508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing
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|508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing|
508th Aircraft Sustainment Wing emblem
|Active||1944–1945; 1952–1956; 1973–1982; 2005–present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Material Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Hill Air Force Base|
|Motto||Knowledge and Courage|
The 508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing provides sustainment of existing systems as well as the acquisition of new and improved airpower capabilities. It serves all U.S. military services, civil agencies and multiple foreign countries. Support includes acquisition, modifications, modernization, engineering and technical, as well as maintenance, repair and planning.
The units heritage and lineage begins with the World War II 508th Fighter Group, which provided air defense of the Hawaiian Islands late in the war. During the Cold War, the Strategic Air Command 508th Fighter Escort Wing provided fighter escort for SAC strategic bombers in the 1950s; and the 508th Tactical Fighter Group trained Air Force Reserve pilots in "Wild Weasel" SAM suppression tactics in the 1970s.
- 526th ICBM Systems Group
- 508th Fighter Sustainment Group (508 FSG)
- 558th Aircraft Sustainment Group (558 ACSG) formerly the 508th Mature Aircraft and Simulator Sustainment Group (508 MASSG)
- 508th Attack Sustainment Squadron
World War II
The 508th Fighter Group was constituted on 5 October 1944 and activated on 12 October at Peterson Field, Colorado. The group trained with P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft to provide very-long-range escort for B-29 Superfortress bombardment units in the Pacific Theater.
The lack of significant Japanese fighter defense by late 1944 caused a change of mission and the group was reassigned to Seventh Air Force in Hawaii in January 1945 and served as part of the defense force for the islands. In Hawaii, the group also trained replacement pilots for other organizations, repaired P-47's and P-51's received from combat units, and ferried aircraft to forward areas.
The unit was inactivated in Hawaii on 25 November 1945 when it replaced by the 15th Fighter Group.
The 508th Fighter-Escort Wing was activated by Strategic Air Command in 1952. Its mission was to provide fighter escort for B-29 and B-50, and later B-36 intercontinental bombers. The Strategic Air Command was founded by men who had flown bombing raids against Germany during World War II. They usually encountered swarms of enemy fighters and knew the importance of having fighter escorts.
Advances in technology soon made fighter-escort wings obsolete. A single atomic bomb had more explosive power than all the bombs dropped during all of World War II, so only one of them could certainly destroy a target far more effectively than the large mass formations of World War II B-17s and B-24s. Thus SAC's missions were based on the use of an individual airplane, not a formation of them.
During its first postwar decade (1945–1955), SAC flew many B-29s left over from the war and later propeller-driven B-50s and B-36s. They were soon replaced by new jet bombers, the B-47 and B-52. The jet bombers flew so fast and so high that they were virtually immune from fighters. Plus the early jet F-84s and F-86s in SAC's fighter inventory couldn't keep up with them. The fighter-escort wings were no longer necessary, so they were either inactivated or assigned to other commands.
The wing deployed at Misawa AB, Japan, with the 319th Air Division to provide air defense, Feb~May 1953 and Feb~May 1954. It was inactivated on 11 May 1956.
Reactivated as a Tactical Air Command reserve group at Hill AFB, Utah in 1973 when the Air Force Reserve modernization program added fighter aircraft which resulted in the unit being activated as the 508th Tactical Fighter Group and being assigned F-105 Thunderchief aircraft which were returned from inactivated units being withdrawn from combat in Southeast Asia. Trained in Wild Weasel SAM suppression tactics. The unit changed from a group to a wing, inactivated, and the personnel and equipment were absorbed by the activating 419th Tactical Fighter Wing.
- Constituted as 508th Fighter Group on 5 October 1944
- Activated on 12 October 1944
- Inactivated on 25 November 1945.
- Established as 508th Fighter-Escort Wing on 19 June 1952.
- Activated on 1 July 1952.
- Redesignated 508th Strategic Fighter Wing on 20 January 1953.
- Inactivated on 11 May 1956
- Redesignated as 508th Tactical Fighter Group on 1 January 1973
- Activated in the reserve on 1 January 1973
- Inactivated on 1 October 1982
- Redesignated 508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing on 31 January 2005
- Activated on 4 March 2005
- 72d Fighter Wing, 12 October 1944
- Seventh Air Force, 6 January – 25 November 1945
- 40th Air Division, 1 July 1952 – 11 May 1956
- Attached to: 39th Air Division (Defense), 8 February – 13 May 1953; 12 February – 7 May 1954
- Fourth Air Force (Reserve), 1 January 1973 – 1 October 1982
- Air Force Materiel Command, 4 March 2005–present
- 466th Fighter (later Strategic Fighter; later Tactical Fighter) Squadron: 12 October 1944 – 25 November 1945; 1 July 1952 – 11 May 1956 (not operational, 1 July – September 1952); 1 October 1982 – 1 August 1992
- 467th Fighter (later Strategic Fighter) Squadron: 12 October 1944 – 25 November 1945; 1 July 1952 – 11 May 1956
- 468th Fighter (later Strategic Fighter) Squadron: 12 October 1944 – 25 November 1945; 1 July 1952 – 11 May 1956 (not operational, 1 July – September 1952)
- 508th Air Refueling Squadron: 25 November 1953 – 11 May 1956 (detached 10 February – 1 June 1954; 4 July – 15 October 1954)
- Peterson Field, Colorado, 12 October 1944
- Pocatello AAF, Idaho, 25 October 1944
- Bruning AAF, Nebraska, 15 November – 18 December 1944
- Kahuku Army Airfield, Hawaii Territory, 6 January 1945
- Mokuleia Army Airfield, Hawaii Territory, 25 February 1945
- Bellows Field, Hawaii Territory, 16 September – 25 November 1945
- Turner AFB, Georgia, (1953–1956)
- Hill AFB, Utah, 1973–1982; 2005–present
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- 508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing Factsheet