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332nd Air Expeditionary Wing
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing emblem.jpg
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing emblem
Active 1941–1946; 2002-2012
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Provisional Expeditionary Wing
Part of United States Air Forces Central
Garrison/HQ Southwest Asia
Motto(s) Tuskegee Airmen...The Legend Continues
Colors Air Force Blue and Yellow
Engagements World War II
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Colonel Paul Beineke
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
Burton M. Field

Balad Airmen honor fallen on Memorial Day 2007

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing (332 AEW) is a Provisional Air Expeditionary WIng of Air Combat Command, currently inactive. It was inactivated on 8 May 2012.

The Wings 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group (332 EOG), is the direct descendant organization of the World War II 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskegee Airmen. The title Tuskegee Airmen refers to all who trained in the groundbreaking Army Air Forces African-American pilot training program at Moton Field and Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama between 1941 and 1945. It includes pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.


The 332 AEW conducted a number of missions. The F-16 aircraft were responsible for maintaining air supremacy in the skies over Iraq. Additionally, the A-10 and F-16 aircraft performed close air support missions as required. The C-130 unit provided required airlift within Iraq and to other US Central Command bases as necessary. The HH-60 Pave Hawks performed combat search and rescue missions. Finally, the MQ-1 Predators and MC-12W Liberty aircraft provided tactical surveillance and reconnaissance within Iraq. Additionally, the unit operated the Air Force Theater Hospital and served as the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility.

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing's heritage is tied to the famous 332d Fighter Group led by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. Its mission and traditions were carried out by the airmen at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. With the motto "Tuskegee Airmen...The Legend Continues," the wing pioneered modern warfare tactics using advanced weapons systems such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, and the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for close air support and traditional and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.


At Joint Base Balad (JBB), the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing consisted of the following major groups:

  • 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Group
Provided combat-ready aircraft and munitions to the Air Component Commander in support of Coalition forces throughout Iraq. Was responsible for on- and off-aircraft maintenance and sortie generation in support of F-16 Fighting Falcons, C-130 Hercules, HH-60 Pave Hawks, MQ-1 Predators, and the MC-12 Liberty, as well as launch, recovery and servicing support for military and commercial transient aircraft
  • 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group
Consisted of approximately 357 professional and support staff from all four armed services working alongside civilians and contractors that provided state-of-the-art medical care. The medical group was the only air-evacuation hospital in Iraq and provided a full-spectrum of medical services for Coalition and U.S. forces throughout the Iraqi theater of operations.
  • 332nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group
Enabled sustained and protected combat capability for US Air Forces Central, 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, Joint Base Balad, and detachments. The 332 EMSG provided expeditionary communications, services, civil engineering, force protection, personnel accountability, and logistics-readiness operations in support of DoD's busiest single-runway operation. In addition, the 332 EMSG provided base-life support to the approximately 26,000 servicemembers and civilians on JBB.
  • 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group
See 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group article.

The emblem of the 532 ESFS.

  • 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group
The Security Forces Group was activated on 24 July 2008, at JBB, Iraq.[1] Its activation marked the first time the Air Force deployed more than 900 people within a single unit to defend an air base in combat since the Vietnam War. The members of the 332d ESFG work side-by-side with soldiers of the U.S. and Iraqi armies to provide physical security in the area around JBB. The Group was made up of two squadrons; the 332 Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron provided base law enforcement and flight line security and the 532 Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron provided security at the three entry control points to the base as well as a quick reaction force for "outside-the-wire" missions. The group was initially led by Colonel Decknick who was the prior Group commander for the 820th Security Forces Group.[1]


See: 332nd Air Expeditionary Group for the World War II fighter unit.

Established in July 1947 under the United States Air Force's Wing /Base reorganization (Hobson Plan), with the 332d Fighter Group becoming the operational component of the wing, controlling its flying resources. the 332d Fighter Wing replaced the 447th Composite Group and 580th Air Service Group. The new wing participated in firepower demonstrations, gunnery training, and operational missions to maintain combat proficiency. The African-American segregated unit was inactivated in July 1949 as a result of Executive Order 9981. EO 9981 abolished racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces. The 332d's personnel and equipment were re-assigned to other units.

Air Expeditionary Wing[]

In front of F-16C block 25 #84-1253 from the 179th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Minnesota ANG, airmen pose for a 'family' photograph at Balad AB, on 20 March 2007.

In August 2002, the Air Combat Command (ACC) 332d Air Expeditionary Group at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, was authorized to expand to a Wing. The 332d Air Expeditionary Wing was activated as a provisional organization on 12 August 2002 by ACC, with the 332d AEG becoming the Wing's flying organization. A support organization was also activated as part of the 332 AEW, consisting of the 332d Expeditionary Maintenance Group; 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group; 332d Expeditionary Medical Group, and the 332d Expeditionary Security Forces Group.

Employing A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and HC-130 Hercules aircraft the 332d AEW initially participated in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), playing a critical role in the defeat of the Taliban regime and later providing key air support for Afghanistan's provisional government.

After the initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) the 332nd was moved to Tallil Air Base, Iraq. To better position airpower within the theater of operations, the 332nd AEW was moved to Balad AB, Iraq, in February 2004. In June 2008, the base was officially renamed Joint Base Balad. The new name was indicative of the joint nature of operations by all branches of service at the base.

During the height of operations, the 332d AEW contained nine groups—including four geographically separated groups at Ali AB, Sather AB, Al Asad AB, and Kirkuk AB—as well as numerous detachments and operating locations scattered throughout Iraq. The wing had as many as two F-16 fighter squadrons, a Predator UAV squadron, a C-130 squadron, a combat search and rescue squadron (HH-60s), a MC-12 Liberty squadron, and a Control and Reporting Center.

At its peak strength, the 332 AEW consisted of over 8,000 personnel, including 1,800 Airmen of the 732d Air Expeditionary Group (732 AEG), which provides oversight for Airmen who are operationally assigned to U.S. Army units at over 60 forward operating locations throughout Iraq.

During the drawdown of forces from Iraq, the 332nd AEW provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, armed overwatch and close air support to one of the largest logistics movements since World War II.

In support of the re-posture of U.S. forces, the wing continued to support U.S. Forces-Iraq after forward deploying to an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia in November 2011 so Joint Base Balad could be returned to the government of Iraq. And as the last U.S. convoy left Iraq on 18 Dec. 2011, it was the 332nd AEW's F-16s and MQ-1B Predators in the skies providing overhead watch.


  • Established as 332d Fighter Wing on 28 Ju1 1947
Organized on 15 Aug 1947
Discontinued on 28 Aug 1948
  • Activated on 28 Aug 1948
Inactivated on 1 Jul 1949
  • Re-designated as 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, 1 August 2002
Converted to provisional status and allocated to Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate any time after 1 August 2002
Re-activated on 12 August 2002
Inactivated on 8 May 2012


Attached to: First Air Force, 15 Jan-l Feb 1949
Attached to: United States Central Command Air Forces, 12 August 2002
Attached to: United States Air Forces Central, 5 August 2009-8 May 2012


  • 332nd Fighter Group, 15 August 1947 – 28 August 1948; 26 August 1948 – 1 July 1949
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, 12 August 2002 – 8 May 2012
  • 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Group
  • 332nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group
  • 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group
  • 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group
  • 332nd Expeditionary Communications Squadron




See also[]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff Sgt. Don Branum (28 July 2008). "Many Airmen, one mission: 'Defend the Base'". 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977 (Washington: USGPO, 1984)

External links[]

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