Sixteenth Air Force

Sixteenth Air Force

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Sixteenth Air Force

caption= Sixteenth Air Force emblem
dates= 20 May 1954 - 1 December 2006
country= United States of America
branch= United States Air Force
command_structure=United States Air Forces Europe
garrison=Ramstein Air Base, Germany
The Sixteenth Air Force (16 AF) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at Izmir Air Base, Turkey. It was inactivated on 30 Apr 2008.



* Established as Joint United States Military Group, Air Administration (Spain): Activated on 20 May 1954: Redesignated Sixteenth Air Force on 15 Jul 1956: Inactivated 1 Dec 2006
* Activated and redesignated Sixteenth Air Expeditionary Task Force, 1 Dec 2006: Inactivated 30 Apr 2008


* HQ, United States Air Force, 20 May 1954
* Strategic Air Command, 1 Jul 1957
* United States Air Forces in Europe, 15 Apr 1966 - 1 Dec 2006; 1 Dec 2006 - 30 Apr 2008


Air Divisions
* 5th Air Division, 1 Jul 1957 - 15 Jan 1958
* 65th Air Division, 8 Apr 1957 - 1 Jul 1960
* 4310th Air Division, 15 Jan 1958 - 15 Aug 1963

* 7602nd Support Wing, 1 Jan - 10 May 1957
* 3977 Support Wing, 10 May 1957 - 1 Apr 1958
* 16th Air Expeditionary Wing, 1 Dec 2006 - 30 Apr 2008
* 31st Fighter Wing (later Air Expeditionary Wing): 15 Apr 1994 - 1 Dec 2006
* 39th Air Base Group (later Air Base Wing, later Wing, later Air & Space Expeditionary Wing): 9 Sep 1970 - 15 Oct 1991: 17 Jul 199 - 1 Nov 2005
* 401st Air Expeditionary Wing (Dates to be determined)


* Madrid, Spain, 20 May 1954
* Torrejon Air Base, Spain, 1 Feb 1958
* Aviano Air Base, Italy, 10 Aug 1992 - 1 Dec 2006
* Izmir Air Base, Turkey, 1 Dec 2006 - 30 Apr 2008

Operational History

Sixteenth Air Force served both Strategic Air Command and United States Air Forces in Europe. Established as Joint United States Military Group, Air Administration (Spain), on 20 May 1954. Activated on 20 May 1954 at Madrid, Spain, it was attached to the Joint U.S. Military Group, which oversaw implementation of the 1953 Spanish-American Defense Cooperation Agreement.

In 1956, the administration was re-designated as Headquarters, 16th AF, and aligned directly under Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. Existing Spanish air force bases were expanded near Madrid, Sevilla and Zaragoza. In 1957, 16th AF was realigned under the Strategic Air Command. Main operating bases in Spain were used for SAC B-47 rotational alert aircraft until April 1965.

16th AF also operated SAC bases in Morocco from 1958 through 1963. In 1966, a year after SAC withdrew its B-47 alert force from Spain, 16th AF was reassigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe. The 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, with three squadrons of F-100Ds, moved from the United States to [Torrejon Air Base] , Spain. The wing later converted to F-4 Phantoms, and in 1983, to F-16 Fighting Falcons.

The 401st FW moved from Spain to Aviano AB, Italy, in May 1992 and was re-designated as the 31st FW in April 1994. It has two squadrons of F-16C/Ds. Headquarters, 16th AF moved to Aviano AB in August 1992. During its time at Aviano AB, Sixteenth Air Force was the operational air force for USAF combat operations in the Balkans, supporting Operation Deny Flight, enforcing the U.N. ordered no-fly zone over Bosnia. Sixteenth Air Force aircraft participated in the raid on the Bosnian-Serb held airfield at Ubdina in November 1994.

In 2005, Sixteenth Air Force moved to Ramstein AB, Germany to become USAFE's new Warfighting Headquarters. Its mission was to execute aerospace operations through expeditionary force command and control in support of the U.S. European Command and NATO. Supporting this mission, 16th AF planned and executed combat air operations in southern Europe and portions of the Middle East and northern Africa as an air component or joint task force headquarters. It supported approximately 11,000 Air Force and civilian members at two main operating bases, four support bases and other sites in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and Israel; and conducted peacetime engagement throughout the region

On 1 December 2006, the Sixteenth Air Force was inactivated at Ramstein AB and simultaneously reconstituted as the Sixteenth Air Expeditionary Task Force at Izmir Air Base, Turkey. It was replaced at Ramstein by the Third Air Force. The 16th AETF was inactivated in April 2008.


External links

* [ US Air Force Historical Research Agency]
* [ US Air Force news story on 3AF and 16AF changes]

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