86th Airlift Wing

86th Airlift Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=86th Airlift Wing

caption= 86th Airlift Wing emblem
dates= 13 January 1942 — present
country=United States
branch=Air Force
command_structure=United States Air Forces in Europe
current_commander=Colonel [http://www.ramstein.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=10637 William Bender]
garrison=Ramstein Air Base

* World War II: European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign (1943-1945)
* Army of Occupation: Germany (1946-1949)
* Southwest Asia Service (1990-1991)
* Expeditionary Service: Operation Northern Watch: Operation Support Hope: Operation Unified Assistance
* Global War on Terrorism: Afghanistan Service (Dates TBD): Iraqui Service (Dates TBD)
notable_commanders= Wilbur L. Creech
Robert C. Oaks
George B. Simler

* Distinguished Unit Citation: Italy, 25 May 1944: Germany, 20 Apr 1945
* Air Force Outstanding Unit Award: 1 Jul 93 - 30 Jun 95: 1 Jul 96 - 30 Jun 97: 24 Mar 99 - 10 Jun 99: 1 Jan 01 - 31 Dec 01: 1 Jan 02 - 31 Dec 02: 1 Jan 07 - 31 Dec 07
The 86th Airlift Wing (86 AW) is a United States Air Force wing, currently assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. The 86th AW is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany


The wing’s primary mission is to conduct airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation operations flying the C-21, C-20H, C-37, C40B and C-130E aircraft. The 86th Airlift Wing commander also serves as the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) commander, leading the largest American community outside the United States.


The 86th Airlift Wing is composed of four groups, 14 squadrons and one detachment. These are:
* 86th Operations Group (86 OG): 37th Airlift Squadron (37 AS): 76th Airlift Squadron (76 AS): 309th Airlift Squadron (309 AS) (Chièvres Air Base, Belgium): 86th Operations Support Squadron (86 OSS): 496th Air Base Squadron (496 ABS) (Morón Air Base, Spain)
* 86th Contingency Response Group (86 CRG): 86 AMS: 786th Security Forces Squadron (Airborne) (786 SFS)
* 86th Maintenance Group (86 MXG): 86 Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (86 AMXS): 86 Maintenance Squadron (86 MXS): 86 Maintenance Operations Squadron (86 MOS)
* 86th Mission Support Group (86 MSG)
* 86th Medical Group (86 MDG)

The 779th Expeditionary Airlift Flight was activated in January 2008 to administer a rotational deployment of two C-17 Globemaster IIIs to be based at Ramstein AB. [Stars and Stripes, [http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=52070] ] The exact reporting chain for the 779th EAF is not known.



* Constituted as 86th Bombardment Group (Light) on 13 Jan 1942: Activated on 10 Feb 1942: Redesignated: 86th Bombardment Group (Dive) in Sep 1942: Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Bomber Group in Aug 1943: Redesignated: 86th Fighter Group in May 1944: Redesignated: 86th Composite Group in May 1947: Redesignated: 86th Fighter Group in Jan 1948
* Established as 86th Fighter Wing, and activated, on 1 Jul 1948: (86th Fighter Group assigned to wing as subordinate unit): Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing on 20 Jan 1950: Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 9 Aug 1954: Redesignated: 86th Air Division (Defense) on 18 Nov 1960: Inactivated on 14 Nov 1968.
* Redesignated: 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 14 Nov 1968
* Redesignated: 86th Tactical Fighter Wing on 13 Oct 1969. : Activated on 1 Nov 1969: Redesignated: 86th Fighter Wing on 1 May 1991: Redesignated: 86th Wing on 1 Jun 1992: Redesignated: 86th Airlift Wing on 1 Oct 1994.


* Air Force Combat Command, 10 Feb 1942: Second Air Force, c. 28 Feb 1942: XII Bomber Command, 1 May 1942
* Third Air Force, 21 Jul 1942] : III Bomber Command, 8 May 1942: III Ground Air Support (later, III Air Support) Command, 10 Aug 1942:: Attached to 23d Provisional Training Wing, c. Sep 1942-c. Mar 1943)
* Twelfth Air Force: 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: XII Tactical Air Command, 20 Jun 1945: 64th Fighter Wing, Aug 1945
* Continental Air Forces : 64th Fighter Wing, 20 Aug 1946
* United States Air Forces in Europe: Twelfth Air Force:: XII Tactical Air Command, 1 Mar 1947
* United States Air Forces in Europe, 6 Oct 1947: 2d Air Division, 10 Oct 1949: Twelfth Air Force, 7 May 1951
* United States Air Forces in Europe, 1 Jan 1958: Seventeenth Air Force, 15 Nov 1959
* United States Air Forces in Europe, 1 Jul 1963: Seventeenth Air Force, 1 Sep 1963
* United States Air Forces in Europe, 20 May 1965: Seventeenth Air Force, 5 Oct 14 Nov 1968: Seventeenth Air Force, 1 Nov 1969: 316th Air Division, 14 Jun 1985: Seventeenth Air Force, 1 May 1999: Third Air Force, 31 Jul 1996-.

Major Components

* 86 Fighter (later, 86 Fighter-Bomber; 86 Fighter-Interceptor; 86 Tactical Fighter; 86 Operations): 1 Jul 1948-8 Mar 1958; 22 Sep 1975-14 Jun 1985; 1 May 1991-.

* 7 Special Operations: 31 Jan-15 Mar 1973 (detached)
* 17 Tactical Reconnaissance: 12 Jan 1970-31 Jan 1973
* 32 Fighter-Interceptor: 8 Apr 1960-1 Nov 1968
* 38 Tactical Reconnaissance: attached 16-30 Jan 1973
* 81 Tactical Fighter: Attached 12 Jun-14 Jul 1971: Assigned 15 Jul 1971-15 Jan 1973
* 151 Fighter-Interceptor: 25 Nov 1961-11 Jul 1962
* 197 Fighter-Interceptor: 25 Nov 1961-11 Jul 1962
* 417 Tactical Fighter: 1 Oct 1978-15 Sep 1987
* 434 Tactical Fighter: attached 30 Sep-12 Dec 1961
* 435 Tactical Fighter: attached 22 Sep 1961-14 Jan 1962 and 4 Nov-12 Dec 1962
* 436 Tactical Fighter: attached 12 Jan-12 Apr 1962
* 440 Fighter-Interceptor: Attached 1 Jul 1954-7 Oct 1955; 10 Aug 1956-7 Mar 1958: Assigned 8 Mar 1958-1 Jan 1960
* 476 Tactical Fighter: attached 12 Apr-8 Aug 1962
* 496 Fighter-Interceptor: Attached 1 Jul 1954-7 Oct 1955; 10 Aug 1956-7 Mar 1958: Assigned 8 Mar 1958-1 Nov 1968
* 512 Fighter-Interceptor (later, 512th Tactical Fighter): 24 Mar 1958-1 Jul 1959; 14 Jun 1985-1 May 1991
* 513 Fighter-Interceptor: 25 Apr 1958-8 Jan 1961
* 514 Fighter-Interceptor: 15 May 1958-Jan 1961
* 525 Fighter-Interceptor: Attached 22 May 1957-7 Oct 1955; 10 Aug 1956-Mar 1958,: Assigned 8 Mar 1958-1 Nov 1968
* 526 Fighter-Interceptor (later, 526th Tactical Fighter): Attached 22 May 1954-7 Oct 1955; 10 Aug 1956-7 Mar 1958: Assigned 8 Mar 1958-1 Nov 1968; 31 Jan 1973-22 Sep 1975; 14 Jun 1985-1 May 1991
* 527 Fighter-Interceptor: attached 22 May 1954-7 Oct 1955

Bases assigned

*Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma (1942)
*Hunter Field, Georgia (1942)
*Key Field, Mississippi (1942 – 1943)
*Camp Kilmer, New Jersey (1943)
*Algeria (1943)
*Marnia, French Morocco
*Tunisia (1943)
*Sicily (1943)
*Italy (1943 – 1945)
*Corsica (1944)
*Tantonville Airfield, France (1945)
*Germany (1945 – 1946)
*Bolling Field, Washington D.C. (1946)
*Neubiberg Air Base, Germany (1947 – 1952)
*Landstuhl Air Base, Germany (1952 – 1968)
*Zweibrucken Air Base, Germany (1968 – 1973)
*Ramstein Air Base, Germany (1973 – Present)

Aircraft operated

*A-20 Havoc (1942)
*A-24 Banshee (1942)
*A-31 (1942)
*DB-7 Boston (1942)
*A-36 Apache (1942 – 1944)
*P-40 Warhawk (1944)
*P-47 Thunderbolt (1944 – 1950)
*P-51 Mustang (1947 – 1948)
*B-26 Marauder (1947 – 1948)
*F-6 (1947 – 1948)
*A-26 Invader (1947)
*F-84 Thunderjet (1950 – 1953)
*F-86 Sabre (1953 – 1960)
*F-102 Delta Dagger (1959 – 1968)
*F-100 Super Sabre (1960, 1975)
*F-104 Starfighter (1961 – 1962)
*RF-4 (1970 – 1973)
*F-4 Phantom II (1971 – 1986)
*F-16 Falcon (1985 – 1994)
*C-12 Huron (1992 – 1994)
*C-135 Stratolifter (1992)
*C-20 (1992 – Present)
*C-21 (1992 – Present)
*CT-43 (1992 – 1996)
*UH-1 Iroquois (1992 – 1993)
*C-9 Nightingale (1993 – 2005)
*C-130E Hercules (1994 – Present)
*C-17 Globemaster III (2000 – Present)
*C-130J (Ordered for 2009 delivery)

Operational history

World War II

Activated on 10 Feb 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 25 May.

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 20 April. By 8 May, the group had flown a total of 3,645 combat missions.

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, D.C., in February, 1946, where it inactivated at the end of March.

86th Fighter Wing

The 86th Fighter Group was reactivated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946, being assigned to USAFE and being stationed at Nordholz Air Base, near Bremerhaven. Equipped with P (later F-47) Thunderbolts, 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.

86th Fighter-Bomber Wing

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 28 September 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. Operational squadrons were:

* 526th Fighter-Bomber (red stripe/cowlings)
* 527th Fighter-Bomber (yellow stripe/cowlings)

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 February 1951, the United States and France signed an agreement in which USAF bases in their German occupation zone would be built and made available to USAFE. The largest base was built near the towns of Landstuhl and Ramstein on a site where during World War II, first the Luftwaffe and later the USAAF had used a long stretch of Autobahn as an airfield. The new base would actually consist of two sections, one along the Autobahn (Landstuhl AB) and one just north (Ramstein). Other bases in the French sector that were built for the USAF were Bitburg AB, Spangdahlem AB, Sembach AB and Hahn AB. These bases would serve USAFE and NATO well for the next 40 years of the Cold War.

In late 1952, enough construction was completed at Landstuhl and the 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing was reassigned to the new base. The 86th Wing (under various designations) has been assigned to Ramstein for almost 60 years, with a brief period (1966-1973) being inactive or assigned to Zweibrucken Air Base.

86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing

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 8 February 1956. Personnel and aircraft were assigned to the newly-formed 461st FDS at Hahn Air Base in May.

In August 1954 the mission of the 86th was changed to the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, and the new F-86D began to replace the F-86F, which was sent to NATO countries. Two new F-86D squadrons, the 440th FIS from Geiger AFB, Washington and the 496th FIS from Hamilton AFB California arrived at Landstuhl in July 1954. These squadrons were detached to the following bases to stand air defense alert:
* 440th FIS to Erding Air Base, Germany
* 496th FIS to Hahn Air Base, Germany
* 526th FIS remained at Landstuhl (Red tail stripes)

In May 1958 the 406th FIW at RAF Manston England was deactivated. Its three F-86D squadrons, the 512th, 513th and 514th were reassigned to bases on the continent and were also assigned to the 86th. These squadrons were detached to the following bases:
* 512th FIS to Sembach Air Base, Germany
* 513th FIS to Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base France
* 514th FIS to Ramstein (Blue tail stripes)

86th Air Division (Defense)

In January 1959 the 525th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Bitburg received its first Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, designed to upgrade the air defense capabilities of Western Europe. HQ USAFE decided to uprade the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing and centralize command of all the European Air Defense squadrons in USAFE to it. With this change, the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing was redesignated the 86th Air Division (Defense) on 18 November 1960.

However at the time of their arrival in Europe, the F-102 was already being replaced by the McDonnell F-101B Voodoo and the Convair F-106 Delta Dart in the Aerospace Defense Command as an interceptor, and by much more versatile McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. On 14 Nov 1968 the 86th Air Division was inactivated

86th Tactical Fighter Wing

The 86th Tactical Fighter Wing was reactivated at Zweibrücken Air Base, West Germany on 1 November 1969. It received its first flying unit, the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, on 12 January 1970. The 17th TRS and its McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom IIs was reassigned to the 86th TFW from the deactivating 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at RAF Upper Heyford, England. Squadron tail code for the 17th TRS was initially "ZS", then was recoded to "ZR" in 1971.

For 18 months the 17th was the only operational squadron on the base. On 12 June 1971, the 81st Tactical Fighter Squadron with its Electronics Counter-Measures (ECM) equipped McDonnell EF-4C Phantom II "Wild Weasel" fighters was attached to the 86th TFW from the 50th TFW at Hahn AB when the 50th switched to a strike-attack role, with air defense as a secondary mission. (Note: The EF-4C designation was not official. The aircraft were officially F-4C models). The 81st TFS, however remained a part of the 50th TFW but was detached from the wing's operational control and attached to the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing for support. Squadron tail code for the 81st TFS was "ZS".

In 1972, tail codes for all 86th TFW aircraft at Zweibrücken were standardized as "ZR", per AFM 66-1, when squadron tail codes were eliminated.

On 15 January 1973, the 81st TFS was reassigned to Spangdahlem Air Base under operation "Battle Creek". The last of this variant of the Phantom returned to the USA in 1979/1980 and was replaced by the F-4G Wild Weasel at Spangdahlem.

As part of operation Creek Action, a command-wide effort to realign functions and streamline operations, USAFE transferred the 26 TRW from Ramstein to Zweibrucken Air Base, Germany, and the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) from Zweibrucken back to Ramstein on 31 January 1973. These moves were made without the transfer of personnel or equipment with the exception of the 38 TRS, 7 SOS and 81 TFS. The 38th remained under the control of the 26 TRW by moving to Zweibrucken with the wing and the 7th Special Operations Squadron was transferred to Rhein-Main Air Base. The 526th TFS remained at Ramstein AB, and it was reassigned to the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying F-4Es. Its tail code was "RS".

On 22 September 1977 the newly-activated 512th TFS was equipped with the 526 TFS aircraft and the 526 TFS received new planes from McDonnell Douglas St. Louis plant. The unit was designated the 86th Tactical Fighter Group and was under the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing.

With these changes, the operational squadrons of the 86th TFW in 1978 were:
* 512th Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-4E, RS, green/black tail stripe)
* 526th Tactical Fighter Squadron (F-4E, RS, red/black tail stripe)

In September 1985 the 512th TFS converted to the General Dynamics Block 25 F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the 526th retired their F-4Es in June 1986, also receiving Block 25 F-16s. The 86th TFW supported numerous military units located in the area and participated in numerous exercises that provided the wing with air combat tactics training essential to their mission. In 1990, personnel and aircraft of the 86th TFW deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Storm. With the end of Operation Desert Storm, the 86th TFW deployed to Turkey and supported operations in Southwest Asia to ensure that Iraq complied with treaty terms. 526th TFS aircraft twice attacked Iraqi surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in northern Iraq.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the 86th was realigned to become an Airlift Wing. By 1994, the tactical fighters of the 86th FW began to be transferred to other USAFE bases. On 1 July, 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 1 October, with its aircraft and personnel also being moved to Aviano, being assigned to the 510th FS.

86th Airlift Wing

With the arrival of the cargo and transport squadrons and the tactical fighters departed, the wing was re-designated the 86th Airlift Wing on 1 October 1994, with the following flying squadrons:

* 37th Airlift Squadron (C-130E, they will be replaced in 2009 by the C-130J)
* 76th Airlift Squadron (C-20H, C-21A, C-40B)
* 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
* 86th Maintenance Squadron
* 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

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. The mission to Yemen and Djibouti brought 28 sailors to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

In 2006, the 86th AW acquired a sole C-40B previously operated by the 89AW at Andrews AFB to replace the C-9A Nightingale which was retired in 2005. The C9, 71-0876, was used to ferry the USAFE Commander to other areas in the European theater, and was not set up for medivac purposes. It was the last C-9A with USAF. The aircraft left Ramstein on Sep 20 2005 and is now on display at Andrews AFB Museum, MD. The C-40B, 01-0040, (the USAF version of the Boeing 737-700 BBJ) is configured as an airborne command post.

86th Contingency Response Group

The 86th Contingency Response Group [86 CRG] is tasked with establishing airfield and aerial port operations and providing force protection at contingency airfields. The unit was activated at Hangar 3 at Ramstein Air Base on 26 February 1999, and is the first unit of its kind in the Air Force. The two subordinate units also stood up on that date:

* 86th Air Mobility Squadron
The 86th AMS provides airfield command and control, loads and unloads aircraft and essentially sets up an aerial port where none existed.

* 786th Security Forces Squadron
The 786th SFS provides force protection in the opening stages of a deployment and also provides protection for any follow-on forces.

The 786th Security Forces Squadron [786th SFS] is capable of overland airlift, air assault, or airborne insertion into crisis situations. The unit incorporates more than 10 different specialities including people with civil engineering, medical, intelligence, investigative, fuels, logistics, personnel and security skills.

The 86th CRG incorporates more than 30 different jobs into one close-knit team. It is a rapid-deployment unit designed at the initiative of Air Force leadership to be a "first-in" force to secure an airfield and establish and maintain airfield operations. The 86th CRG was created specifically to respond to the growing number of fast-moving contingency deployments today’s Air Force experienced in Europe.

The group initially consisted of 134 individuals, which made it one of the smallest groups in the Air Force. Although typically tailored for a specific mission, the CRG is postured to deploy all or part of a 120-person team of more than 30 specialties with no more than 12 hours notice. The unit is on the ground during the crucial opening days of a contingency.

The 86th CRG is designed to be a multidisciplinary, cross-functional team whose mission is to provide the first on-scene Air Force forces trained to command, assess, and prepare a base for expeditionary aerospace forces. The cross-functional design under a single commander provides a unity of effort while also minimizing redundant taskings or personnel. This in turn allows the unit to be trained to task and ready to deploy rapidly--all with minimal equipment and personnel.

Tier One personnel are not assigned to the CRG but are "by-name" assigned as CRG augmentees. These Tier One personnel work closely with the CRG on a daily basis, exercise with the group, and are trained in CRG-specific operations and force-protection concepts. Specialties in which Tier One individuals work include weather, air traffic control, services, communications, civil engineering, finance, law, combat camera, fire protection, protocol, combat control, psychological operations, civil-military affairs, personnel accounting, ground and flight safety, explosive-ordnance disposal, biological/chemical warfare, fuel, mortuary affairs, and chaplain concerns.

To complement these Tier One personnel, the CRG has access to Tier Two personnel. As within Tier One, Tier Two personnel come from units that work regularly with the CRG; however, they are not specifically identified as CRG augmentees, nor are they identified "by-name." The final category consists of personnel within existing UTCs that provide the specialized capabilities available through normal training channels.

The three-tier process generates functional experts in various readiness levels who can support a mission philosophy of speed and precision. The 86th CRG was designed to get in within hours of its tasking, take control of airfield operations, establish security and communication, and quickly assess what additional capability would be required.

The 86th CRG deployed to Tirana, Albania on 4 April 1999, as the lead element of the US Humanitarian Relief Force Shining/Sustain Hope to distribute rations and water. Operation Shining/Sustain Hope was the U.S. humanitarian effort to bring in food, water, medicine and relief supplies for the refugees fleeing from the Former Republic of Yugoslavia into Albania and Macedonia.

US assistance began 5 April, when an initial team of 40 airmen from the 86th Contingency Response Group left for Tirana. The team was sent in to establish a base camp near a Tirana airfield and prepare it for the rest of the relief force, which would flow in afterward. The 786th Security Forces Squadron security team joined colleagues from the 786th SFS and 86th Air Mobility Squadron members who were already in Albania as part of an 86th Contingency Response Group deployment to Tirana, Albania, supporting humanitarian operations to relieve Kosovar Albanian refugees in Albania.

Besides the CRG, Ramstein also sent representatives from the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron, 86th Medical Group, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, 86th Transportation Squadron, 86th Material Maintenance Squadron, 86th Security Forces Squadron, 86th Services Squadron, 86th Financial Management and the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron.

On the surface, the 86th Contingency Response Group appeared heavy and cumbersome with 36 team members and a bulky cargo of giant forklifts and flightline vehicles they brought to Beira, Mozambique here from their home station more than convert|5000|mi|km away at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. By Air Force standards, however, the 86th CRG is lean, light and efficient. Within a few hours of touching down on the runway, the unit was handling airflow in support of Joint Task Force Atlas Response.

The CRG, which belongs to the 86th Airlift Wing, handled every aspect of airflow into Beira, including parking the aircraft, loading and unloading cargo and passengers, and providing necessary aircraft maintenance. As of 24 March 2000, the CRG had handled 426 passengers and 514 tons of equipment and humanitarian relief supplies to aid the flood victims of Mozambique. The Department of Defense sent six search and rescue helicopters to the region, with three arriving early the second week of March. They were supported by 400 to 600 troops from the European Command's 86th Contingency Response Group, based in Germany and England.

Exercise Lariat Response, conducted June 8-12, 2001 in Hungary, required Southern European Task Force [SETAF] to deploy the 173d Airborne Brigade to conduct an airborne assault to seize an airfield, conduct rapid running airfield repair and then, with the support of the US Air Force’s 86th Contingency Response Group, immediately air load heavy infantry combat forces from V Corps and the 1st Infantry Division to conduct high intensity combat operations against an armored threat.

Unit shields


* Much of this text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the Ramstein Air Base website, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by:
* Donald, David (2004) Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War. AIRtime ISBN 1880588684
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0887405134.
* Menard, David W. (1998) Before Centuries: USAFE Fighters, 1948-1959. Howell Press Inc. ISBN 1574270796
* 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.
* [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/usafserials.html USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present]

External links

* [http://www.ramstein.af.mil/ Ramstein AFB Home Page]

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