460th Space Wing

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460th Space Wing
Air Force Space Command.png
460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing EC-47 ECW Aircraft.jpg
460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing EC-47 aircraft
Active1943–1945; 1966–1971; 1989–1990; 2001–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleSpace warning and defense
Size1,800 personnel[citation needed]
Part ofAir Force Space Command
Garrison/HQBuckley Air Force Base
Motto(s)Persistent Global Surveillance[citation needed]
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Devin Pepper[citation needed]
Insignia
460th Space Wing emblem (approved 3 December 2001)[1]460th Space Wing.png
460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing emblem (approved 30 August 1966)[2]460trw.jpg
460th Bombardment Group emblem[3]460th Bombardment Group - Emblem.png

The 460th Space Wing is located at Buckley Air Force Base, east of Aurora, Colorado The 460th delivers global infrared surveillance, provides worldwide missile warning and tracking for homeland defense purposes, and deploys personnel to combatant commanders worldwide.

The wing's first predecessor was activated as the 460th Bombardment Group during World War II. After training in the United States, it deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, where it participated in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany, and it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions. Following V-E Day, the squadron moved to Brazil, where it became part of Air Transport Command, returning troops to the United States. It was inactivated on 26 September 1945.

The second predecessor of the wing was activated in February 1966 as the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the first tactical reconnaissance wing in Southeast Asia. I performed visual, photographic and electronic reconnaissance until 1971, when United States forces were being withdrawn from Vietnam. The wing and group were consolidated into a single unit in 1984.

The consolidated unit was active as the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in South Korea from 1989 to 1990. In 2001, when the Air Force's expanding mission in space resulted in transforming Buckley Air National Guard Base into an active installation, it was designated the 460th Air Base Wing and activated to manage support functions at Buckley. Three years later, it added an operational mission and its current designation.

Organization[edit]

The 460th Wing is assigned to Air Force Space Command.[4] The wing is divided into three groups: the 460th Operations Group, the 460th Mission Support Group, and the 460th Medical Group.

The 460th Operations Group provides missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence, satellite command and control, and aerospace communications. The group operates the Defense Support Program (DSP) and Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites, providing global surveillance, tracking, and targeting.[4]
The 460th Mission Support Group provides personnel to support air expeditionary forces and homeland defense. Specific capabilities include force protection, human resources management, contracting, and logistics. It also maintains Buckley Air Force Base's infrastructure and environmental controls.[4]
The 460th Medical Group supports readiness for air expeditionary homeland defense missions by ensuring base personnel are medically qualified for deployment. The medical group also provides quick response services to air expeditionary forces and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as more traditional healthcare services such as optometry, wellness services and dental care.[4]

Mission[edit]

The 460th Space Wing provides national leadership, Unified Combatant Command commanders, troops in theater and intelligence communities information to formulate and adjust defense strategies, deter against global threats, and react to impending attacks. Space operators use a network of satellite ground stations around the world to communicate with SBIRS and DSP spacecraft.[5]

Space-Based Infrared System[edit]

SBIRS consists of six dedicated satellites operating in geosynchronous orbit, and sensors on two host satellites operating in a highly elliptical orbit. SBIRS will replace the DSP satellites and is intended primarily to provide enhanced strategic and theater ballistic missile warning capabilities.

Defense Support Program[edit]

The DSP satellites are in geosynchronous orbits, and are equipped with infrared sensors operating through a wide-angle Schmidt camera. The entire satellite spins so that the linear sensor array in the focal plane scans over the earth in a radial pattern. The last DSP satellite was launched in 2007 aboard the first operational flight of the Delta IV Heavy rocket.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The 460th Bomb Group flew B-24H Liberators with tails marked in yellow and black, affixed with a black square.[6]

The first predecessor of the wing was the 460th Bombardment Group, first activated at Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico on 1 July 1943,[7] with the 760th, 761st, 762d, and 763d Bombardment Squadrons assigned.[8] A cadre of the unit's air echelon went to Orlando Army Air Base, Florida for specialized training with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics. In August, the unit was filled out with ground personnel at Kearns Army Air Base, Utah, then moved to Chatham Army Air Field, Georgia to complete its training with Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers.[9] Upon completing training, the squadron departed for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in January 1944.[7]

The group completed its deployment to Spinazzola Airfield, Italy by the middle of February 1944, and entered the strategic bombing campaign against Germany the following month, with an attack on a marshalling yard and docks at Metković, Yugoslavia.[10] It attacked oil refineries and storage facilities, railroads, industrial areas, including aircraft manufacturing plants in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Yugoslavia.[7]

On 26 July 1944, group formation led the 55th Bombardment Wing on an attack against a airfield and aircraft manufacturing plant at Zwolfaxing, Austria. It attacked the target through heavy enemy flak and adverse weather, for which it was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.[7]

The group was occasionally diverted from the strategic bombing mission to perform air interdiction and close air support missions. In August 1944, it supported Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France by attacking submarine pens, marshalling yards and artillery batteries in the area of the amphibious landings. It struck lines of communications, railroads, ammunition dumps and other targets in connection with Operation Grapeshot, the allied offensive in Northern Italy.[7] The group flew its last mission against a target in northern Italy on 26 April 1945.[10]

After V-E Day, the 460th Group and its squadrons were transferred to the South Atlantic Division, Air Transport Command, moving to Parnamirim Field, near Natal, Brazil to participate in the Green Project. Green Project was aimed at transporting 50,000 military personnel a month from the European and Mediterranean Theaters back to the United States, with priority for those that plans called for redeploying to the Pacific.[11]. The squadron's combat veterans proved none too happy with this assignment, [12] but continued supporting the project until inactivating on 26 September 1945.[8]

Vietnam War[edit]

See also: Tan Son Nhut Air Base
The Army Band plays Christmas music at the Tan Nhut Air Base during the holiday season. 22–29 Dec 1970

On 18 February 1966, the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was organized and entered the Vietnam War.[1] It supported 2d Air Division and the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV).

When it stood up, the 460th Wing, alone, was responsible for the entire reconnaissance mission, both visual and electronic reconnaissance, throughout the Southeast Asia (SEA) area of responsibility. On 18 February 1966 the 460th began with 74 aircraft of various types. By the end of June 1966, that number climbed to over 200 aircraft. On 15 October 1966, the 460th assumed responsibilities for all depot-level aircraft maintenance responsibility for all USAF organizations in South Vietnam.

Toward the end of 1966, the 460th's responsibilities changed. First, on 18 September 1966, the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was activated at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. After the 432d activated it took control of the reconnaissance squadrons in Thailand, and the 460th was no longer responsible for all air reconnaissance missions throughout SEA. However, the 460th provided the new 432d Wing with continued support in recovering McDonnell RF-101 Voodoo and McDonnell RF-4C Phantom II aircraft returning from high priority, high interest target missions.

Being one of two reconnaissance wings supporting SEA there were few military operations that did not involve the wing. Not only did the 460th provide electronic and photo reconnaissance, the Wing's electronic capabilities allowed it to provide electronic counter measure support to Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses returning from striking targets in North Vietnam. The Wing even gave support to the Cambodian military against the North Vietnam and Viet Cong forces, as well as support to U.S. units operating inside Cambodia.

As the Vietnamization Improvement and Moderization Program began, Vietnamese crews began flying with Douglas EC-47 crews from the 360th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron and 6994th Security Squadron on 8 May 1971, to get training on operating the aircraft and its systems. The wing was inactivated on 31 August 1971.[1]

Taegu Air Base[edit]

The 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Group flew RF-4C Phantom IIs in 1990

In January 1984, the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing and 460th Bombardment Group were consolidated into a single unit. In 1989 it was redesignated the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, and on 1 October 1989, reactivated at Taegu Air Base, South Korea.[1] Behind this activation was Pacific Air Forces's (PACAF) portion of Phase II of an Air Staff programming plan, Commando Flash.

Activating the 460th and relocating the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron with its RF-4C Phantom IIs from Kadena Air Base, Japan to Taegu accomplished several PACAF objectives. This activation maintained Taegu as a main operating base, allowed the RF-4C crews to train in their actual wartime operating area, placed reconnaissance aircraft near North Korea, and reduced the temporary duty costs for PACAF. Upon its activation, the 460th reported directly to 7th Air Force. During its time at Taegu, the group participated in several local and PACAF exercises designed to maintain the readiness of US forces stationed around the Korean demilitarized zone and other units designated as support units should North Korea invade South Korea again.

A year later, 1 October 1990, the 460th was inactivated along with the 15th Squadron. Some of the group's subordinate units remained active after the group's inactivation. The 460th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron remained active until 15 October 1990. On 1 July 1991, the 460th Combat Support Squadron finally inactivated.

Post Cold War era[edit]

On 1 October 2000, the United States Air Force assumed control of the former Buckley Air National Guard Base and assigned it to the 821st Space Group to oversee its operations. On 1 October 2001, the 460th Air Base Wing was reactivated to assume installation support responsibilities for what became Buckley Air Force Base.[13]

Under the 460th's command, the base underwent an extensive modernization program to improve the base's support facilities. The 460th oversaw construction of one of the largest Defense Commissary Agency base commissary and Army and Air Force Exchange Service base exchange complexes in the Air Force, as well as a fitness center, dorms, and other housing areas for Buckley Airmen.[13]

On 19 August 2004, the wing was redesignated as the 460th Space Wing. It assumed command of the base's satellite missile warning mission from the 21st Space Wing, while retaining installation host and support functions. Today, the 460th delivers global infrared surveillance, tracking and missile warning for theater and homeland defense and provides combat commanders with expeditionary warrior Airmen.[4]

Lineage[edit]

460th Bombardment Group

  • Established as 460th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 July 1943
Redesignated 460th Bombardment Group, Heavy c. 3 September 1944
Inactivated on 26 September 1945
  • Consolidated with the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing as the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing on 31 January 1984[1]

460th Space Wing

  • Established as the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing and activated on 2 February 1966 (not organized)
Organized on 18 February 1966
Inactivated on 31 August 1971
  • Consolidated with the 460th Bombardment Group on 31 January 1984
  • Redesignated 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Group on 19 September 1989
Activated on 1 October 1989
Inactivated on 1 October 1990
  • Redesignated 460th Air Base Wing on 26 April 2001
Activated on 1 October 2001
Redesignated 460th Space Wing on 19 August 2004[1]

Assignments[edit]

  • II Bomber Command, 1 July 1943
  • Second Air Force, 6 October 1943
  • I Bomber Command, c. 29 October 1943
  • 55th Bombardment Wing, c. 5 February 1944
  • South Atlantic Division, Air Transport Command, 15 June-26 September 1945
  • Pacific Air Forces, 2 February 1966 (not organized)
  • 2d Air Division, 18 February 1966
  • Seventh Air Force, 1 April 1966 – 31 August 1971
  • Seventh Air Force, 1 October 1989 – 1 October 1990
  • Fourteenth Air Force, 1 October 2001 – present[1]

Components[edit]

Groups

  • 460th Operations Group: 19 August 2004 – present[1]

Squadrons

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

Awards and campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 26 July 1944 Austria 460th Bombardment Group[1]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 18 February 1966-30 June 1967 Southeast Asia 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 1 September 1967-10 July 1968 Southeast Asia 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 11 July 1968-31 August 1969 Southeast Asia 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Presidential Unit Citation 1 February 1971-31 March 1971 Southeast Asia 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 July 1969-30 June 1970 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 July 1970-30 June 1971 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
AFOUA with Valor.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device 1 July 1970-30 June 1971 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 1989-1 October 1990 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Group[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2001-1 October 2002 460th Air Base Wing[1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 2 October 2002-2 October 2003 460th Air Base Wing[1]
VGCP Streamer.jpg Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm 1 April 1966-31 August 1971 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Offensive, Europe c. 11 February 1944–5 June 1944 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Combat, EAME Theater c. 11 February 1944–11 May 1945 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rome-Arno c. 11 February 1944–9 September 1944 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Central Europe 22 March 1944–21 May 1945 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Normandy 6 June 1944–24 July 1944 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Northern France 25 July 1944–14 September 1944 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Southern France 15 August 1944–14 September 1944 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png North Apennines 10 September 1944–4 April 1945 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rhineland 15 September 1944–21 March 1945 460th Bombardment Group[1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Po Valley 3 April 1945–8 May 1945 460th Bombardment Group[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air 18 February 1966–28 June 1966 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive 29 June 1966–8 March 1967 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II 9 March 1967–31 March 1968 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air/Ground 22 January 1968–7 July 1968 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III 1 April 1968–31 October 1968 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV 1 November 1968–22 February 1969 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Tet 1969/Counteroffensive 23 February 1969–8 June 1969 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 9 June 1969–31 October 1969 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 3 November 1969–30 April 1970 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1 May 1970–30 June 1970 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Southwest Monsoon 1 July 1970–30 November 1970 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Commando Hunt V 1 December 1970–14 May 1971 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
Streamer VS.PNG Commando Hunt VI 15 May 1971–31 July 1971 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing[1]
World War II - American Campaign Streamer (Plain).png American Theater without inscription 15 June 1945–25 September 1945 460th Bombardment Group[1]
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal streamer.png Global War on Terror Service Medal 11 September 2001– 460th Air Base Wing (later 460th Space Wing)[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av Bailey, Carl E. (23 May 2018). "Factsheet 460 Space Wing (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  2. ^ Ravenstein, pp. 253–254
  3. ^ Watkins, p. 106
  4. ^ a b c d e "Buckley AFB 460th Space Wing Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  5. ^ "Welcome to Buckley Air Force Base". Archived from the original on 23 June 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  6. ^ Martin Rosenkranz. "The 15th US Army Air Force in July 1944". Retrieved 7 October 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d e Maurer, Combat Units, p. 335
  8. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 741-743
  9. ^ Glantzburg, Hughes. "460th Bombardment Group (H): History of the 460th Bombardment Group". 15af.com. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b Glantzburg, Hughes. "460th Bombardment Group (H): 460th Bombardment Group Targets 1944-1945" (PDF). 15af.com. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  11. ^ Heck, pp. 216-217
  12. ^ Heck, p. 219
  13. ^ a b "History of Buckley Air Force Base". Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2008.

Bibliography[edit]

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

External links[edit]