THE 302ND AIRLIFT WING|
Printable Fact Sheet
The 302nd Airlift Wing, Colorado's only Air Force Reserve flying unit, is the largest tenant organization at Peterson Air Force Base. Approximately 1,300 Reserve Airmen are assigned, of which roughly 200 are full-time employees as Air Reserve Technicians. In addition, approximately 200 active duty members assigned to the 52nd Airlift Squadron are also associated with the wing.
The wing is one of nine C-130 Air Force Reserve units with an airdrop and airlift mission located throughout the nation. The wing is assigned 12 C-130H3 Hercules aircraft, which are flown by the wing's 731st and 52nd Airlift Squadrons.
The mission of the 302nd AW is to provide superior global reach. The primary operational mission of the 302nd AW is tactical airlift and airdrop. The wing also has the specialized mission of aerial fire fighting employing the U.S. Forest Service's Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS), as well as an aeromedical evacuation mission, which was added in April of 2008.
Units assigned to the 302nd AW can be activated and deployed from the United States to any location in the world within 72 hours.
There are three groups and a medical element assigned to the 302nd AW. These include the 302nd Operations Group, the 302nd Maintenance Group and the 302nd Mission Support Group. The 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron also serves the wing by ensuring its members' medical readiness.
In October 2009, the 302nd AW began its partnership with the 52nd Airlift Squadron, an Active Duty flying squadron. This active association is part of the Air Force's Total Force Integration initiative. Known commonly as "TFI," the initiative allows for maximum use of the wing's aircraft, while capitalizing on the high years of experience found in members of the Air Force Reserve. The 52nd Airlift Squadron is assigned to the 19th Airlift Wing, based at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
The 302nd AW comes under the operational control of the Air Force Reserve Command, headquartered at Robins AFB, Ga. When called to Active Duty through presidential order, the wing would become an Active Duty unit under the command of Air Mobility Command, based at Scott AFB, Ill.
Established as the 302nd Troop Carrier Wing on May 16, 1949, the 302nd AW was first activated by the Air Force Reserve on June 27, 1949. In the mid-1950s, the wing flew airlift operations in the United States and overseas.
The 302nd AW was called to Active Duty during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. During the 1960s, wing aircraft and crews performed worldwide airlift missions and participated in numerous tactical exercises. The unit was deactivated on April 1, 1981. In mid-1983, the unit, then designated the 901st Tactical Airlift Group, moved to its newly constructed facilities at Peterson AFB and was reactivated as the 302nd Airlift Wing on April 1, 1985.
The wing received one of its most challenging tests in 1990-1991 with Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. More than 600 wing members--including flying, medical and maintenance personnel--deployed to the Persian Gulf, England and stateside locations to support Active Duty operations.
At the end of the Gulf War, the 302nd AW supported Operation Provide Comfort, air dropping food and supplies to Kurdish refugees. The wing also supported Operations Restore Hope in Somalia, Coronet Oak in Panama, Provide Promise's humanitarian airlift to Bosnia and hurricane relief to Homestead AFB, Fla.
In 1999, the wing assisted in humanitarian relief to refugees from Kosovo and Operation Allied Force.
In December 2001, the 302nd AW became one of the first Air Force Reserve C-130 units to mobilize and deploy in support of Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom, flying airlift missions based out of Europe. During that period, members of the 302nd Security Forces Squadron were mobilized and deployed to various locations around the globe, including Southwest Asia. Since 2003, members of the wing's Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Aerial Port Squadron, Security Forces, Transportation, Services, Intelligence and Personnel communities have been mobilized and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 302nd AW was later activated in support of U.S. Central Command operations in Southwest Asia in 2005-2006.
The wing continues to provide operational support to ongoing overseas contingency operations. In the summer of 2008, C-130 aircraft and aircrews deployed to Southwest Asia. Other units within the 302nd AW have also deployed to Southwest Asia, including the 302nd Security Forces Squadron, which deployed Airmen in the summer of 2008. Later in the spring of 2009, members of the 302nd Civil Engineer Squadron deployed as well. Both units were deployed to Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq.
In January 2010, the wing provided humanitarian aid relief for earthquake victims in Haiti during the wing's Operation Coronet Oak deployment which included airlift support to U.S. Southern Command's Operation Unified Response. In September of that year and May of 2012 the 302nd AW deployed operations and maintenance Airmen and C-130s to Southwest Asia in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom. These deployments were in addition to the wing's aerial port and aeromedical evacuation deployments and numerous individually-deployed 302nd AW Airmen.
Special Mission (MAFFS)
The 302nd AW is the only Air Force Reserve unit trained and equipped for the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) mission, which involves air dropping fire retardant for the purpose of containing wildland fires. The U.S. Forest Service owned MAFFS systems, which are loaded into the C-130s, can be activated and installed on a C-130 within hours. The wing has flown firefighting missions throughout the western United States since the 302nd AW took on the Reserve portion of the MAFFS mission in 1993.
MAFFS is a mission that highlights interagency cooperation. The 302nd AW is a federal force belonging to the Department of Defense, yet works in concert with the National Interagency Fire Center, and the US Forest Service. NIFC determines fire fighting needs and strategies. When it is determined MAFFS will be utilized, NIFC through U.S. Northern Command requests the DOD, U.S. Air Force resources.
(Current as of December 2012)
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs (AFRC)
Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.