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302 Airlift Wing History

302nd Airlift Wing unit shield

302nd Airlift Wing unit shield

The Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing is located at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Approximately 1,300 Reserve Airmen are assigned, of which roughly 200 are full-time dual-status Air Reserve Technician employees.

The mission of the 302nd AW is to train, equip and employ mission ready Airmen in support of the nation’s global operations requirements. The primary operational mission of the 302nd AW is tactical airlift and airdrop utilizing the wing’s eight C-130H assigned aircraft. The wing is also the only Air Force Reserve Wing, along with three Air National Guard Wings, supporting the C-130 special mission of aerial firefighting, employing the U.S. Forest Service's Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS). The MAFFS mission was moved to the Colorado-based wing in 1993.

Established as the 302nd Troop Carrier Wing on May 16, 1949, and based at Clinton County AFB, Ohio, 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.

Since 2001, Airmen from throughout the wing to include the mission areas of aircrew, aircraft maintenance, aeromedical evacuation, aerial port, logistics, security forces, civil engineer, communications, medical, public affairs, legal, financial management, chaplain, as well as aircraft from the 302nd AW have been deployed in support of numerous operations to include: Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom’s Sentinel. In 2010 the wing provided humanitarian aid relief in Haiti during Operation Unified Response and also supported flood relief in Pakistan.

In 2015 the 302nd Airlift Wing was named the Lt. Gen. James E. Sherrard, III, Air Force Reserve Outstanding Air Mobility Wing by the Airlift/Tanker Association recognizing the wing’s contribution to the overall success of the Mobility Air Force mission and total force.

The wing has earned recognition earning the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award multiple times to include awards for the periods of  1990-1991, 1998-1999, 2001-2002, 2004-2006, 2006-2008,  2009-2011 and most recently for 2015.

(Current as of February 2017)