The operation, the largest airborne operation sinceconstituted 62 missions, transporting 2, passengers esclrt 2, Ecsort avoid losing the wing's heritage and history as the highest scoring Army Air Force unit in millbrook il adult personals Mediterranean Theater in WWII, the impressive combat record in Vietnam and of ificant firsts they produced in the early years of the Air Force, the 31st was chosen to move rather than fade into obscurity.
They were both released and returned to the United States in March From there the unit transferred without personnel of equipment to Langley FieldVirginia in June and then to Turner FieldGeorgia, in September of that same year.
It worked around the clock to launch 2, flying operations out of Aviano. They reached thecombat sortie milestone in September This movement included the longest over-water flight attempted to that date and was the first trans-Pacific mass flight of jet aircraft.
Then, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in Octoberthe 31st planned operational missions and participated in events that ultimately led to the removal of missiles from Cuba. By the time they had returned to Italy, they had destroyed 37 enemy aircraft, including 21 enemy fighter bombers on their way to attack Russian ground forces with no losses of their own.
Training became the wing's primary mission until when the wing received its next aircraft, the General Dynamics F Fighting Falconand d an air defense and air interdiction mission.
On 15 OctoberCaptains James L. Francis of the d Tactical Fighter Squadron of the th Fighter Wing were shot down over Hanoi while flying an F-4E ased to the th squadron while the th was on temporary duty at Udorn. Mofel at Al Jaber, the squadrons flew more than combat sorties. Schillingwon the Air Force Association Trophy, which was later named after him.
That next asment included participating in the invasion force that landed in North Africa on 8 Novemberbecoming the first American Air Force unit to see combat in theater. On 10 Aprilinsurgents launched a mortar attack on Balad, killing Airman First Class Antoine Holt independent escorts penrith and injuring two other rd members.
The group sailed to home on 13 Augustone of the last units to mofel Europe.
Two of the wing's fighter squadrons, the th and th, were deated to perform pilot replacement training. Aviano served as the launch point for insertion of airborne forces opening a second front in northern Iraq.
The 6,mile trip required eight in-flight refuelings and set a new record for the longest mass flight of jet aircraft to cross the Atlantic. The wing accomplished much during Operation Allied Force as the two permanently ased flying squadrons, the th and th, flew more than 2, combined sorties and more than 10, combat hours. This brought about an immediate mission change as the Mustangs enjoyed a much longer range and were tasked to escort heavy bombers on long range missions into Romania, Bulgaria, Austria, France and Northern Italy.
The squadrons were ased to other wings and the 31st began inactivation proceedings. When the shooting stopped, the 31st Fighter Group sat as the undisputed top scoring allied fighter group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and the port arthur escorts incalls highest overall for the Army Air Forces with confirmed aerial victories.
On 30 Marchthe wing assumed a larger responsibility for training all F-4 aircrews. During homesread of their first missions over Ploesti, Romania on 21 Aprilthe group earned their first Distinguished Unit Citation for covering the raids despite severe weather and as many as 50 enemy fighters defending the area. The 31st Fighter Group escor the combat component of the new wing.
On 15 Octoberthe wing returned homesteead Homestead without wv female escorts or equipment as part of the United States force reduction in Vietnam. In latethe wing's rd Air Control Squadron became the first unit from the wing to deploy to Iraq. January brought the Allied Landing at Anzio with the 31st the sole provider of air cover for the invasion and beachhead.
Samuel Junkins became the first American operating in an American combat unit to shoot down a German aircraft operating over the British Isles. Their missions consisted mainly of sweeps over allied positions and escorting bombers attacking German positions.
The wing's escort of Operation Iraqi Freedom began in late The wing commander, Colonel David C. As an encore, on 20 AugustCol Schilling led a flight of eight Fs on a From there they moved quickly from base to base throughout Algeria and Tunisia, engaging in ground attack missions and later escorting Ps and As on missions to attack German troop positions and convoys. Peacekeeping operations continued in the Balkans through the end ofwhen the European Union assumed responsibility for the region.
The unit inactivated on 7 November Every building at Homestead AFB received some damage, many buildings were destroyed. They distinguished the unit by destroying model enemy fighters attacking allied shipping during the invasion of Sicily and six more attacking the invasion force boys roulette chat the beaches of Salerno.
Simultaneously, the th deployed homestead and aircraft to Decimomannu Air BaseSardinia while the runway at Aviano closed for repairs.
Since the beginning of combat operations in Iraq, forces from the wing have been on regular combat rotations into the region. Since arriving at Aviano, the wing has also participated in numerous training exercises with international partners, including training deployments to Latvia, the Czech Midel, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, Slovenia and Poland. The two squadrons supported Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 31st remained active through the end of the war, not only flying bomber escort, but also photo reconnaissance and troop carrier escort and took part in Operation Dragoonthe invasion of Southern France. During that time, the wing secured, bedded and fed more than moxel, Army and Air Force personnel. They were the first complete American combat group ashemale models the European Theater of Operations and the first to engage in combat.
From June through Decemberthe fighter squadrons deployed combat search and rescue capabilities three times and helped enforce the no fly zone over Iraq.
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Two months later in November, the 31st Fighter Wing was organized as part of the test by the Air Force of the wing base organization system, which unified combat groups and their support organizations under a excort wing, mocel the same as the combat group. Hurricane Andrew mature scottish escorts Balkan Operations[ edit ] As part of the most extensive restructuring since the Air Force became a separate service, Tactical Air Command was inactivated and Air Combat Command was activated and the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing was redeated to its current name, the 31st Fighter Wing.
Duringthe wing moved from George to Homestead Air Force BaseFlorida, while simultaneously deploying a squadron to Kadena Air BaseJapan for four months without losing any operational capability. Duringthe wing, then known as the 31st Strategic Fighter Wing, deployed to Japan and Alaska to provide air mofel in the northern Redhill escorts. In addition to engine, armament and avionics updates, the FG was the first fighter deed for air refueling and the first single seat fighter-bomber with a deed nuclear delivery homesteaad.
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In they helped defend installations against enemy forces during the Tet Offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh and were later singled out for their outstanding contribution during the extraction of friendly forces homesteqd Kham Duc. This marked the first aerial victory for the wing in Vietnam and the first for the wing since the end of World War II. The wing sent the th Tactical Fighter Squadron to replace them in December on a permanent change of station.
In recognition of these achievements, the wing was awarded its second Outstanding Unit Award.