332d Air Expeditionary Wing

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332d Air Expeditionary Wing
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing emblem.jpg
332d Air Expeditionary Wing emblem
Active1941–1946; 2002–2012; 2015-
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force
TypeProvisional Expeditionary Wing
Part ofUnited States Air Forces Central
Garrison/HQSouthwest Asia
Motto(s)Tuskegee Airmen...The Legend Continues
ColorsAir Force Blue and Yellow
EngagementsWorld War II
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
Burton M. Field
Robin Rand
Frank Gorenc
Balad Airmen honor fallen on Memorial Day 2007

The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing (332 AEW) is a Provisional Wing of Air Combat Command, currently active. It was last inactivated on 8 May 2012, and most recently reactivated on 19 May 2015.

The Wing's 332d Expeditionary Operations Group (332 EOG), is the direct descendant organization of the World War II 332d Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen. The title Tuskegee Airmen refers to all who trained in the groundbreaking Army Air Forces African-American pilot training program at Moton Field and Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama between 1941 and 1945. It includes pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.


The 332 AEW conducted a number of missions. The F-16 aircraft were responsible for maintaining air supremacy in the skies over Iraq. Additionally, the A-10 and F-16 aircraft performed close air support missions as required. The C-130 unit provided required airlift within Iraq and to other US Central Command bases as necessary. The HH-60 Pave Hawks performed combat search and rescue missions. Finally, the MQ-1 Predators and MC-12W Liberty aircraft provided tactical surveillance and reconnaissance within Iraq. Additionally, the unit operated the Air Force Theater Hospital and served as the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility.

The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing's heritage is tied to the famous 332d Fighter Group led by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. Its mission and traditions were carried out by the airmen at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. With the motto "Tuskegee Airmen...The Legend Continues," the wing pioneered modern warfare tactics using advanced weapons systems such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, and the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for close air support and traditional and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

In a departure from traditional Air Force missions, the 732d Air Expeditionary Group (732 AEG), provided command oversight and advocacy for up to 1,800 Air Force personnel who were tactically assigned to U.S. Army and Marine units throughout Iraq. Operating from Balad Air Base at its inception, six squadrons of the 732 AEG provided direct Joint and Coalition combat and combat support to and/or in lieu of US Army, Marine Corps and Iraqi Army and Police Forces at over 60 locations, including downtown Baghdad; Camp Speicher; Al Asad Air Base; Camp Anaconda (Balad Air Base); Camp Bucca; Camp Caldwell (Kirkush); Tallil Air Base; Mosul Air Base; Camp Rustamiyah; Baghdad International Airport; Green Zone; Kirkuk Air Base; Camp Hadithah; and Taji Air Base.


Current units

Former units

At Joint Base Balad (JBB), the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing consisted of the following major groups:

  • 332d Expeditionary Maintenance Group
Provided combat-ready aircraft and munitions to the Air Component Commander in support of Coalition forces throughout Iraq. Was responsible for on- and off-aircraft maintenance and sortie generation in support of F-16 Fighting Falcons, C-130 Hercules, HH-60 Pave Hawks, MQ-1 Predators, and the MC-12 Liberty, as well as launch, recovery and servicing support for military and commercial transient aircraft
  • 332d Expeditionary Medical Group
Consisted of approximately 357 professional and support staff from all four armed services working alongside civilians and contractors that provided state-of-the-art medical care. The medical group was the only air-evacuation hospital in Iraq and provided a full-spectrum of medical services for Coalition and U.S. forces throughout the Iraqi theater of operations.
  • 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group
Enabled sustained and protected combat capability for US Air Forces Central, 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, Joint Base Balad, and detachments. The 332 EMSG provided expeditionary communications, services, civil engineering, force protection, personnel accountability, and logistics-readiness operations in support of DoD's busiest single-runway operation. In addition, the 332 EMSG provided base-life support to the approximately 26,000 servicemembers and civilians on JBB.
  • 332d Expeditionary Operations Group
See 332d Expeditionary Operations Group article.
The emblem of the 532 ESFS.
  • 332d Expeditionary Security Forces Group
The Security Forces Group was activated on 24 July 2008, at JBB, Iraq.[4] Its activation marked the first time the Air Force deployed more than 900 people within a single unit to defend an air base in combat since the Vietnam War. The members of the 332d ESFG work side-by-side with soldiers of the U.S. and Iraqi armies to provide physical security in the area around JBB. The Group was made up of two squadrons; the 332d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron provided base law enforcement and flight line security and the 532d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron provided security at the three entry control points to the base as well as a quick reaction force for "outside-the-wire" missions. The group was initially led by Colonel Decknick who was the prior Group commander for the 820th Security Forces Group.[4]
  • 732 Air Expeditionary Group
The 732 AEG, originally the 732 Expeditionary Mission Support Group, was re-designated an air expeditionary group in December 2006 to reflect its theater-wide responsibilities. Operating from Balad Air Base, the six squadrons of the 732 AEG provided direct Joint and Coalition combat and combat support to and/or in lieu of US Army, Marine Corps and Iraqi Army and Police Forces at over 60 locations, including downtown Baghdad; Camp Speicher; Al Asad Air Base; Camp Anaconda; Camp Bucca; Camp Habbaniyah; Camp Caldwell (Kirkush); Tallil Air Base; Mosul Air Base; Camp Rustamiyah; Baghdad International Airport; Green Zone; Kirkuk Air Base; Camp Hadithah; and Taji Air Base. Colonel Larry Jackson served as its first commander through the height of the 2006 to 2007 military surge when the 732 AEG had over 1800 Airmen assigned, including security forces, RED HORSE and civil engineers, lawyers, truck drivers, interrogators, military working dog teams, intelligence specialists, explosive ordnance disposal specialist, logisticians, and airfield managers. The 732 AEG's motto was "Combat Airpower with a Hooah...Right Here, Right Now!"


See: 332d Air Expeditionary Group for the World War II fighter unit.

Established in July 1947 under the United States Air Force's Wing /Base reorganization (Hobson Plan), with the 332d Fighter Group becoming the operational component of the wing, controlling its flying resources. the 332d Fighter Wing replaced the 447th Composite Group and 580th Air Service Group. The new wing participated in firepower demonstrations, gunnery training, and operational missions to maintain combat proficiency. The African-American segregated unit was inactivated in July 1949 as a result of Executive Order 9981. EO 9981 abolished racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces. The 332d's personnel and equipment were reassigned to other units.

Air Expeditionary Wing[edit]

In front of F-16C block 25 #84-1253 from the 179th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Minnesota ANG, airmen pose for a 'family' photograph at Balad AB, on 20 March 2007.

In August 2002, the Air Combat Command (ACC) 332d Air Expeditionary Group at Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, was authorized to expand to a Wing. The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing was activated as a provisional organization on 12 August 2002 by ACC, with the 332d AEG becoming the Wing's flying organization. A support organization was also activated as part of the 332 AEW, consisting of the 332d Expeditionary Maintenance Group; 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group; 332d Expeditionary Medical Group, and the 332d Expeditionary Security Forces Group.

At its peak strength, the 332d AEW consisted of over 8,000 personnel, including 1,800 Airmen of the 732 AEG, provided operational oversight for Airmen tactically assigned to U.S. Army and Marine units at over 60 forward operating locations throughout Iraq.

Employing A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and HC-130 Hercules aircraft the 332d AEW initially participated in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), playing a critical role in the defeat of the Taliban regime and later providing key air support for Afghanistan's provisional government.

After the initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) the 332d was moved to Tallil Air Base, Iraq. To better position airpower within the theater of operations, the 332d AEW was moved to Balad AB, Iraq, in February 2004. In June 2008, the base was officially renamed Joint Base Balad. The new name was indicative of the joint nature of operations by all branches of service at the base.

During the height of operations, the 332d AEW contained nine groups—including four geographically separated groups at Ali AB, Sather AB, Al Asad AB, and Kirkuk AB—as well as numerous detachments and operating locations scattered throughout Iraq. The wing had as many as two F-16 fighter squadrons, a Predator UAV squadron, a C-130 squadron, a combat search and rescue squadron (HH-60s), a MC-12 Liberty squadron, and a Control and Reporting Center.

During the drawdown of forces from Iraq, the 332d AEW provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, armed overwatch and close air support to one of the largest logistics movements since World War II.

In support of the re-posture of U.S. forces, the wing continued to support U.S. Forces-Iraq after forward deploying to an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia in November 2011 so Joint Base Balad could be returned to the government of Iraq. And as the last U.S. convoy left Iraq on 18 Dec. 2011 with the 332d AEW's F-16s and MQ-1B Predators in the skies providing overhead watch.


  • Established as 332d Fighter Wing on 28 July 1947
Organized on 15 Aug 1947
Discontinued on 28 Aug 1948
  • Activated on 28 Aug 1948
Inactivated on 1 July 1949
  • Redesignated as 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, 1 August 2002
Converted to provisional status and allocated to Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate any time after 1 August 2002
Activated on 12 August 2002
Inactivated on 8 May 2012
Activated on 19 May 2015


Attached to: First Air Force, 15 Jan-l Feb 1949
Attached to: United States Central Command Air Forces, 12 August 2002-5 August 2009
Attached to: United States Air Forces Central, 5 August 2009-8 May 2012; 19 May 2015-present.






See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ "Initial Personnel Recovery Forces Arrive in Diyarbakir". DVIDS. December 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "Air Force identifies airman killed by storm in Jordan". Air Force Times. December 9, 2016.
  3. ^ "USARCENT command team travels region to focus on enduring partnership". US Army. 9 December 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b Staff Sgt. Don Branum (28 July 2008). "Many Airmen, one mission: 'Defend the Base'". 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  5. ^ http://www.afcent.af.mil/Units/386thAirExpeditionaryWing/News/Display/tabid/5446/Article/589374/answering-nations-call-332nd-air-expeditionary-wing-reactivation.aspx
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  7. ^ Source document for missing MUA = USAFCENT SPECIAL ORDER G-02991 dated 15 NOV 2010
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977 (Washington: USGPO, 1984)

External links[edit]