Published March 01, 2018
The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing is comprised of the 332d Expeditionary Operations Group, 332d Expeditionary Maintenance Group, 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group, 332d Expeditionary Medical Group, 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group, and the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.
A Brief History of the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing
332d Fighter Group
The 332d history originates with the Tuskegee Airmen, the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. The name encompassed the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks and other support personnel for the pilots.
Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II.
Their primary missions were to escort bombers striking targets in Southern Europe. Eventually, they would fly as far as Berlin. Benjamin O. Davis, the first African-American to hold the rank of general in the U.S. Air Force, insisted his men stay close to the bombers they were escorting, rather than peeling off to pursue enemy fighters.
In February 1944, the 100th, 301st, and 302nd Pursuit Squadrons (Fighter Squadrons), comprising the 332nd Pursuit Group began flying combat operations in Italy as part of the Twelfth Air Force Fighter groups gave their aircraft’s tails a distinctive paint scheme, both for easy recognition and esprit de corps. The planes of the 332nd were painted red, which led to the group’s nickname, the "Red Tails."
332d Air Expeditionary Wing
The wing returned to service after the Air Force converted it to provisional status and redesignated it the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing. Air Combat Command activated the 332d in 2002 at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing helped enforce the no-fly zone in southern Iraq during Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and then went on to participate in Operation’s ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. During Iraqi Freedom, the wing moved to Tallil Air Base, Iraq in 2003 and then to Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2004 to provide airpower for the combatant commander. The wing participated in Operation NEW DAWN until being inactivated in May of 2012.
In May of 2014, the wing stood back up at an undisclosed location and in May 2016 moved to its current location in Southwest Asia. The wing includes a wide array of combat Air Force capabilities including aerial refueling, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, space, combat search and rescue, and precision strike, all in direct support of theater operations. The five groups that make up the wing are comprised of more than 2,200 total force Airmen who operate across three different countries. The wing operates F-15E, MQ-9, and KC-135R aircraft as well as HH-60G helicopters.
Campaign Streamers: Global War on Terrorism – Expeditionary; Iraq: Liberation of Iraq 2003, Transition of Iraq 2003-2004, Iraqi Governance 2004-2005, National Resolution 2005-2007, Iraqi Surge 2007-2008, Iraqi Sovereignty 2009-2010, New Dawn 2010-2011.
Decorations: Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor 19 Mar 03 - 1 May 03; Meritorious Unit Awards: 2 May 03 - 30 Apr 04, 1 May 04 - 30 Apr 05, 1 May 05 - 31 Jan 07, 1 Feb 07 - 31 Jan 08, 1 Feb 08 - 31 Jan 09, 1 Jun 09 - 31 May 10, 1 Jun 10 - 31 May 11, 15 May 15 - 2 May 16.
Bestowed Honors. Authorized to display honors earned by the 332d Expeditionary Operations Group prior to 15 Aug 1947.Service Streamers. World War II American Theater. Campaign Streamers. World War II: Rome Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley; Air Combat EAME Theater. Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Germany, 24 Mar 1945.