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92nd Air Refueling Wing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

92d Air Refueling Wing
Air Mobility Command.svg
Fairchild airmen keep it cool 140129-F-BN304-003.jpg
Wing KC-135 Stratotanker after a snowfall at Fairchild AFB
Active1947–1948; 1948–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleAir Refueling
Part ofAir Mobility Command
Garrison/HQFairchild Air Force Base
Motto(s)Duplum Incolumitatis Latin Twofold Security[1]
DecorationsAir Force Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[2]
General Arthur Lichte
General David Wade
92d Air Refueling Wing emblem (approved 7 July 1994)[2]
92d Air Refueling Wing.png
92d Bombardment Wing emblem (approved 21 November 1957)[3]
92 Bombardment Wg emblem.png
92d Bombardment Wing emblem (approved 9 June 1952)[1][note 1]
Ar-92 bombardment gp.jpg
Aircraft flown
TankerBoeing KC-135 Stratotanker

The 92d Air Refueling Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command Eighteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. The wing is also the host unit at Fairchild. The wing carries out air refueling, passenger and cargo airlift, and aero-medical evacuation missions.

Its 92d Operations Group is a successor organization to the World War II 92d Bombardment Group. It was the first VIII Bomber Command Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment group to bomb strategic targets in Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany from RAF Bovingdon, England in September 1942. From 1948 to 1992, the 92d Bombardment Wing was a part of Strategic Air Command's nuclear deterrent force during the Cold War.

The 92d Air Refueling Wing is commanded by Colonel Derek M. Salmi, Its Vice Commander is Colonel Jeremiah S. Heathman and Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Lee P. Mills.[4]


92nd BG B-29s bombing a target in Korea, September 1950.
92nd BG B-29s bombing a target in Korea, September 1950.
92d Bombardment Wing Consolidated B-36B Peacemaker, AF Ser. No. 49-2065[note 2]
92d Bombardment Wing Consolidated B-36B Peacemaker, AF Ser. No. 49-2065[note 2]

The wing's origins lie with the 92d Bombardment Group, first established during World War II.

On 17 November 1947, the 92d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy was organized at Spokane Army Air Field, Washington [3] as part of the United States Air Force's wing base reorganization, in which combat groups and all supporting units on a base were assigned to a single wing.[5] The 92d Bombardment Group, flying Boeing B-29 Superfortresses became its operational component.[3] It served as a double-sized B-29 wing until April 1950, and again from May 1950 to April 1951, although one bomb group was generally deployed overseas for training or combat in Korea. It also supervised the 454th Bombardment Group,[3] a Reserve corollary bomb group from June 1949 until February 1951, when the 454th was called to active duty for the Korean War.[6]

Upon return to the United States, the wing reequipped with the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. In August and September 1953, the wing completed the first mass flight of B-36s to the Far East in Operation Big Stick. The 92d visited bases in Japan, Okinawa and Guam. Big Stick followed close on the heels of the end of hostilities in Korea and was intended to show American determination to keep the peace in the Far East. On 15 and 16 October 1954 the wing deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam for 90 days. This was the first deployment of an entire wing of Peacemakers to an overseas base.[7] The wing deployed to Andersen again from 26 April until 6 July 1956.

The wing added air refueling operations to bombardment mission in September 1957. From March to June 1959, the wing participated in Operation Head Start III, a precursor to Operation Chrome Dome. The 92d kept five of its Stratofortresses airborne at all times, with crews flying 24 hour missions with the support of ten KC-135 tankers. In January 1961, SAC disclosed it was maintaining an airborne force for "airborne alert training."[8]

From July 1961 to August 1965, controlled an SM-65E Atlas missile squadron. Supported SAC activities in Southeast Asia from early 1965 to December 1975 through deployment of bomber and tanker aircraft and crews and Air Weather 9thWS Det3. In 1969, supplied aircraft for Operation Giant Lance over Alaska, a secret mission designed to intimidate the Soviet Union into backing away from supporting the North Vietnamese.

From March–September 1968, March–September 1969, and June 1972-October 1973, all wing Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses and many Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, plus aircrews and support personnel, were involved in Southeast Asia operations. After 1975, performed joint USAF/US Navy sea reconnaissance and surveillance missions. In 1983, the Wing's B-52Gs were modified to carry AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM). In 1985, upgraded to B-52H with improved strategic weapons carriage and offensive electronics capabilities. Earned the Fairchild Trophy in 1953, 1986, and again in 1992 when it won SAC's last competition and retired the trophy. Also won the Saunders Trophy for best air refueling unit in SAC for 1992. Provided KC-135 aircraft to tanker task forces in the US, Europe, and the Pacific through 1992.

Post Cold War era

Ended B-52 alert duties in September 1992, and ended bombardment mission in 1994, with transfer from Air Combat Command to Air Mobility Command upon departure of last B-52H. On 24 June 1994, a B-52H practicing for an airshow crashed on the airfield while making an unauthorized, low altitude, steep turn. The aircraft exceeded 90 degrees of bank, entered a stall and impacted the ground killing all on board, including the squadron commander and chief of standardization-evaluation. The pilot, Lt Col Arthur "Bud" Holland, maneuvered the bomber beyond its operational limits and lost control. The aircraft stalled, fell to the ground and exploded, killing Holland and the other three USAF officers aboard. The crash was captured on video and was shown repeatedly on news broadcasts throughout the world.[9]

As a purely air refueling unit, the group's squadrons routinely augmented AMC's overseas tanker task forces in Panama, Europe, Turkey, and Southwest Asia, providing aerial refueling to attack and transport aircraft.

The wing deployed personnel and aircraft to expeditionary bases in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain as part of the Kosovo War (NATO "Operation Allied Force") in 1999. That year, the Wing became the 92d Air Expeditionary Wing at Morón Air Base in Spain, tasked with providing fuel to NATO aircraft involved in the war. In addition to serving as the HQ 92 AEW (serving units in France, Crete, Sicily and Spain), Morón hosted 37 tankers (KC-135 and KC-10) and 800 personnel. The 92 AEW became the largest tanker wing since the Vietnam War and held the distinction of being the largest tanker base during the Kosovo War.

In the mid-2010s, wing staff officially stated that the wing 'operate[d] 34 KC-135 R/T Stratotanker refueling aircraft valued at $1.6 billion and 58 aircrews to support worldwide military missions. Serving as Fairchild Air Force Base host unit, the wing control[led] 4,223 acres (17.09 km2) and 1,248 buildings. The wing employ[ed] over 2,200 active-duty military, as well as over 700 civilian employees.'

Structure in the late 2010s

The 92d Air Refueling Wing is structured under four groups: Operations, maintenance, mission support and medical, as well as 12 staff agencies organized under the Director of Staff.[citation needed]

Primarily responsible for the 2 flying squadrons - the 92d and 93d Air Refueling Squadrons, which fly the KC-135 Stratotanker. The 92d Operations Support Squadron manages functions such as intelligence, weather, tactics, aircrew training, life support supervision, airfield management, air traffic control, combat crew communications and current operations.[citation needed] The 92d OSS is also responsible for managing the airfield, weather station, control tower and flight simulator for the wing.
  • 92d Maintenance Group
Provides field-level maintenance support for 34 KC-135 R/T aircraft and 240 pieces of aerospace ground equipment supporting peace and wartime worldwide aerial refueling and airlift operations.[citation needed] The group also provides services for transient contract and military aircraft. Furthermore, the 92d Maintenance Group maintains a high state of combat readiness for over 650 personnel and equipment supporting worldwide contingency and nuclear deterrence operations, while also maintaining base munitions.
  • 92d Mission Support Group
Provides professional civil engineer, communications, contracting, logistics, mission support, security forces, and combat, community, and family support services.[citation needed] Additionally, through the wing's Air Expeditionary Force Cell, the 92d MSG integrates all wing readiness functions to train, deploy and reintegrate up to 1,300 personnel annually who deploy worldwide.
  • 92d Medical Group
Serves more than 12,640 military beneficiaries, with a staff of 308 and an annual budget of $12.3 million. The medical clinic receives over 53,688 outpatient visits and 12,975 dental visits annually.[citation needed] The group currently manages the 92d Aeromedical Dental Squadron, 92d Medical Operations Squadron and the 92d Medical Support Squadron.

Wing staff agencies consist of a variety of functions. These functions include legal, plans and programs, safety, command and control, chapel, public affairs, military equal opportunity, sexual assault prevention program, protocol, history and the inspector general.


  • Designated as the 92d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy and organized on 17 November 1947
Discontinued on 12 July 1948[note 3]
Redesignated 92d Bombardment Wing, Medium and activated on 12 July 1948
Redesignated 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 16 June 1951
Redesignated 92d Strategic Aerospace Wing on 15 February 1962
Redesignated 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 31 March 1972
Redesignated 92d Wing on 1 September 1991
Redesignated 92d Bomb Wing on 1 June 1992
Redesignated 92d Air Refueling Wing on 1 July 1994[2]



  • 92d Bombardment Group (later 92d Operations Group): 17 November 1947 – 16 June 1952 (detached 7 February-19 May 1949 and 9 July-30 October 1950); 1 September 1991–present
  • 98th Bombardment Group: attached 17 November 1947 – 21 August 1948, 10 December 1948 – 16 May 1949 and 18 August 1949 – 15 April 1950; rear echelon (no aircraft or crews) attached 2 August 1950 – 16 April 1951
  • 454th Bombardment Group: attached 27 June 1949 – 16 June 1951[2]


Aircraft and missiles

  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 1947–1950, 1950–1952
  • Boeing KB-29 Superfortress, 1948–1950, 1950–1952
  • Convair B-36 Peacemaker, 1951–1957
  • Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, 1957–1968, 1968–1969, 1969–1972, 1973–1994
  • Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, 1958–present
  • SM-65E Atlas, 1961–1965
  • Cessna T-37 Tweet, 1991–1994
  • Bell UH-1 Huey, 1993–present[2][2]

See also


  1. ^ This emblem was originally approved for the 92d Bombardment Group on 9 March 1943. Maurer, Combat Squadrons pp. 158-160
  2. ^ Serial 44-92065, shown in 1952 after conversion to B-36D with the addition of four General Electric J47-GE-19 turbojets. Shows 326th Bombardment Squadron emblem, red/yellow tail flashes.
  3. ^ The 1947 organization was a table of distribution unit organized as part of the Air Force's experimental wing base organization reorganization. It was replaced by a table of organization unit in July 1948. Ravenstein, pp. xxi, 128. The two wings were later formally consolidated. Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 539q, 31 January 1984, Subject: Consolidation of Units.
  1. ^ a b Endicott, p. 213
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kane, Robert B. (12 July 2010). "Factsheet 92 Air Refueling Wing (AMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Ravenstein, pp. 128-130
  4. ^ "Biographies". 92nd Air Refueling Wing. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  5. ^ Ravenstein, p. xxi
  6. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 329
  7. ^ Knaack, p. 36
  8. ^ Narducci, pp. 5-6
  9. ^ Diehl, Silent Knights, p. 125, Thompson, Way, Way Off in the Wild Blue Yonder, USAF, AFR 110-14, pp. 2–3, and Kern, Darker Shades of Blue.


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

External links

This page was last edited on 3 September 2020, at 22:53
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