Status of USAF Combat Wings & Squadrons in Europe D+13 (22 July, 1987)

Authors Note: I received at least six “WTF! You did the Army but not the Air Force orders of battle??” themed emails earlier this weekend. In the last one I was referred to as Benedict Arnold by a former squadron mate. So, since I had a bit of free time while recovering, I decided fair is fair. Here is the status of USAF combat wings and squadrons in Europe as it stood on D+13. Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend.

17th Air Force
 WingSquadron A/C Type Base Wartime Base/CMD 
36th TFW22nd TFSF-15CBitburg
 53rd TFSF-15C 
 525th TFSF-15C 
50th TFW10th TFSF-16CHahn
 313th TFSF-16C 
 496th TFSF-16C 
86th TFW512th TFSF-16CRamstein
 516th TFSF-16C 
52nd TFW23rd TFSF-16CSpangdahlem
 81st TFSF-4G 
 480th TFSF-16C 
 481st TFSF-16C 
26th TRW38th TRSRF-4CZweibrucken
32nd TFSF-15CSoesterburg
3rd Air Force
10th TRW1st TRSRF-4CAlconbury
48th TFW492nd TFSF-111FLakenheath 
 493rd TFSF-111F 
 494th TFSF-111F 
 495th TFSF-111F 
20th TFW55th TFSF-111EUpper HeyfordBodo/ AFNORTH
 77th TFSF-111E 
 79th TFSF-111E 
 42nd ECSEF-111A 
81st TFW78th TFSA-10Bentwaters/WoodbridgeSembach/4 ATAF
 91st TFSA-10 Sembach/4 ATAF
 92nd TFSA-10 FOB
 509th TFSA-10 FOB
 510th TFSA-10 FOB
 511th TFSA-10 FOB
16th Air Force
401st TFW612th TFSF-16ATorrejonIzmir/ AFSOUTH
 613th TFSF-16A Incirlik / AFSOUTH
 614th TFSF-16A 

Tactical Air Command (TAC Wings and Squadrons Deployed to, or Currently Deploying to Europe)

9th Air Force
WingSquadronA/C TypeBaseWartime Base/CMD
23rd TFW74th TFSA-10England AFBBodo/AFNORTH
 75th TFSA-10 Aviano/ AFSOUTH
 76th TFSA-10 Denmark/ AFNORTH
363rd TFW17th TFSF-16AShaw AFBAkinci/ AFSOUTH
 19th TFSF-16A Akinci/ AFSOUTH
 30th TFSF-16A San Vito/ AFSOUTH
31st TFW307th TFSF-16CHomestead AFBGermany/4 ATAF
 308th TFSF-16C Germany/4 ATAF
 309th TFSF-16C Germany/4 ATAF
347th TFW68th TFSF-16CMoody AFBAviano/ AFSOUTH
 69th TFSF-16C Hellinikon/AFSOUTH
 70th TFSF-16C Aviano/AFSOUTH
1st TFW11th TFSF-15CLangley AFBBitburg / 4ATAF
 27th TFSF-15C Bitburg/ 4ATAF
 71st TFSF-15C Bitburg/ 4 ATAF
 91st TFSF-15C Bodo/AFNORTH
33rd TFW58th TFSF-15CEglin AFBSoesterburg/ 2 ATAF
 59th TFSF-15C Lahr/4 ATAF
 60th TFSF-15C Denmark/ AFNORTH
4th TFW334th TFSF-4ESeymour-Johnson AFBLahr/ 4 ATAF
 335th TFSF-4E Lahr/ 4 ATAF
 336th TFSF-4E Lahr/ 4 ATAF
 337th TFSF-4E RAF Greenham Common
  57th FIS F-15A Keflavik, Iceland  
12th Air Force     
388th TFW4th TFSF-16AHill AFBComiso/ AFSOUTH
 16th TFSF-16A Ramstein/4 ATAF
 34th TFSF-16A Hahn/ 4 ATAF
354th TFW353rd TFSA-10Myrtle Beach AFBGermany/ 4 ATAF
 355th TFSA-10 Germany/ 4 ATAF
 356th TFSA-10 Germany/ 4 ATAF
27th TFW522nd TFSF-111DCanon AFBRAF Sculthorpe
 523rd TFSF-111D RAF Sculthorpe
 524th TFSF-111D RAF Sculthorpe
67th TRW433rd TRSRF-4CBergstrom AFBRAF Alconbury
4450th TG(??)F-117ANellis AFBRAF Alconbury

Air National Guard (Wings and Squadrons Deployed to, or Currently Deploying to Europe)

SquadronWing A/C Type Base Wartime Base/CMD 
101st FIS102nd FIWF-15AOtis ANGBAkinci/ AFSOUTH
182nd TFS149th TFGF-16AKelly AFBErhac/ AFSOUTH
134th FIS158th FIWF-16ABurlington IAPRygge/ AFNORTH
157th TFS169th TFGF-16AMcEntire ANGBGermany/4 ATAF
160th TFS187th TFGF-16ADannelly FieldVaernes/AFNORTH
141st TFS108th TFWF-4EMcGuire AFBRamstein/ 4 ATAF
178th FIS119th FIGF-4DHector FieldsOrland/ AFNORTH
163rd TFS122nd TFWF-4EFort Wayne MAPErhac/AFSOUTH
194th FIS144th FIWF-4DFresno Air TerminalRygge/AFNORTH
196th TFS163rd TFGF-4EMarch ARBHahn/4 ATAF
175th TFS114th TFGA-7Joe Ross FieldsRAF Molesworth
166th TFS121st TFWA-7Rickenbacker ANGBSpangdahlem/ 4ATAF
107th TFS127th TFWA-7Selfridge ANGBIncirlik/ AFSOUTH
124th TFS132nd TFWA-7Des Moines MAPRAF Molesworth
125th TFS138th TFGA-7Tulsa IAPSouda/AFSOUTH
120th TFS140th TFWA-7Buckley ANGBKonya/AFSOUTH
188th TFS150th TFGA-7Kirtland AFBRAF Molesworth
112th TFS180th TFGA-7Toledo Express APKonya/AFSOUTH
118th TFS103rd TFGA-10Bradley ANGBGermany/2 ATAF
131st TFS104th TFGA-10Barnes MAPGermany/2 ATAF
138th TFS174th TFWA-10Hancock FieldGermany/4 ATAF
104th TFS175th TFGA-10Martine AirportIzmir/ 4 ATAF
173rd TRS155th TRGRF-4CLincoln MAPRAF Coltishall
153rd TRS186th TRGRF-4CKey FieldIncirlik/AFSOUTH  

US Air Force Reserves (Deployed and Deploying Squadrons)

SquadronWingA/C Type Base Wartime Base/CMD 
89th TFS906th TFGF-4DWright Paterson AFBIncirlik/ AFSOUTH
465th TFS507th TFGF-4DTinker AFBRAF Marham
704th TFS924th TFGF-4DBergstrom AFBSpangdahlem/4 ATAF
303rd TFS442nd TFGA-10Richards-Gebaur AFBLeipheim/4 ATAF
706th TFS926th TFGA-10NAS New OrleansNorway/ AFNORTH

44 Replies to “Status of USAF Combat Wings & Squadrons in Europe D+13 (22 July, 1987)”

  1. You’ll have someone wanting a navy listing now …

    Not sure about the A7 units at RAF Molesworth – this was GLCM oriented in the 80’s as far as I know, with the runway / hardstands removed prior to this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m going to have to drop the Navy listing down here sometime soon.

      The wartime base for A-7 units should’ve been listed as RAF Alconbury. Not sure why Molesworth was selected instead. The bases are located close to one another and you’re right about the runways and hardstands being removed from Molesworth back then. I’ll have to make a few changes to that later on this week.
      Nice job catching that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok good job love the blog . Been reading this for years . Have one problem with the Air Force units -Where is the 527th Aggressor Squadron .
    I am sure a unit trained in Soviet tactics based in Europe would have had fun going up against Warsaw Pact . And as my Cousin flew in the unit during the time period

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gordon. Thanks for keeping up on the blog all this time. 🙂

      I kept the aggressors off because they didn’t have a wartime function, and doing some research on USAFE I couldn’t find any plans about what would become of the squadron once the shooting started. I’ll keep looking though. Ask your cousin, see if he knows 🙂


      1. I’ve have a couple of books that suggest that the 527th AS would have come under the command of the RAF’s 11 Group in wartime. Being part of the defence of the U.K.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I’ve seen some research material pointing to that. I think it would’ve been a judgment call in wartime whether or not 11 Group would’ve absorbed the 527th. Very possible though


      2. I’m not here yet (I was just curious about the orbats), but glancing, I see a mistake: the ag squads are all set to instantly go into battle:

        1. The European aggressor squadrons immediately go into combat: if there is any downtime before the war AT ALL (like in your story), a few of the younger student flyers attached to them would get re-assigned from CENTAG or SOUTHAG to mainland US aggressor squadrons while

        2. US mainland aggressors squadrons would immediately start taking on more fresh students while exchanging about 15-20% of their most capable pilots. This would be to A) exchange on a 1 for 1 basis with the least capable of the European aggressors and 2) overfill the squadron for battle.

        3. I don’t know what the Alaskan squadron has planned, though.

        4. Navy: Here I am out of information. I think but am not sure the Navy had a similar plan: I think the mainland squadrons kept most of their best and brightest to teach the filler classes (which would naturally overwhelmed with students in a war), but some would go to overfill their brother squadrons in Europe and Japan.

        After this happens, the flow of pilots would reverse: the mainland ag squads would exchange well trained student pilots for combat experienced veterans a la WWII: the American pilot training section is fantastic because it keeps bringing back combat experienced pilots who desperately need a break and gives trainees the benefit of their knowledge. It’s why the United States ended World War 2 with more highly trained and experienced pilots than the rest of the world combined.

        They would have been immediately thrown into combat after exchanging their least trained pilots.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s how it went after the first phase of OIF. Summer of ’03 saw a pipeline established to Nellis and Weapons School. A group of pilots, recently blooded and experienced, had their brains sucked so that all of the lessons they learned could be analyzed and used to improve tactics and doctrine at the time.
          Works that way after most wars.

          As for Alaska-based squadrons, the F-15s were Alaskan Air Command. They’d stay put. The A-10 squadron at Eileson might end up in Korea or Norway.


  3. Loved seeing the list of aircraft types- reminded me of the airshows I used to go to in the lates 80/ early 90s. I remember being at Lakenheath in I think it would have been 91 or 92, after the Gulf War anyway, and it was the first UK public appearance of the F117. Loads of other US aircraft there too. Great times.

    Cheers for the nostalgia,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lakenheath always puts a smile on my face, and happy thoughts in my head, Pete. My time there was special and undoubtedly some of the best years of my life.
      I think that appearance of the F-117 was in 1992. You know Britain is during the summer months: Airshow Season.

      Pass along any other air memories as they resurface! 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

    2. I miss air shows in the early 90’s. Went to one at the local base a few years ago, wasn’t even close to the same. The wings C-17s, a C-5, some tankers, and an F-15 up from the Oregon ANG.

      91 or 92 sounds about right. My sister was a toddler at the time and dashed under the rope perimeter of an F-117. Mom had a guard aim his rifle at her as she went under the rope to get my sister. Same year I almost fell off the ladder when a B-1B flew over. Thank you guy behind me for not letting me crack my head open.

      Miss those days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I assume those early 90s airshows you’re talking about were at McChord?

        Those sky cops don’t play games around stealth aircraft at airshows. I saw something similar when a mom chased after her kid and got a little too close to an F-22. I’m glad you didn’t crack your head open! 🙂


  4. Thanks for the OOB for Europe. Which wings/squadrons are are in the Middle East/CENTCOM? Or did I miss those?
    Put a few maps in this blog and this would make several great Osprey Campaign series books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope, you didn’t miss them. Later this month I’ll post the USAF orbat for the Gulf, PACAF, and Central America.

      Not a bad idea. I’d need a mapmaker though. My attempts at creating maps has so far failed. I’ll keep trying though 🙂


  5. last air show I went to the f15 f16’s where the new toys and the 177th were still fling F106’s I remember the change over in the mid 80’s to the 16’s Russia was fling Bears out of Cuba to she what they went up have gun camera footage around here some when the 106;s intercepted them on valentine’s day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I remember when the Jersey Devils were flying -106s. I was a kid back then but remember some of the air shows around that time at McGuire.


  6. Great read and brings back memories!

    Couple things I’d like to throw out there as a late 80s- early 90s USAFE alum. Everything is …as I recall…!

    1. There’s substantial SAC/MAC assets to factor into airfield capacity. Alconbury has the SAC 17 SRW/95 RS with TR-1s occupying a substantial portion of specialized HAS and ramp space in the north side of the airfield (and the only Lockheed tech rep in Europe for certain passive sensors…) Mildenhall has the SAC 306th SW with RC/EC-135 and 9th SRW det with the SR-71. Fairford has the SAC ETTF and a dual tasked BW. Ramstein and Mildenhall both hold C-130 wings. Rhein Main is pretty much a MAC show. At one point there were news articles about the ETTF being moved to Greenham Common post-INF. Ramp, runway, etc were ready.

    2. WRT the A-7s and other reinforcements. I can attest that Alconbury got crowded when just the ANG RF-4 squadrons came during the summer. However, in 88 ANG A-7s deployed to RAF Wittering (harrier base just north of Peterborough) and had also deployed to RAF Wethersfield (peacetime USAF RED HORSE squadron). There’s also Bentwaters/Woodbridge (can’t let that BX mall go unused!).
    Molesworth is most definitely out- the airfield was gone completely.

    3. I think there were also units going to Dutch and maybe Belgian bases. I later heard about F-4 and F-16 units going to Volkel, Kleine Brogel, etc.

    4. USAFE also gets some host nation support. RAF regiment 6 wing rapiers provided shored in the UK at 3rd AF MOBs.

    Hope this helps- definately not trying to sharpshoot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Afternoon, Amir. Glad you’re enjoying the blog! Welcome aboard. Thanks for your comments, they’re definitely a help, not a snipe. 🙂

      1. Good point about Alconbury, SAC assets, and Trash Haulers. Dependent evacuation flights would’ve been going through the UK. I didn’t realize Mildenhall had a -130 wing back then. I’m a USAFE alum too, put in my time at Lakenheath in the early 00s. By the time I was there, Mildenhall was a pure tanker hub and still is. They talked about closing it down a couple of years ago but wised up and realized that would be a bad move. Alconbury and Molesworth close up shop this year. Might’ve even happened by now.

      2. They would’ve had to spread the A-7s around England. There just wasn’t going to be enough room at Alconbury. Not sure why the plans mentioned Molesworth unless they planned to set up a temporary runway there.

      3. Volkel was a big base. Definitely could’ve absorbed an influx of ANG squadrons. Not sure about Kleine and the rest back then.

      4. Rapiers, and I believe HAWK batteries would’ve come in from stateside. Have to keep those airbases safe!


      1. COBs, at least around 1987-1988, in the Netherlands were Vlb Gilze-Rijen (1st overseas deployement of F-117 after Desert Storm and Coronet base for F-15As), Vlb De Peel (up the road from Volkel) and Woensdrecht, with Soesterberg AB expected to host a second F-15 squadron. Especially Gilze-Rijen and Soesterberg were important, as both of them already had around 36 or so TAC-V shelters and plenty of dispersal space.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Valuable information. Thanks so much for sharing it. The only Dutch airbase I had the opportunity to visit was Volkel. Good base.


  7. Can’t wait to see PACAF and Southern Air Division. I remember seeing OV-10s in Korea during the 80s and watching coverage of A-37s on AFN during Just Cause in 89.

    Classic aircraft; hard to imagine them in same Aur Force as the F-117.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Seems like the A-37 was tailor-made for Central American operations. The OV-10…well she’s timeless. There are a few back in service now, believe it or not.


  8. I read an article about the “new” OV-10s. I remember they had only come out of Sembach in the early/mid 80s. Given their losses in desert storm, I wouldn’t want think about being a slow fac on the central front.

    Odd bit of Trivia is that the Ramstein 130s (permanently assigned) and all the assets at Rhein Main were MAC.

    The 130s at Mildenhall we’re USAFE and made up of rotational detachments from CONUS, just like the ETTF at Fairford.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I guess the Broncos would’ve taken heavy losses. That was one reason they started looking at a two-seat version of the A-10 so a FAC-A’s aircraft would be more survivable.

      Ramstein still has Hercs there now, I believe.


  9. For a real way back experience, you have the sherpas (c-23?). I think they flew out of Germany, but they ran ring routes all around carrying hi-priority cargo, mail and pax.

    (You could also hop one for a pass to Greece, Spain, or Italy if you had friends in ops and a supervisor who was good with you sliding out a little early😀!)

    I could see them getting used the same way in a general war, but probably well back from the lines. I think they were a civilian cargo plane in lizard camo.

    I think they didn’t survive the drawdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They lasted a while. The last Sherpa was retired in 2014 I think and for budget reasons. Too bad too, it was a useful aircraft. Saw a couple in Iraq, they were very useful there for short hauls.

      Wasn’t Europe great for leaves? Every free weekend was spent exploring a new country. We did a lot of TDYs, and cross-countries too so places like Aviano and Deci were regular stops.


  10. I know what you mean. Did a TDY to Akrotiri, Cyprus in 91 and another to Istres in the south of France. Never went to Deci, but Spanish hams and cheese used to always appear after one or two hogs declared an “emergency” on recovery from Zaragoza!

    Of course, you could also be the lucky guy that pulled a det to Alhorn in the winter…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL Whenever we came back the crew chiefs just knew we had goodies stowed away. Manchego cheese from Spain, fresh pasta from The Boot, or other provisions from elsewhere on the continent. We always hooked them up too, so they looked the other way in some cases when discretion was necessary


  11. There was also NCOA at Upwood. I heard that got moved in the 90s. Maybe to somewhere like the ‘Heath or Mildenhall. Upwood was “isolated”. And it looked like the base from Full Metal Jacket.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After the Cold War a medical unit moved in there for a while. Not sure if the NCOA went to our patch of the woods but now it’s in Germany near K-Town I hear


  12. Not about this but can you ex-USAF guys tell me if the South Koreans ever flew A10s? One of the story arcs in Red Phoenix has a Korean A10 driver who gets shot down behind enemy lines and choppered out after evading capture?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there was serious interest by the ROKAF in purchasing the A-10 but for some reason it never came to fruition. I remember seeing that in the book too. Maybe Bond was just surmising.
      Good question though. Wish I had a better answer. If anyone else can shed light on this, please do. 🙂


      1. It would seem like the perfect plane for what they have to face across the DMZ if things ever got hot in Korea. I guess the Koreans figured they’d leave those sort of tankbusting gun/cluster bomb-runs to the real experts in the USAF and concentrate their air assets on something else. Crazy to think that the North Koreans went through the Cold War never renewing hostilities but now in 2020 they might well decide to have a go on the bidding of their Chinese paymasters.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. In 87 there were ROKAF O-2s that sometimes came through, maybe to work with the OV-10s. Never saw a ROKAF A-10. I’ve been back since in the 90’s and the 00’s- never saw one and no ROK I worked with mentioned it.

    I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded ditching some of their older stuff (F-86, etc) for A-10s in the 80s. They definitely had the infrastructure- highway strips would make great FOLs.

    They story I heard from A-10 guys in later years was that the two seater was intended to sell to the south as a day/night indiction and counter infiltration aircraft. I think there’s a lot of stories about that single aircraft!

    The air battle over the peninsula in 1987 would have been eclectic- a force encompassing the shiny new F-16s at the Kun to ROKAF Sabres facing everything from high end MIG-23MLs down to MIG-15s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The two seater was the O/A-10. Would’ve been a great idea too. Great FAC-A concept. I think a couple prototypes were even built.


      1. Just a quick aside, the O/A-10 was a (sort of) unofficial A-10 designation for Hogs equipped with smoke rockets, etc., dedicated solely for FO/FAC work; but they could be quickly re-tasked to CAS by dint of putting different things on their pylons, so it wasn’t a full designation. The two-seater was the N/AW A-10 (Night/Adverse Weather). Two were built, one’s on display I think at the USAF museum, the other at Eglin AFB in Florida. They should’ve been built, but the USAF has been trying to kill the Warthog since the day it was born; they sure as hell weren’t going to make better, more specialized versions.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I love the A-10. Never enough to want to fly it though 🙂 And for that matter the A-10 is not a fighter plane in any way, shape, or form. It serves a valuable purpose though.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. The -117 unit was the 4450th Tactical Group. It was a real world squadron but mainly just for training and making the jet operational. In this timeline, the stealth fighters deploy to Europe as the 4450 Tactical Squadron. There are some aircraft left back in Nevada, but those may be heading to the Pacific soon

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Remember a very pleasant flight from Kyiv to London in 2015 sitting next to a former RF-4C ground crew from Alconbury who’d served in the 1980s, from his tales there were times when it all got a bit real (even if Air Ukraine red wine may have embellished things).

    Liked by 1 person

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