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482nd FW commemorates its history

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

While the Air Force is celebrating its 75th year in September and the Air Force Reserve is celebrating its 74th anniversary on April 14, the 482nd Fighter Wing is also celebrating its own 70th year in May and its 41st anniversary for being activated in the Air Force Reserve April 1.

While originally established as the 482nd Troop Carrier Wing on May 26, 1952, April 1 marks the anniversary for the re-activation of the 482nd Tactical Fighter Wing in the Air Force Reserve at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida in 1981.

The 482nd Fighter Wing complete lineage encompasses 70 years of service since its establishment:

• The wing was established as the 482nd Troop Carrier Wing in May 1952, at Miami International Airport, Florida, flying C-46 Commando aircraft assigned to Fourteenth Air Force.

• The wing then activated in the Reserve for the first time on June 14, 1952 and then inactivated on December 1. 

• The wing was re-designated as the 482nd Fighter-Bomber Wing on April 12, 1955 and then activated again in the Reserve May 18 at Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia. The wing flew F-84 Thunderjets, T-28 Trojan, T-33 Shooting Star, F-86 Sabre, and even C-119 Flying Boxcar aircraft while assigned at Dobbins before inactivating on November 16, 1957. 

• The wing was again re-designated as the 482nd Tactical Fighter Wing February 25, 1981 and activated in the Reserve replacing the 915th Tactical Fighter Group April 1 at HAFB assigned to the Tenth Air Force. It was one of the first Reserve F-4 Phantom II flying wings until its transition to the F-16 Fighting Falcon in 1989. Then, the wing was re-designated again as the 482nd Fighter Wing February 1, 1992.

Another April 1 anniversary to celebrate is the 482nd Fighter Wing officially becoming the host wing at Homestead Air Reserve Station in 1994. After the base took a direct hit from devastating Category Five Hurricane Andrew in August 1992, recovery and reconstruction began. When the hurricane hit, almost half the wing, their F-16 jets and equipment were deployed to Aviano Air Base, Italy for their 1992 annual tour. 

The base was spared during the 1993 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission process. The 482nd Fighter Wing F-16s memorably returned to Homestead Air Reserve Station March 26, 1994 after temporary training assignments at Robins AFB, Georgia, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, Tyndall AFB, and MacDill AFB, Florida.

With the acquisition of the runway and associated land from a Secretary of the Air Force decision in 2002, the 482nd Fighter Wing continued hosting the air station as it renamed to Homestead Air Reserve Base on December 17, 2003.

The 482nd Fighter Wing fulfilled its primary mission of training Reservists while welcoming and supporting a number of other Department of Defense and international tenant units. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 changed the focus of the wing’s F-16 fighter pilots from the 93rd Fighter Squadron flying combat air patrols started augmenting the already scheduled Aerospace Expeditionary Force.

The ‘Global War On Terror’ put the wing fighter jets on the front line of the war in Afghanistan. Along with flying a Combat Air Patrol from Homestead Air Reserve Station, elements of the 482nd Fighter Wing deployed in October 2001 to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait as part of a regularly scheduled Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. 

Wing F-16 jets also began flying additional combat missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan. Throughout the 90-day deployment, Mako pilots, as part of a larger Air Reserve component "rainbow wing" at Al Jaber, flew nine to 15 hours a day.

Since 2001, the wing has built a strong, proud, and distinct heritage by flying jets and deploying Reserve Citizen Airmen and active-duty Airmen to support Operations Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Freedom’s Sentinel, Inherent Resolve, Spartan Shield, Unified Response, Allies Refuge, and Allies Welcome. Additionally, HARB Airmen supported the U.S. Pacific Command Theater Security Package, NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas, and U.S. Northern Command COVID-19 operations.

Deployed wing personnel and aircraft made history as the very last units and Airmen out of Bagram Airfield and Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan as operations ceased there.

The Makos continue to maintain their combat mission ready status while executing the mission during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

The wing continues to make history with their mission of providing combat-ready Airmen to answer our nation’s call, while also training and empowering, an innovative force equipped to Fly, Fight and Win! 

The Air Force Reserve was formally established on April 14, 1948 by President Harry Truman, created as a separate component when the Army Air Corps Reserve was transferred to the Air Force. The Air Force Reserve lineage dates back more than 100 years to when Reserve Airpower was established in the National Defense Act of 1916. Today, nearly 70,000 members combining 14,000 officers and 55,000 enlisted Reserve Citizen Airmen are stationed locally in communities throughout the United States and overseas while more than 5,000 are mobilized serving globally for every combatant command in air, space, and cyberspace.

This year, all Airmen are called to “Innovate, Accelerate and Thrive” as the U.S. Air Force and Department of the Air Force approach their 75th anniversaries on Sept. 18, 2022.