116th Air Control Wing

116th Air Control Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 116th Air Control Wing

caption= 116th Air Control Wing emblem
dates= May 1941 - Present
country= United States
branch= United States Air Force
type= Air Control
role= Combat Support
current_commander= Brigadier General Thomas R. Moore [http://www.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?bioID=9646]
garrison= Robins AFB, Georgia

* World War II: European Campaign (1943-1945)
(As 353rd Fighter Group)
* Korean Service (1951-1952)
* Vietnam Service (1965-1972)
* Global War on Terrorism
(Dates TBD)

The United States Air Force's 116th Air Control Wing (116 ACW) is a joint active duty/Air National Guard air control wing located at Robins AFB, Georgia.


The 116th ACW is the only Air Force unit operating the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), an advanced ground surveillance and battle management system. Joint STARS detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets ground movements on the battlefield, communicating real-time information through secure data links with U.S. Forces command posts.


World War II

The 116th Bomb Wing was formed in Mitchell Field, New York, on 28 September 1942, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. Shortly afterwards on 1 October 1942, it was redesignated as the 353rd Fighter Group and assigned to 8th Air Force. They operated against the enemy in combat over Europe from Aug 1943 to Apr 1945, using P-47's until conversion to P-51 Mustangs in Oct 1944. The unit regularly escorted bombers that attacked industrial establishments, marshalling yards, submarine installations, V-weapon sites, and other targets. They frequently strafed and dive-bombed buildings, troops, flak batteries, barges and tug boats, locomotives and rail lines, vehicles, bridges, and airfields while also flying numerous counter-air missions.

From Aug 1943 to Feb 1944, they provided escort for bombers that attacked targets in western Europe, made counter-air sweeps over France and the low countries, and dive-bombed targets in France. The wing participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Between March and May 1944, it increased its fighter-bomber activities. In June 1944, it provided cover over the beachhead and close support for the Normandy invasion.

In July 1944, it supported the breakthrough at St. Lo. It won a DUC for supporting the airborne attack on Holland, when the group contributed to the operation by protecting bombers and troop carriers and by strafing and dive-bombing ground targets during the period 17-23 Sep 1944. The wing continued its fighter-bomber, escort, and counter-air activities, participating in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945) and the airborne attack across the Rhine (Mar 1945).

The 116th remained in the theater until October 1945. It was inactivated in the US on 18 October 1945 at Camp Kilmer, NJ.

Postwar Years

The 353rd Fighter Group was redesignated as Headquarters, 116th Fighter Group allotted to the Georgia Air National Guard and stood up on 9 September 1946 under the 54th Fighter Wing at Dobbins (formerly Marietta) AFB.

Korean War

In October 1950, after the start of the Korean War, the Group activated and moved to George AFB, California where it reorganized under Tactical Air Command (TAC) as the 116th Fighter Bomber Wing flying the F-84 Thunderjet.

The group moved to Japan in July 1951 and attached to Far East Air Forces for operations in the Korean War. They flew interdictory and close-support missions, strafing and dive-bombing power plants, buildings, mine entrances, gun positions, bunkers, troops, rail lines, trains, bridges, and vehicles. During the same period, also the group provided air defense for Japan.

Relieved from active duty, the group returned to control of Georgia Air National Guard without personnel and equipment, and was redesignated the 116th Fighter-Interceptor Group, on 10 Jul 1952. It was subsequently redesignated the 116th Fighter-Bomber Group in Dec 1952.

Cold War


After flying fighters and bombers since its initial activation, the 116th became the Georgia ANG Air Transport Wing on 1 June 1961 and converted to the C-97 “Stratofreighter” transport, marking a major change in wing history. Later, in December 1966, it became the first ANG unit to receive the new C-124 Globemaster.

Numerous combat support missions to every corner of the globe, including Vietnam, kept the 116th busy until it again became a fighter unit in 1974, equipped with the F-100D Super Saber. Designated as the 116th Tactical Fighter Wing, the 116th flew the Super Saber jets for six accident-free years until May 1979 when the last aircraft left Dobbins AFB for the “Bone-yard” at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona. From then until 1996, the 116th flew F-105G Wild Weasels, F-4D Phantoms, and F-15A/B Eagles at Dobbins AFB, Georgia. During this period, the wing developed an impressive record of accomplishment and was awarded nine Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards.

Post Cold War

alert facility, the 116th Bomb Wing was quickly up and running and participated in a number of deployments and exercises around the world in the B-1B.

In the summer of 2001, in order to streamline the B-1 Bomber program, the Department of Defense reorganized the fleet, which required that they leave Robins AFB. Immediately the 116th began the initial stages of an untried process with a vast amount of potential benefit to the Air Force, transitioning into the first ever “blended wing”. The new wing was to be composed of active duty and ANG personnel, facilities and equipment of both the 116th BW and the co-located active-duty 93d Air Control Wing (ACW), which operated the E-8C Joint STARS battlefield surveillance aircraft [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=Yd9d1sxj4u4C&pg=PA13&dq=116th+Air+Control+Wing+(United+States)&sig=L3XDgciExarvwIdcwKzt3SB7NZY Past and Future: "Insights for Reserve Component Use"] , By Harry Thie, Raymond E. Conley] .

As a result of an effort by Donald Rumsfeld [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=OZ5qwFSSV88C&pg=PA19&dq=116th+Air+Control+Wing+(United+States)&sig=xEwLDseJ97q-_fAJrK7UPDUd3hg#PPA19,M1Air Force journal of logistics] : Vol 28 No. 2, Page 19] to reduce the B-1 fleet to 60 by moving the ones with the Georgia ANG to Dyess AFB, Texas, there was an uproar because of the directly and indirectly related jobs that would be lost in Georgia. To find middle ground, the General Accounting Office looked into a means to support 1172 military jobs in Georgia. As a result, the 116th Bomb Wing and 93rd Air Control Wing merged to form the 116th Air Control Wing in Georgia. This group currently supports operations around the world as the only U.S. Air Force organization operating the Joint STARS aircraft.


Major Command/Gaining Command

*Air National Guard/Air Combat Command (1992-Present)
*Air National Guard/Tactical Air Command (1974-1992)
*Air National Guard/Tactical Airlift Command (1971-1974)
*Air National Guard/Military Airlift Command (1966-1971)
*Air National Guard/Military Air Transport Service (1961-1966)
*Air National Guard/Tactical Air Command (1950-1961)

Previous designations

*116th Air Control Wing (2002-Present)
*116th Bomb Wing (1996-2002)
*116th Fighter Wing (1995-1996)
*116th Fighter Group (1992-1995)
*116th Tactical Fighter Wing (1974-1992)
*116th Air Transport Wing (1961-1974)
*116th Fighter Bomber Wing (1950-1961)
*116th Fighter Group (1946-1950)
*353rd Fighter Group (???-1945)

quadrons assigned

*128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron
*12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron
*16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron
*330th Combat Training Squadron
*116th Operations Support Squadron
*116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
*116th Maintenance Operations Squadron
*202nd Engineering Installation Squadron
*116th Communications Squadron
*116th Computer Systems Squadron
*116th Maintenance Squadron
*116th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Bases stationed

*Robins AFB, Georgia (1995-Present)
*Dobbins ARB, Georgia (1950-1995)

Aircraft OperatedWorld Airpower Journal. (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing: London, UK. ISBN 1-880588-01-3

*E-8C Joint STARS (2002-Present)
*B-1B Lancer (1996-2002)
*F-15A/B Eagle (1986-1995)
*F-4D Phantom II (1983-1986)
*F-105G Thunderchief (1979-1983)
*F-100D Super Sabre (1973-1979)
*C-124C Globemaster II (1966-1973)
*C-97G Stratocruiser (196?-1966)
*C-97F Stratocruiser (1961-196?)
*F-86L Sabre (1960-1961)
*F-84F Thunderstreak (1955-1960)
*F-84D Thunderjet (1952-1955)
*F-51 Mustang (1950-1952)

ee also

* USAF Organizations in the Korean War
* 314th Air Division


External links

* [http://www.116acw.acc.af.mil/ 116th Air Control Wing Official Website]

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