Happy 40th Birthday 482nd!

  • Published
  • By Mr. Robert H. Clark
  • 482nd Fighter Wing Historian

The 40th birthday for the activation of the 482nd Tactical Fighter Wing in the Air Force Reserve at Homestead Air Force Base is April 1, 1981.

The 482nd FW’s complete lineage encompasses 69 years of service since its establishment. The wing was initially established as the 482nd Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on May 26, 1952. The wing activated in the Reserve on June 14, 1952.

Inactivated on Dec 1, 1952, the wing was redesignated the 482nd Fighter-Bomber Wing on Apr 12, 1955 and activated in the Reserve on May 18, 1955. Once again inactivated on Nov 16, 1957.

On Feb 25, 1981, the wing was redesignated the 482nd TFW and activated in the Reserve on Apr 1, 1981. On Feb 1, 1992, the wing was redesignated as the 482nd Fighter Wing. Since Apr 1, 1981, the 482nd FW has been assigned to Tenth Air Force located in Fort Worth, Texas.

Another April 1 anniversary to mention is that the 482nd FW became the host unit at then Homestead Air Reserve Station on Apr 1, 1994.

With the celebratory historic achievement of 40 years assigned to the Reserve and stationed at the Homestead base, the current emblem bring into spotlight the historic significance of the 482nd FW emblem.

Emblems hold one of the most sacred and visible lineage testaments of a unit and its heraldry. The emblems symbolize the organization's history, mission, or function. Heraldry as we know it today had its beginning in the early 12th century during the period between the First and Second Crusades. Heraldic emblems and devices assumed a distinctive and consistently systematic character that identified individuals, families, nobles, knights, establishments, and communities.

The unit emblem provides an enduring symbol to promote spirit de corps, morale, and a sense of heritage. According to Air Force Instruction 84-105, Organizational Lineage, Honors, and Heraldry, Air Force heraldry meets this need only as long as emblems conform to uniform standards and remain unchanged. Emblems are designed to remain the same regardless of unit location or mission reassignment. Changes to an emblem design are rarely ever approved for this reason.

The 482nd FW is one unique Air Force unit that maneuvered this rare change of heraldry with an approved emblem change from 1983 to 1989. By getting approval to change its original globe element in the emblem to the lightening element we know today, to better represent the tactical air power mission. The wing’s mission today is inherent of its 1981 operational component of F-4 aircraft flown since 1981 until F-16 aircraft were implemented in 1989. The current emblem envisages this historic lineage.

The original 482nd TFW emblem, approved in August 1983, looked different than the one that we have today. The original emblem designers were very proud of becoming the first F-4 tactical fighter wing. On the original emblem, the black and white pattern symbolized that the 482nd TFW was the first Air Force Reserve unit to receive the F-4 aircraft and became the first F-4 tactical fighter wing. The four silhouettes depicted the fighter mission of the wing. The globe set in Air Force yellow symbolized the wing’s world-wide deployment and readiness mission.

The revised emblem displayed today was approved in November 1989. The scarlet half of the shield signifies valor and patriotism of wing personnel. The sky blue half of the shield signifies their fidelity. The checkered band represents the cooperation between the wing's two squadrons in advancing the Air Force mission. The flight symbols depict the fighter mission of the wing while the lightning bolts symbolize tactical air power, loyalty, dedication, and courage of the wing personnel in maintaining military preparedness.