From fighter jets to heavy bombers to support aircraft, U.S. and coalition forces dominated the air war over Iraq 28th Bomb Wing Home base: Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota Destination: Unknown but possibly an air base in Oman or Diego Garcia Aircraft: B-1B bombers Units: 34th Bomb Squadron and 37th Bomb Squadron, plus support and logistical squadrons. Duties: The 28th Bomb Wing, deployed as the 28th Air Expeditionary Wing, supported flight operations over Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. 49th Fighter Wing Home base: Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico Destination: Kuwait Aircraft: F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighters Units: The 49th Fighter wing is home to the Air Force's two operational Nighthawk squadrons -- the 8th and 9th fighter squadrons, known as the "Black Sheep" and "Flying Knights," respectively. Duties: The F-117A is the Air Force's only fighter plane that uses stealth technology. The F-117s were the first aircraft to drop bombs in Baghdad on March 19. They flew more than 80 missions and dropped nearly 100 Enhanced Guided Bomb Units, EGBU-27s. The F-117A was used during the Persian Gulf War, and pilots from the 8th and 9th squadrons flew missions in Kosovo during Operation Allied Force. 5th Bomb Wing Home base: Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota Aircraft: B-52 heavy bombers Units: The 5th Bomb Wing include the following squadrons: • 23rd Bomb Squadron and the 5th Operations Support Squadron • 5th Maintenance Group consisting of the 5th Munitions Squadron, 5th Maintenance Squadron, 5th Maintenance Ops Squadron, and 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron • 5th Mission Support Group consisting of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron, 5th Communications Squadron, 5th Mission Support Squadron, 5th Services Squadron, and 5th Security Forces Squadron, 5th Contracting Squadron, and 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron • 5th Medical Group consisting of 5th Aeromedical-Dental Squadron 5th Medical Operations Squadron and 5th Medical Support Squadron. Duties: The 5th Bomb Wing is one of the Air Force's two B-52 wings. According to the Air Force, aircrews of 5th Bomb Wing assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flew nearly 120 missions over Iraq, each lasting between 12 and 17 hours. The aircrews conducted a variety of missions, including close-air support and interdiction, as well as leaflet drops over the northern half of Iraq. 1st Fighter Wing Home base: Langley Air Force Base, Virginia Aircraft: F-15C Eagle fighters Destination: Persian Gulf air base Units: 27th Fighter Squadron, 71st Fighter Squadron, and 94th Fighter Squadron, plus support and logistical squadrons. Duties: The fighter wing will be a part of a Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF), which is comprised of six squadrons of fighter and bomber aircraft; C-130s Hercules and tankers; search and rescue personnel; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance forces; and combat support elements. During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the wing's two deployed squadrons flew more than 6,200 sorties. 60th Air Mobility Wing Home base: Travis Air Force Base, California Destination: Persian Gulf region Aircraft: KC-10 Extender refueling aircraft Units: The 60th Wing includes the 6th and 9th refueling squadrons, which fly KC-10 Extenders. The wing also has two squadrons that fly C-5 Galaxy transports. Duties: The KC-10's primary mission is aerial refueling. It can carry more than 356,000 pounds of fuel in its six tanks, and can fly up to 75 people and nearly 170,000 pounds of cargo about 4,400 miles (7,040 kilometers) without refueling. 55th Wing Home base: Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska Destination: Persian Gulf region Units: The 55th Wing includes eight squadrons of pilots, navigators, maintenance personnel, electronic warfare officers and other personnel. Aircraft: RC-135 "Rivet Joint" reconnaissance aircraft Duties: The 55th Wing is the only Air Force unit to fly the RC-135, which has an extensive antennae array to collect real time on-scene intelligence collection and the capability to analyze and disseminate that intelligence. According to the Air Force, the aircraft and its crew "provide vital real-time battle management information to mission planners, commanders and warfighters." 116th Air Control Wing Home base: Robins Air Force Base, Georgia Destination: Unknown Aircraft: E-8C Joint Stars ground surveillance aircraft Duties: The wing is comprised of 1,100 Georgia Air National Guard members and active duty Air Force personnel. The Joint Stars aircraft are long-range, air-to-ground surveillance system designed to locate, classify and track ground targets in all weather conditions. 347th Rescue Wing Base: Moody Air Force Base, Georgia Destination: Persian Gulf Aircraft: HC-130 combat search and rescue aircraft Units: The wing's 71st Rescue Squadron flies the HC-130, which the Air Force identified as the aircraft being called for initial deployment. Duties: The 347th is the Air Force's only active-duty combat search and rescue wing. The HC-130P/N is an extended-range, combat search and rescue version of the C-130 Hercules transport. Its mission is to extend the range of combat search and rescue helicopters by providing air refueling. 43rd Airlift Wing Home base: Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina Destination: Persian Gulf region Aircraft: C-130 transports Units: The 43rd Airlift Wing includes the 2nd and 41st airlift squadrons, which fly C-130 transports. Duties: The C-130 is a key component of the Air Force's airlift fleet. The aircraft can deliver troops, supplies and equipment to a battlefield in all weather conditions. Elements of the 43rd have participated in operations Northern and Southern Watch, which monitor the U.N.-mandated "no-fly" zones over Iraq, and in Operation Desert Storm. 4th Fighter Wing Home base: Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina Destination: Persian Gulf air base Aircraft: F-15E Strike Eagle Units: 333rd-336th Fighter Squadrons, plus support and logistical squadrons. Duties: The fighter wing will be a part of an Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF). A single AEF represents approximately six squadrons of fighter and bomber aircraft; C-130s Hercules and tankers; search and rescue personnel; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance forces; and the combat support elements. 20th Fighter Wing Home base: Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina Destination: Persian Gulf air base Aircraft: F-16CJ Fighting Falcons Units: The 20th Fighter Wing consists of the 55th, 77th, 78th and 79th Fighter Squadrons plus the support and logistical units, including the 20th Operations Group, 20th Maintenance Group and 20th Mission Support Group Duties: Squadrons from the 20th Fighter Wing will be a part of an Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF). A single AEF represents approximately six squadrons of fighter and bomber aircraft; C-130s Hercules and tankers; search and rescue personnel; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance forces; and the combat support elements. 23rd Fighter Group Home base: Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina Aircraft: A-10 Thunderbolts Units: The 23rd Fighter Group consists of the 74th and 75th Fighter Squadrons Duties: A number of the 23rd Fighter Group's A-10 Thunderbolt's also known as "Warthogs," along with approximately 275 people, deployed to Southwest Asia at the end of February to participate in operations in Iraq. The A-10 Thunderbolt is the only Air Force aircraft specifically designed for close-air support of ground forces. 6th Air Mobility Wing Home base: MacDill Air Force Base, Florida Destination: Persian Gulf region Aircraft: KC-135 refueling tankers Units: The 6th Air Mobility Wing includes the 91st Air Refueling Squadron. Duties: The 91st operates the KC-135 Stratotanker, a long-range tanker aircraft capable of refueling other aircraft in flight under any weather condition. The KC-135 can haul 83,000 pounds of cargo, airlift up to 80 passengers or carry 202,800 pounds of jet fuel. KC-135 aircraft based at MacDill have supported U.S. military operations worldwide. 11th Reconnaissance Squadron Home base: Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Destination: Persian Gulf Aircraft: Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Units: The 57th Wing includes the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron and 15th Reconnaissance Squadron, both part of the 57th Wing, are the only Air Force squadrons to operate the Predator. The 11th Squadron is deploying to the Persian Gulf. Duties: The RQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle system. It provides commanders with real-time reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. The Predator can fly for long periods of time and also has the capability to fire Hellfire missiles. A Predator-fired Hellfire missile killed Abu Ali, an al Qaeda operative believed to have been involved in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. 16th Special Operations Wing Home base: Hurlburt Field, Florida Destination: Persian Gulf air base Aircraft: AC-130 gunships, MC-130 Combat Talons and MH-53 Pave Low helicopters Duties: The 16th Special Operations Wing specializes in unconventional warfare, including counterinsurgency and psychological operations. Both the MC-130 and the MH-53 helicopter provide infiltration, exfiltration, resupply, or fire support for special operations forces. The MH-53J can permit operations from unprepared landing zones while the MC-130 can also fly psychological operations and helicopter air refueling missions. 52nd Fighter Wing Home base: Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany Aircraft: F-16 Fighting Falcons fighter-bombers and A-10 Thunderbolts, which are designed to provide close air support of ground forces. Units: 22nd Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Squadron, 81st Fighter Squadron and the 606th Air Control Squadron, plus support and logistical squadrons. The 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons returned to the base from the Persian Gulf on May 5, 2003. Duties: The 52d Fighter Wing is the largest fighter operation in Germany. In Iraq, the wing's F-16CJ's, known as "Wild Weasels," flew missiones to suppress Iraq's air defenses by destroying radar sites during the 27-day war. In addition, the Spangdahlem fighter pilots also escorted bombers and other fighter jets over Iraq. 388th Fighter Wing Home base: Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah Aircraft: There are more than 2,700 people assigned to the wing and its aircraft includes 72 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter-bombers. Units: The 388th Fighter Wing has three fighter squadrons: the 4th, 34th and 421st Fighter Squadrons. The wing also includes the 729th Air Control Squadron and several support squadrons, including 388th Range Squadron, 388th Equipment Maintenance, 388th Component Maintenance Squadron, 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 388th Maintenance Operations Squadron and 388th Operations Support Squadron. Duties: The 388th Fighter Wing operates and maintains the Air Force's largest Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, F-16 wing. The 388th deployed the 4th and 421st fighter squadrons during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. 509th Bomb Wing Home base: Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri Destination: Unknown but possibly Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean Aircraft: B-2 Spirit stealth bombers Units: The 509th Bomb Wing is based at Whiteman, the B-2's only operational base. The wing's units include the 325th and 393rd Bomb Squadrons and 14 other support and maintenance squadrons. Duties: For the first time, B-2 bombers will fly missions from an overseas base instead of the long, round-trip flights it has previously made from Whiteman Air Force Base. Air Force officials declined to tell CNN where the aircraft were deploying to. However, shelters especially designed for the B-2 have been set up at Diego Garcia in the central Indian Ocean, which is used by the U.S. military as a stopping-off point for its bombers. The giant half-dome shelters are an essential part of the bomber fleet as the B-2 requires a controlled environment for repairs on the aircraft's delicate skin that allows it to fly undetected by radar. Since its debut in the 1999 air war over Kosovo, the B-2 has flown combat missions exclusively from Whiteman, logging sorties that have at times exceeded 40 hours. Forward basing of the B-2 would allow it to drop more bombs because of lower fuel load. The bombers can hold up to 40,000 pounds of munitions and hit up to 16 different targets in one bombing run.
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