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409th Air Expeditionary Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

409th Air Expeditionary Group
United States Air Forces in Europe.png
Airmen from the 409th Air Expeditionary Group at Camp Sarafovo, Bulgaria load humanitarian cargo onto a C-17 Globemaster III[note 1]
Active1943–1945; 2001-unknown; 2003; 2005; 2007; 2008; 2011-unknown
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAir Expeditionary Operations
Part ofUnited States Air Forces Europe
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award
409th Air Expeditionary Group emblem[1]
409th Air Expeditionary Group emblem.png
Group marking during World War II[2]Yellow band on trailing edge of rudder

The 409th Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE), which may activate or inactivate the group as needed at any time.

The group was first activated in June 1943 during World War II as the 409th Bombardment Group. After moving to Europe, it served in combat with Ninth Air Force, flying Douglas A-20 Havoc, and later Douglas A-26 Invader light bombers Europe from the spring of 1944 through V-E Day. The group returned to the United States in the summer of 1945 and was inactivated in November 1945.

The 409th was reactivated in 2001 as an air expeditionary unit under USAFE in 2001 at Camp Sarafovo, Bulgaria as a support and air refueling unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom using six McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender aircraft[3] deployed from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey to help keep coalition aircraft fueled and flying on their air routes through Bulgaria and on to the theater of war. The group has subsequently been activated to support several humanitarian operations.

Air Force (magazine) notes in its 2012/13 annual survey of units that the group operated Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft from unspecified locations in the United States Air Forces Africa area of responsibility.


World War II

Media related to 409th Bombardment Group (United States Army Air Forces) at Wikimedia Commons

Douglas A/B-26 Invader of the 640th Bomb Squadron.
Douglas A/B-26 Invader of the 640th Bomb Squadron.

The group was constituted as the 409th Bombardment Group (Light) on 1 June 1943, activated the same day at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma and assigned the 640th, 641st, 642d and 643d Bombardment Squadrons flying Douglas A-20 Havocs.[4][5][6][7][8] However, it did not receive manning until 20 June and it was 3 August before the group had sufficient manning or equipment to begin training.[9] The group trained with its A-20s until 10 February 1944 when it moved to RAF Little Walden, England, arriving on 7 March 1944, when it became part of Ninth Air Force.[4] On 13 April, it flew its first combat mission against a target in France.[9]

The 409th was originally trained in low-level attack missions. However, the group was busy flying medium-altitude bombing runs from 10,000 ft.[citation needed] Over 100 missions were flown by the group,[citation needed] attacking coastal defenses, V-1 and V-2 launch sites, airfields and other targets in France in preparation for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. The group supported ground forces during the Battle of Normandy by hitting gun batteries, rail lines, bridges, communications, and other objectives. During July 1944, it aided the Allied offensive at Caen and Operation Cobra, the breakout at Saint-Lô with attacks on enemy troops, flak positions, fortified villages, and supply dumps.[4]

The group moved to Bretigny Airfield, France on 10 September to support United States Third Army's advance toward Germany.[4] A total of ten aircraft had been lost by the group flying from Little Walden.[citation needed] In December 1944, the group began to convert to the Douglas A-26 Invader, but its upgrade was delayed as it provided close air support during the Battle of the Bulge, attacking lines of communication during December 1944 and January 1945. It flew its A-26s in combat from Bretigny and, after February from Laon-Couvron Air Base, until 3 May 1945, when flew its last mission against an ammunition dump in Czechoslovakia.[4]

After V-E Day, the group began its return to the United States in June and gathered at Seymour Johnson Field North Carolina in August. It moved to Westover Field on 6 October 1945 and was inactivated there on 7 November 1945.[4]

War on Terror

Media related to 409th Air Expeditionary Group (United States Air Force) at Wikimedia Commons

F-16s fly observation formation off the wing of a KC-10[note 2]
F-16s fly observation formation off the wing of a KC-10[note 2]

The group was converted to provisional status, redesignated the 409th Air Expeditionary Group and assigned to United States Air Forces Europe, which activated it in November 2001 as an air refueling unit at Camp Sarafovo, Bulgaria as part of the leadup to the Iraq War. It conducted flying operations from Burgas Airport. The 409th Group was responsible for refueling operations in support of the US-led Operation Iraqi Freedom. Its mission included the use of six McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender aircraft, deployed from McGuire Air Force Base New Jersey, to help keep coalition aircraft fueled and flying on their air routes through Bulgaria and on to the theater of war. At the time, the 407th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron formed part of the group. The 409th was inactivated in June 2003.[citation needed][note 3]

Later, the group participated in RESCUER/MEDCEUR 03, a regional multinational exercise held in the spirit of "Partnership for Peace" at Vaziani Military Base, Georgia, in September 2003.[10] The United States sponsored the exercise that the Georgians hosted. A U.S. exercise Joint Task Force administered the exercise. It was activated at Vaziani in 2005 for a similar exercise.[11]

In August 2007, the group was activated at Keflavik Air Station, Iceland to act as a command headquarters for elements of the 493d Fighter Squadron and 351st Air Refueling Squadron which were temporarily deployed there.[12]

The following January saw the group active for three months at Accra, Ghana.[13][14] In 2011, it was activated in Ethiopia with an air base squadron and with detachments in the Seychelles and Djibouti.[15][16] In March 2012 it added the 324th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron to its strength.[17]

In 2012, United States Air Forces Africa reported that "[t]he 409th Air Expeditionary Group provides the primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions across the [command's] entire area of responsibility from multiple locations as required. The objective is to promote regional security and stability, dissuade conflict and protect U.S. and coalition interests." The group has shared a commander during its most recent activations with the 404th Air Expeditionary Group,[18] which provides expeditionary support units in the same area.[19][20]


  • Constituted as the 409th Bombardment Group (Light) on 1 June 1943 and activated
Redesignated 409th Bombardment Group, Light 27 April 1944[9]
Inactivated on 7 November 1945[21]
Activated on 15 November 2001
Inactivated 2003
Activated on 5 September 2003[9]
Inactivated on 23 September 2003[9]
Activated on 4 September 2005[9]
Inactivated on 27 September 2005[9]
Activated on 9 August 2007[9]
Inactivated on 20 August 2007[9]
Activated on 30 January 2008[9]
Inactivated on 4 March 2008[9]
Activated on 1 January 2011[9]
Inactivated unknown


16th Air Expeditionary Task Force, 15 November 2001– unknown
Attached to Sixteenth Air Force, 5 September 2003 – 23 September 2003[9]
Attached to Sixteenth Air Force, 4 September 2005 -27 September 2005[9]
Attached to 48th Fighter Wing, 9 August 2007 – 20 August 2007[9]
Attached to Third Air Force, 30 January 2008 – 4 March 2008[9]
Attached to Seventeenth Air Force, 1 January 2011[9]
17th Expeditionary Air Force, 1 April 2012 – present[9]


Squadrons[note 4]
  • 409th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Flight, c. 15 November 2001 – unknown
  • Detachment 1, 1 January 2011 – present[15]
Victoria, Seychelles
  • Detachment 2, 1 October 2011 – present[16]
Djibouti, Djibouti


  • Douglas A-20 Havoc, 1943–1945[21]
  • Douglas A-26 Invader, 1945[21]
  • McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender, 2003


  • Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, 1 June 1943
  • Woodward Army Air Field, Oklahoma, 2 October 1943[note 5]
  • DeRidder Army Air Base, Louisiana c. 10 December 1943 – 10 February 1944
  • RAF Little Walden (AAF-165),[24] England, 7 March 1944
  • Bretigny Airfield (A-48),[25] France, September 1944
  • Laon-Couvron Airfield (A-70),[25] France, February–June 1945
  • Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina, August 1945
  • Westover Field, Massachusetts, ca. 6 October – 7 November 1945[21]
  • Camp Sarafovo, Bulgaria, 15 November 2001 – unknown
  • Vaziani Military Base, Georgia, 5 September 2003 – 25 September 2003[23]
  • Vaziani Military Base, Georgia, 4 September 2005 – 27 September 2005[11]
  • Keflavik Air Station, 9 August 2007 – 20 August 2007
  • Accra, Ghana, 30 January 2008 – 4 March 2008[13][14]
  • Arba Minch, Ethiopia, 1 January 2011 – unknown[15]

Award and campaigns

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2011–30 June 2011 409th Air Expeditionary Group[9]

See also



  1. ^ The C-17 landed at Burgas Airport on its way to deliver humanitarian aid to Iraq. KC-10 Extenders from McGuire AFB were deployed to Burgas Airport and nearby Camp Sarafovo, Bulgaria, to support tanker operations with the 409th Air Expeditionary Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  2. ^ The F-16s are deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base. KC-10 Extenders were deployed to the 409th Air Expeditionary Group
  3. ^ The Camp Sarafavo planes included some assigned to Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base. The New Jersey airmen joked casually upon arrival that the tail designator SJ for Seymour Johnson stood for South Jersey instead.[citation needed]
  4. ^ Components were stationed with group headquarters, except as noted
  5. ^ Maurer does not give an exact date for the move of the group headquarters, but all four of the group's squadrons moved on 2 October, so this seems the most likely date for the group move. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 690–692.


  1. ^ "409th Air Expeditionary Group". The Institute of Heraldry. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  2. ^ Watkins, pp. 114–115
  3. ^ Holmes[page needed]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 294–295
  5. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 690
  6. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 690–691
  7. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 691
  8. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 691–692
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Warnock, A. Timothy, (1 January 2013) Lineage and Honors History of the 409 Air Expeditionary Group (USAFE), Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL (partly updated by Haulman, Daniel L.)
  10. ^ Master Sergeant Will Ackerman, Multinational forces close Partnership for Peace exercise, European Command, 20 September 2003.
  11. ^ a b c d Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, September 2005, Maxwell AFB, AL
  12. ^ a b c Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, August 2007, Maxwell AFB, AL
  13. ^ a b c d Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, January 2008, Maxwell AFB, AL
  14. ^ a b c d Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, March 2008, Maxwell AFB, AL
  15. ^ a b c d Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, January 2011, Maxwell AFB, AL
  16. ^ a b Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, October 2011, Maxwell AFB, AL
  17. ^ a b Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, March 2012, Maxwell AFB, AL
  18. ^ * Prisament, Steve (9 July 2013). "Galloway's Mark Loeben promoted to brigadier general; headed to Germany". Shore News Today. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  19. ^ "U.S. Air Forces Africa". USAFE/AFAFRICA Public Affairs. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  20. ^ "2013 Air Force Almanac: Major Commands and Reserve Components" (PDF). Air Force Association.
  21. ^ a b c d Lineage, including stations and aircraft prior to 1945 in Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 294–295, escept as indicated
  22. ^ "Reservists earn unit award for Operation Iraqi Freedom". Airborne Early Warning Association. 15 June 2005. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  23. ^ a b c Research Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Air Force Organization Change Status Report, September 2003, Maxwell AFB, AL
  24. ^ Station number in Anderson
  25. ^ a b Station number in Johnson


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

External links

This page was last edited on 5 June 2020, at 10:44
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