|347th Rescue Wing|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 347th Rescue Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command, stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. It was inactivated on 1 October 2006.
Provided air defense of Japanese territory Aug 1948– Mar 1950. Reactivated in Jan 1968 at Yokota AB, performed air defense and reconnaissance missions over Japan and South Korea through early May 1971.
Reactivated in May 1971 at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, replacing the 67 TFW which moved in July 1971 to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. Equipped with F-111F Aardvarks, the 347th had a short stay at Mountain Home, conducting F-111F training until October 1972, when the 366 TFW moved from Vietnam to Mountain Home. Upon its arrival, the 366th absorbed all the personnel and equipment of the 347th.
On 30 July 1973 the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing was reactivated at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand replacing the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing which returned to the United States. The wing retained two squadrons of 24 each F-111As of the 474th, the 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) and the 429th TFS, and for a brief two-week period the 347th flew combat operations into Cambodia until 15 August, when the last wartime mission of the Vietnam Era was flown into Cambodia for final mission of Constant Guard. After the cease-fire, the wing was maintained in a combat-ready status for possible contingency
After the end of combat missions in Indochina, the 347th moved to Korat RTAFB, Thailand in 1974 after the closure of Taklhi and remained in Southeast Asia through May 1975 to undertake strike missions in the event of further contingency operations. Participated in numerous exercises and firepower demonstrations, and, during Jan–May 1975, flew sea surveillance missions. Participated in the recovery of the American merchantman SS Mayaguez from the Khmer Rouge in May 1975.
Replaced Det. 1, 363d Combat Support Group at Moody AFB and trained to become proficient in F-4E aircraft. Assumed responsibility for operating Moody AFB in Dec 1975. Thereafter, conducted frequent exercise deployments in the U.S. and overseas to maintain capabilities specializing in air-to-ground attack using precision-guided weapons. Transitioned to F-16A/B aircraft, 1988–1989, and oriented mission planning toward NATO requirements by conducting squadron-strength deployments to Europe.
Began upgrading to F-16C/D in Jan 1990 and in Aug 1990 became first operational TAC unit to employ the LANTIRN all-weather/night navigation and bombing system. Sent support personnel to Southwest Asia in Aug 1990, and in Jan 1991 deployed one fighter squadron to fly combat missions. Following the ceasefire, continued to support peace-keeping operations with periodic aircraft deployments to Saudi Arabia.
As a result of hurricane damage at Homestead AFB, FL, two fighter squadrons from there moved to Moody AFB in Aug 1992, and in Nov 1992 were assigned to the 347th, making it the largest F-16 wing in the USAF. Regularly deployed elements to Southwest Asia to support Operation Southern Watch and other contingencies.
Became a composite wing in 1994 with the addition of airlift and close air support elements, and as part of the realignment of the post Cold-War Air Force, HQ ACC converted and realigned the 347th Fighter Wing to the 347th Wing (347 WG) on 1 July 1994, with a new mission being that of a force projection, air/land composite wing.
On 1 April 1997 the 347th Wing added a combat search and rescue (CSAR) component with the addition of the 41st Rescue Squadron (41 RQS) with HH-60G helicopters and the 71st Rescue Squadron (71 RQS) with specialized HC-130P aircraft, both units transferring from Patrick AFB, Florida. To make room for these squadrons, the 52d Airlift Squadron was inactivated, with its C-130s being transferred to the 71 RQS.
The F-16s of the 347th Wing began to be transferred out as the "Composite Wing" concept ended at Moody. The 70 FS was inactivated on 30 June 2000, the 69 FS inactivated on 2 February 2001, and the 68 FS was inactivated on 1 April. The F-16s and A-10s/OA-10s were transferred to various active-duty, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard squadrons both in CONUS as well as overseas. On 1 May 2001, the 347th Wing stood down as a composite wing and stood up as the 347th Rescue Wing (347 RQW), becoming the Air Force's only active-duty combat search and rescue wing.
On 1 October 2003, Moody was transferred from Air Combat Command to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). With the change of assignment the 347th Rescue Wing was transferred from ACC to AFSOC. This was a short-lived experiment that temporarily placed all USAF air rescue assets (Active, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard) under AFSOC. On 1 October 2005, the 347 RQW returned to Air Combat Command
Inactivated on 1 October 2006, personnel and equipment being reassigned to the 23d Wing which was moved to Moody from Pope AFB, North Carolina.