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See 31st Operations Group for additional lineage and timeline information.
The 31st Fighter Wing (31 FW) is an operational unit of the assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. It is stationed at Aviano Air Basemarker, Italy.

The 31 FW is the only United States Air Force fighter wing assigned south of the Alps in Europe. It maintains two F-16 fighter squadrons to conduct regional and expeditionary operations under NATO, SACEUR or national tasking.

Overview

During a NATOmarker crisis, the wing's operational forces become part of the 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, located at Vicenzamarker, Italy. This, and its strategic location, makes the wing critical to operations in NATO's southern region.

In peacetime, the 31st Fighter Wing prepares for its combat role by maintaining its aircraft and personnel in a high state of readiness.

The mission of the 31st Fighter Wing is:
  • Conducting air and space combat support operations in Europe's Southern region
  • Conducting regional and expeditionary operations under NATO, SACEUR or national tasking with conventional and non-conventional munitions
  • Maintaining an air control squadron capable of air surveillance, control and communications
  • Providing command, control and support functions


Beginning July 1994, the wing provided combat support for NATO's first-ever operational mission, Deny Flight. In August and September 1995, 31st FW F-16s flew more than 400 combat sorties during Operation Deliberate Force. With the formal signing of the Dayton Peace Accord, Operation Deny Flight ended and the wing's emphasis shifted to support what is now Operation Deliberate Forge. And in March 1999, in support of Operation Allied Force, U.S. and allied forces assembled at Aviano Air Base, Italy, to react if called upon by NATO leadership.

Global War on Terrorism

The 31 FW provides and supports dominant, expeditionary air combat in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, the wing accomplishes this goal by deploying people and equipment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Units



  • 31st Maintenance Group (31 MXG)
    • 31st Maintenance Squadron (31 MXS)
    • 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (31 AMXS)
    • 31st Maintenance Operations Squadron (31 MOS)


  • 31st Mission Support Group (31 MSG)
    • 31st Contracting Squadron (31 CONS)
    • 31st Security Forces Squadron (31 SFS)
    • 31st Force Support Squadron (31 FSS)
    • 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron (31 LRS)
    • 31st Communications Squadron (31 CS)
    • 31st Civil Engineering Squadron (31 CES)


  • 31st Medical Group (31 MDG)
    • 31st Medical Operations Squadron (31 MDOS)
    • 31st Medical Support Squadron (31 MDSS)


The 31st FW also includes the 603rd Air Control Squadron, capable of providing air surveillance, control and communications. Additionally, the 31st Comptroller Squadron (31 CPTS) reports directly to the wing staff.

History

Lineage

  • Established as 31st Fighter Wing on 6 November 1947
Organized on 20 November 1947
Redesignated: 31st Fighter-Bomber Wing on 20 January 1950
Redesignated: 31st Fighter-Escort Wing on 16 July 1950
Redesignated: 31st Strategic Fighter Wing on 20 January 1953
Redesignated: 31st Fighter-Bomber Wing on 1 April 1957
Redesignated: 31st Tactical Fighter Wing on 1 July 1958
Redesignated: 31st Tactical Training Wing on 30 March 1981
Redesignated: 31st Tactical Fighter Wing on 1 October 1985
Redesignated: 31st Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991.


Assignments

Attached to 39th Air Division [Defense], 10 Jul-11 Oct 1952 and 10 Nov 1953-12 Feb 1954
Attached to: Air Force Atlantic Command, 24 Oct-9 Nov 1962
Attached to: 1 Air Division Provisional, 10 Nov-c. 30 Nov 1962


Attached to Seventh Air Force, 16-24 Dec 1966


Stations



Components

Group
  • 31 Fighter : 20 Nov 1947-16 Jun 1952 (detached 15 Dec 1950-10 Feb 1951); 1 Nov 1991-1 Apr 1994; 1 Apr 1994-Present


Squadrons
  • 68th Fighter-Escort Squadron: 15-30 Oct 1970
  • 136th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 14 Jun 1968-25 May 1969
  • 188th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 7 Jun 1968-18 May 1969
  • 306 Fighter-Bomber (later, 306 Tactical Fighter Training; 306 Tactical Fighter): 25 Sep 1957-28 Sep 1970 (detached 8 Apr-16 Jul 1960, 15 Feb-1 Mar 1961, 20 Aug-1 Sep 1961, 24 Apr-19 Jul 1962, 27 Jun-30 Sep 1963, 1 May-8 Aug 1964, 7 Jul 1965-27 Jan 1966); 30 Oct 1970-15 Jul 1971; 1 Jul 1978-1 Sep 1983; 1 Oct 1985-1 Oct 1986
  • 307 Fighter-Escort : attached 27 Jul 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-27 Apr 1966 (detached 7 Nov-7 Dec 1956, 25 Feb-17 Aug 1958, 15 Mar-19 Jul 1959, 8 Nov 1960-9 Mar 1961, 18-28 Feb 1962, 17 Dec 1962-16 Mar 1963, 27 Dec 1963-5 Mar 1964, 23 Nov 1964-14 Mar 1965, 24 Jun-7 Dec 1965); 15 Jul 1971-1 Jul 1989; (detached 29 Jul-31 Oct 1972); 30 Sep-1 Nov 1991
  • 308 Fighter-Escort : attached 27 Jul 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-2 Dec 1965 (detached 5 Dec 1956-7 Jan 1957, 15 Aug 1958-19 Jan 1959, 11 Jul-c. Dec 1959, 7 Mar-c. 19 Jul 1961, 13 Mar-3 Jul 1963, 9 Feb-5 May 1964, 9 Mar-8 Jul 1965); attached 16-24 Dec 1966, assigned 25 Dec 1966-5 Oct 1970; assigned 30 Oct 1970-1 Nov 1991 (detached 28 Apr-29 Jul 1972, 11 Dec 1972-11 Jun 1973)
  • 309 Fighter : attached 27 Jul 1951-15 Jun 1952, assigned 16 Jun 1952-5 Oct 1970 (detached 5 Jan-9 Feb 1957, 9 Jul-15 Nov 1960, 9 Oct-26 Nov 1961, 17 Jul-22 Dec 1962, 26 Sep-31 Dec 1963, 5 Aug-27 Nov 1964, 18 Jan-24 Apr 1966); assigned 30 Oct 1970-1 Nov 1991
  • 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 15 May 1969-30 Sep 1970
  • 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 28 May 1969-28 Sep 1970
  • 431 Air Refueling: attached 1 Apr-24 Nov 1957, assigned 25 Nov 1957-1 Jul 1958
  • 436 Tactical Fighter: 15-30 Oct 1970
  • 478 Tactical Fighter: 15-31 Oct 1970
  • 508 Air Refueling: attached 10 Feb-1 Jun 1954; assigned 11 May 1956-1 Apr 1957
  • 560th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 15-31 Oct 1970
  • 4431 Tactical Fighter Replacement: 1 Oct 1971-1 May 1973.


Aircraft operated





Operational history

Cold War

General Motors F-84F-25-GK Thunderstreaks of the 31st Fighter Escort Wing, about 1952.
Serial 51-9378 identifiable
The 31st Fighter Wing was established on 6 Nov 1947 and organized on 20 Nov 1947 at Turner Field marker, Georgiamarker. At Turner the 31st Fighter Group became the operational component of the newly-established United States Air Force 31st Fighter Wing Tactical Air Command.

At Turner AFB, the 31st FW trained to achieve tactical proficiency from 1947-1950. The wing was redesignated as the 31st Fighter-Bomber Wing on 20 January 1950 upon joining Strategic Air Command's Second Air Force and subsequently the 31st Fighter-Escort Wing on 16 July 1950, reflecting the Wing's new mission to escort SAC's intercontinental Boeing B-29 and Boeing B-50 Stratofortress bomber fleet.

Beginning in December 1950 through July 1951, all tactical and most support components deployed to England. Thereafter it deployed to provide air defense in Japan from July-October 1952 and November 1953-February 1954. The 31st FEW earned an Outstanding Unit Award for making the first massed jet fighter crossing of the Pacific Ocean in July 1952. The wing was again redesignated as the 31st Strategic Fighter Wing on 20 January 1953, as the escort mission within SAC became deemphasized.

On 1 April 1957 the 31st was transferred to Tactical Air Command at Turner and was redesignated as the 31st Fighter-Bomber Wing when re-equipped with the new North American F-100 aircraft. The wing rotated tactical components to Alaska in 1956 and 1957 and to Europe in 1958 and 1959. It became non-operational at Turner on 15 March 1959 and was transferred to George Air Force Basemarker, Californiamarker, and absorbed the personnel and equipment of the 413th Fighter-Day Wing that date. At George, the 31st was redesignated the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing on 1 July 1958 as part of an Air Force wide naming reorganization.

The wing was reassigned to Homestead Air Force Basemarker, Floridamarker, in May 1962 when Homestead gained a Tactical Air Command mission, and subsequently stood air defense alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis from October-November 1962. The wing also maintained tactical proficiency by participating in exercises, firepower demonstrations, and by rotating tactical components overseas.

Vietnam War

North American F-100D-60-NA Super Sabres Serials 56-2927 (Front) and 56-2952 of the 309th TFS on the ramp at Tuy Hoa AB South Vietnam, April 1970.
In 1966, demands from NATOmarker and the Vietnam War led to the division of the 31st TFW into several segments. In April, the 307th TFS was permanently reassigned to the 401st TFW at Torrejon Air Basemarker Spain to accommodate USAFE requirements. The 31st TFW and its remaining three fighter squadrons were deployed to Tuy Hoa Air Basemarker South Vietnam on 16 December 1966 and was reassigned to Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).

In South Vietnam the 31st TFW commanded five F-100 squadrons and was the most important F-100 wing in South Vietnam. From Tuy Hoa, the wing conducted combat operations, 16 December 1966-September 1970. It controlled interdiction strikes, conducted visual and photo reconnaissance, rescue combat air patrols, and suppressed enemy antiaircraft artillery. The wing also conducted air operations against enemy forces during the Tet Offensive and the Siege of Khe Sanhmarker from February-April 1968. It flew close air support missions during the extraction of friendly troops from Kham Ducmarker on 12 May 1968. The wing gained forward air control mission in May 1968.

The 31st TFW was deactivated in Southeast Asia on 15 October 1970 as part of the general US withdrawal from South Vietnam. On 16 October it was reactivated without personnel or equipment at Homestead Air Force Basemarker, Floridamarker

Post Vietnam

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-37-MC Phantom 68-0365 of the 309th TFS, about 1971.
With its return to Homestead, the 31st TFW conducted F-4 Phantom II replacement training from 1 July 1971 and rotated components to Southeast Asia from April 1972-June 1973. The wing assumed primary responsibility for air defense in southern Florida on 1 April 1976 and advised Air National Guard fighter units on operational matters.

In September 1979-September 1980 it transferred nearly half of its F-4E aircraft to Egyptmarker under Project PEACE PHARAOH], the F-4E's being replaced by F-4Ds and in 1981, the 31st TFW and Homestead AFB again took on a new task: the training of F-4 aircrews. On 31 March 1981 the 31st TFW became the 31st Tactical Training Wing. The wing continued to operate as an F-4 combat crew training unit but relinquished its Florida air defense commitment in October 1983.

Training was to remain the wing's primary mission until 1 October 1985 the wing converted to the General Dynamics Block 15 F-16A/B Fighting Falcon and returned to an operational tactical fighter wing status. F-4 training operations continued for several more years until last F-4 training class graduated in May 1988. Subsequently, the wing became a fully operational F-16 wing and maintained readiness for worldwide deployment carrying either conventional or nuclear weapons. However, with the arrival of the F-16s, the 306th TFS was again deactivated. Also the tail code of the 31st changed to "HS" on 1 December 1986.

On 28 October 1991 the designation of the wing was changed to the 31st Fighter Wing with the implementation of the Objective Organization.. Also the 31st Operations Group was established to control the wings operational components and fighter squadrons. Also, the fighter squadrons of the 31 OG were upgraded to the Block 40 F-16C/D. On 1 June 1992 the wing was assigned to the new Air Combat Command.

Hurricane Andrew

General Dynamics F-16A Block 15Q Fighting Falcon 83-1080 of the 308th FS, about 1988.
On 24 August 1992, much of Homestead Air Force Base's physical plant was destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew. Just prior to the storm's landfall in Southeast Florida, the 31st TFW dispersed its fighter squadrons to safe areas away from the storm's path. These locations were:



The effects of Hurricane Andrew caused the almost total destruction of Homestead Air Force Base. Although both President George H. W. Bush and President Clinton promised to rebuild Homestead, the BRAC designated the installation for realignment to the Air Force Reserve, with the 31st Fighter Wing's squadrons being permanently reassigned to their dispersal bases, Moody AFB and Shaw AFB on 1 October 1992. The remaining wing elements worked to clean up and salvage government property at Homestead.

United States Air Forces In Europe

31st FW General Dynamics F-16DG Block 40D Fighting Falcon Serial 90-0795
The 31st moved to Italy in April 1994 without personnel and equipment, replacing the 401st Fighter Wing as host wing at Aviano Air Basemarker.

In Europe, the 31st FW is the only U.S. fighter wing south of the Alps. During a NATOmarker crisis, the wing's operational forces become part of the 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, located at Vicenzamarker, Italy. This, and its strategic location, makes the wing critical to operations in NATO's southern region.

The 31st FW also supports three geographically-separated units: The 712th Munitions Squadron and 704th Munitions Support Squadron, Ghedi Air Base, Italy and the 496th Air Base Squadron, Morón Air Basemarker, Spain.

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • Mueller, Robert. Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 (USAF Reference Series). Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1989. ISBN 0-912799-53-6.
  • Endicott, Judy G. Active Air Force Wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF Active Flying, Space, and Missile Squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1999. CD-ROM.
  • Fletcher, Harry R. Air Force Bases Volume II, Active Air Force Bases outside the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1989. ISBN 0-91279-953-6.
  • Martin, Patrick. Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History, 1994. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
  • Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.


Unit shields

Image:31st Fighter Wing.png|31 FWImage:31_CPTS.jpg|31 CPTSImage:31_OG_Round.jpg|31 OGImage:510FS_Emblem.png|510 FSImage:555_FS.jpg|555 FSImage:603_ACS.jpg|603 ACSImage:31_OSS.jpg|31 OSSImage:31_MXG.jpg|31 MXGImage:31_AMXS.jpg|31 AMXSImage:31_MXS.jpg|31 MXSImage:31_MOS.jpg|31 MOSImage:31_MSG.jpg|31 MSGImage:31_CES.jpg|31 CESImage:31_CS.jpg|31 CSImage:31_LRS.jpg|31 LRSImage:31_MSS.jpg|31 MSSImage:31_SFS.jpg|31 SFSImage:31_SVS.jpg|31 SVSImage:31_MDG.jpg|31 MDG


External links




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