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93rd Air Control Wing [93rd ACW]

The 93rd was established as the 93rd Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on 28 July 1947, and organized on 15 August 1947, at Castle AFB, California. The wing achieved and maintained combat readiness for global strategic bombardment from 1947 through 1991, flying first the B-29, then later the B-50, the B-47 and then becoming the first unit to fly the B-52. The wing's operational group deployed to Okinawa in 1948 becoming the first Strategic Air Command (SAC) unit to deploy in full strength to the Far East. The wing began aerial refueling operations in first the KB-29, then the KC-97, and finally the KC-135.

The 93rd continued its active pace, deploying its tactical force, augmented by support personnel, to England, from July 1950 through January 1951. In December 1951 the entire 93rd Wing deployed to England and stayed until March 1952. In July 1952 the wing provided aerial refueling and navigational support for the movement of the 31st Fighter Escort Wing from the United States to Japan, the first mass jet fighter crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

The 93rd became the first SAC wing to convert to the B-52 aircraft during 1955 and 1956. In addition to being the premier B-52 unit, the wing became SAC's B-52 aircrew training organization. The 93rd was also the first SAC unit to receive the KC-135 aircraft, accepting delivery on 31 January 1956. The wing incorporated KC-135 aircrew training in mid-1956. Notable unit operations include nonstop B-52 flights of some 16,000 miles around North America (Operation Quick Kick) and to the North Pole in November 1956; the first jet aircraft nonstop flight around the world (Operation Power Flight) in January 1957, with wing B-52s flying 23,574 miles in 45:19 hours; and a nonstop, unrefueled KC-135 flight from Yakota AB Japan to Washington, DC, in 13:58 hours in April 1958.

Although most of its components were used for aircrew training, after 1956 the wing often maintained one or more of its units in a tactical role, with operational commitments. From April 1968 to April 1974, the 93rd operated a special B-52 replacement training unit to support SAC's B-52 operations in Southeast Asia.

Among the wing's many honors was the award of the Mackay Trophy in 1956 for Operation Power Flight. The wing won the SAC Bombing and Navigation Competition and the Fairchild Trophy in 1949, 1952 and 1970, and won the Omaha Trophy as the outstanding wing in SAC for 1970.

In August 1990 the wing operated an aerial port of embarkation for personnel and equipment deploying to Southwest Asia. In addition to performing aerial refueling, wing tankers ferried personnel and equipment to forward operating locations. Wing B-52s deployed to worldwide strategic locations. The wing bombed the Iraqi Republican Guard and targeted Iraqi infrastructure such as chemical weapons, nuclear and industrial plants during the Gulf War.

The wing inactivated on 30 September 1995, was re-designated, and then activated as the 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Georgia, on 29 January 1996. The wing continued a long tradition of operating new types of aircraft when it accepted the first production E-8C Joint STARS aircraft on 11 June 1996. The 93rd worked aggressively to develop the techniques to employ the E-8C as rapidly as possible. Within four months of activation, and before it received its first aircraft, the wing held its first exercise, Combat Learn 96-1. That started a series of exercises to prepare the wing for operational deployment, an event that happened in late 1996. From the end of October through the end of December 1996 the wing deployed to Rhein-Main AB, Germany, to take part in operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD. The wing assisted United Nations (UN) and NATO forces switch from the implementation force (IFOR) to the stabilization force (SFOR) in Bosnia- Herzegovina. The 93rd provided "Top Cover" for peacekeeping forces and monitored the warring factions for violations of UN resolutions. The last wing aircraft returned home on 4 January 1997.

In addition to its first operational deployment, the wing has participated in the Farnborough Air Show and the Paris Air Show, joint exercises with NATO (Paris Interoperability), the Navy and Marine Corps (Hunter Warrior) and the Army (Spring Thunder). From 11 October through 13 November 1997 the wing deployed one E-8C to Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, to take part in Exercise FOAL EAGLE. During this first Pacific exercise, the wing flew 8 missions, including two familiarization sorties, and provided an insight to Pacific forces leaders into Joint STARS capabilities.

The wing's activities during this short space of time were meritorious enough that the Air Force recognized it with an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the wing's eighth, on 22 October 1997. This recognition of the wing's outstanding services was especially noteworthy considering the wing had yet reached its initial operational capability.

On 18 December 1997 Air Combat Command declared the 93d Air Control Wing's Initial Operational Capability. The wing didn't have long to wait to test its operational capabilities as it deployed in January to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, for training with Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). In February, responding to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's continued refusal to cooperate with United Nations Weapons Inspectors, the 93d an element to Southwest Asia. For the next four months the wing stood guard over the border, watching the situation closely and serving notice to Hussein that Coalition Forces were ready to respond to whatever acts of continued aggression he might try.

Joint STARS received the Air Force Association's first Air Battle Management Crew of the Year award for 1997. In August 1998, the wing received their fourth operational aircraft.

The wing started 1999 full speed, returning to the Pacific with one aircraft in January and deployed one aircraft to Europe supporting NATO with tensions between Serbia and Kosovo in February, making it the first time the wing had aircraft deployed to two separate forward operating locations. Within a month the wing had another first when they deployed a second aircraft to Rhein Main AB, Germany, (two aircraft to the same FOL). The 93d Air Control Wing saw its first combat during the recent Kosovo Operations, playing a major role in the destruction of enemy targets, flying 101 sorties and compiling over 1,000 combat hours. They also recorded the longest sortie (21 hours) for Joint STARS since the 93 ACW stood up in January 1996.

The wing received its fifth aircraft in October 1999.

Between deployment and external exercises, the wing honed its war fighting skills with a series of local exercises. Working either individually or as part of Team Robins Plus, the wing normally held a local exercise every 60 to 90 days.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:15:54 ZULU