32d Air Expeditionary Group
|32d Air Operations Group|
|Active||1941–1943, 1948–1949, 1957–1962, 1989–2006|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
The 32d Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional unit of the United States Air Force (USAF). It is assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) to activate or inactivate at any time. It was last active in December 2006 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Its mission is to provide command and control of expeditionary units as directed by the Commander, USAFE.
The United States Army constituted the 32d Pursuit Group in late 1940. Shortly afterwards, on 1 January 1941, the Air Corps activated the group at Rio Hato Army Air Base, Panama. For the most part, however, the group consisted only of cadres provided by other units in the Canal Zone. Although headquarters were at Rio Hato, as a tactical organization it was located at Albrook Field, where all pursuit organizations in the Panama Canal Zone were concentrated, and its squadrons had only an average of 4 to 6 officers assigned. The group and its three assigned flying squadrons, the 51st, 52d, and 53d Pursuit Squadrons, had the mission of protecting the Panama Canal using obsolete Boeing P-26 Peashooters. On 9 December 1941, just after Pearl Harbor, the newly redesignated Caribbean Air Force moved the unit to France Field in the Canal Zone. The Air Corps equipped the 32d Pursuit Group with Curtiss P-36 Hawks to strengthen the defenses of the region.
On 15 May 1942, the US Army Air Forces redesignated the unit as the 32d Fighter Group  (32 FG) and provided it Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. However, the group swapped these fighters for Curtiss P-40 Warhawks. From 1941 to 1943 the group trained in flying intercept and fighter sweeps over the area surrounding the Canal Zone. However, as the perceived threat to the Canal Zone diminished, the US Army Air Force disbanded the 32d Fighter Group at France Field on 1 November 1943.
Reconnaissance in the Far East
In August 1948, the USAF established the 32d Composite Wing, which was activated by Far East Air Forces the same month at Kadena Field, Okinawa as part of the implementation of the Wing Base reorganization (Hobson Plan) of the USAF, replacing the 316th Bombardment Wing and various support elements. In October, the wing also replaced the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, which had become a paper unit attached to the wing. The wing had no operational group, but the 5th Reconnaissance Group's 23d Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range, Photographic) and the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group's 31st Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range, Photographic) were attached to the wing for operations. The wing mission was to provide the Thirteenth Air Force with photographic air reconnaissance and search and rescue support. The wing, along with its 23d and 31st Reconnaissance Squadrons, used Boeing B/FB-17 Flying Fortresses, Boeing RB-29 Superfortresses, and Curtiss C-46 Commandos to accomplish this mission until the Air Force inactivated the wing in 1949 and replaced it as the host wing at Kadena with the 6332d Station Wing
Air Defense of the United States
At the end of 1956, USAF reconstituted the 32d Fighter Group as the 32d Fighter Group (Air Defense), subsequently activating it at Minot AFB, North Dakota as part of Air Defense Command (ADC) on 8 February 1957. The group assumed USAF host responsibilities for the base and was assigned a medical unit and three support squadrons to perform these duties. On 1 April 1959, the 32d FG was reassigned from the 29th Air Division to the Minot Air Defense Sector, which was activated at Minot. In November, the 433d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS) moved to Minot from Ladd AFB, AK, but the squadron was a paper unit, without aircraft or personnel. It was not until 1960 that the first truly operational unit, the 5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron moved to Minot, was assigned to the Group, and began to train to become operational with Convair F-106 Delta Darts.
By 1960 the first elements of Strategic Air Command (SAC)'s 4136th Strategic Wing (SW) had activated at Minot. The 32d managed the rapid expansion of facilities to support both ADC and SAC at Minot By 1961, however, Minot had become a larger facility than could be managed by a group. The first Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses of the 4136 SW's 525th Bombardment Squadron were arriving at Minot, and the expansion of the base required a full wing to operate it.
As a result, the 32 FG was discontinued on 1 February 1961, and USAF organized the wing, now redesignated the 32d Fighter Wing (Air Defense), at Minot in 1961 to replace it. The 5th FIS and some of the 32d FG support organizations were reassigned to the wing or its newly activated 32d Air Base Group. Shortly thereafter in 1962, it was apparent that the primary mission of Minot would be to Support SAC and USAF transferred the base to SAC and discontinued the wing and its support elements, while the 5th FIS was reassigned to Minot Air Defense Sector.
In April 1964, Tactical Air Command activated the wing as the 32d Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at George AFB, California, to be equipped with F-4C Phantom IIs. The wing had four assigned tactical fighter squadrons, the 782nd, 783d, 784th, and 785th. But, before the wing became fully equipped and trained with the new fighter aircraft, the Air Force replaced the wing with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, which returned to the US from Japan in July. In anticipation of this replacement, three fighter-interceptor squadrons, the 68th, 431st, and 497th, were transferred to the 32 TFW shortly before its inactivation. These squadrons were redesignated as tactical fighter squadrons and transferred to the 8th TFW when the 32 TFW was inactivated, while its original four squadrons inactivated with the wing.
NATO Support in Europe
In 1989, the Netherlands government allowed United States Air Forces in Europe to expand the Air Force squadron at Soesterberg Air Base to group status. Thus, in late 1989 USAFE activated the recently redesignated 32d Tactical Fighter Group at Soesterberg. The group assumed command of the 32d Tactical Fighter Squadron, along with eight support squadrons, a medical clinic, and an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) flight. After United States Senate ratification of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty, the group supported the Soviet verification team inspecting the reductions at nearby Woensdrecht Air Base. In 1990, the group supported Desert Storm both at its home base and at deployed locations. Following the war, the group deployed personnel and equipment to Incirlik AB, Turkey to support operations Proven Force and Provide Comfort, to support humanitarian efforts for refugees.
In 1992, the group was reorganized on a downsized model of the USAF Objective Wing as the 32d Fighter Group, losing two squadrons and the EOD flight, while most of its support squadrons were reduced to flights and reassigned to its support or logistics squadrons. With the end of the Cold War a major force draw-down occurred in Europe and USAF reduced its fighter force structure. As a result in July 1994, the 32d Tactical Fighter Group Moved to Ramstein Air Base and assumed a new mission. It was replaced as USAF host unit at Soesterberg by the 632d Air Base Squadron. Its aircraft were sold to the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Upon arrival at Ramstein, USAF redesignated the unit as the 32d Air Operations Group, as part of the USAFE Theater Air and Space Operations Center (USAFE TASOC) at Kapaun Air Station, Germany. The USAFE Theater Air and Space Operations Center is an operational echelon which functions to consolidate operational command and control of joint space forces, similar to the functioning of a traditional Air Operations Center (AOC), but is classed, by AF doctrine, as a "Functional AOC." The USAFE TASOC, supplies the Joint Functional Component Command for Space operations expertise to create space situational awareness and command and control space forces. All of these efforts are in continuous around-the-clock support of global and theater operations. The 32d was inactivated on 1 December 2006 and replaced by the Third Air Force's 603rd Air Operation Center.
- Constituted as the 32d Pursuit Group (Fighter) on 22 November 1940
- Activated on 1 January 1941
- Redesignated as 32d Fighter Group (Twin Engine) on 15 May 1942
- Redesignated as 32d Fighter Group (Single Engine) on 28 September 1942
- Disbanded on 1 November 1943.
- Reconstituted and redesignated as 32d Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 11 December 1956
- Activated on 8 February 1957
- Discontinued and inactivated on 1 February 1961
- Consolidated with 32d Tactical Fighter Wing on 31 January 1984 as 32d Tactical Fighter Wing
- Constituted as the 32d Composite Wing on 10 August 1948
- Activated on 24 August 1948
- Inactivated on 1 April 1949
- Redesignated as 32d Fighter-Bomber Wing on 23 Mar 1953 (not active)
- Redesignated as 32d Fighter Wing (Air Defense) and activated on 28 December 1960
- Organized on 1 February 1961
- Discontinued and inactivated on 1 July 1962
- Organized on 1 April 1964 prior to activation
- Redesignated as 32d Tactical Fighter Wing and activated on 6 April 1964
- Inactivated on 25 July 1964
- Consolidated with 32d Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 31 January 1984
- Redesignated 32d Tactical Fighter Group on 1 November 1989
- Activated on 16 November 1989
- Redesignated 32d Fighter Group on 30 November 1991
- Redesignated as 32d Air Operations Group on 1 July 1994
- Redesignated as 32d Air and Space Operations Center on 1 November 2005
- Inactivated on 1 December 2006
- Redesignated as 32d Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status on 8 March 2011
- 12th Pursuit Wing 1 January 1941
- 26th Interceptor Command (later XXVI Interceptor Command, XXVI Fighter Command), 18 September 1942 – 1 November 1943
- 29th Air Division, 8 February 1957
- Minot Air Defense Sector, 1 August 1960 – 1 February 1961
- 1st Air Division, 24 August 1948
- Thirteenth Air Force, 1 December 1948 – 1 April 1949
- Minot Air Defense Sector, 1 February 1961 – 1 July 1962
- 831st Air Division, 1 April 1964 – 23 July 1964
- Consolidated Unit
- Seventeenth Air Force, 16 November 1989
- United States Air Forces in Europe, 1 July 1994
- USAFE Aerospace Operations Support Center (later USAFE Air & Space Operations Center) 1 October 2001
- Sixteenth Air Force, 1 November 2005 – 1 December 2006
- United States Air Forces in Europe to activate or inactivate at any time, 8 March 2011
- Rio Hato AAB, Panama, 1 January 1941
- France Field, Canal Zone, 9 December 1941 – 1 November 1943
- Minot AFB, ND, 8 February 1957 – 1 February 1961
- Kadena AB, Okinawa, 24 August 1948 – 1 April 1949
- Minot AFB, ND, 1 February 1961 – 1 July 1962
- George AFB, CA, 1 April – 23 July 1964
- Consolidated Unit
- Soesterberg Air Base, Netherlands, 16 November 1989
- Ramstein Air Base, Germany, 1 July 1994 – 1 December 2006
- 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, (attached 24 August 1948 – 25 October 1948 – not operational)
- 32d Air Base Group, 24 August 1948 – 1 April 1949, 1 February 1961 – 1 July 1962
- 32d Maintenance & Supply Group, 24 August 1948 – 1 April 1949
- 32d Station Medical Group (later 32d Medical Group, 32d USAF Dispensary, 32d USAF Hospital), 24 August 1948 – 1 April 1949, 18 January 1958 – 1 July 1962
- 32d Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, 8 February 1957 – 1 February 1961
- USAF Clinic, Camp New Amsterdam (later 32d Tactical Fighter Group Clinic, 32d Fighter Group Clinic, 32d Medical Squadron), 16 November 1989 – 1 July 1994
- Factsheet, 32d Air Expeditionary Group (accessed Apr 8, 2012)
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-912799-02-1.
- Williams, E. Kathleeen, (1945) Air Defense of the Panama Canal, 1 January 1939 to 7 December 1941, USAF Historical Study No 42, p. 127
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 217–218. ISBN 0-405-12194-6.
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 219
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 221–222
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947–1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Abstract, History of 32d Comp Wing CY 1948 (accessed Apr 12, 2012)
- Ravenstein, p. 111
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 122, 152
- Abstract, History of 6322d Air Base Wing, Jan–Jul 1953 (accessed Apr 12, 2012)
- Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 417–421. ISBN 0-912799-53-6.
- Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 136.
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 145
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 535
- Cornett & Johnson, p. 128
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 34
- Cornett & Johnson, p.113
- construction of Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) facilities, Capehart housing
- Today, the F-106 in the image is on static display at Minot.
- Mueller, p. 192
- Ravenstein, p. 21
- The American portion of this Dutch base was called Camp New Amsterdam. Fletcher, Harry R (1993). Air Force Bases , Vol. II, Air Bases Outside the United States of America. Washington, DC: Center for Air Force History. p. 19. ISBN 0-912799-53-6.
- Abstract, History of 32d Tac Fighter Group Jul–Dec 1989 (accessed Apr 13, 2012)
- Abstract, Contingency Historical Reports, 32d Tac Fighter Group Aug–Sep 1990 (accessed Apr 13, 2012)
- Abstract, History of 32d Tac Fighter Group, Jan–Jun 1991 (accessed Apr 13, 2012)
- Abstract, History of 32d Fighter Group Jan–Sep 1994 (accessed Apr 13, 2012)
- See Fletcher, pp. 59–66
- AFHRA Factsheet, 5th Flying Training Squadron (accessed 11 Apr 2012)
- AFHRA Factsheet, 23d Bomb Squadron (accessed 11 Apr 2012)
- AFHRA Factsheet, 53d Fighter Squadron (accessed 11 Apr 2012)
- AFHRA Factsheet, 68th Fighter Squadron (accessed 11 Apr 2012)
- AFHRA Factsheet, 433d Weapons Squadron (accessed 11 Apr 2012)
- AFHRA Factsheet, 497th Combat Training Flight (accessed 11 Apr 2012)
- Abstract, Historical Report of USAFE CY 1994 (accessed 13 Apr 2012)
- see also Squadrons redesignated as Flights
- Hagedorn, Dan (1995). Alae Supra Canalem: Wings Over the Canal. New York, NY: Turner Publishing Co. ISBN 978-1563111532.
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers—1908 to present