379th Air Expeditionary Wing
The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing is one of the largest, most diverse expeditionary wings in the Air Force. The wing and its associate units operate more than 100 aircraft, making Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar a large hub for humanitarian airlift activity while providing mission-essential combat power, aeromedical evacuation and intelligence support for three theaters of operations.
Following the events of 11 September 2001, the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing became one of the largest units in the Persian Gulf region to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Its primary aircraft were KC-10 Extenders and KC-135 Stratotankers. The Wing delivered almost 300 million pounds of fuel to US and coalition aircraft in the war on terrorism. The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid was supported by the 44th and 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadrons, flying the KC-10 Extender and KC-135 Stratotanker respectively. By 25 July 2002 the wing had flown more than 3,000 combat refueling sorties during Operation Enduring Freedom, more than any unit in the region.
The 44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, flew its 2,000th combat sortie on 22 July 2002 in support of the war on terrorism. The Squadron flew KC-10 Extenders and had delivered about 200 million pounds of fuel to more than 13,000 US and coalition aircraft in the skies over Afghanistan since October 2001. The first KC-10 mission during Operation Enduring Freedom had launched on 7 October 2001, less than a month after the events of 11 September 2001. Five KC-10s flew 8 sorties from Al Udeid on that day, refueling Navy EA-6B Prowlers, F-14 Tomcats, and F-18 Hornets. The first KC-10 unit in the region was comprised of both active duty and Reserve forces from McGuire and Travis Air Force Base, California. McGuire active duty aircrews were the backbone of KC-10 operations at Al Udeid.
On March 2003, the US began Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, as one of the largest in the region, was tasked with providing support for US and coalition forces engaged in the operation.
By the late 2000s, the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing was the largest, most diverse expeditionary wing in the Air Force with more than 90 combat and support aircraft, including 8 coalition airframes. Aircraft came from every US service, as well as the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia. Combined, these forces excelled at providing lethal combat airpower and combat support for Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and through support of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa area of responsibility. With the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn, the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing continued to provide support.
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