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403d Wing
403d Wing.png
403d Wing emblem
Active 27 June 1949 - present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Airlift & Weather Reconnaissance
Part of Air Force Reserve Command
22nd Air Force
Garrison/HQ Keesler Air Force Base
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg KSMRib.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1942-1945)
  • Korean Service (1952-1953)
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DUC
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Presidential Unit Citation (Philippines).svg PPUC
Presidential Unit Citation (South Korea).svg ROK PUC
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
Col. Craig L. La Fave

403d WG C-130 over coastal Georgia

403d Wing is a unit of the United States Air Force assigned to the Air Force Reserve Command. It is located at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, and employs a military manning authorization of more than 1,400 reservists, including some 250 full-time air reserve technicians. It also controls an active duty "associate" airlift squadron consisting of active duty Regular Air Force personnel integrated into the operations of its AFRC airlift squadron.


The 403d Wing provides command and staff supervision to assigned squadrons and flights that support tactical airlift missions. These missions include airlift of personnel, equipment and supplies. Additionally, the wing is the only unit in the Department of Defense tasked to organize, equip, train and perform all hurricane weather reconnaissance in support of the Department of Commerce.

The 403d is gained upon mobilization by the Air Mobility Command and will execute missions in support of the theater commander, such as resupply, employment operations within the combat zone or forward area, and when required, aeromedical, refugee evacuation and augmentation of other airlift forces.


  • 403d Operations Group
403d Operations Support Flight
53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters"
815th Airlift Squadron "Flying Jennies"
345th Airlift Squadron "The Golden Eagles" (Active Associate Squadron)[1]
  • 403d Maintenance Group
403d Maintenance Squadron
403d Maintenance Operations Flight
403d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
403d Aeromedical Staging Squadron
  • 403d Mission Support Group
403d Mission Support Squadron
403d Civil Engineer Squadron
403d Logistics Readiness Squadron
403d Security Forces Squadron
403d Communications Flight
403d Services Flight


Activated in 1949 as a C-46 Commando Troop Carrier Wing. Ordered to Active Service on 1 April 1951 for duty during the Korean War. The 403d was one of the six units initially assigned to the Eighteenth Air Force, Tactical Air Command, was eventually sent to the Far East.

The 403d mobilized at Portland Municipal Airport, Oregon. The wing trained at home in its C-46s and participated in Eighteenth Air Force’s routine training exercises for the next eleven months. On 11 February 1952, however, the Eighteenth Air Force directed it to transfer its C-46s and prepare to move overseas by 25 March 1952. By 14 April, it was in place at Ashiya AB, Kyushu, Japan. There it acquired a second group and some independent squadrons.

Upon arrival at Ashiya, the 403d immediately converted to C-119s. This action finally solved the Far East Air Force’s year-old problem of providing the Army with sufficient lift to handle the 187th Regimental Combat Team intact. The new arrangement was soon put to the test. In May 1952, the 403d airlifted the 187th Regimnental Combat Team to Pusan in an expedited movement incident to the quelling of a communist prisoner-of-war riot at Koje-do Island. The wing’s subsequent operations encompassed airborne assault training, airdrop resupply, air landed resupply, and air movement of complete units in the Far East. It engaged in a number of airborne training missions with the 137th Regimental Combat Team. In October 1952 the wing participated in an airborne feint which was part of a United Nations Command amphibious demonstration off eastern Korea

After it had served the prescribed twenty-one months on active military service, the 403d Troop Carrier Wing was inactivated on 1 January, and returned to reserve status.

Cold War and after

403d WG Lockheed Martin WC-130J Hercules 98-5307

Performed routine airlift training the Reserve, 1953-1962. During that time, the wing also supported Army airdrop training, ferried aircraft to various parts of the country and the world, took part in training exercises, and performed humanitarian missions as needed.

Served on active duty during Cuban Missile Crisis, Oct Nov 1962. In 1963, it moved US troops to the Dominican Republic and airlifted Christmas gifts destined for US servicemen in Vietnam.

After a period of uncertainty from 1969 to 1971, when it served as a composite wing with a variety of missions and aircraft, the 403d returned to tactical airlift missions. From 1971 to 1976, the wing took part in several tactical exercises and humanitarian airlift operations. During that time it also ferried aircraft, supplies, and equipment to US forces in Vietnam and other points in the Far East. In 1976 and 1977, the wing began to perform search and rescue, aeromedical evacuation, and weather reconnaissance missions. Its crews and aircraft flew into hurricanes to determine their intensities and movements. In 1978, after a mass suicide at Jonestown in Guyana, the wing helped recover the bodies of US citizens. After the eruption of Mount St. Helens (Washington) in 1980, the wing participated in search and rescue efforts.

Its most memorable accomplishments, however, have been while flying reserve-status humanitarian airlift missions such as those flown during Operation Provide Relief, rescue missions supporting the space shuttle program, providing airlift support to U.S. Southern Command and U.S. embassies within Central and South America, and participating in real-world war contingencies such as Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Provide Promise, Provide Comfort, Uphold Democracy, and Provide Relief.

On 6 August 2010 the wing received operational control of the activated 345th Airlift Squadron "The Golden Eagles," the first C-130 active associate squadron in the Air Mobility Command, and began integrating its personnel with the operations of the AFRC 815th AS. However on 21 March 2013 the wing announced that beginning in October 2013 it would be redeploying its 10 C-130J aircraft to Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, in preparation for inactivation of the 815th AS under the Force Structure Action Implementation Plan. The status of the 345th AS remained undetermined, and that of the 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron was unaffected.[2]


  • Established as 403d Troop Carrier Wing, Medium on 10 May 1949
Activated in the Reserve on 27 June 1949
Ordered to active duty on 1 April 1951
Inactivated on 1 January 1953
  • Activated in the Reserve on 1 January 1953
Ordered to active duty on 28 October 1962
Relieved from active duty on 28 November 1962
Re-designated: 403d Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 July 1967
Re-designated: 403d Composite Wing on 31 December 1969
Re-designated: 403d Tactical Airlift Wing on 29 July 1971
Re-designated: 403d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing on 15 March 1976
Re-designated: 403d Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing on 1 January 1977
Re-designated: 403d Tactical Airlift Wingon 31 December 1987
Re-designated: 403d Airlift Wing on 1 February 1992
Re-designated: 403d Wing on 1 July 1994.


Attached to 315th Air Division, 14 April 1952 – 1 January 1953





  • Bowman Field, Kentucky, 12 December 1942
  • Alliance AAF, Nebraska, 18 December 1942
  • Pope Field, North Carolina, 3 May 1943
  • Baer Field, Indiana, 20 June-c. 15 July 1943
  • Luganville Airfield, Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, 15 September 1943
  • Momote Airfield, Los Negros Island, Admiralty Islands, 30 August 1944
  • Mokmer Airfield, Biak, Netherlands East Indies, 4 October 1944
  • Nielson Field, Luzon, Philippines, 25 June 1945


See also


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

External links

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