Red Tails Stand Down

Maj. Gen. James Jones, Air Forces Central deputy commander, presided over the inactivation of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia. The May 8 ceremony marked the end for one of the Air Force’s busiest combat wings, which began operating in the region back in 1998 as the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group at Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait. “As the largest combat wing in the Air Force for most of its timeframe, this wing served with distinction,” said Jones. He added, “In the nearly 10 years since the wing flag was reinstated, the Red Tails have been the very backbone of AFCENT forces engaged in Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.” At the height of the wing’s operations, it contained nine groups based out of JB Balad, Iraq, with four geographically separated groups and numerous detachments. Last November, the wing relocated from Balad. As the last US forces left Iraq last December, aircraft from the wing provided overwatch. The wing traces its lineage back to the 332nd Fighter Group and the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. (332nd AEW report by Maj. Jillian Torango)