52nd Fighter Wing


The 52d Fighter Wing (52 FW) is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It flies the F-16CJ fighter aircraft. It was activated in 1948, but derives significant elements of its history from the predecessor Second World War 52d Fighter Group, which is now the 52d Operations Group, subordinate to the wing.

52d Fighter Wing
Country United States of America
Branch United States Air Force
Part ofUnited States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa
Garrison/HQSpangdahlem Air Base
Motto(s)"Seek, Attack, Destroy"
  • Southwest Asia (1990–1991)
  • Expeditionary Service
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Northern Watch
Operation Allied Force
Operation Decisive Forge
  • Global War on Terrorism
Afghanistan Campaign (TBD)
Iraqi Campaign (TBD)
Operation Inherent Resolve (TBD)
DecorationsDistinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V Device
Colonel Leslie Hauck
David L. Goldfein, Victor E. Renuart Jr.
52d Fighter Wing emblem (Approved 10 May 1951)[1][note 1]52d Fighter Wing.png
General Dynamics F-16C Block 50D Fighting Falcon 91-0361 taxiing out from at Tab-Vee at Spangdahlem on 20 March 2011 in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn

The wing provides United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa and/or the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe with mission-ready personnel and systems. The assigned F-16 aircraft can be tasked to suppress enemy air defenses, provide close air support, carry out air interdiction, counter-air, strategic attack, and combat search and rescue. The wing also supports contingencies and operations other than war as required.

In concert with USAFE wings at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the 52d Fighter Wing directly supports the strategic mobility mission once conducted at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. The wing provides logistics support for C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy aircraft, crew, passengers and cargo to sustain air mobility operations throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia. The 52d Fighter Wing also supports USAFE's Joint Fires Center of Excellence, whose mission is to conduct joint and combined training focused on the effective integration and application of tactical fires.

Subordinate organizationsEdit

The wing is authorized for about 5,560 active-duty members and about 210 Department of Defense civilians. The wing is organized with four groups responsible for operations, maintenance, mission support and medical operations, and has headquarters staff.

52d Operations Group (52 OG)[2]

52d Maintenance Group (52 MXG)

  • 52d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (52 AMXS)
  • 52d Maintenance Operations Squadron (52 MOS)
  • 52d Equipment Maintenance Squadron (52 EMS)
  • 52d Component Maintenance Squadron (52 CMS)

52d Medical Group (52 MDG)

  • 52d Aerospace Medicine Squadron (52 AMDS)
  • 52d Dental Squadron (52 DS)
  • 52d Medical Operations Squadron (52 MDOS)
  • 52d Medical Support Squadron (52 MDSS)

52d Mission Support Group (52 MSG)

  • 52d Civil Engineer Squadron (52 CES)
  • 52d Communications Squadron (52 CS)
  • 52d Contracting Squadron (52 CONS)
  • 52d Force Support Squadron (52 FSS)
  • 52d Logistics Readiness Squadron (52 LRS)
  • 52d Security Forces Squadron (52 SFS)
  • 470th Air Base Squadron (470 ABS) NATO Air Base, Geilenkirchen, Germany

52d Munitions Maintenance Group (52 MMG) (custody and storage of tactical nuclear weapons)

  • 701st Munitions Support Squadron (701 MUNSS) Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium
  • 702d Munitions Support Squadron (702 MUNSS) Buechel Air Base, Germany
  • 703d Munitions Support Squadron (703 MUNSS) Volkel Air Base, Netherlands
  • 704th Munitions Support Squadron (704 MUNSS) Ghedi Air Base, Italy


Cold WarEdit

52d TFW Wild Weasel-team in the late 1980s
2d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron McDonnell F-101B-100-MC Voodoo Suffolk County Air Force Base, New York, 1965 firing an MB-1 Genie air-to-air missile.

Established as the 52d Fighter Wing, All Weather, on 10 May 1948, the wing served in the United States as an air defense unit in the northeastern United States from 1947 until the end of 1968.[3]

The 52d was reactivated on 18 August 1955 and designated 52d Fighter Group (Air Defense). It was assigned to Air Defense Command and equipped with North American F-86 Sabre aircraft. It served once more as an air defense unit in the southeastern United States.

In December 1971, it became the host wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and inherited tactical squadrons from the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at nearby Bitburg Air Base. The wing participated in numerous tactical exercises, operations, and tests of USAFE and NATO and provided close air support, interdiction, and base defense operations. It operated with other NATO forces in frequent "squadron exchange" programs and hosted US-based units on temporary duty in Europe. In January 1973, a Wild Weasel defense suppression mission was added. After October 1985, using the F-4 Phantom II model aircraft, defense suppression became the wing's sole tactical mission. In 1987, the 52d acquired F-16 Falcons and became the first wing to integrate F-16Cs with F-4Gs to form hunter/killer teams within individual fighter squadrons.

It deployed aircraft and personnel to strategic locations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey in support of the liberation of Kuwait from September 1990 – March 1993. Near the end of 1992, it began receiving A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. It received F-15 Eagles in 1994 but lost its F-4Gs. In January and December 1999, the wing supported Operations Northern Watch, Allied Force, and Decisive Forge with numerous deployments to Italy and Turkey.

Twenty-first centuryEdit

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon in the United States on September 11, 2001, the 52d Fighter Wing began preparations for possible combat tasking. Within one month the wing had deployed people and equipment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in and around Afghanistan. The 22d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron began flying operations at a deployed location in support of the war on terrorism within 100 hours of tasking notification.

Personnel assigned to the 52d FW continued to deploy for Operation Enduring Freedom circa 2020.

In April 2010 the wing's strength was reduced by one third. Twenty F-16Cs were flown to the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, one F-16 was transferred to Edwards Air Force Base, California. All aircraft were from the 22d Fighter Squadron.[2] As a result of the drawdown of F-16s, the 22d and 23d Fighter Squadrons were inactivated on 13 August 2010 and formed a single "new" squadron, the 480th Fighter Squadron.[4]

On 18 June 2013, the 81st Fighter Squadron was inactivated at Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany. The inactivation marked the end of A-10 operations in Europe at that time.[5]

In December 2014, the wing commander, Col. Peter Bilodeau, who had commanded the wing for six months, was relieved of his command for "a loss of faith and confidence in his leadership."[6] His deputy served as commander until Col. McFall took command.[7][6]

On 1 April 2017, the 606th Air Control Squadron, Detachment 1 was inactivated at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany following the relocation to Aviano Air Base, Italy.


  • Established as 52d Fighter Wing, All Weather, on 10 May 1948
Activated on 9 June 1948
Redesignated 52d Fighter-All Weather Wing on 20 January 1950
Redesignated 52d Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 1 May 1951
Inactivated on 6 February 1952, personnel and subordinate units assigned to 4709th Air Defense Wing.
  • Redesignated 52d Fighter Wing (Air Defense), and activated, on 11 April 1963
Organized on 1 July 1963
Inactivated on 30 September 1968
  • Redesignated 52d Tactical Fighter Wing on 12 November 1971
Activated on 31 December 1971
Redesignated: 52d Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991.







Aircraft operatedEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ The emblem was updated 3 December 1996. It was originally approved for the 52d Fighter-Interceptor Group on 11 January 1951. Robertson, Factsheet 52 Fighter Wing. Its heraldic description is "Quarterly per fess nebuly, first and fourth argent, each charged with a dagger in pale point downward gules, hilt and pommel of the same, grip or; second quarter azure; third quarter, sable." Maurer, p. 115.


  1. ^ Robertson, Patsy (May 7, 2013). "Factsheet 52 Fighter Wing (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Gradishar, A1C Kali L. (April 26, 2010). "F-16 drawdown to begin". 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  3. ^ Maurer, p. 114.
  4. ^ Polesnak, 1/Lt Kathleen (August 13, 2010). "480th activated as Spangdahlem's newest F-16 squadron". 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Knee, SSG Daryl (June 16, 2013). "Fighter squadron inactivation signals end of A-10s in Europe". 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs.
  6. ^ a b Pawlyk, Oriana (December 30, 2014). "Wing commander relieved of post in Germany". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  7. ^ Svan, Jennifer H. (January 22, 2015). "Spangdahlem bringing back former vice wing commander". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved May 2, 2015.


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Ivie, Tom and Paul Ludwig. Spitfires and Yellow Tail Mustangs: The 52d Fighter Group in World War 2. Crowborough, East Sussex, UK: Hikoki Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-902109-43-0.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

External linksEdit

  • Spangdahlem AB home page