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38th Combat Support Wing
38th Combat Support Wing.png
Active 1940–2007
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Type Support
Part of United States Air Forces Europe
Garrison/HQ Ramstein Air Base
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Army of Occupation ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1942–1945)
  • Army of Occupation (Japan) (1945–1949)
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Colonel Jack Brigs II

Emblem of the 38th Tactical Missile Wing

The 38th Combat Support Wing (38 CSW) is an inactive wing of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with Third Air Force (Air Forces Europe), being inactivated on 1 May 2007 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The mission of the 38 CSW was to enhance support to USAFE geographically separated units.

The Wing's origins date to 1948 as the 38th Bombardment Wing. Its operational group, the 38th Bombardment Group, was one of the first U.S. Army Air Forces units to be deployed into the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor.

Douglas B-26C-35-DT Invder Serial 44-35549 of the 822nd Bomb Squadrons

Martin B-57B-MA Serial 52-1560 of the 71st Light Bomber Squadron – 1957. This aircraft was also one of the "Black Knights" aerial acrobatic team. After its withdrawal from France in 1958, this aircraft was eventually assigned to the 8th Tactical Bomb Squadron at Phan Rang Air Base South Vietnam and flew combat bombing missions into the late 1960s.


For additional history and lineage, see 38th Bombardment Group

The unit was established as 38th Bombardment Wing, Light on 10 August 1948 in Japan. It assisted in the air defense of Japan and participated in tactical exercises, August 1948— March 1949. It was inactivated in the Far East on 1 April 1949. The 38th Tactical Bombardment Wing (38th TBW) was reactivated as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe on 1 January 1953, being assigned to Laon-Couvron Air Base, France. Upon activation, the wing absorbed the assets of the Air National Guard 126th Bomb Wing, which was inactivated and returned to the control of the Illinois Air National Guard. The 38th's squadrons were designated the 71st, 405th, and 822nd Bomb Squadrons. The wing flew the Douglas B-26 Invader until 1955.

In April 1955 the 38th Bomb Wing converted to the Martin B-57 "Canberra". The B-57 was a replacement for aging Douglas B-26 "Invader", and with their arrival, the B-26's were returned to CONUS. Because English Electric was unable to meet the USAF delivery schedule, the design was licensed to Martin for US manufacture. A total of 49 B-57B and 8 2-seat B-57C models were deployed to Laon.

The mission of the B-57 was to provide a nuclear deterrent for NATO and to deliver nuclear weapons against pre-selected targets, day or night. The aircraft at Laon were painted a gloss black. An acrobatic team was organized and named the Black Knights using five B-57's. The Black Knights performed at several air shows around Western Europe, including the 1957 Paris Air Show. The Black Knights were the only tactical bomber show team in the world.

In 1958, General De Gaulle announced that all nuclear weapons and delivery aircraft had to be removed from French soil by July 1958. Since NATO strategy had evolved into "massive nuclear retaliation" this meant all tactical fighter and bombing wings had to depart France.

The 38th TBW was inactivated at Laon on 18 June 1958 and redesignated as the 38th Tactical Missile Wing at Hahn Air Base West Germany, operating and maintaining first the TM-67A "Matador" and later the TM-76A Mace cruise missiles. The wing was inactivated in September 1966.

Air Training Command

The 38th was reactivated as the 38th Flying Training Wing and replaced the 3640th Pilot Training Wing at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, on 1 August 1972. Its operational squadrons were the 40th and 41st Pilot Training Squadrons. The wing performed pilot training until 28 August 1973 when Laredo AFB was inactivated.

The 38th Flying Training Wing was reassigned to Moody AFB, Georgia on 1 December 1973, replacing the 3550th Pilot Training Wing. The 38th performed pilot training until 21 November 1975. On 1 December 1975 the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, a unit of Tactical Air Command (TAC), relocated to Moody from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand and the mission of the base changed from pilot training under ATC to an active tactical fighter base under TAC.

The 38th FTW was inactivated on 1 December 1975.

Ground Launched Cruise Missiles

In April 1985, the 38th Tactical Missile Wing, was activated at Wueschheim AB, West Germany. The wing was assigned to tactical missile operations, equipped with Ground-Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM) to counter Soviet intermediate-range ballistic missiles from 1986–1990. The GLCMs (and their strategic cousins, the Pershing IIs) had a destabilizing effect on the Soviet Union, as NATO's ability to stand firm and carry out the deployments in the face of nerve-wracking Soviet threats convinced the Kremlin that NATO could not be intimidated.[citation needed]

It was this realization that led to the opening of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) talks and an INF treaty that eventually removed an entire class of nuclear arms from the superpower arsenals. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the Soviet Union which went into effect on 1 June 1988, led to inactivation of the wing on 22 August 1990.

Post Cold War

The 38th went on to serve as the 38th Engineering Installation Wing wing from 8 November 1994 – 3 February 2000 at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, to provide the Air Force with centralized management of worldwide engineering and installation (E&I) resources. The wing reorganized the Command and Control Systems Center and became the Communications Systems Center (CSC). CSC leaders created a new structure, which accommodated a more effective business-management approach to satisfying the communications-computer software requirements of our Air Force and DoD customers. The 38 EIW was inactivated in February 2000 and downgraded to a group level. The transfer of responsibilities were assigned solely to the 38th Engineering Installation Group (38 EIG) located at Tinker.

The 38th Combat Support Wing was activated at Ramstein AB, Germany in 2004 to enhance support to the over 70 USAFE geographically separated units (GSUs) and units across Europe. But a review found the wing actually created an extra layer of bureaucracy and isolated units would be better served without it. Also studies showed that larger, neighboring bases could offer better support for airmen scattered across the continent.

The 38th CSW was inactivated on 30 September 2007.


  • Established as 38th Bombardment Wing, Light on 10 August 1948
Activated on 18 August 1948
Inactivated on 1 April 1949
  • Activated on 1 January 1953
Redesignated: 38th Bombardment Wing, Tactical on 1 October 1955
Redesignated: 38th Tactical Missile Wing on 18 June 1958
Organized on 18 June 1958, assuming personnel and equipment of 701st Tactical Missile Wing
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 September 1966
  • Redesignated 38th Flying Training Wing on 22 March 1972
Activated on 1 August 1972
Inactivated on 30 September 1973
  • Activated on 1 December 1973
Inactivated on 1 December 1975
  • Redesignated 38th Tactical Missile Wing on 4 December 1984
Activated on 1 April 1985
Inactivated on 22 August 1990
  • Redesignated 38th Engineering Installation Wing on 1 November 1994
Activated on 8 November 1994
Inactivated on 3 February 2000
  • Redesignated 38th Combat Support Wing on 19 April 2004
Activated on 25 May 2004
Inactivated on 1 May 2007






BGM-109G Missile site located at: Site VI "Heroin" (Below) 9.7 miles (15.6 km) NE of Hahn AB

Dispersed TM-61 Matador/TM-76 Mace missile locations

Between 1958–1966, the 38th TMW maintained eight separate launch facilities.

Closed 1966. Redeveloped into a training facility of the local Kaiserslautern soccer club. The launch pads have been completely overbuilt with soccer fields
Closed 1966, Abandoned state, buildings in various states of deterioration, missile shelters removed, concrete pads remain.
1975 – 1978 The site was set up and used by Det B, 502nd Army Security Agency (ASA) Bn for the Guardrail I, II, and IIa Integrated Processing Facility (IPF) site. The unit was redesignated as the 330th Electronic Warfare Aviation Company (Forward) (330th EW Avn Co (FWD)), and resubordinated to the 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation) in 1978.
1979 – 1985 The site was upgraded to the Guardrail V (GRV) IPF, and in the fall of 1985 the unit moved to Echterdingen Army Airfield (Stuttgart International Airport). The site was subsequently used by various and sundry communications units on deployment before being closed and turned over to German government.
Closed since 1967. Missile shelters torn down, in very dilapidated state, appears to be used as a storage yard.
Abandoned since 1961. Shelters torn down, site very obscured by trees and other vegetation in thick woodland area.
After 405th TMS left this site was transferred to US Army and converted into a Nike-Hercules Air Defense missile site; operational 1970–1979. The area was transferred back to USAF in 1982 and was converted again; this time into a Cruise missile Ground Alert Maintenance Area, being re-designated Wueschheim Air Station. The 38th Tactical Missile Wing was re-activated and became operational at the station with its BGM-109G Gryphon cruise missiles in 1985 and was inactivated 1991 after the signing of the INF treaty. (See Wueschheim Air Station for recent photos)
Underground concrete launch facility, closed 1960. largely overgrown abandoned condition.
Underground concrete launch facility. After closure the site was transferred to the Bundesheer and converted into a Patriot AD missile site; closed 2001 now abandoned and overgrown with vegetation.

Aircraft and missiles

aircraft was redesignated B-26 after June 1948

See also



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

  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • McAuliffe, Jerome J. (2005). US Air Force in France 1950–1967. San Diego, California: Milspec Press,Chapter 13, Laon-Couvron Air Base. ISBN 0-9770371-1-8.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles, (2009), George Mindling, Robert Bolton ISBN 978-0-557-00029-6

External links

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