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407th Air Expeditionary Group

407th Air Expeditionary Group

407th Air Expeditionary Group

MISSION

The 407th Air Expeditionary Group generates, executes, and sustains combat airpower and combat search and rescue forces across the Levant

VISION

The 407th AEG will deliver combat airpower through precision strikes, responsive world-class combat search and rescue, and proactive integration with coalition forces to destroy Da'esh. We will sustain the force by developing agile combat support relationships to harmonize a fully integrated team.

PRIORITIES

Integrate Airpower

Provide Responsive CSAR

Deliver Agile Combat Support

Build Relationships within the AEW and Coalition Partners

Empower Innovative Airmen

Legacy of the 407th

The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing is a direct descendent of the 332d Pursuit Group, tracing its legacy to the legendary Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Tuskegee Airmen is the name given to members of the U.S. Army Air Force units in World War II that were comprised primarily of African American flyers and maintenance crews. The group compiled an impressive record, primarily in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, despite facing frequent resistance to their presence in the formerly all-white Army Air Corps. Although the best-known Tuskegee Airmen were the fighter pilots of the 332nd Pursuit Group (99th, 100th, 301st, and 302nd fighter squadrons), the 477th Bombard Group (the first black bomber group) was also part of the Tuskegee Airmen. Pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance, support staff, and instructors all played a role in creating the historic legacy.

These incredible Airmen, went on to form the core of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, which entered World War II in June 1943. Assigned as bomber escorts, the "Red Tails" were known to have never lost a bomber to attacking enemy aircraft. On March 24, 1945, an African American newspaper, the Chicago Defender, ran an article claiming that in over 200 missions, the Tuskegee Airmen had never lost to enemy aircraft any bomber they had escorted. It wasn’t true, but the story became widespread and was believed until the 21st century when comparisons of flight logs, mission reports and bomber losses were made. It was discovered a total of 27 bombers they escorted had been shot down by enemy aircraft. However, the average number of bombers lost by other escort groups of the Fifteenth Air Force was 46, nearly double the loss rate of bombers protected by the Red Tails.

On March 23, 1943, the 407th Bombardment Group was activated at Drew Field, Florida, before being re-designated as the 407th Fighter-Bomber Group on August 15, 1943. From re-designation until April 1, 1944, the 407th FBG flew the A-24 Banshee, the A-36 Invader, the P-51D Mustang and the P-47 Thunderbolt, moving throughout Florida and Texas before being disestablished.

The 407th FBG was re-established as the 407th Strategic Fighter Wing (SFW) and activated on December 18, 1953, in Great Falls, Montana. The wing consisted of the 407th Air Refueling Squadron’s KB-29 Superfortress tankers and F-84G Thunderjets from the 515th, 516th and 517th Strategic Fighter Squadrons. Also attached to the wing was the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron with RF-84K Thunderjets. From August to November 1954, the 407th SFW deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, providing air defense of Northern Japan. After returning to the United States, the fighter squadrons replaced the F-84Gs with the faster swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreaks.  Following the swap, the 407th SFW remained at Great Falls, replacing thee KB-29s with KC-97s to provide long-range fighter escort and refueling for B-36 Peacemaker and B-50 Superfortress bombers. The 407th SFW was inactivated on July 1, 1957, as the strategic fighter doctrine was phased out of use.

On Nov. 19, 1998, the Red Tail tradition continued when the 332d Air Expeditionary Group was provisioned followed by activation on Dec. 1, in Southwest Asia. The 332d AEG’s mission subsequently evolved and grew to reflect the Expeditionary Air Force concept of a consolidated force in a forward location. The package included Block 40 F-16s or F-15Es, the A-10s and the F-16CJs. That mix of aircraft, including HH-60G rescue helicopters, gave the 332d AEG the ability to conduct any Operation Southern Watch mission. Its primary mission was to monitor a no-fly zone for Operation Southern Watch. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the 332d AEG participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, playing a critical role in the defeat of the Taliban regime and later providing key air support for Afghanistan's provisional government.

With the surge of forces into the region in late 2002 in preparation for Operation Iraqi Freedom, a full 332d Air Expeditionary Wing was established in Southwest Asia to coordinate operations. The 332d AEG was assigned to the 332d AEW and operated in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the “Shock and Awe” campaign, moving first to Tallil Air Base, Iraq in 2003, and then on to Balad Air Base in 2004. It was also at this time that the 407th FSW was reactivated and re-designated as the 407th Air Expeditionary Group on April 14, 2003 at Talil Air Base, Iraq.

In support of the re-posture of U.S. forces, the 332d AEW continued to support U.S. Forces-Iraq after forward deploying to an undisclosed location in November 2011 so Joint Base Balad could be returned to the government of Iraq. Following the closure of Joint Base Balad, the 407th AEG was inactivated on Dec. 16, 2011.

In May 2015 the 407th AEG was reactivated and joined the 332d AEW operating out of an undisclosed location in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. The group has been comprised of various fighter squadrons, including the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and 14th EFS from Misawa Air Base, the 77th EFS and 55th EFS from Shaw Air Force Base and most recently, the 480th EFS from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

On June 15, 2016, the 407th AEG moved once again where it continues to take the fight to the enemy.