Neha Patil (Editor)

52nd Fighter Wing

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Active  1948–present
Garrison/HQ  Spangdahlem Air Base
52nd Fighter Wing
Country  United States of America
Branch  United States Air Force
Part of  United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa
Motto(s)  "Seek, Attack, Destroy"

The 52d Fighter Wing (52 FW) is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It was activated in 1948, but derives significant elements of its history from the predecessor Second World War 52d Fighter Group, which is now the 52d Operations Group, subordinate to the wing.



52d Fighter Wing is the official military nomenclature of the unit and it is commonly referred to as the 52nd Fighter Wing. It is often interchanged within military writing and speech, either way, without a specific choice of nomenclature. The Air Force Instruction Publication (Air Force Instruction 38-101), Chapter 5; "Procedures for Naming and Numbering Units", figure 5.1, gives an example of using 2nd Bomb Wing, and section 5.4.2; "Unit Kind", gives an example of 3rd Wing. Section 5.3.4. - Reserves numbers 101 through 299 for Air National Guard units giving position for the unit numbering.


The 52 FW maintains, deploys and employs F-16CJ and A/OA-10 aircraft and TPS-75 radar systems in support of NATO and the national defense directives. The wing supports the United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), Supreme Allied Commander Europe with mission-ready personnel and systems providing expeditionary air power for suppression of enemy air defenses, close air support, air interdiction, counter-air, air strike control, strategic attack, combat search and rescue, and theater airspace control. The wing also supports contingencies and operations other than war as required.


The wing conducts operations at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, one of 16 major operating locations in USAFE. The wing is authorized for about 5,560 active-duty members and about 210 Department of Defense civilians. The wing is organized with four groups responsible for operations, maintenance, mission support and medical operations, and has headquarters staff.

In concert with USAFE wings at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the 52d Fighter Wing directly supports the strategic mobility mission once conducted at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. The wing provides logistics support for C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy aircraft, crew, passengers and cargo to sustain air mobility operations throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.

The 52d Fighter Wing also supports USAFE's Joint Fires Center of Excellence, whose mission is to conduct joint and combined training focused on the effective integration and application of tactical fires.

Subordinate organizations

52d Operations Group (52 OG)

  • 52d Operations Support Squadron (52 OSS)
  • 480th Fighter Squadron (480 FS)
  • 606th Air Control Squadron (606 ACS)
  • 52d Maintenance Group (52 MXG)

  • 52d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (52 AMXS)
  • 52d Maintenance Operations Squadron (52 MOS)
  • 52d Equipment Maintenance Squadron (52 EMS)
  • 52d Component Maintenance Squadron (52 CMS)
  • 52d Medical Group (52 MDG)

  • 52d Aerospace Medicine Squadron (52 AMDS)
  • 52d Dental Squadron (52 DS)
  • 52d Medical Operations Squadron (52 MDOS)
  • 52d Medical Support Squadron (52 MDSS)
  • 52d Mission Support Group (52 MSG)

  • 52d Civil Engineer Squadron (52 CES)
  • 52d Communications Squadron (52 CS)
  • 52d Contracting Squadron (52 CONS)
  • 52d Force Support Squadron (52 FSS)
  • 52d Logistics Readiness Squadron (52 LRS)
  • 52d Security Forces Squadron (52 SFS)
  • 470th Air Base Squadron (470 ABS) NATO Air Base, Geilenkirchen, Germany
  • 52d Munitions Maintenance Group (52 MMG) (custody and storage of tactical nuclear weapons)

  • 701st Munitions Support Squadron (701 MUNSS) Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium
  • 702d Munitions Support Squadron (702 MUNSS) Buechel Air Base, Germany
  • 703d Munitions Support Squadron (703 MUNSS) Volkel Air Base, Netherlands
  • 704th Munitions Support Squadron (704 MUNSS) Ghedi Air Base, Italy
  • History

    See 52d Operations Group for World War II lineage and history

    Cold War

    Established as the 52nd Fighter Wing, All Weather, on 10 May 1948, the wing served in the United States as an air defense unit in the northeastern United States from 1947 until the end of 1968.

    The 52nd was reactivated on 18 August 1955 and designated 52d Fighter Group (Air Defense). It was assigned to Air Defense Command and equipped with F-86 Sabre aircraft. It served once more as an air defense unit in the northeastern United States.

    In December 1971, it became the host wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and inherited tactical squadrons from the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at nearby Bitburg Air Base. The wing participated in numerous tactical exercises, operations, and tests of USAFE and NATO and provided close air support, interdiction, and base defense operations. It cooperated with other NATO forces in frequent "squadron exchange" programs and hosted US-based units on temporary duty in Europe. In January 1973, a Wild Weasel defense suppression mission was added. After October 1985, using the F-4 Phantom II model aircraft, defense suppression became the wing's sole tactical mission. In 1987, the 52d acquired F-16 Falcons and became the first wing to integrate F-16Cs with F-4Gs to form hunter/killer teams within individual fighter squadrons.

    It deployed aircraft and personnel to strategic locations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey in support of the liberation of Kuwait from September 1990 – March 1993. Near the end of 1992, it began receiving A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. It received F-15 Eagles in 1994 but lost its F-4Gs. In January and December 1999, the wing supported Operations Northern Watch, Allied Force, and Decisive Forge with numerous deployments to Italy and Turkey.

    Modern era

    Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon in the United States on September 11, 2001, the 52d Fighter Wing began preparations for possible combat tasking.

    Within one month the wing had deployed people and equipment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in and around Afghanistan. The 22d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron began flying operations at a deployed location in support of the war on terrorism within 100 hours of tasking notification.

    Personnel assigned to the 52d FW continue to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom today.

    In April 2010 the wing's strength was reduced by one third. Twenty F-16Cs were flown to the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, one F-16 was transferred to Edwards Air Force Base, California. All aircraft were from the 22nd Fighter Squadron. As a result of the drawdown of F-16s, the 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons were inactivated on 13 August 2010 and formed the a single "new" squadron, the 480th Fighter Squadron.

    On 18 June 2013, the 81st Fighter Squadron was inactivated at Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany. The inactivation marked the end of A-10 operations in Europe at that time.

    In December 2014, the wing commander, Col. Peter Bilodeau, who had commanded the wing for six months, was relieved of his command for "a loss of faith and confidence in his leadership." His deputy served as commander until Col. McFall took command.


  • Established as 52d Fighter Wing, All Weather, on 10 May 1948
  • Activated on 9 June 1948 Redesignated 52d Fighter-All Weather Wing on 20 January 1950 Redesignated 52d Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 1 May 1951 Inactivated on 6 February 1952, personnel and subordinate units assigned to 4709th Air Defense Wing.
  • Redesignated 52d Fighter Wing (Air Defense), and activated, on 11 April 1963
  • Organized on 1 July 1963 Inactivated on 30 September 1968
  • Redesignated 52d Tactical Fighter Wing on 12 November 1971
  • Activated on 31 December 1971 Redesignated: 52d Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991.



  • 84th Fighter Wing (All Weather): attached 1 June 1949 – 2 June 1951
  • Group

  • 52d Fighter (later, 52d Operations): 9 June 1948 – 6 February 1952; 31 March 1992 – present
  • Squadrons

  • 2d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron: 1 July 1963 – 30 September 1968
  • 22d Fighter Squadron: 1 April 1994 – 13 August 2010
  • 23d Fighter Squadron: 31 December 1971 – 13 August 2010 (detached 17 January – 15 March 1991)
  • 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron: 31 December 1971 – 1 January 1973
  • 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached 8–22 August 1975
  • 81st Tactical Fighter (later, 81st Fighter): 15 January 1973 – 18 June 2013
  • 98th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron: 1 July 1963 – 30 September 1968
  • 105th Fighter-Interceptor: attached 1 April 1951 – 6 February 1952
  • 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached 9–23 September 1975
  • 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached 11–25 July 1975
  • 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached 29 August – 20 September 1976
  • 457th Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached 13–27 August 1977
  • 480th Tactical Fighter (later, 480th Fighter): 15 November 1976 – 31 March 1992; 13 August 2010 – present
  • 562d Tactical Fighter Squadron: attached 12–30 August 1977
  • Stations

  • Mitchel Field (later, Air Force Base), New York, 9 June 1948
  • McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, 4 October 1949 – 6 February 1952
  • Suffolk County Air Force Base, New York, 1 July 1963 – 30 September 1968
  • Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, 31 December 1971 – present
  • References

    52nd Fighter Wing Wikipedia

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