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Air Expeditionary Group (AEG)

An Air Expeditionary Group (AEG) is a deployed independent group attached to an ASETF or in-place NAF by G-series orders and is the lowest command echelon of AEFs reporting directly to the COMAFFOR. The COMAFFOR also normally exercises OPCON of the AEG. An AEG is com-posed of a slice of the wing command element and some squadrons. Since Air Force groups are organized without significant staff support, a wing slice is needed to provide the command and control for AEFs smaller than the normal wing. Use of the AEG designation is also intended to provide appropriate unit awards and honors credit for the parent unit. Where possible, the AEG is formed from units of a single wing. The AEG commander, normally a colonel, will report to the ASETF/in-place NAF commander. AEGs will carry the numerical designation of the wing providing the command element. Deployed assigned or attached squadrons will retain their numerical designation and acquire the "expeditionary" designation.

In early 1998 the 305th Air Expeditionary Group operated as part of an Air Mobility Command Tanker Task Force operating in the Southwest Asia theater in support of Operation Southern Watch. Southern Watch is the US and coalition enforcement of the no-fly-zone over Southern Iraq.

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Group "The Tip of the Spear" was activated at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait in November 1998, replacing the 4406th Operations Group (Provisional) at first only in name. But since then, its mission has evolved and grown to reflect the EAF concept of a consolidated force in a forward location. The package includes F-15E's or Block 40 F-16s, the A-10s and the F-16CJs. That mix of aircraft, including HH-60 rescue helicopters, gives the 332nd the ability to conduct any Operation Southern Watch mission. The AEG's population turns over almost completely every 120 days, and the fighter squadrons change every 45 days. With a population of 1,400 people constantly rotating, there is a need for continuity to guide the base and mission. The US compound at Al Jaber is a sandy "fortress" less than a mile in circumference. Most people live in dorms - 12-monthers get their own rooms - and the base has far more comforts than expected of a deployed location.

Ali Al Salem Air Base is the deployed home to 1,500 people and the 9th Air Expeditionary Group, a unit literally at the forefront of Operation Southern Watch, just 39 miles from the Iraqi border. For several years following the Persian Gulf War, Al Salem was a sleepy radar site, manned by just a handful of Air Force people monitoring air traffic in the southern no-fly zone. But after tensions in the region flared in late 1997, coalition forces started massing at the base. When the buildup renewed in November 1998, prior to Operation Desert Fox, the base doubled in size to its current population of 1,500. The 9th Air Expeditionary Group provides air surveillance and control through that same radar site, while a fleet of C-130 Hercules provide theater airlift and, if necessary, combat search and rescue and aeromedical evacuation for Operation Southern Watch forces. The 9th AEG has brought all those functions under one umbrella. Life on The Rock is austere, even by the standards of Southwest Asia's deployed locations. Many Air Force people at other Southern Watch bases live and work in permanent buildings. But The Rock is almost entirely a tent city, with very few actual buildings. And most "buildings" are quonset-shaped, foldable general purpose structures. The environment makes The Rock a butt of some Southern Watch humor. Many people deployed to nearby Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base - a base with amenities like an in-ground pool, paved roads and permanent dormitories - call a trip to The Rock "Jaber Appreciation Day."

320th Air Expeditionary Group Security Forces Resource Augmentation Duty Program is designed to provide additional security for Eskan Village. READY augmentees are trained in the use of deadly force, military authority, communications, apprehension procedures, specialized equipment familiarization, explosives recognition and vehicle searches.

In late 1997 B-52 crews from the 96th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., were operating under the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group in Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. In early 1998 the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group supported operation Southern Watch. The 2nd AEG deployed from Barksdale AFB,LA, Minot AFB, ND, and Travis AFB, CA, in support of Operation Southern Watch. Members from the 305th Air Mobility Expeditionary Group operated a Tanker Task Force in the Southwest Asian Theater.

A 2nd Air Expeditionary Group B-2 Spirit and a B-52 Stratofortress completed ninth Global-Power training mission 16 September 1998. Three B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, La and three B-2s from Whiteman AFB, Mo., arrived at Andersen AFB Guam on 05 September to form the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group as part of a forward-staged training operation utilizing both bombers for an integrated Global Power exercise. A support crew of about 250 service members from both bomber bases and additional security forces support from Goodfellow AFB, Texas, McConnell AFB, Kan., and Offutt AFB, Neb., also deployed for the 30- to 45-day training mission. The bombers participated in training operations throughout the Pacific region. During this global power deployment, the 2nd AEG completed 34 training missions and logged more than 350 flying hours.

Numerous "historic firsts" occurred as the 347th Air Expeditionary Group stood up 13 July 1998 for the 1998 Rim of the Pacific exercise. RIMPAC '98 is U.S. Pacific Command's largest biennial fleet exercise and ran July 6 to August 6. A coordinated effort between Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces, the 347th AEG was the first of its kind in the Pacific Theater and the first for a peacetime exercise. The 347th AEG integrated combat airpower into RIMPAC by providing the Combined Air Component commander with a clear command structure designed for rapid, responsive operations. While deployed, the AEG conducted operations just as it would during combat. The group and component squadron commanders had full command authority and administrative control of their organizations, while reporting to the joint force commander. The 347th AEG was made up of three expeditionary squadrons, each with an array of combat capability: The Lancers with their F-16s from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., formed the 68th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Aircrews and aircraft from Tinker AFB, Okla., flying E-3s optimized to conduct maritime operations, made up the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron. And the Bomber Barons -- with members from the 2nd, 5th and 7th Bomb Wings, from Barksdale AFB, La.; Minot AFB, N.D.; and Dyess AFB, Texas, respectively -- joined to form the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. This was the first time B-52s and B-1s had combined to form a single squadron.

The Pacific's 3rd Air Expeditionary Group was activated with the arrival of 400 people from five bases in the command between 13-21 May 1999. Three hundred more joined the operation within a few days. The 3rd Air Expeditionary Group, which included more than 650 people and 18 F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft, deployed to Kwang Ju Air Base, Republic of Korea. The AEG was sent to demonstrate US commitment to the peace and stability on the Korean peninsula while adding to the available tactical air assets in the region. The fighter aircraft deployed from the 3rd Wing, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. People were deployed from eight different bases across the Pacific Air Forces, including Elmendorf and Eielson Air Force Bases, Alaska; Kunsan and Osan Air Bases, Republic of Korea; Yokota and Kadena Air Bases, Japan; Anderson AFB, Guam; and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

Elements of the 2nd Bomb Wing deployed to England in support of 2nd Air Expeditionary Group in place at RAF Fairford to support NATO operations in the former Yugoslavia. The 20th Bomb Squadron from Barksdale Air Force Base deployed B-52H Stratofortress at Fairford, as part of the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group. B-1B Lancers from the 77th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base also deployed to England as part of the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group. The 22nd Air Refueling Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, with KC-135 Stratotankers deployed to England as part of the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group supporting NATO's Operation Allied Force.

A-10 aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and Pope Air Force Base, NC, were assigned to thee newly created 40th Air Expeditionary Group at Gioia del Colle, flying combat missions over Kosovo in support of NATO's Operation Allied Force.

In early 1999 about 12 C-17s from Charleston AFB deployed as part of the 437th Air Expeditionary Group, which was responsible for airlift of Army equipment and personnel to Tirana, Albania, in support of operation Task Force Hawk. Task Force Hawk was the designation for the deployed Apache AH-64 helicopters and their supporting units used for NATO's Operation Allied Force. The 437th Air Expeditionary Group was re-established 09 June 1999 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, with 12 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, 25 aircrews and 70 maintenance members bringing Army forces to Skopje, Macedonia, and airlifting peacekeeper forces and equipment from Germany directly to Skopje. Air Mobility Command's 437th Air Expeditionary Group was selected as recipient of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period April 4, 1999, to July 30, 1999. During Operation Allied Force the 437th AEG flew 70 percent of the total combat airlift missions, transporting 19,000 tons of armor and support equipment and over 4,500 troops during support of Task Force Hawk, the deployment of a 24-ship U.S. Army Apache helicopter strike package.

The 613th Air Expeditionary Group provided airlift support from Darwin Royal Australian Air Force Base during Operation Stabilise in late 1999. The US Air Force provided logistics, communications, and planning support to International Forces East Timor (INTERFET), which provided peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and force protection to East Timor.

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