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Answering nation’s call: 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing reactivation

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing guidon was unfurled during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia May 19, 2015. The 332nd AEW has a distinguished lineage, which includes the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, the famed Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the Red Tails. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing guidon was unfurled during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia May 19, 2015. The 332nd AEW has a distinguished lineage, which includes the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, the famed Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the Red Tails. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

U.S. Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten,  Commander of the Ninth Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force, passes the guidon to Col. Michael Koscheski, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia May 19, 2015. The 332nd AEW activated as the only combat wing within the Ninth AETF-L. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

U.S. Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, Commander of the Ninth Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force, passes the guidon to Col. Michael Koscheski, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia May 19, 2015. The 332nd AEW activated as the only combat wing within the Ninth AETF-L. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

U.S. Col. Michael Koscheski, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, speaks during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia May 19, 2015. The 332nd AEW activated as the only combat wing within the Ninth AETF-L. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt Col. Ramon De Jesus)

U.S. Col. Michael Koscheski, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, speaks during an activation and assumption of command ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia May 19, 2015. The 332nd AEW activated as the only combat wing within the Ninth AETF-L. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt Col. Ramon De Jesus)

Photo, courtesy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Photo, courtesy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

RAMITELLI, Italy -- (From left) Lt. Dempsey W. Morgran, Lt. Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelron Jr., Capt. Andrew D. Turner and Lt. Clarence P. Lester were pilots with the 332nd Fighter Group.  The Airmen with the elite, all-black fighter group were better known as Tuskegee Airmen.  (U.S. Air Force photo)

RAMITELLI, Italy -- (From left) Lt. Dempsey W. Morgran, Lt. Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelron Jr., Capt. Andrew D. Turner and Lt. Clarence P. Lester were pilots with the 332nd Fighter Group. The Airmen with the elite, all-black fighter group were better known as Tuskegee Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Southwest Asia --

Against all odds, Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Wing trained for combat against our enemies. Many know these men more commonly as part of the African-American pilot training program, the Tuskegee Airmen.

In July 1942, the Tuskegee Airmen piloted the 332nd Fighter Group into World War II. This group of pioneers is credited with more than 15,000 combat sorties, destroying more than 261 German aircraft in the air and on the ground and earning more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 744 Air Medals.  The 332 FG was later inactivated in 1949.

Continuing the legend, the 332nd AEW reactivated in 2002, dominating the skies over Iraq until 2012. 

Today, the wing is once again answering the nation’s call.

Col. Mike Kocheski assumed command of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, redesignated from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, during an activation ceremony at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, May 19, 2015.

“Members of the 332nd AEW are a world-class team of fighting warriors who have done the brunt of the work to stand the wing up,” said Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, Commander of the Ninth Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force.

Following Gersten’s speech, the 332nd AEW guidon was uncased, unfurled and passed to Col. Michael Kocheski, signifying the reactivation and his assumption of command.

“We are standing up a new wing, a traditional Air Expeditionary Wing,” said Kocheski. “It’s large and expanding in the terms of mission sets.”

The wing will eventually incorporate a rescue group to support Operation Inherent Resolve within the wing’s area of operation. Then the wing will also look to add an air advisory group to assist the Iraqi air force, Iraqi army and aviation air defense grow and evolve.

With an expanding mission set and the work to be done, Kocheski and Gersten stressed for Airmen to continue the excellent work they have been doing and thanked them for their support in the standup of the wing.

“I look forward to the next year, working with the coalition partners, Marines and getting to know each and every one of you,” said Gersten. “We’ve come a long way, but there’s much more to be done.”