United States Air Forces In Europe

The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) is the only current major command which can trace its formation to before the foundation of the US Air Force in September 1947. USAFE was formed on the 7th August 1945 and has its headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. From a peak strength of more than 70,000 personnel during the Cold War, the USAFE has a current strength of about 27,000 officers and enlisted personnel.

Until the 1st November 2005 the USAFE was composed of the 3rd and 16th Air Forces. The 3rd Air Force with its Headquarters at RAF Mildenhall,UK was the larger of the two subsidiary Air Forces, controlling the 48th Fighter Wing (RAF Lakenheath), 52nd Fighter Wing (Sprangdahlem AB, Germany), 86th Airlift Wing (Ramstein Air Base, Germany), and 100th Air Refueling Wing (RAF Mildenhall, UK)

The smaller 16th Air Force had its Headquarters at Aviano AB, Italy and controlled the 31st Fighter Wing (Aviano, Italy) and the 39th Wing (Incirlik AB, Turkey). The 39th Wing does not normally have aircraft permanently assigned but can be allocated squadrons from the USA if the situation demands.

Following the inactivation of the 3rd Air Force all elements came under the command of HQ Air Command Europe.

The USAFE currently operate some 135 fighters (F-15C/D and F-16C/D) and approximately 75 Strike aircraft (OA/A-10A and F-15E). The 86th Airlift Wing based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany is equipped with a variety of transport aircraft (C-130, C-9A, C-20A, C-21A and C-12J) engaged in the Theater-Airlift, VIP, Communications and Aeromedical roles. The 100th Air Refueling Wing based at RAF Mildenhall operates between 9-15 KC-135R tankers.

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