319th Air Base Wing

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319th Air Base Wing Air Mobility Command.svg
Defense.gov News Photo 970421-F-2171A-001.jpg
319th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 refuels two F-16s of the 524th Fighter Squadron in 1997
Active 1949; 1949-1951; 1955-1957; 1963-present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Base Administrative and Logistic Support
Size 2,600
Part of Air Mobility Command
Garrison/HQ Grand Forks Air Force Base
Nickname Warriors of the North
Motto Defensores Libertatis Latin Defenders of Freedom
Engagements Mediterranean Theater of Operations Pacific Theater of Operations
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
French Croix de Guerre with Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Paul E. Bauman
Notable
commanders
Joseph R. Holzapple
Insignia
319th Air Base Wing Emblem
Approved 6 January 1964[1]
319th Air Refueling WIng.jpg

The 319th Air Base Wing (319 ABW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command's USAF Expeditionary Center. It is stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The wing is the host unit at Grand Forks.

The 319 ABW was one of only three "super tanker" wings in the United States Air Force.

Its 319th Operations Group is the successor of the World War II 319th Bombardment Group. The 319 BG was the first Martin B-26 Marauder group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The group received two Distinguished Unit Citation. Active for over 60 years, the 319th Bombardment Wing was a component of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War, as a strategic bombardment wing.

The 319th Air Base Wing is commanded by Colonel Donald L. Shaffer. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Scott A. Fuller.

Overview[edit]

Warriors of the North

The mission of the 319th Air Base Wing is to support "Global Engagement" mobility operations. The wing provides support functions for an Air Mobility Command (AMC) major weapons system and supports a wide range of conventional and nuclear plans. The wing also provides infrastructure support for an Air Force Space Command group equipped with Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The 319th Air Base Wing won the 2002 Solano Trophy on 26 April 2002 for the best active-duty unit in Fifteenth Air Force.

Global War on Terrorism[edit]

After the September 11 attacks, the wing was the first to fly an Air Mobility Command sortie supporting the Air Force's response to the terrorist attacks by refueling the F-16 that delivered the Federal Emergency Management Agency director to New York only three and a half hours after the attacks. All of the 319th Air Refueling Wing's mission-capable aircraft were prepped, fueled and cocked within 24 hours.

By the end of 2001, the wing had flown more than 120 Operation Noble Eagle sorties, off-loading more than 4.8 million pounds of fuel to 260 combat air patrol and support aircraft. KC-135 tankers from the 319th were the first on the ground, first in the air, first to fly over enemy territory, and first to provide aerial refueling while a base of operations in the Persian Gulf was being established for Operation Enduring Freedom. In total, they had flown more than 890 sorties, flying 6,700 hours and off-loading more than 50 million pounds of fuel to more than 3,000 receivers.

The wing also earned an "excellent" and "solid green" for the deployed 319th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron during the first-ever Expeditionary Operational Readiness Inspection while conducting operations at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Additionally, for the second year in a row, the 319th Aircraft Generation Squadron earned top Air Mobility Command aircraft maintenance effectiveness honors for the medium category.

The 319th Air Refueling Wing reached a significant milestone 3 July 2002 by flying its 1,000th hour in support of Operation Noble Eagle. The milestone-marking mission started the evening of 2 July and was commanded by Capt Kulka of the 905th Air Refueling Squadron. The crew’s mission was to provide fuel to F-16’s from Shaw Air Force Base, SC, while they patrolled the skies over the nation’s capitol.

Subordinate organizations[edit]

History[edit]

See the 319th Operations Group for additional history and lineage prior to 1949

Reserve Operations[edit]

The 319th Bombardment Wing was established in the Air Force Reserve on 10 May 1949 and activated on 27 June at Reading Municipal Airport, Pennsylvania. The unit was not manned or equipped before it was inactivated on 2 September.[1] The wing was reactivated on 10 October at Birmingham Municipal Airport, Alabama, where it replaced the 514th Troop Carrier Wing. It flew B-26 Invader light bombers. The 319th performed Reserve training until ordered to active service on 10 March 1951 due to the Korean War. Once activated, wing personnel and aircraft were deployed as replacement personnel for active-duty combat units. It was inactivated two weeks later on 28 March.[1]

The wing was redesignated the 319th Fighter-Bomber Wing on 12 April 1955 and was activated in the reserve on 18 May at Memphis Municipal Airport, Tennessee. It replaced the 8710th Pilot Training Wing and performed reserve training. From July 1956 through August 1957, it maintained two Republic F-84 Thunderjets on "runway alert," under the operational control of the 20th Air Division of Air Defense Command. The wing was inactivated on 16 November 1957 and replaced by the 445th Troop Carrier Wing,[1] as the Air Force converted its reserve forces into an all airlift organization.

B-52 bomber era[edit]

Emblem of the 4133d Strategic Wing
B-52H dropping SRAM

4133d Strategic Wing[edit]

On 1 September 1958, Strategic Air Command (SAC) established the 4133d Strategic Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, an Air Defense Command (ADC) base whose host was the 478th Fighter Group[2] and assigned it to Second Air Force as part of SAC's plan to disperse its B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike.[3] In January 1959 the 4133d was transferred to the 821st Air Division.[4] The wing remained a headquarters only until 1 February 1960 when the 905th Air Refueling Squadron Flying Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, three maintenance squadrons and a squadron to provide security for special weapons were activated and assigned to the wing.

In March 1961, the 39th Munitions Maintenance Squadron was activated to oversee the wing's special weapons but it was not until 1 January 1962 that the 30th Bombardment Squadron, consisting of 15 Boeing B-52Hs, moved to Grand Forks from Homestead AFB, Florida where it had been one of the three squadrons of the 19th Bombardment Wing.[5] Starting in 1960, one third of the wing's aircraft were maintained on fifteen minute alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike. This was increased to half the wing's aircraft in 1962.[6] The 4133d (and later the 319th) continued to maintain an alert commitment until September 1991. On 1 July 1962, the 4133d was reassigned to the 810th Strategic Aerospace Division.[7]

319th Bombardment Wing[edit]

In 1962, in order to perpetuate the lineage of many currently inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records, Headquarters SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue its Major Command controlled (MAJCON) strategic wings that were equipped with combat aircraft and to activate Air Force controlled (AFCON) units, most of which were inactive at the time which could carry a lineage and history.[8]

As a result the 4133d SW was replaced by the 319th Bombardment Wing (BW),[1] which assumed its mission, personnel, and equipment on 1 February 1963.[9] The 46th Bombardment Squadron, a squadron that had been assigned to the wing when it was a reserve organization, replaced the 30th BS. The 905th Air Refueling Squadron and the 59th Munitions Maintenance Squadron were reassigned to the 319th. Component support units were replaced by units with the numerical designation of the newly established wing. Each of the new units assumed the personnel, equipment, and mission of its predecessor.

Shortly after the wing was activated, Grand Forks was transferred from ADC to SAC in July 1963, and the personnel and equipment of ADC's 478th Air Base Group and 478th USAF Dispensary were transferred to form the wing's 319th Combat Support Group and 804th Medical Group. In 1964, however, the wing became a tenant of the 321st Strategic Missile Wing as its base support mission, manpower, and equipment was transferred to the 321st.[2]

The wing placed aircraft on peacetime quick reaction alert duty, and conducted global bombardment training for Emergency War Order operations and air refueling operations to meet SAC commitments. During the Vietnam War, the 319th Bomb Wing's mission expanded to include sending bomber and tanker aircrews on temporary duty assignments to support B-52 and KC-135 operations from 1963 to 1974. Tanker crews participated in refueling operations for both bombers and fighters. The bomb crews flew B-52Ds from bases at Andersen AFB, Guam; Kadena AB, Okinawa, and U-Tapao RTNAF, Thailand. Bomber crews participated in Operation Arc Light in 1968 and Operations Linebacker I and Linebacker II in 1972.

In 1973, the 319th Bombardment Wing acquired the AGM-69 Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM), replacing the older AGM-28 Hound Dog air-to-ground missile aboard its B-52Hs. As the activities in Southeast Asia decreased, the 319th Bomb Wing focused its full efforts on training crews to fly strategic strike missions. It participated in a SAC program to test admission of females to the inflight refueling career field, January–December 1979.

B-1 bomber era[edit]

B-1 Lancer taking off

The wing converted from B-52 to B-1B Lancer bombers, 1986–1987 and flew training missions with conventional and nuclear configurations. Tanker crews assigned to the wing assisted in air refueling efforts during the invasion of Panama in December 1989. It deployed tankers to Oman, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia to provide air refueling and cargo missions in Southwest Asia, August 1990 – April 1991.

In line with the changing international situation, President George H. W. Bush decided to reduce the US nuclear alert force. Thus, on 28 September 1991, the 319th Wing pulled its B-1B bombers and KC-135R tankers from quick reaction alert duty, ending nearly three decades of such activity at Grand Forks AFB.

With the inactivation of SAC on 1 June 1992, the Air Force redesignated the 319th Wing as the 319th Wing and assigned it to the newly established Air Combat Command (ACC).[10] At the same time, the wing's 905th Air Refueling Squadron and its KC-135R tankers were assigned to the 305th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana, despite the fact that they remained physically stationed at Grand Forks AFB. Because it had lost its air refueling components, the wing became the 319th Bomb Wing.[10] Still remaining at Grand Forks, the 905th was reassigned to the 43d Air Refueling Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, on 1 July 1993.

On 1 February 1993 ACC dropped the 319th Bomb Wing's primary nuclear mission and gave the wing the primary mission of B-1B conventional bombardment operations. The wing began planning and training to support such a mission to counter worldwide regional threats.

Refueling era[edit]

On 1 October 1993 the Air Force redesignated the 319th Bomb Wing as the 319th Air Refueling Wing. The wing was reassigned from the Air Combat Command to the Air Mobility Command.[10] It also reacquired the 905th Air Refueling Squadron and its KC-135R tankers while turning over its B-1B bombers to the newly activated 319th Bombardment Group, an Air Combat Command organization. On 1 February 1994 the Air Mobility Command transferred the 906th Air Refueling Squadron from Minot AFB, North Dakota, to the 319th Air Refueling Wing.

The 319th supported worldwide Tanker Task Forces, as well as, combat operations in Southwest Asia, Central Europe, and Counter Narco-Terror operations in Central America by providing air refueling for combat aircraft.

Switch to Base Support[edit]

In March 2011 the wing lost its operational mission and was redesignated the 319th Air Base Wing.[11] In September, the 69th Reconnaissance Group of Air Combat Command, flying the RQ-4 Global Hawk was activated at Grand Forks.[12] Although the 69th is assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, California, it receives administrative and logistics support from the 319th.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as 319th Bombardment Wing, Light on 10 May 1949 and allotted to the reserves
Activated on 27 June 1949
Inactivated on 2 September 1949
  • Activated on 10 October 1949
Ordered to active service on 10 March 1951
Inactivated on 28 March 1951
  • Redesignated 319th Fighter-Bomber Wing on 12 April 1955
Activated on 18 May 1955
Inactivated on 16 November 1957
  • Redesignated 319th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 15 November 1962 in the Regular Air Force
Activated on 15 November 1962 (not organized)
Organized on 1 February 1963[13]
Redesignated 319th Wing on 1 September 1991
Redesignated 319th Bomb Wing on 1 June 1992
Redesignated 319th Air Refueling Wing on 1 October 1993[14]
Redesignated 319th Air Base Wing on 1 March 2011.

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Components[edit]

Groups[edit]

  • 319th Air Base Group (later 319th Combat Support Group. 319th Support Group, 319th Mission Support Group): 27 June 1949 – 2 September 1949; 10 October 1949 – 22 March 1951; 18 May 1955 – 16 November 1957; 1 September 1991 – present
  • 319th Bombardment Group (later, 319th Fighter-Bomber Group, 319th Operations Group): 27 June 1949 – 2 September 1949; 10 October 1949 – 22 March 1951; 18 May 1955 – 16 November 1957;[13] since 1 September 1991[14]
  • 319th Maintenance and Supply Group (later 319th Maintenance Group, 319th Logistics Group): 27 June 1949 – 2 September 1949; 10 October 1949 – 22 March 1951; 18 May 1955 – 16 November 1957; 1 September 1991 – present
  • 319th Medical Group (later 319th Tactical Hospital, 319th Medical Group): 27 June 1949 – 2 September 1949; 10 October 1949 – 22 March 1951; 18 May 1955 – 16 November 1957; 1 September 1991 – present
  • 804th Medical Group; 1 July 1963 – 1 November 1964

Squadrons[edit]

Operational Squadrons

Support and Maintenance Squadrons

  • 319th Airborne Missile Maintenance Squadron: 1 February 1963 - 30 June 1974
  • 319th Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron (later 319th Avionics Maintenance Squadron): 1 February 1963 - 31 March 1991
  • 319th Comptroller Squadron: 1 September 1991 - 1 July 1994; 1 March 1996 - present
  • 319th Field Maintenance Squadron: 1 February 1963 - 1 September 1991
  • 319th Organizational Maintenance Squadron: 1 February 1963 - 1 September 1991

Aircraft operated[edit]

Awards and Campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 3 March 1944 Rome, Italy (bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group)[10]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 11 March 1944 Florence, Italy (bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group)[10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1977-30 June 1979 319th Bombardment Wing[10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 1993-30 June 1995 319th Air Refueling Wing[10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1995-30 June 1997 319th Air Refueling Wing[10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 2000-30 June 2002 319th Air Refueling Wing[10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 2002-30 June 2004 319th Air Refueling Wing[10]
Streamer FCDG WWII.png French Croix de Guerre with Palm April, May, June 1944 bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Air Combat EAME Theater bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Algeria-French Morocco bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Tunisia bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Sicily bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Naples-Foggia bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Anzio bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Rome-Arno bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG Southern France bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer EAMEC.PNG North Apennines bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer APC.PNG Air Offensive, Japan bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer APC.PNG Ryukyus bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]
Streamer APC.PNG China Offensive bestowed, earned by 319th Bombardment Group[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. 
  2. ^ a b 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. 199–203. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 
  3. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), Vol 1, History of Strategic Air Command, Jan-Jun 1957 (Secret)". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Factsheet 821 Strategic Aerospace Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10/11/2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 148–149. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. 
  6. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), History of the Strategic Bomber since 1945 (Top Secret, downgraded to Secret)". Air Force History Index. 1 April 1975. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Factsheet 810 Strategic Aerospace Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10/11/2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ MAJCON units could not carry a permanent history or lineage. Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). A Guide to Air Force Lineage and Honors (2d, Revised ed.). Maxwell AFB, AL: USAF Historical Research Center. p. 12. 
  9. ^ The 319th Wing continued, through temporary bestowal, the history, and honors of the World War II 319th Bombardment Group. It was also entitled to retain the honors (but not the history or lineage) of the 4133d.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Bailey, Carl E., AFHRA Factsheet, 319th Air Refueling Wing 12/27/2007
  11. ^ N.D. wing undergoes name, mission change, Air Force Times, 1 March 2011
  12. ^ Robertson, Patsy AFHRA Factsheet, 69th Reconnaissance Group 4/9/2012 (retrieved July 4, 2013)
  13. ^ a b c d Lineage, assignments, stations, and combat components prior to 1977 in Ravenstein, Combat Wings
  14. ^ a b c d e f Lineage, assignments, stations, and combat components 1977-2007 in Bailey, 319th Air Refueling Wing Factsheet

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Further Reading

  • Rogers, Brian. (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0. 

External links[edit]