|404th Air Expeditionary Group|
|Active||1943–1945; 1955–1957; 1958–1959; 2003; 2005; 2007; 2008–present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||United States Air Forces in Europe|
|Garrison/HQ||Ramstein AB, Germany|
|Colonel Phillip S. Fallin|
The 404th Air Expeditionary Group (404 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. It is attached to Seventeenth Air Force [Air Forces Africa], stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
The 404 AEG may be activated or inactivated at any time. Last activated on 1 October 2008, it currently provides intertheater airlift in support of US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) taskings since 1 October 2008. The 404 AEG added, in provisional status, the 459th Expeditionary Air Medical Squadron.
During contingency operations, the group forward-deploys to facilitate air and support operations for varied missions, ranging from humanitarian airlift to presidential support. The 404th AEG deployed to Rwanda in January 2009 to provide airlift for peacekeeping equipment in support of the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur. In July 2009, the 404th AEG deployed to Ghana to provide aerial port and aircraft maintenance teams, along with forward communications, early warning, and air domain safety and security elements for U.S. President Barack Obama's visit.
Established as the 100th Fighter Wing and organized in England in late 1943. Assigned to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), IX Fighter Command, Ninth Air Force. Began operational missions in April 1944, mission of the Wing was to receive operational orders from Headquarters, IX Fighter Command and direct subordinate groups in attacking enemy targets in Occupied France and the Low Countries in preparation for the Normandy Invasion in June 1944. Targets included bridges, roads, railroads and enemy interceptor aircraft both on the ground as well as in air-to-air combat.
After the D-Day invasion, was reassigned to IX Tactical Air Command (IX TAC) and directed to provide ground support for advancing United States First Army forces in France, attacking enemy targets initially in the Cotentin Peninsula, then supported Operation Cobra, the breakout of Normandy and attacked enemy forces in the Falaise-Argentan Gap. Wing headquarters and subordinate units operated primarily from liberated airfields and newly built temporary Advanced Landing Grounds in France, moved into north-central France, its groups attacking enemy targets near Paris then north-west into Belgium and the southern Netherlands. In December 1944/January 1945, engaged enemy targets on the north side of the Battle of the Bulge, then moved eastward into the Northern Rhineland as part of the Western Allied invasion of Germany.
Supported First Army as it crossed the Rhine River at Remagen then moved north to attack ground targets in the Ruhr, providing air support as Allied ground forces encircled enemy forces in the Ruhr Pocket, essentially ending organized enemy resistance in Western Germany. First Army halted its advance at the Elbe River in late April 1945, the wing engaging targets of opportunity in enemy-controlled areas until combat was ended on 5 May 1945.
It remained in Europe for four months after VE Day, as part of United States Air Forces in Europe. It performed occupation duty and the destruction or shipment to the United States of captured enemy combat equipment - Operation Lusty. It was inactivated in Germany in August 1945.
The 704th Strategic Missile Wing activated on 1 July 1957 at Vandenberg AFB, California, but was not operational until mid-November 1957. While it had two operational squadrons, its task was training on the SM-65 Atlas, PGM-19 Jupiter, and the PGM-17 Thor from November 1957 – April 1959. Not operational 6 April – 1 July 1959. The wing then was redesignated as the 404th Tactical Missile Wing on 31 July 1985. This was a "paper" administrative redesignation, and it was never activated while under this name.
As an Air Expeditionary unit, it has been activated and inactivated on several occasions by USAFE from 2003–2008. In June–July 2003 it was activated at RAF Mildenhall, UK. It was part of the 323rd AEW from 14 March – 30 April 2008 at Balotesti, Romania, when the 323 AEW served briefly as the USAF headquarters for a NATO Summit.