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379th Air Expeditionary Wing

379th Air Expeditionary Wing
379th Air Expeditionary Wing emblem
Active 1953–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Air Expeditionary
Role Various
Garrison/HQ Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
Motto DILIGENTIA ET ACCURATIO – Precision and accuracy
Engagements Operation Desert Storm; Operation Enduring Freedom; Operation Iraqi Freedom
Brig. Gen. Darren Hartford[1]
Eugene E. Habiger

The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing (379 AEW) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command. As a provisional unit, it may be activated or inactivated at any time.

The Wing is one of the largest, most diverse expeditionary wings in the Air Force, providing combat airpower and support for the Global War on Terrorism in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and through support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. The wing and its associate units operate more than 100 aircraft, making the base a large hub for humanitarian airlift activity while providing mission-essential combat power, aeromedical evacuation and intelligence support for three theaters of operations.

During World War II, the Wing's predecessor unit, the 379th Bombardment Group was a VIII Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England. Assigned to RAF Kimbolton in early 1943, the group flew more sorties than any other bomb group in the Eighth Air Force, and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other group. The combat record of the 379th was the most successful of all the Eighth Air Force heavy bomber groups, receiving two Distinguished Unit Citations. Active for over 50 years, the 379th Bombardment Wing was a component organization of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War, as a strategic bombardment wing.


File:379th Expeditionary Medical Group perform a retreat ceremony 2006-03-24.jpg
Airmen from the honor guard and the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group perform a retreat ceremony in 2006
File:Boeing B-52H-140-BW (SN 60-0017) 061026-F-1234S-023.jpg
A Boeing B-52H (SN 60-0017), the type assigned to the 379th Bomb Wing at Wurthsmith AFB during the 1960s and 1970s
File:Boeing B-52G in flight 061026-F-1234S-020.jpg
A B-52G in flight. Note the external wing pylons and larger bomb bays to accommodate conventional bombs

Aircraft Assigned


For additional history and lineage, see 379th Air Expeditionary Operations Group

B-47 era

Emblem of the 379th Bombardment Wing

The wing was first activated as the 379th Bombardment Wing, Medium on 1 November 1955 at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida (replacing the 4276th Air Base Squadron). From 1 November 1955 to 31 May 1956 the unit was attached to the 813th Air Division at Pinecastle Air Force Base, Florida. Its operational squadrons were the 524th, 525th 526th and 527th Bomb Squadrons. Upon activation, the unit was bestowed the honors, history and colors of the World War II Eighth Air Force 379th Bombardment Group.

In April 1956, the wing began training for air refueling and strategic bombardment operations with the B-47E and KC-97G. It was an assigned unit to the 823d Air Division at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, from 1 June 1956 to 9 January 1961. During this time, the wing was attached to Sidi Slimane Air Base, French Morocco, from 6 March to 12 May 1957 during a REFLEX deployment coming under the control of SAC's 5th Air Division. Beginning in October 1960, the wing began transferring its B-47s to other SAC wings and became non-operational.

B-52 era

The 379th was reassigned to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan without personnel or equipment in January 1961, assuming the aircraft, personnel and equipment of the discontinued 4026th Strategic Wing. The 4026th was a SAC Major Command controlled (MAJCON) wing that had been organized on 1 August 1958. On 15 July 1960, the 4026th was assigned its first operational unit, the 920th Air Refueling Squadron equipped with Boeing KC-135A Stratotankers. The 4026th was established by SAC in a program to disburse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike.[3] One half of the wing's aircraft were maintained on fifteen-minute alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike.[4] However, it never equipped with B-52s before being replaced by the 379th. The 853d Medical Group, 910th Air Refueling Squadron and the 67th Munitions Maintenance Squadron transferred to the 379th when it replaced the 4026th, but the remaining support units of the 4026th were discontinued along with the wing.[5]

With the B-47 being programmed for retirement, and in order to retain the lineage of 379th, Headquarters SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue the 4026th Strategic Wing and to activate an AFCON unit which could carry a lineage and history. SAC discontinued the 4026th and in its place the newly redesignated 379th Bombardment Wing, Heavy was moved from Homestead along with its 524th Bombardment Squadron on 9 January 1961, assuming the resources of the inactivated 4026th. The 379th immediately resumed training for strategic bombardment and air refueling operations.

On 9 May 1961, the 379th took delivery of SAC's first B-52H, equipped with TF33 turbofan engines and M61 Vulcan 20mm defensive armament. By the end of June, it was fully equipped with the H series of the Stratofortress. However, these early planes were not equipped with the terrain avoidance radar designed for this type and had to be retrofitted the following year.[6]

Personnel and KC-135 tankers from the 379th were deployed to forward bases in the Pacific to support combat operations over Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1975, however its B-52H aircraft remained at Wurtsmith on nuclear alert.

In 1977, the 379th exchanged their B-52Hs for the conventional bomb capable B-52G. In 1989, the Air Force selected Wurtsmith as one of seven bases that would house LGM-118A Peacekeeper ICBM Peacekeeper Rail Garrison. A Rail Garrison would address the survivability problem by which 25 trains, each with two missiles, would use the national railroad system to conceal themselves. It was intended that this system would become operational in late 1992, but budgetary constraints and the changing international situation led to it being scrapped.

Modern era

Retirement of the B-52G began in the late 1980s, however the Gulf War of 1990–1991 resulted in a temporary delay in the inactivation of B-52G units. Wurtsmith-based B-52s were flown on missions against Iraq staged out of Prince Abdullah AB in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These planes were part of the 1708th Bombardment Wing (P)', a provisional wing formed from B-52s out of Barksdale, Castle, Wurtsmith, and others. The planes arrived at dawn on the first day of the air war.

One plane flew 29 missions out of Jeddah, the most of any bomber crew in the theater. During the Gulf War, 379th Bomb Wing aircraft carried the "Triangle K" tail flash in honor of their World War II predecessors and heritage.

The 379th Bombardment Wing was inactivated on 30 June 1993 as a result of the 1991 Base Realignment and Closure process which closed Wurtsmith AFB. On the overcast foggy morning of 15 December 1992, the last B-52, 57–6492, Old Crow Express, was flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.


  • Constituted as the 379th Bombardment Wing, Medium on 23 March 1953
Activated on 1 November 1955
Redesignated 379th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 9 January 1961
Inactivated on 30 June 1993
  • Redesignated 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and converted to provisional status on 4 December 2001


Attached to 813th Air Division, 1 November 1955 – 31 May 1956
Attached to 5th Air Division, 6 March-12 May 1957


  • 379th Bombardment Wing – Deputy Commander for Maintenance
    • 379th Airborne Missile Maintenance Squadron
    • 379th Armament & Electronics Maintenance Squadron
      • (Renamed in 1968:) 379th Avionics Maintenance Squadron
    • 379th Field Maintenance Squadron
    • 379th Periodic Maintenance Squadron
      • (Renamed in 1960:) 379th Organizational Maintenance Squadron
    • 67th Munitions Maintenance Squadron
      • (Replaced 30 September 1972:) 379th Munitions Maintenance Squadron
  • 379th Combat Support Group
    • 379th Combat Defense Squadron
      • (Renamed in 1968:) 379th Security Police Squadron
    • 379th Civil Engineering Squadron
    • 379th Services Squadron
    • 379th Supply Squadron
    • 379th Transportation Squadron
    • USAF Hospital, Wurtsmith


  • Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, 1 November 1955
  • Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, 9 January 1961 – 30 June 1993



  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (for the period 1 July 1970 to 30 June 1971)
  • Omaha Trophy for the best aircraft or missile organization in the Strategic Air Command
  • Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command, Flying Wing of the Year Award (1971)
  • SAC Charles D. Trail Materiel Award
  • Second Air Force Sweeney Award
  • Second Air Force Martensen Award
  • Fairchild Trophy for the best strategic bombardment wing in SAC (1987)
  • SAC Proud Shield bombing and navigation competition (1987)
  • Air Force Meritorious Unit Award (for the periods 1 September 2003 to 31 May 2004, and 1 June 2005 to 31 May 2006)

See also

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  1. ^
  2. ^ Gerald Sonnenberg, Air Force announces integration, information award winners, 15 June 2006, Air Force Communications Agency Public Affairs
  3. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), Vol 1, History of Strategic Air Command, Jan-Jun 1957 (Secret)". Air Force History Index. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), History of the Strategic Bomber since 1945 (Top Secret, downgraded to Secret)". Air Force History Index. 1 April 1975. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ See units listed in Mueller, pp. 611–615
  6. ^ Knaack, p. 285


12px This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links