301st Fighter Wing [301st FW]
The 301st Fighter Wing at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base Carswell Field in Fort Worth is the only Air Force Reserve fighter unit in the state of Texas. 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 AFRES' three numbered Air Forces. If mobilized, the wing would come under Air Combat Command's 12th Air Force.
The wing was activated as the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing in late 1944. During the last few months of World War II, the wing's P-47 pilots saw action escorting B-24, and B-29 bombers and making dive bombing and strafing attacks on shipping and communications lines in the Far East. Prior to being deactivated in June 1949, the 301st provided air defense for Okinawa during the post-war period. Upon reactivation in July 1972, the wing was assigned the 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. Subsequent overseas deployments by the 301st Fighter Wing include Gioia del Colle Air Base, Italy, in May 1979, and 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 Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico, Nellis Air Force Base, NV, and Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK. 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 of 1991, the wing converted to the F-16C/D, "Fighting Falcon". The F-16 is a single engine, single seat, multi-role fighter capable of carrying air to air and air to surface weapons. It can carry electro-optical and laser guided bombs, sidewinder and maverick missiles. The F-16 also has an internal M-61, 20mm gattling gun with over 500 rounds.
In December 1993, the wing deployed six F-16s, (along with six from the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, AZ), and approximately 350 wing people to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in support of United Nations Deny Flight mission. Due to the wing converting from F-4 to 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.
Wing headquarters, combat support, civil engineering, aerial port squadron, communications, maintenance squadron, and one flying squadron--457th fighter squadron, are located at NAS Fort Worth JRB. The 301st and 701st Medical Squadrons and security police squadron are also part of the unit.
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.
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 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 the 419th Fighter Wing F-16s to the 301st Fighter Wing, NAS JRB Fort Worth (nine aircraft) and another installation.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|