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486th Air Expeditionary Wing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

486th Air Expeditionary Wing
Active1943–1945; 1956–1962; 1987–1988
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations
2003 invasion of Iraq
486th Air Expeditionary Wing emblem (approved 26 March 1957)[1]
486th Air Expeditionary Wing.PNG
Patch with 586th Tactical Missile Group emblem[note 1]
586th Tactical Missile Group - Emblem.png

The 486th Air Expeditionary Wing is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command. As a provisional unit, it may be activated or inactivated at any time.

The unit was last known to be active during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was an Eighth Air Force heavy bombardment unit in England, stationed at RAF Sudbury. The group operated chiefly against strategic objectives in Germany until May 1945, flying 188 missions and losing 33 aircraft.


World War II

B-24s (Square-O) of the 486th Bomb Group. Identifiable is Ford B-24M-5-FO Liberator Serial 44-50561 of the 833d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft survived the war and was sent to RFC Walnut Ridge Arizona on 3 January 1946 for scrapping.
B-24s (Square-O) of the 486th Bomb Group. Identifiable is Ford B-24M-5-FO Liberator Serial 44-50561 of the 833d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft survived the war and was sent to RFC Walnut Ridge Arizona on 3 January 1946 for scrapping.
B-17s (Square-W) of the 486th Bomb Group. Identifiable is Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-15-DL Fortress Serial 42-37891 of the 833d Bomb Squadron.
B-17s (Square-W) of the 486th Bomb Group. Identifiable is Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-15-DL Fortress Serial 42-37891 of the 833d Bomb Squadron.
"A FATAL TRAGEDY". Memorial plaque remembering the aviation accident that happened in 1944 in Sudbury, Suffolk
"A FATAL TRAGEDY". Memorial plaque remembering the aviation accident that happened in 1944 in Sudbury, Suffolk

Constituted as 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943 and activated on 20 September Moved to England in March 1944 and assigned to Eighth AF.

The group was assigned to the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code initially was a "Square-O". When the group converted from B-24s to B-17s during the summer of 1944, the identification symbol was changed to a "Square-W", perhaps to avoid confusion with the Square-D on B-17s of the 100th Bomb Group. The 486th was the only group to change its tail code.

The group flew both the B-24 Liberator and the B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and operated chiefly against strategic objectives in Germany until May 1945. Targets included marshalling yards in Stuttgart, Cologne, and Mainz; airfields in Kassel and Münster; oil refineries and storage plants in Merseburg, Dollbergen, and Hamburg; harbours in Bremen and Kiel; and factories in Mannheim and Weimar.

Other missions included bombing airfields, gun positions, V-weapon sites (total of nine "No Ball" missions beginning 20 June),[2] and railway bridges in France in preparation for or in support of the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; striking road junctions and troop concentrations in support of ground forces pushing across France, July–August 1944; hitting gun emplacements near Arnhem to minimize transport and glider losses during the airborne invasion of the Netherlands in September 1944; and bombing enemy installations in support of ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) and the assault across the Rhine (March–April 1945).

The 486th Bomb Group returned to Drew Field, Tampa, Florida, during August 1945 and was inactivated on 7 November.

Cold War

On 30 September 1954 the 69th Pilotless Bomber Squadron was assigned to Hahn AB, West Germany, assigned to the 50th Fighter Bomber Wing. The 69th was attached to the renamed 50th Fighter Day Wing on 14 March 1955. The 69th PBS was assigned to the 7382d Guided Missile Group, which became the 7382d Tactical Missile Group in January 1956.

The 69th PBS was renamed to 69th Tactical Missile Squadron 15 April 1956. The unit manned the TM-61A Matador, which was later replaced by the TM-61C Matador. On 3 August 1956, the 69th Tactical Missile Squadron became part of the 701st Tactical Missile Wing, headquartered at Hahn AB with the discontinuation of the 7382d Tactical Missile Group.

On 18 June 1958, the 69th TMS was inactivated and replaced at Hahn by the 405th Tactical Missile Squadron when the 701st Tactical Missile Wing was inactivated and replaced with the 38th Tactical Missile Wing. The TM-76 A Mace replaced the TM-61C.

The 586th Tactical Missile Group was activated at Hahn Air Base as part of the new 38th TMW and became the headquarters for the 405th TMS, the 586th MMS, and the 586th SS. The 405th TMS operated the TM-76A Mace missile. The group trained and remained prepared for tactical missile operations.

The 586th Tactical Missile Group was inactivated 25 September 1962, and a new launch squadron, the 89th Tactical Missile Squadron was created to share duties with the 405th TMS. All missile units of the former 586th TMG at Hahn then reported directly to the 38th Tactical Missile Wing at Sembach AB.

On 25 September 1966 all TM-76A, then renumbered to MGM-13A, Mace tactical missile operations at Sembach AB and Hahn AB were inactivated.

In the 1980s, the 486th Tactical Missile Wing was the final (of six; also 303rd TMW RAF Molesworth, UK, 501st TMW RAF Greenham Common, UK, 485th TMW Florennes AB, Belgium, 487th TMW Comiso AS, Sicily, Italy, 38th TMW Wueschheim AS, W. Germany) US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) BGM-109G Gryphon GLCM (Ground Launch Cruise Missile) wing to activate in Europe at (Royal Netherlands Air Force Alouette helicopter base) Woesndrecht Air Base, the Netherlands, in Hoggerheide (Brabant) just north of Antwerp, Belgium, and was also the first to inactivate (27 August 1987) following the Jan 1987 signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty between the U.S,' President Reagan and the Soviet Union's Gorbachev. 64 missiles that were to be assigned to the 486 TMW's Tactical Missile Squadrons -- that would disperse to the field from their on base hardened shelter-secured GLCM Alert & Maintenance Area (GAMA) in OPCON threat warning conditions under its concept of operations, were supposed to be assigned, however, the wing did not actually receive operational missiles before beginning to phase down mission/base closure on 20 September 1988 and USAF personnel were reassigned to different bases and the (still under construction contracts) base was returned to the Dutch.

2003 invasion of Iraq

The 486th Air Expeditionary Wing was activated prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was most recently located at Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait.

Units listed in campaign streamer bestowal documents include:[3]

  • 486th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (486 EAMXS)
  • 486th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron
  • 486th Expeditionary Communications Squadron (486 ECS)
  • 486th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron
  • HQ 486th Expeditionary Medical Group 486EMDG
  • HQ 486th Expeditionary Mission Support Group 486EMSG
  • HQ 486th Expeditionary Maintenance Group 486EMXS
  • 486th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron
  • HQ 486th Expeditionary Operations Group (486 EOG)
  • 486th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron (486 EOSS)
  • 486th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron
  • 486th Expeditionary Services Squadron


  • Established as the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943
Activated on 20 September 1943
Redesignated 486th Bombardment Group, Heavy on 25 January 1944
Inactivated on 7 November 1945
  • Consolidated with the 586th Tactical Missile Group as the 486th Tactical Missile Wing on 10 October 1984[1]
586th Tactical Missile Group
  • Established as the 586th Tactical Missile Group on 3 August 1956
Activated on 15 September 1956
Discontinued and inactivated on 25 September 1962
  • Consolidated with the 486th Bombardment Group as the 486th Tactical Missile Wing on 10 October 1984[1]
486th Tactical Missile Wing
Activated on 27 August 1987
Inactivated on 30 September 1988
Redesignated 486th Air Expeditionary Wing and converted to provisional status on 30 January 2003 and allotted to Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate as needed[1]




Matador/Mace dispersed missile locations

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX
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. The 38th Tactical Missile Wing became operational with its BGM-109 Gryphon cruise missiles at this location 1985 and was inactivated 1991 after the signing of the INF treaty.

Aircraft and missiles

See also


  1. ^ The 586th used the emblem of its parent 38th Tactical Missile Wing with the group designation on the scroll.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Endicott, Judy G. (26 March 2003). "Lineage and Honors History of the 486 Air Expeditionary Wing (ACC)" (PDF). Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  2. ^ Albanese, John. "Doodlebugs and Rockets (V-1 and V-2)". 486th Bomb Group Association. Archived from the original on 18 April 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  3. ^


 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 13:04
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