The 521st AMOW expedites warfighting and humanitarian efforts by the United States Air Force throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It provides all command and control, en route maintenance support and air transportation services for air mobility operations in its area of responsibility. It performs this through Aircraft Maintenance Units, Maintenance Operations Centers, Quality Assurance, Regional Training Center, fuel cell, Aerospace Ground Equipment, Forward Supply Location, and Maintenance Recovery Teams. It operates Air Terminal Operations Centers, providing passenger and fleet services, cargo processing, special handling, ramp services, and load planning.
The Wing is composed of two groups. These groups are assigned twelve squadrons and fourteen other geographically separated units.
The wing was originally constituted as the 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion The unit served as an aircraft warning unit in defense of the continental United States from 1942 to 1943. The battalion moved to England in 1944 where it provided communications support until the day after the Normandy landings when it moved to support the invading forces in France. It moved frequently to support elements of Ninth Air Force, arriving in Belgium in September and Germany in March 1945. It continued it mission during the occupation of Germany from 1945. At the end of 1945, the battalion was converted to an Air Corps unit, redesignated the 501st Tactical Control Group and its component companies replaced by Aircraft Control and Warning Squadrons. It provided radar coverage and navigational aid to allied aircraft flying over the U.S. Zone of Occupied Germany in 1946 and 1947. It was inactivated in 1947.
The unit was reactivated as the 501st Aircraft Control and Warning Group in 1949 to replace the 7402d Aircraft Control and Warning Group. Between 1949 and 1960, it provided tactical control systems, including aircraft control and warning facilities, passive detection devices and guidance units in central Europe. In 1952, it became a tactical control group again. In 1954, the group moved to Landstuhl Air Base. Starting in 1955, it and the 526th Tactical Control Group provided personnel for a provisional Tactical Control Wing, which it replaced as the 501st Tactical Control Wing in 1957 to provide radar and aircraft control for all of Twelfth Air Force. It operated the Tactical Control System to exercise operational control of offensive and defensive units in Europe. In the 1960s, its mission, personnel, and equipment were combined with those of the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, which was redesignated the 86th Air Division (Defense).
6th SHORAN Beacon Squadron, 18 December 1957 - 1 May 1958
601st Tactical Control Squadron (later 601st Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron, 31 December 1945 - 25 September 1947, 10 June 1949 - 18 November 1960 (detached to Tactical Control Wing, Provisional 1955-1957)
602d Tactical Control Squadron (later 602d Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron), 31 December 1945 - 25 September 1947, 10 June 1949 - 18 November 1960 (detached to Tactical Control Wing, Provisional 1955-1957)
603d Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (later 603d Tactical Control Squadron, 603d Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron), 31 December 1945 - 25 Sep 1947, 10 June 1949 - 18 November 1960 (detached to Tactical Control Wing, Provisional 1955-1957)
604th Tactical Control Squadron (later 604th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron), 31 December 1945 - 25 September 1947, 10 June 1949 - 18 November 1960 (detached to Tactical Control Wing, Provisional 1955-1957)
Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L, ed. (1955). "Introduction". The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. III, Argument to V-E Day. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. xxxvi. LCCN48-3657. (Ninth Air Force operations in Europe)