|Country United States|
Garrison/HQ Tinker Air Force Base
|Branch Air Force|
|Active 21 August 1941–1 November 1943
13 May 1947–27 June 1949
16 June 1952–30 June 1971
1 October 1994–|
Part of Air Force Material Command Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center
Equipment see "Aerospace vehicles" section below
The 72d Air Base Wing (72 ABW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Force Materiel Command Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC). It is stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The wing is also the host unit at Tinker.
The diverse, multi-unit, multi-mission wing includes base services and support for the OC-ALC and associate organizations as well as dependents and retirees.
Established in 1941, the 72d is a successor unit to the World War II 72d Reconnaissance Group (Special) combat organization that had earned Antisubmarine and American Theater campaign streamers. The 72d Bombardment Wing, Heavy was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's heavy bomber deterrent force throughout the Cold War. The wing earned two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, flying RB-36, B-52 and KC-135 aircraft, before its inactivation on 30 June 1971 in Puerto Rico.
Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Eric A. Harmon.
Activated in June 1952 as a Strategic Air Command very long range reconnaissance unit at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, but not operational until it absorbed residual resources of 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing in October 1952 when the 55th was reassigned to the newly activated Forbes AFB, Kansas administratively. Redesignated as 72d Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and received 3 (60th, 73rd and 301st) squadrons of RB-36D/E/F/H Peacemaker bombers. Conducted global strategic reconnaissance 1953–1955, gradually shifting to a bombardment training mission beginning in 1954, being upgraded to B-36J and B-36J(III) Featherweights by 1955. Redesignated 72d Bombardment Wing and received a squadron of KC-135A tankers in 1958.
With the phaseout of the B-36s in 1958, received B-52G Stratofortess intercontinental strategic bombers. It stood nuclear alert between 1959–1971 with the B-52G, was equipped with the AGM-28 Hound Dog cruise missile. Inactivated in 1971 due to a reduction of the number of B-52 wings, as part of a reduction/redirection of funding for combat operations in Vietnam and as ICBM wings took over an increased share of the nuclear alert duty. The wing earned two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, flying RB–36 [1952–1958], KC–135 [1958–1971] and B–52 [1959–1971] aircraft, before its inactivation.
In 1972, SAC activated the 72d Strategic Wing, Provisional at Andersen AFB, Guam. Although assigned the same number, this wing is unrelated to the 72d Air Base Wing.
The wing was reactivated as a base host wing under Air Force Materiel Command in 1994. It provides services and support for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and other organizations at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
72d Reconnaissance Group
72d Air Base Wing