320th Air Expeditionary Wing

320th Air Expeditionary Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=320th Air Expeditionary Wing

caption= 320th Air Expeditionary Wing
dates= 1942-1989, 1998-Present
country= United States
branch= United States Air Force
garrison= Bolling AFB, DC.
motto= Strength through Awareness

* World War II: European Campaign (1942-1945)
* Vietnam Service (1965-1973)
* Expeditionary Service: Various Operations (1990s)
* Global War on Terrorism: Afghanistan Campaign (2001-2006, TBD): Iraq Campaign (2003-2006, TBD)
notable_commanders= George Lee Butler
Howell M. Estes II
The 320th Air Expeditionary Wing is a United States Air Force wing assigned to Bolling AFB, District of Columbia.

The 320th was activated at Bolling in December 2006 for former President GeraldFord’s state funeral during the Christmas and New Years holidays, attaching 634 personnel to complete a 10-day mission in three joint-operation areas. In less than 12 hours from notification, the 320 AEW deployed 167 joint forces and equipment for JTF Ceremony Forward.

Currently the unit serves as the Air Force component of Joint Task Force - National Capital Region.

Global War on Terrorism

The 320th Air Expeditionary Wing (320 AEW) was activated as part of the Global War On Terror in 2001, replacing the 320th Air Expeditionary Group. The latter organization's base support role at Eskan Village was turned over to elements of the U.S. Army Forces Central Command (USARCENT) / U.S. Third Army and the new wing organization returned to an operational flying mission, responsible for theater airlift at multiple operating locations throughout Southwest Asia.

In Southwest Asia, the 320 AEW moved American military power closer to the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq by transporting eight divisions -- around 80,000 troops -- hauling some 47,000 tons of cargo, flying 17,000 sorties and logging 40,000 flying hours all while simultaneously supporting operations in 12 countries.

It must be noted that the task of developing a comprehensive listing of AEW units present in Southwest Asia and other combat areas is particularly difficult as the events of 11 September 2001 and the Global War on Terrorism has made such an effort significantly difficult. The USAF seeks to improve operational security (OPSEC) and to deceive potential enemies as to the extent of American operations.



* Constituted as 320th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 19 Jun 1942: Activated on 23 Jun 1942: Inactivated on 4 Dec 1945.
* Redesignated: 320th Bombardment Group (Light) Allotted to the reserve.: Activated on 6 Jul 1947: Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949
* Established as 320th Bombardment Wing, Medium, and activated, on 1 Dec 1952: Discontinued: on 15 Sep 1960: Redesignated: 320th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 15 Nov 1962: Organized on 1 Feb 1963: Inactivated 30 Sep 1989
* Redesignated: 320th Air Expeditionary Group: Activated 1997: Redesignated: 320th Air Expeditionary Wing, 2001


* Third Air Force, 23 Jun - 28 Aug 1942
* Eighth Air Force, 12 Sep - Nov 1942
* Twelfth Air Force, 2 Dec 1942 - Nov 1945: 47th Bombardment Wing: 18 Feb-7 Jun 1943
* Continental Air Forces Nov 1945 - Dec 1945
* Continental Air Command: First Air Force, 9 Jun 1947 - 27 Jun 1949
* Strategic Air Command: Fifteenth Air Force:: 12th Air Division, 1 Dec 1952-15 Sep 1960::: Attached to 7th Air Division, 3 Jun-4 Sep 1954::: Attached to 3d Air Division, 5 Oct 1956-11 Jan 1957
* Department of the Air Force, 16 Sep 1960-14 Nov 1962
* Strategic Air Command, 15 Nov 1962: Fifteenth Air Force:: 14th Strategic Aerospace Division, 1 Feb 1963:: 18th Strategic Aerospace Division, 1 Jul 1965:: 47th Air Division, 2 Jul 1966:: 14th Strategic Aerospace Division, 31 Mar 1970: Second Air Force:: 47th Air Division, 30 Jun 1971: Fifteenth Air Force:: 14th Air Division, 1 Oct 1972 – 30 Sep 1989
* Air Combat Command: 9th Air Force/USSENTAF, 1997 - 2006
* Air Force District of Washington, 2006 - Present

Bases assigned

* MacDill Field, FL 23 June 1942
* Drane Field, FL 8-28 August 1942
* Hethel, England 12 September 1942 114
* La Senia, Algeria c. 2 December 1942
* Tafaraoui, Algeria 28 January 1943
* Montesquieu, Algeria Apr 1943
* Massicault, Tunisia 29 June 1943
* El Bathan, Tunisia 28 July 1943
* Sardinia 1 November 1943
* Corsica c. 18 September 1944
* Dijon/Longvic, France 11 November 1944
* Dole/Tavaux, France 1 April 1945
* Herzogenaurach, Germany 18 June 1945
* Clastres, France c. Oct-Nov 1945
* March Air Force Base, California December 1 1952 - February 1 1963
* Mather Air Force Base, California February 1 1963 - September 30 1989
* Eskan Village, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1998-2001
* Southwest Asia 2001-Unknown
* Bolling AFB, DC 2006-Present


* 441st Bombardment: 1942-1945, 1947-1949: Assigned Dec 1, 1952 - Sept 15, 1960 (Not operational May 16 - Sept 15, 1960): Assigned Feb 1, 1963 - Sept 30, 1989. : (Not operational Feb 11 - July 1, 1965; Dec 1, 1965 - March 21, 1966 and June 3, 1972 - Oct 25, 1973).
* 442d Bombardment: 1942-1945, 1947-1949, Dec 1, 1952 - Sept 15, 1960 (Not operational Sept 1-15, 1960)
* 443d Bombardment: 1942-1945, 1947-1949, Dec 1, 1952 - Sept 15, 1960 (Not operational Sept 1-15, 1960)
* 444th Bombardment: 1942-1945, 1947-1949, Jan 1, 1959 - Sept 15, 1960 (Not operational July 1 - Sept 15, 1960)
* 320th Refueling: Assigned Dec 1, 1952 - June 16, 1960

Major aircraft types operated

* Martin B-26 Marauder (1942-1945)
* Boeing B-29 Superfortress (1952-1953)
* Boeing B-47 Stratojet (1953-1960)
* Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (1963-1989)
* Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker (1963-1989)
* Lockheed C-130 Hercules (2001-Present)


320th Bombardment Group (World War II)

Constituted as 320th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 19 Jun 1942 and activated on 23 Jun at MacDill Field (now MacDill AFB), Florida. Operational squadrons of the group were the 441st, 442d, 443d and 444th Bomb Groups. The 320th was equipped with the Martin B-26 Marauder aircraft.

The group was subsequently relocated to nearby Drane Field (now Lakeland Linder Regional Airport), Florida. Most of the group moved to North Africa via England, Aug-Dec 1942; crews flew their planes over the South Atlantic route and arrived in North Africa, Dec 1942-Jan 1943.

Began combat with Twelfth Air Force in Apr 1943 and operated from bases in Algeria, Tunisia, Sardinia, and Corsica until November 1944. During the period Apr-Jul 1943, flew missions against enemy shipping in the approaches to Tunisia, attacked installations in Sardinia, participated in the reduction of Pantelleria, and supported the Allied invasion of Sicily. Then bombed marshalling yards, bridges, airdromes, road junctions, viaducts, harbors, fuel dumps, defense positions, and other targets in Italy. Supported forces at Salerno and knocked out targets to aid the seizure of Naples and the crossing of the Volturno River. Flew missions to Anzio and Cassino and engaged in interdictory operations in central Italy in preparation for the advance toward Rome.

Received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for action in preparation for and in support of Allied offensive operations in central Italy, Apr-Jun 1944. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission on 12 May 1944 when, in the face of an intense antiaircraft barrage, the group bombed enemy troop concentrations near Fondi in support of the U.S. Fifth Army's advance toward Rome. From June to November 1944 operations included interdictory missions in the Po Valley, support for the invasion of Southern France and attacks on enemy communications in northern Italy.

Moved to France in Nov 1944 and bombed bridges, rail lines, gun positions, barracks, supply points, ammunition dumps, and other targets in France and Germany until V-E Day. Received a 2d DUC for operations on 15 March 1945 when the group bombed pillboxes, trenches, weapon pits, and roads within the Siegfried Line to enable a breakthrough by the U.S. Seventh Army.

With the end of hostilities in Europe, the group moved to Germany in June 1945 and participated in the disarmament program. Returned to the United States, Nov-Dec 1945, and was inactivated on 4 December 1945.

320th Bombardment Wing (Cold War)

The 320th Bombardment Wing replaced the 106th Bombardment Wing, (Medium) (ANG) at March Air Force Base, California in Dec 1952. At March, the wing conducted global bombardment training and air refueling operations to meet SAC commitments, 1952-1960. This wing was employed for training reservists to backfill rotating B-29 combat crews serving in Korea. While the reservists were undergoing training they were paid on the lesser reserve pay scale. Trained B-47 cadre for 96th Bombardment Wing, Medium, Dec 1953-Jan 1955. Deployed as a wing to RAF Brize Norton, England, 5 June-4 September 1954, and Andersen AFB, Guam, 5 October 1956-11 January 1957.

The 320th replaced the 4134th Strategic Wing at Mather Air Force Base, California in February 1963. The wing's 441st Bomb Squadron (441 BS) flew B-52Fs acquired from the 4134th SW until 1968, when it converted to the B-52G. The wing also activated the 904th Air Refueling Squadron (904 ARS) with KC-135A Stratotankers.

From Mather, the wing performed global bombardment training and air refueling operations to meet SAC commitments, Feb 1963-1965 and later. The entire wing was drastically reduced Feb-Jul 1965, Dec 1965-Mar 1966, and Jun 1972-Oct 1973, when all aircraft, crews, and most support personnel were loaned to other SAC units based at Andersen AFB Guam, U-Tapao RTNAB Thailand and Kadena AB Okinawa for operations in Southeast Asia.

Starting in 1972, the 3542d Operations Squadron conducted Convair T-29 pilot training for the Fifteenth Air Force in conjunction with the 323d Flying Training Wing of the Air Training Command (ATC) to support the Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) program at Mather. The 3542nd Operations Squadron was inactivated in 1973 and the T-29s were retired in 1973 and 1974 concurrent with the introduction of the Boeing 737-200-based T-43A.

In the early 1980s, the 320 BW and the 441 BS were equipped to carry and trained in the employment of the Navy's AGM-84 Harpoon missile as part of a joint USN-USAF initiative to employ USAF bomber aircraft in maritime operations.

The 904 ARS was inactivated 1 October 1986 and it's older KC-135As were modified to KC-135E standard and redistributed to other SAC units or sent to AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona for storage. The 441 BS with its B-52Gs was inactivated on 30 September 1989. It was the first squadron to inactivate with the gradual drawdown of the B-52G fleet. The 320th Bombardment Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1989. It was the first B-52 wing to be inactivated in conjunction with the phased retirement of the B-52G fleet and was also made in conjunction with the pending closure of Mather AFB due to BRAC action.

320th Air Expeditionary Group (USCENTAF)

In 1997, the 320th was reactivated as the 320th Air Expeditionary Group (320 AEG) at Eskan Village, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. An element of U.S. Central Command Air Forces (USCENTAF) / 9th Air Force (9 AF), the 320 AEG was a ground-based non-flying organization, with the 320 AEG replacing an earlier provisional AEG at Eskan that had been in existence since Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in 1990-91. The primary mission of the 320 AEG at Eskan was to provide liaison with Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA) for Eskan Village and to provide host base support for the staff of Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) / 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force, and its associated Coalition Air Operations Center (CAOC) conducting Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, which provided principal senior command and control of all U.S. and Coalition combat flying units enforcing the "No Fly Zone" over Southern Iraq prior to execution of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003. The 320 AEG also supported United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Office of Program Management - Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG), as well as Royal Air Force and French Air Force elements also located at Eskan Village.


* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0912799536; 0160022614
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell
* Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links

* [http://320thbg.org/film_clips.html Color film clips of the 320th Bomb Group]

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