455th Air Expeditionary Wing

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455th Air Expeditionary Wing
455th Air Expeditionary Wing.png
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Emblem
Active Since 2001
Country United States
Branch U.S. Air Force
Type Air Expeditionary
Role Combat & Combat Support
Part of U.S. Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT)
Garrison/HQ Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
Motto Be A Force Multiplier!
Commanders
Current
commander
Maj. Gen. Darryl Roberson

The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing (455 AEW) is a provisional United States Air Force USAFCENT unit located to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. It is one of two AEWs in Afghanistan. Most of the wing personnel are located at the Air Force Village known as Camp Cunningham.

The wing's primary mission is to support the Global War on Terrorism by providing aerial support for U.S. and Coalition forces on the ground. Activated in 2001, the 455th has members deployed throughout the country supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 455 AEW commander reports to the United States Air Forces Central (USAFCENT) Commander in Southwest Asia. The commander is supported by a wing staff and oversees five Air Force groups located at Bagram and one at Kandahar Airfield. The five groups are the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group, the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group, the 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group, 455th Expeditionary Medical Group, and the 455th Expeditionary Base Defense Group. It also oversees the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar Airfield.

During the Cold War, the Strategic Air Command 455th Strategic Missile Wing was an LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM wing. During World War II, the wing's predecessor unit, the 455th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment organization, assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in Italy.

As of 22 April 2011, the commander of the 455 AEW is Major General Darryl Roberson.[1] The Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Marcus R. Snoddy.[2]

Units[edit]

The wing consists of five groups:

  • 455th Expeditionary Operations Group
The operations group is responsible for all expeditionary flying and aeromedical evacuation operations for the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. The group oversees the day-to-day operations of one F-15E fighter squadron, one active-duty F-16 squadron, one MC-12 squadron, one National Guard C-130 airlift squadron, and a Navy EA-6B squadron. The EOG also has administrative control over an active-duty EC-130 electronic combat squadron. In addition, the operations group oversees a range of support functions such as airfield management and operations for both Bagram and Kabul, air traffic control, intelligence, weather, and a medical clinic that serves the wing.
455 ECS.png
  • 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group
    • 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron
    • 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron
    • 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron
    • 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron
    • 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron
The group provides a wide range of services for the air component commander in support of coalition forces throughout Afghanistan. The group comprises five squadrons responsible for engineering, construction, personnel accountability, manpower resources, services for laundry, billeting, morale and welfare, communications, airfield management, fuels, vehicle maintenance, logistics planning, passenger terminal operations and air terminal operations.
  • 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group
    • 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron
    • 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron[3]
The group provides combat-ready aircraft and munitions to the air component commander in support of coalition forces throughout Afghanistan. The group comprises two squadrons responsible for on- and off-aircraft maintenance and sortie generation of F-15E, F-16 and C-130 aircraft, as well as launch, recovery, and servicing support for military and commercial transient aircraft.
  • 455th Expeditionary Medical Group
    • 455th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron
    • 455th Expeditionary Medical Support Squadron
The group is the Air Force component for Task Force Med, which provides combat medical and combat medical support services to U.S. and coalition forces throughout Afghanistan. Along with the U.S. Army, the 455 EMDG staffs Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram.
  • 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group
    • 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron
    • 755th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron
Formed in 2012, The group is responsible for providing a safe operating environment. The 755th ESFS partners with U.S. Army, coalition, and Afghan security forces and is responsible for external base defense, ensuring airfield safety throughout the base security zone. The 455th ESFS joins forces with U.S. Army, Republic of Korea and contract security forces. It is responsible for perimeter security, entry control and internal security.

Aircraft operated[edit]

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Emblem of the 455th Bombardment Group
Consolidated B-24H-10-CF Liberator 42-64500, 743d Bomb Squadron. Lost on 11 Jun 1944

Constituted as 455th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943. Activated on 1 June 1943. Activated as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment unit; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Primarily trained in New Mexico and Utah received deployment orders for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in November 1943. Moved to Langley Field Virginia where the group flew long-range convoy escort missions over the Mid-Atlantic, October–November 1943 while station in Italy was being constructed.

They departed Langley in December 1943 and flew to Tunisia by way of Brazil, arriving in January 1944. They remained in Tunisia until completion of their airfield at San Giovanni[disambiguation needed], Italy, about five miles west of Cerignola and 20 miles southwest of Foggia. The group moved to San Giovanni in February 1944 and flew its first combat mission (Anzio) on 16 February 1944 as part of the 304th Bombardment Wing, Fifteenth Air Force.

Engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia, bombing railroad marshalling yards, oil refineries, airdrome installations, heavy industry, and other strategic objectives.

Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 2 April 1944 when the group contributed to Fifteenth AF’s campaign against enemy industry by attacking a ball-bearing plant at Steyr. They lost 4 of 40 aircraft—40 comrades, including a bomber that crashed near Sveta Trojica (now Slovenia). In addition to successful target damage, they were credited with 27 enemy aircraft destroyed and 17 probables. It was their first heavy loss in two months of combat.

Although meeting severe fighter opposition and losing several of its bombers on 26 June 1944, the group proceeded to attack an oil refinery at Moosbierbaum, receiving another DUC for this performance. Thirty-six planes took off with only 26 returning. Six of the ten losses were from a single squadron. Several of those crews were on their 50th mission.

The figure for combined causes includes causes such as collisions, ditchings, and crashes attributable to As time passed, the fighter opposition decreased but the Germans concentrated their anti-aircraft guns around the fewer remaining targets, so the threat from flak remained intense.

In addition to strategic missions in the Balkans, the group bombed troop concentrations, bridges, marshalling yards, and airdromes during the fall of 1944 to hamper the enemy’s withdrawal from the region. The group also supported ground forces at Anzio and Cassino in March 1944; knocked out gun positions in preparation for the invasion of Southern France in August 1944; and assisted the final Allied drive through Italy in April 1945 by hitting such targets as bridges, gun positions, and troop concentrations. The group flew its last mission (Linz, Austria) 15 months later on 25 April 1945. The mission scheduled for the following day was canceled and the group began preparations to return home.

The group lost 118 aircraft, 31 directly to fighters, 36 directly to flak, and 51 from all other causes combined. They suffered 147 KIA, 268 MIA, 179 POW, and 169 wounded in action. On the other hand, the group is credited with 119 enemy aircraft destroyed and another 78 probables. Only about 40% of the original crews returned.

Remained in Italy after the German Capitulation in May, although unit personnel were demobilized throughout the summer of 1945. Group was inactivated in Italy on 9 September 1945.

Cold War[edit]

Emblem of the 455th Strategic Missile Wing (SAC)

Redesignated 455th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Allotted to the reserve. Activated in the US on 25 March 1947 as B-29 Superfortress unit. Inactivated on 27 June 1949. Unclear if group was ever equipped or manned.

Assigned to Tactical Air Command. 455th Fighter-Day Wing established in 1953 but never activated. 455th Fighter-Day Group activated with assigned fighter squadrons and assigned to 342d Fighter Day Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina on 25 July 1956 but never manned or equipped. Inactivated on 18 November 1956 along with 342d FDW with all assets being absorbed into 354th Fighter-Day Wing activated that date.

Reassigned to Strategic Air Command as the 455th Strategic Missile Wing and prepared for operational capability with LGM-30B Minuteman I ICBMs from 1 November 1962 to March 1964 at Minot AFB, North Dakota. The component 740th Strategic Missile Squadron was also activated on 1 November. During the following 2 months, the 741st and 742nd Strategic Missile Squadrons administratively came into existence.

The first Minuteman missile arrived on 6 September 1963, and was replaced three days later. The 150th, and final missile was replaced on 26 February 1964, and by late March the wing became combat ready. The 455th SMW maintained combat readiness.

To preserve the continuity of units with distinguished histories, on 25 June 1968, the 455th SMW was redesignated as the 91st Strategic Missile Wing in-place without movement of personnel and was inactivated. The 91st had senior organizational roots dating from World War II and had gained recent fame as a B-52 wing operating over Vietnam. The operational strategic missile squadrons, however, were not redesignated but simply assigned to the 91st SMW.

War in Afghanistan[edit]

The 455th was reactivated in December 2001 for the Global War on Terrorism. In July 2002, the group was redesignated the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing with six assigned groups. Since then the wing has provided close air support, air mobility, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, electronic attack, aero medical evacuation, and combat support as the lead Air Force organization in Afghanistan.

The 455 AEW was awarded the Meritorious Unit Award for all personnel assigned between 1 October 2006 and 30 September 2007,[4] 1 October 2008 through 30 September 2009, and 1 October 2010 through 30 September 2011.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as 455th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943
Activated on 1 June 1943
Inactivated on 9 September 1945
  • Redesignated 455th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)
Activated on 25 March 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Established as 455th Fighter-Bomber Wing on 23 March 1953
455th Fighter-Day Group activated on 25 July 1956
Group inactivated 18 November 1956
  • Redesignated 455th Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM—Minuteman), and activated, on 28 June 1962
Organized on 1 November 1962.
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 June 1968
  • Reactivated in December 2001 for the Global War on Terrorism
  • Redesignated 455th Air Expeditionary Group on 26 Apr 2002
  • Redesignated 455th Air Expeditionary Wing on 26 Jul 2002

Assignments[edit]

304th Bombardment Wing: 25 January 1944 – 9 September 1945
(ADC made a subordinate organization of Continental Air Command, 1 December 1948)
Fourth Air Force
25th Air Defense (later, 25th Air) Division, 25 March 1947 – 27 June 1949
Ninth Air Force, 25 July – 18 November 1956
455th Fighter-Day Group assigned to 342d Fighter Day Wing
810th Strategic Aerospace Division, 1 November 1962 – 25 June 1968.
Assigned to: Fifteenth Air Force, 1 November 1962 – 1 July 1963; 2 July 1966 – 25 June 1968
Assigned to: Second Air Force, 1 July 1963 – 2 July 1966
United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT)

Stations[edit]

Components[edit]

Aircraft and Missiles Assigned[edit]

Awards[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
AF MUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Meritorious Unit Award July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 [2]

References[edit]

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

  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977 (Washington: USGPO, 1984)
  • Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
  • World Airpower Journal. (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing: London, UK. ISBN 1-880588-01-3

External links[edit]