96th Air Base Wing: Wikis

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96th Air Base Wing
96th Air Base Wing.png
96th Air Base Wing emblem
Active 19xx-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ Eglin AFB, Florida
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Commanders
Notable
commanders
George Lee Butler

The 96th Air Base Wing (96 ABW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Air Armament Center. It is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The wing is also the host unit at Eglin.

The 96 ABW supports the Air Armament Center and associate units with traditional military services as well as all the services of a small city, to include civil engineering, personnel, logistics, communications, computer, medical, security, and all other host services.

The wing has a long and distinguished history, being the successor organization to the World War II Eighth Air Force 93d Bombardment Group. A B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England, stationed primarily at RAF Snetterton Heath, the group was the first double-strength group in Eighth Air Force, and led the first shuttle mission to Regensburg on 17 August 1943. Active for over 60 years, the 96th Bombardment Wing was a component organization of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War, as a strategic bombardment wing.

The 96th Air Base Wing is commanded by Colonel Bruce H. McClintock. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Thomas S. Westermeyer.

Contents

Mission

Critical to the success of Eglin's mission, the 96th Air Base Wing provides a myriad of base operating support functions. Its people are responsible for material resources, mobility requirements, and meeting the needs of Eglin personnel. The 96th Air Base Wing is composed of more than 5,000 professionals in five organizations.

Units

  • 96th Civil Engineer Group
Provides engineering forces to support global aerospace forces in peace and war. It operates, maintains, and protects the physical plant, infrastructure, facilities and systems, housing, and the environment, and maintains the largest base in the U.S. Air Force - 11,600,000 square feet (1,080,000 m2) of physical plant spanning 724 square miles (1,880 km2) and 3,450 facilities.
  • 96th Communications Group
Provides fixed and rapid, worldwide deployable communications and information services supporting warfighters at the Air Force's largest military installation. It manages a $3.3 million budget in support of a 20,000 person military community consisting of the Air Armament Center, 53rd Wing, 33rd Fighter Wing, 46th Test Wing, 96th Air Base Wing, 919th Special Operations Wing and numerous associate units.
  • 96th Mission Support Group
Provides Aerospace Expeditionary Force readiness, fuels, supply, and transportation, ground combat training, security, personnel, education, family services, lodging, food service, recreation and logistics planning and deployment support to over 20,000 Team Eglin military and civilian personnel and 43,000 retirees. It deploys combat ready forces in support of worldwide contingency operations.
  • 96th Medical Group
Ensures optimal health for all of Team Eglin. It manages and provides comprehensive, cost-effective health care for 83,000 eligible beneficiaries. It operates a community-based teaching hospital with graduate level programs in family practice, general dentistry and other medical disciplines. It deploys and expands to provide responsive health services in any contingency.

History

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Lineage

  • Established as 96th Bombardment Group, Heavy, on January 28, 1942.
    • Activated on July 15, 1942.
    • Inactivated on December 21, 1945.
  • Redesignated 96th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on May 13, 1947.
    • Activated in the Reserve on May 29, 1947.
    • Inactivated on June 27, 1949.
  • Redesignated 96th Bombardment Wing, Medium, on November 6, 1953.
    • Activated on November 18, 1953.
    • Redesignated 96th Strategic Aerospace Wing, on April 1, 1962
    • Redesignated 96th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on March 31, 1972
    • Redesignated 96th Wing, on September 1, 1991
    • Inactivated October 1, 1993
  • Activated and redesignated 96th Air Base Wing, on March 15, 1994

Stations Assigned

Major Weapons Systems

Operational History

World War II

Douglas-Long Beach B-17F-25-DL Fortress AAF Serial No. 42-3123 of the 95th Bomb Group at unfinished Andrews Field, 1943, Later transferred to the 381st Bomb Group at RAF Ridgewell, this aircraft crashed near Fladderlohhausen, 10-mile (16 km) SE of Quakenbruck near Bremen Germany October 8, 1943. Ten crew KIA. MACR 1396
Lockheed/Vega B-17F-50-VE Fortress AAF Serial No. 42-6153. This aircraft survived the war and was sent to RFC Kingman October 30, 1945.
Lockheed/Vega B-17G-20-VE Fortress of the 413th Bomb Squadron. AAF Serial No. 42-97627 is in foreground
Boeing B-17G-70-BO Fortress AAF Serial No. 43-37683 of the 339th Bomb Squadron.

Constituted as 96th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on January 28, 1942. Activated on July 15, 1942. Trained with B-17's and also served as an operational training unit. Moved to RAF Grafton Underwood England, April–May 1943, for duty with Eighth Air Force. The group was assigned to the 45th Combat Bombardment Wing of the 3d Bombardment Division. Its tail code was Square-C. The group consisted of the following squadrons:

  • 337th Bombardment (AX)
  • 338th Bombardment (BX)
  • 339th Bombardment (QJ)
  • 413th Bombardment (MJ)

This group commenced combat operations on May 14 but, as it was assigned to the 45th Wing with a general base area in north Essex, the 96th moved east at the end of May to RAF Andrews Field. The 96th appears to have only carried out one mission while based at Andrews Field. On May 29, 1943 they took part in a raid on Rennes naval storage depot from which one B-17 failed to return. The group was moved to RAF Snetterton Heath on June 12, 1943 in a general exchange of bases with B-26 Marauder groups.

As the most conveniently reached station from 3rd Division Headquarters at Elveden Hall, Snetterton Heath units often led to major operations carrying commanding generals. General Curtis LeMay led the famous Regensburg shuttle mission to North Africa flying out of this base, and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for withstanding severe assaults by enemy fighters. The 96th also led the 3rd Division on the famous Schweinfurt mission of October 14, 1943.

In addition the 93d attacked shipyards, harbours, railway yards, aerodromes, oil refineries, aircraft factories, and other industrial targets in Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

The 96th received another DUC for leading the 45th Bomb Wing a great distance through heavy clouds and intense anti-aircraft fire to raid important aircraft component factories in Poland on April 9, 1944. Other significant targets included airfields at Bordeaux and Augsburg; marshalling yards at Kiel, Hamm, Brunswick, and Gdynia; aircraft factories at Chemnitz, Hanover, and Diósgyőr; oil refineries at Merseburg and Brux, and chemical works in Wiesbaden, Ludwigshafen, and Neunkirchen.

In addition to strategic operations, missions of the 96th BG included bombing coastal defences, railway bridges, gun emplacements, and field batteries in the battle area prior to and during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; attacking enemy positions in support of the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July 1944; aiding the campaign in France in August by striking roads and road junctions, and by dropping supplies to the Maquis; and attacking, during the early months of 1945, the communications supplying German armies on the western front.

After V-E Day, the group was scheduled for occupation duties in Germany however plans were revised and the 96th BG flew food to Holland and hauled redeployed personnel to French Morocco, Ireland, France, and Germany. In November 1945 its aircraft were flown back to the United States, and its squadrons were inactivated. The ground personnel left Snetterton Heath in early December, arriving at Camp Kilmer New Jersey.

The 96th Bomb Group was inactivated on December 20, 1945.

Cold War

The 96th Bomb Group was activated in the Reserves on May 29, 1947 at Gunter AFB, Alabama. Conducted routine training activities. Inactivated on July 27, 1949.

Established again on November 6, 1953 at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, as the '96th Bombardment Wing, Medium. It was activated November 8. Wing headquarters and most of the wing components were not manned until March 1954; those components manned were controlled by the 96th Air Base Group, whose commander served additional duty as the 96th's wing commander.[1] The wing soon received KC-97 Stratotankers and began air refueling operations in March 1954. The tankers were soon followed by the new B-47 Stratojets and the 96th began bombardment training in April 1955 in support of SAC's global commitments. Deployed to Andersen AFB Guam, January–April 1957. Upon activation, the Wing was bestowed the lineage, legacy and honors of the USAAF World War II 96th Bomb Group.

Transferred to Dyess AFB, Texas on September 8, 1957

Controlled the 4th Strategic Support Squadron, a strategic airlift squadron, September 1959 – March 1961, and the 578th Strategic Missile Squadron, an Atlas F missile squadron, July 1961 – March 1965. The first Atlas missile went on alert in April 1962. The Atlas was phased out in March 1965.

In 1963, its three squadrons of B-47s (338th, 339th, 413th Bomb Squadrons) were replaced by one squadron (337th Bomb Squadron) of B-52s. The 96th received B-52Cs from the 99th Bomb Wing, then new B-52Ds and B-52Es from Boeing. It was redesignated the 96th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on March 31, 1972. During several months of 1970, and for a lengthy period in 1972–1973, all wing aircraft, crews, and most support personnel were loaned to other SAC organizations based in the Far East or Southeast Asia for combat operations.

From 1980, the wing's 917th Air Refueling Squadron KC-135A aircraft regularly deployed to Europe, Alaska, and the Pacific to support SAC tanker task force requirements.

The 337th Bomb Squadron became the first squadron to operate the B-1B Lancer, after the arrival of the first aircraft in June 1985. In addition, the 338th Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS) received B-1Bs in June 1992. In October 1986, B-1Bs assumed SAC alert duties for the first time.

Wing 917th ARS KC-135 tankers provided refueling support to units involved in the invasion of Panama, December 1989. Ferried personnel and equipment to Andersen AFB, Guam for further movement to Southwest Asia, in August 1990. In December 1990 all remaining tanker aircraft and crews, except those on alert duty, were sent to Incirlik AB Turkey in support of Operation Desert Storm.

Post Cold War

The first operational B-1B Lancer in the Air Force, also known as the Star of Abilene, AF Serial No. 83-0065, sits on the flightline at Dyess AFB after flying its last mission in 2003.

On September 1, 1991, the wing was redesignated as the 96th Wing and implemented the objective wing concept. It was relieved from assignment to SAC and assigned to Air Combat Command on June 1, 1992. Also on June 1, 1992, the 917th ARS acquired KC-135Qs in conjunction with the drawdown of tanker operations at Beale AFB, California.

In accordance with the realignment of tanker squadrons to Air Mobility Command, the 917th ARS was reassigned to the 43d Operations Group at Malmstrom AFB, Montana on September 30, 1993.

On October 1, 1993 the 96th Wing inactivated, replaced by the 7th Wing (7th WG) which was moved without personnel or equipment due to the BRAC transfer of Carswell AFB, Texas to the U.S. Navy and its redesignation as Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth/Carswell Field. The B-1Bs of the 337th BS were reassigned to the 7th WG, and the 337th BS was reorganized and absorbed the B-1s of the deactivating 338th CCTS as part of the new wing.

The 96th Air Base Wing stood up as a non-flying organization on March 15, 1994. It assumed the mission of supporting the Air Armament Center and associate units at Eglin AFB, Florida.

References

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

  1. ^ Mixer, Ronald E., Genealogy of the STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, Battermix Publishing Company, 1999 and Mixer, Ronald E., STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, An Organizational History, Battermix Publishing Company, 2006.
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0900913800
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1996) The Ninth Air Force in Colour: UK and the Continent-World War Two. After the Battle ISBN 1854092723
  • 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.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to Present

External links


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