Motto(s) We Clear the Skies
|Country United States|
|Branch United States Air Force|
Role Control of deployed expeditionary units
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe
The United States Air Force's 16th Air Expeditionary Wing (16 AEW) was a provisional Air Expeditionary unit of the United States Air Forces in Europe from 1997 for the purpose of supporting US no-fly zone and other operations in the Balkans. It remained active until June 2003, when it was replaced by the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing at Aviano.
The wing headquarters was located at Aviano Air Base, Italy. It operated expeditionary sites at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo; Camp Able Sentry, Macedonia; Sarajevo and Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia; Taszar Air Base, Hungary; Zagreb, Croatia and Naval Air Station Sigonella and San Vito Air Station, Italy; in addition to a contingency processing center at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany.
On 1 July 1995, United States Air Forces Europe activated the 7490th Wing (Provisional) at Aviano Air Base, Italy to control units deployed temporarily on the base in connection with Operation Deny Flight. The wing was replaced on 11 March 1996 by the 4190th Wing (Provisional) when the United States Air Force (USAF) began numbering provisional units based on the theater exercising operational control, rather than the Major Command to which they were assigned. The 4190th wing participated in Operation Deny Flight and Operation Joint Endeavour.
On 1 June 1997 the 16th Air Expeditionary Wing replaced the 4190th as USAF replaced its provisional units with expeditionary units. Its initial mission was as a component of Operation Allied Force, which was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization response to Serbian aggression against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
In June 2003 the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing was activated at Aviano Air Base, Italy, replacing the 16th Air Expeditionary Wing, which inactivated to eliminate an overlap in designation with the 16th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida.