By Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 21, 2015
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. 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.
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)
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
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
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.”