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301st Fighter Wing

301st Fighter Wing
General Dynamics Block 30A F-16Cs of the 457th FS. Serials are 85,1449, 85,1467, 85-1458 and 85-1472
Active 5 October 1944-Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Wing
Role Fighter
Part of   Air Force Reserve Command
Garrison/HQ Carswell Field, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas
Tail Code Texas flag tail stripe "TX" "Texas Longhorns"

  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1944–1945)
Decorations AFOUA
301st Fighter Wing emblem
Aircraft flown
Fighter F-16C/D Fighting Falcon

The 301st Fighter Wing (301 FW) is an Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Tenth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Carswell Field, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. If mobilized, the Wing is gained by the Air Combat Command.


  • Mission 1
  • Units 2
  • History 3
    • World War II 3.1
    • Cold War 3.2
    • Modern era 3.3
    • Global War on Terrorism 3.4
  • Lineage 4
    • Assignments 4.1
    • Components 4.2
    • Stations 4.3
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The mission of the unit is to maintain a state of readiness to deploy people and their assigned fighter aircraft (the F-16) wherever needed when notified of recall to active duty. Wing people assigned to the 301st Fighter Wing repeatedly demonstrate their flying expertise and professionalism in Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and NATO exercises designed to emphasize that to retain the country’s combat ready posture it must train as it plans to fight.

The wing comes under 10th Air Force, one of the three numbered Air Forces of the Air Force Reserve. If mobilized, the wing would come under Air Combat Command’s 12th Air Force.

Day-to-day activities of the wing are managed by full-time air reserve technicians and department of the Air Force civilians. Ready reservist assigned to the wing are required to attend unit training assemblies which are scheduled for one weekend each month, plus serve 15 days active duty each year to fulfill their reserve commitment. Since reserve pilots are required to maintain the same degree of readiness as their active duty counterparts, flying activities are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday of each week throughout the year.

The 301st Fighter Wing Commander is Colonel John M. Breazeale.[1]


Wing attached units

301st Medical Squadron


The unit's origins begin during World War II, when it was part of Twentieth Air Force. The 301st Fighter Wing's P-47N aircraft flew very long range (VLR) escort missions of B-29 Superfortress bombardment groups against Japan.

World War II

Three-aircraft formation of Republic P-47N Thunderbolts

The 301st Fighter Wing was organized in the United States under First Air Force, initially at Seymour-Johnson Field, North Carolina in October 1944, then moved to Mitchel Field on Long Island in November. On Long Island, the wing coordinated the delivery of the very long range Republic P-47N Thunderbolt from its manufacturing plant at Farmingdale, with aircraft being flown to North Carolina where two of the newly assigned groups of the 301st (413th and 414th) were training.

The war in the Pacific required fighter ranges even greater than did operations over Germany, and the mission of the 301st Fighter Wing was to provide bomber escort for Twentieth Air Force B-29 Superfortress bombers during their strategic bombing missions over Japan in 1945.

Soon after Saipan and Guam were taken with B-29 units being assigned there, the 318th Group formed on the Ryukyu Islands, consisting of six fighter groups, the 15th and 21st (being transferred from Seventh Air Force) and the 413th, 414th, 506th and 507th, all being deployed from the United States. Being the first wing to be equipped with the P-47N, the groups operated as a long-range escort for B-29 Superfortress bombers attacking the Japanese mainland all the way from Saipan to Japan and on many other long, overwater flights.

In July 1945 the 301st was reassigned to the Eighth Air Force with the same mission for Eighth Air Force in the planned invasion of Japan. The atomic bombings of Japan led to the Japanese surrender before Eighth Air Force saw action in the Pacific theater.

The wing was reassigned to Far East Air Forces when Eighth Air Force was returned to the United States in 1946. Its four wartime fighter groups returned to the United States early in 1946, being replaced by the 51st Fighter Group as its operational unit. It served as part of the Army of Occupation on Okinawa. The wing performed air defense role over the Ryukyu Islands. After 18 August 1948, the wing had no units assigned and existed as a paper unituntil inactivated on 20 January 1949.

Cold War

Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief 60-0471 of the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing, modified to the "Thunderstick II" configuration, May 1981. The multiple color tail stripe indicates this is the Wing Commander's aircraft. This aircraft was sent to MASDC on 13 November 1981. Today, the aircraft is waiting restoration at the Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California.
McDonnell Douglas F-4E-38-MC Phantom 68-0366 of the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing about 1985. Upon its retirement in May 1990, this aircraft was first sent to Sheppard AFB as a GF-4E ground maintenance trainer, then placed on static display at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Midland, Texas as part of their Vietnam Memorial.

The 301st was reactivated in July 1972 as the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing at Carswell AFB, Texas in the United States Air Force Reserve. Upon reactivation the wing was assigned the Republic F-105 "Thunderchief", with the Carswell-based 457th Fighter Squadron using specially modified version of the F-105D called the "Thunderstick II". The 301st Fighter Wing led the way for Air Force Reserve fighter units in deploying to overseas bases for NATO exercises when it deployed to Norvenich Air Base, Germany, in August 1977 and Gioia del Colle Air Base, Italy, in May 1979.

In 1981, the wing converted to the McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II. Subsequent overseas deployments by the 301st Fighter Wing included Cigli Air Base, Turkey, in October 1982. A deployment to Sivrihisar Air Base, Turkey, in May 1985 was an AFRES first when they operated under bare base conditions. The unit also deployed to Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. In 1987 the unit began swapping to the newer F-4E Phantom II. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, many wing people were recalled to active duty and served at various locations throughout the United States, Germany, England, and Southwest Asia.

In April 1991, the wing converted to the F-16C/D, "Fighting Falcon".

Modern era

In December 1993, the wing deployed six F-16s, (along with six from the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona), and approximately 350 wing people to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in support of United Nations Operation Deny Flight mission. Due to the wing converting from the F-4 to the F-16 fighter aircraft during Desert Shield/Storm, this voluntary deployment to Aviano AB was the first non-exercise operational aviation deployment since flying fighters out of Carswell in 1972. Due to achieving the highest rating possible from the May 1994 Operational Readiness Inspection and supporting the Deny Flight mission, the 301st Fighter Wing was awarded as an Air Force outstanding unit for the period May 1992 to May 1994.

In May and June 1997, the wing deployed to Karup Air Station, Denmark. The wing joined forces with three US Air Force units and foreign militaries in two separate exercises while in Denmark. The first was a command and control exercise, called Central Enterprise. The second exercise was called BALTOPS, short for Baltic Operations.

In May 1998, the wing deployed with six Air Force Reserve aircraft in support United Nations Southern Watch mission in Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait.

Global War on Terrorism

Elements of the 301st Fighter Wing deployed in October 2001 to the Middle East as part of a regularly scheduled aerospace expeditionary force rotation to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. While there, the reservists also began flying combat missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF) over Afghanistan. Throughout the 90-day deployment, the reservists flew between nine and 15 hours a day.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Hill AFB. It would distribute nine of the 419th Fighter Wing F-16s to the 301st Fighter Wing. In 2007 the wing gained another eight aircraft from the 192d Fighter Wing of the Virginia Air National Guard bringing its total to 32 airplanes.


  • Constituted as 301st Fighter Group on 5 October 1944 and activated on 15 October.
Inactivated on Okinawa on 20 January 1949
  • Redesignated 301st Tactical Fighter Wing on 19 May 1972
Activated in the Reserve on 1 July 1972
Redesignated 301st Fighter Wing on 1 February 1992
301st Operations Group assigned as subordinate unit, 1 August 1992*

* Note: Does not share history and lineage with 301st Fighter Wing





 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^
  • Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
  • Fletcher, Harry R (1993). Air Force Bases , Vol. II, Air Bases Outside the United States of America (PDF). Washington, DC: Center for Air Force History. . Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-513-4. Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings* Martin, Patrick (1994).  
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History.  
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History.  
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External links

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