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332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Fact Sheet


The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing generates, executes and sustains combat air power in support of the AFCENT and CENTOM commanders.

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 332d Fighter Wing was established in 1947 and was inactivated in 1949.  More than 50 years later, the wing was redesignated the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing and activated by Air Combat Command in 2002 at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. 332d AEW 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 2016, The 332d AEW stood back up at its current undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Out of respect for the host nation, we are unable to disclose the location of the wing headquarters. Operational security and the fluid nature of our force composition prevents us from sharing where our aircraft are located within our theater of operations. The wing is equipped to host a wide array of airpower capabilities, including precision strike, aerial refueling, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, space, and combat search and rescue. Currently, the wing is primarily focused on providing support to Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

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.