltd., 2007. ISBN 978-0-9721060-8-5.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Martin, Patrick. Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Publishing, 1994. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
  • Menard, David W. Before Centuries: USAFE Fighters, 1948–1959. Howell Press, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-57427-079-6.
  • 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.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links


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