376th Air Expeditionary Wing

376th Air Expeditionary Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 376th Air Expeditionary Wing

caption= 376th Air Expeditionary Wing emblem
dates= 2001-Present
country= United States
branch= United States Air Force
type= Air Refueling
role= Combat Support
command_structure=Air Combat Command/US Central Command
garrison= Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan

* World War II: European Campaign (1942-1945)
* Vietnam Service (1970-1973)
* Global War on Terrorism: Afghanistan Service (2001-Present)

The 376th Air Expeditionary Wing (376 AEW) is an air expeditionary aerial refueling wing of the United States Air Force located at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan.


The 376th Expeditionary Wing is responsible for providing air combat power projection throughout the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility, including tactical airlift and air refueling, principally in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. C-17 and KC-135 aircraft are involved in this effort. Additionally, the wing serves as a hub for strategic airlift operations and as an intermediate staging base for transiting personnel and equipment in support of operations in Afghanistan. The wing hosts transient forces from coalition nations, as well as transient forces of the United States Army, Marine Corps and Navy. [http://www.manas.afnews.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4690 376th AEW Factsheet]



* Constituted as 376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 Oct 1942: Activated on 31 Oct 1942: Redesignated: 376th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in May 1945: Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945.
* Redesignated: 376th Reconnaissance Group: Activated on 23 May 1947. : Inactivated on 20 Sep 1948
* Established as 376th Bombardment Wing (Medium) on 25 May 1951: Activated on 1 Jun 1951. : Discontinued, and inactivated on 15 Mar 1965.
* Redesignated: 376th Strategic Wing on 23 Jan 1970: Activated on 1 Apr 1970: Inactivated 30 Oct 1991
* Redesignated: 376th Air Expeditionary Wing: Activated 2001


* Ninth Air Force, Oct 1942 - Nov 1943
* Fifteenth Air Force: 5th Bombardment Wing: Nov 1943 - 10 Nov 1945
* Strategic Air Command: Eighth Air Force: 23 May 1947 - 20 Sep 1948: Fifteenth Air Force:: 4th Air Division: 1 Jun 1951 - 3 Dec 1957::: Attached to 21st Air Division: 1 Jun - 21 Oct 1951:: 801st Air Division: 3 Dec 1957 - 15 Mar 1965: Eighth Air Force: 1 Apr 1970 - 1 Jan 1975: Fifteenth Air Force:: 3d Air Division: 1 Jan 1975 - 1991
* Air Combat Command: Ninth Air Force/US Central Command: 2001 - Present

tations assigned

* Lydda, Palestine, 31 Oct 1942
* Abu Sueir, Egypt, 8 Nov 1942
* Gambut, Libya, c. Jan 1943
* Soluch, Libya, 22 Feb 1943
* Bengasi, Libya, c. 6 Apr 1943
* Enfidaville, Tunisia, 26 Sep 1943
* San Pancrazio, Italy, c. 17 Nov 1943-19 Apr 1945
* Harvard AAF, Nebraska, 8 May 1945
* Grand Island AAF, Nebraska, 25 Jun - 10 Nov 1945
* Gravelly Point, Virginia, 23 May 1947 - 20 Sep 1948
* Forbes AFB, Kansas, 1 Jun - 10 Oct 1951
* Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, 10 Oct 1951 - 1 Dec 1957
* Lockborne AFB, Ohio, 1 Dec 1957 - 15 Mar 1965
* Kadena AB, Okinawa, 1 Jan 1975 - 1 Oct 1991
* Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan 2001-Present


* 376th Bombardment: Assigned June 1, 1961 - June 16, 1962 (Not Operational)

* 82d Strategic Reconnaissance: 1 Apr 1970 - 30 Sep 1976
* 91st Air Refueling: 1 Dec 1957 - 15 Jun 1964
* 376th Air Refueling: 18 Aug 1962 - 15 Mar 1965
* 512th Bombardment:: 31 Oct 1942 - 10 Nov 1945: 23 May 1947 - 20 Sep 1948: 1 Jun 1951 - 15 Mar 1965
* 513th Bombardment:: 31 Oct 1942 - 10 Nov 1945: 23 May 1947 - 20 Sep 1948: 1 Jun 1951 - 15 Mar 1965
* 514th Bombardment:: 31 Oct 1942 - 10 Nov 1945: 23 May 1947 - 20 Sep 1948: 1 Jun 1951 - 15 Mar 1965
* 515th Bombardment: : 19 Dec 1958 - 1 Jan 1962
* 909th Air Refueling: 1 Jul 1971 - 1975
* 4220th Air Refueling: 1 Apr 1970 - 31 Jan 1971

Aircraft flown

*C-17A (2001-Present)
*KC-135R (2001-Present)
*KC-135A (1963-1964; 1970-1991)
*RC-135 (1970-1991)
*B-52D (1970)
*KC-97 (1953-1963)
*EB-47 (1954-1965)
*B-29 (1951-1954)

Operational history

World War II

The 376th Bombardment Group has its origins in the British mandate of Palestine, as a result of the buildup of American air power in the Middle East in January 1942 in response to a request from the British Chief of the Air Staff.

The initial unit to arrive was given the codename HALPRO. It was under the command of Col. Harry A. Halverson and consisted of twenty-three B-24D Liberator heavy bombers with hand-picked crews flown from Fort Myers AAF, Florida.

In late June, Major General Lewis H. Brereton arrived from Allahabad, India, to command United States Middle East Air Forces (USMEAF), along with a detachment of B-17Ds from the 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy) and other personnel. Some of the B-17s were Pearl Harbor attack and Philippines campaign survivors, which had been assigned to the China Burma India Theater. After the Japanese capture of Burma the Burma Road was cut so the detachment could not be logistically supported in China.

On 2 July, additional B-17Es from the 7th Bomb Group arrived at Lydda, Palestine from India. On 20 July the B-24s and B-17s were formed into the 1st Provisional Group USAAF in Cairo, Egypt.

On 12 November 1942 the USAMEAF was dissolved and replaced by HQ Ninth Air Force with the responsibility to (1) Gain air superiority; (2) Deny the enemy the ability to replenish or replace losses, and (3) Offer ground forces close support in North-East Africa. With the formation of Ninth Air Force, the 1st Provisional Group was redesignated as the 376th Bombardment Group.Operational squadrons of the 376th were the 512th, 513th, 514th and 515th. All were equipped with B-24 Liberators as the older model B-17s were reassigned to non-combat roles.

Operating from bases in Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, the 376th attacked shipping in the Mediterranean and harbor installations in Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy to cut enemy supply lines to North Africa. Struck airdromes, marshalling yards, and other objectives in Sicily and Italy after the fall of Tunisia in May 1943. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for action against the enemy in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sicily, Nov 1942-Aug 1943. Participated in the famed low-level assault on oil refineries at Ploesti and received another DUC: nearing Ploesti on 1 Aug 1943 andrealizing that it was off course, the group attempted to reach its assigned objective from another direction; by this time, however, enemy defenses were thoroughly alerted and intense opposition forced the 376th to divert to targets of opportunity in the general target area.

The B-24 "Lady Be Good" was from the 514th Bomb Squadron.

With the transfer of Ninth Air Force to England in 1943, the 322d was reassigned to Fifteenth Air Force and moved to Manduria, Italy under the 47th Bomb Wing. From Italian bases, the unit engaged primarily in long-range missions to targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, and the Balkans to bomb factories, marshalling yards, oil refineries, oil storage facilities, airdromes, bridges, harbors, and other objectives.

Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for attacking the oil industry at Bratislava on 16 June 1944. Also flew support and interdictory missions, assisting Allied forces at Anzio and Cassino during Feb-Mar 1944, supporting the Invasion of Southern France in August 1944, aiding the Russian sweep into the Balkans during the fall of 1944, and assisting Allied troops in northern Italy during Apr 1945.

With the end of the war in Europe, the 322d Bomb Group was reassigned to Harvard AAFld, Nebraska, 8 May 1945 and redesignated 322d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and began B-29 Superfortress transition training in preparation for a move to the Pacific Theater of Operations. However with the end of the war in August, the training ended and the unit was inactivated at Grand Island AAF, Nebraska on 10 November 1945.

Cold War

The unit was redesignated the 376th Reconnaissance Wing and activated at Gravelly Point, Virginia on 23 May 1947. The wartime 512th and 513th squadrons were assigned to the wing and equipped with B/WB-29s. The unit operated as a weather reconnaissance group until its inactivation on 20 September 1948.

The 376th Bombardment Wing, Medium, was established on 25 May 1951, and activated at Forbes AFB, Kansas on 1 June 1951. The wing was equipped with B-29s and trained in strategic bombardment operations. Beginning in September 1953, the wing began engaging in Electronic countermeasures operations, which became the wing's primary mission. Included EB-47 post attack command and control operations, Dec 1962—Feb 1965, The wing gained the 376th AREFS, equipped with KC-97s, on 18 August 1953. The unit was deactivated at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, on 15 March 1965.

The 376th Strategic Wing was activated on April 1, 1970 at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa (later Japan), where it replaced the 4252nd Strategic Wing. From Kadena, the wing conducted B-52 combat operations in Southeast Asia from April to Sept 1970, supporting rotational Strategic Air Command squadrons until Arc Light Missions from the base were terminated. It also conducted air refueling and electronic reconnaissance from April 1970 to 1973. It conducted airborne radio relay operations, April - Nov 1970, Feb- Jun 1971 and March 1972 - August 1973. Until 1991, the wing controlled the 909th Air Refueling Squadron (KC-135A/Q/R) and supported rotational reconnaissance aircraft (TR-1, SR-71).

The Wing was deactivated at Kadena on 30 October 1991 with the drawdown of strategic forces. Its mission was absorbed by the host 18th Wing.

Global War On Terrorism

Manas air base operations began Dec. 16, 2001 and included the 86th Contingency Response Group from Ramstein Air Base, Germany as well as contractors and French engineers. Since then it has hosted forces from Australia, Denmark, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain and the Netherlands. Coalition aircraft previously based here have included tankers (KC-135s), tactical airlift (C-130s), fighters (F-18, F-16, Mirage 2000) and helicopters (Super Puma).

ee also

* 5th Air Division
* 47th Bombardment Wing (World War II)


*Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
*World Airpower Journal. (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing: London, UK. ISBN 1-880588-01-3
*Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947-1977 (Washington: USGPO, 1984)

External links

* [http://www.zianet.com/jpage/airforce/ Joe's USAF Blue Book]

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