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508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing

508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing
508th Aircraft Sustainment Wing emblem
Active 1944–1945; 1952–1956; 1973–1982; 2005–present
Country 23x15px United States
Branch 22x20px United States Air Force
Type Aircraft Support
Part of Air Force Material Command
Garrison/HQ Hill Air Force Base
Motto Knowledge and Courage

The 508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing (508 ASW) is a wing of the United States Air Force based out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The 508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing provides sustainment of existing systems as well as the acquisition of new and improved airpower capabilities. It serves all U.S. military services, civil agencies and multiple foreign countries. Support includes acquisition, modifications, modernization, engineering and technical, as well as maintenance, repair and planning.

The units heritage and lineage begins with the World War II 508th Fighter Group, which provided air defense of the Hawaiian Islands late in the war. During the Cold War, the Strategic Air Command 508th Fighter Escort Wing provided fighter escort for SAC strategic bombers in the 1950s; and the 508th Tactical Fighter Group trained Air Force Reserve pilots in "Wild Weasel" SAM suppression tactics in the 1970s.


  • 526th ICBM Systems Group
  • 508th Fighter Sustainment Group (508 FSG)
  • 558th Aircraft Sustainment Group (558 ACSG) formerly the 508th Mature Aircraft and Simulator Sustainment Group (508 MASSG)
  • 508th Attack Sustainment Squadron


File:508th SFW Republic F-84G-20-RE Thunderjet 51-1274 1953.jpg
508th Strategic Fighter Wing Republic F-84G-20-RE Thunderjet 51-1274 being IFR by Boeing KC-97F-55-BO Stratofreighter 51-263, 1953
File:508th-Strategic Fighter-Wing.png
Emblem of the 508th Fighter Group
Emblem of the 508th Strategic Fighter Wing
Emblem of the 508th Tactical Fighter Group
File:Hill F-105 24-ship formation.jpg
The 24-ship flyover formation, Diamonds on Diamonds, was used at the F-105 retirement at Hill Air Force Base in 1985

World War II

The 508th Fighter Group was constituted on 5 October 1944 and activated on 12 October at Peterson Field, Colorado. The group trained with P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft to provide very-long-range escort for B-29 Superfortress bombardment units in the Pacific Theater.

The lack of significant Japanese fighter defense by late 1944 caused a change of mission and the group was reassigned to Seventh Air Force in Hawaii in January 1945 and served as part of the defense force for the islands. In Hawaii, the group also trained replacement pilots for other organizations, repaired P-47's and P-51's received from combat units, and ferried aircraft to forward areas.

The unit was inactivated in Hawaii on 25 November 1945 when it replaced by the 15th Fighter Group.

Cold War

The 508th Fighter-Escort Wing was activated by Strategic Air Command in 1952. Its mission was to provide fighter escort for B-29 and B-50, and later B-36 intercontinental bombers. The Strategic Air Command was founded by men who had flown bombing raids against Germany during World War II. They usually encountered swarms of enemy fighters and knew the importance of having fighter escorts.

Advances in technology soon made fighter-escort wings obsolete. A single atomic bomb had more explosive power than all the bombs dropped during all of World War II, so only one of them could certainly destroy a target far more effectively than the large mass formations of World War II B-17s and B-24s. Thus SAC's missions were based on the use of an individual airplane, not a formation of them.

During its first postwar decade (1945–1955), SAC flew many B-29s left over from the war and later propeller-driven B-50s and B-36s. They were soon replaced by new jet bombers, the B-47 and B-52. The jet bombers flew so fast and so high that they were virtually immune from fighters. Plus the early jet F-84s and F-86s in SAC's fighter inventory couldn't keep up with them. The fighter-escort wings were no longer necessary, so they were either inactivated or assigned to other commands.

The wing deployed at Misawa AB, Japan, with the 319th Air Division to provide air defense, Feb~May 1953 and Feb~May 1954. It was inactivated on 11 May 1956.

Reactivated as a Tactical Air Command reserve group at Hill AFB, Utah in 1973 when the Air Force Reserve modernization program added fighter aircraft which resulted in the unit being activated as the 508th Tactical Fighter Group and being assigned F-105 Thunderchief aircraft which were returned from inactivated units being withdrawn from combat in Southeast Asia. Trained in Wild Weasel SAM suppression tactics. The unit changed from a group to a wing, inactivated, and the personnel and equipment were absorbed by the activating 419th Tactical Fighter Wing.


  • Constituted as 508th Fighter Group on 5 October 1944
Activated on 12 October 1944
Inactivated on 25 November 1945.
  • Established as 508th Fighter-Escort Wing on 19 June 1952.
Activated on 1 July 1952.
Redesignated 508th Strategic Fighter Wing on 20 January 1953.
Inactivated on 11 May 1956
  • Redesignated as 508th Tactical Fighter Group on 1 January 1973
Activated in the reserve on 1 January 1973
Inactivated on 1 October 1982
  • Redesignated 508th Aerospace Sustainment Wing on 31 January 2005
Activated on 4 March 2005


Attached to: 39th Air Division (Defense), 8 February – 13 May 1953; 12 February – 7 May 1954






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


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