USAF Patch Air Refueling USAFE c 306 SW Wing ETTF Mildenhall a
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USAF Patch Air Refueling USAFE c 306 SW Wing ETTF Mildenhall a

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  • Item #: 1P 02US 4USA 02WIN 2OP 00ETTF 01
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USAF Patch USAFE 306 Strategic Wing SW European Tanker Task Force RAF Mildenhall 1980s KC 135 KC 10 Embroidered on wool cut edge 99mm by 85mm three and fifteen sixteenth inches by three and three eighth inches.

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History´╗┐´╗┐

European Tanker Task Force was activated at RAF Mildenhall in October 1976 by SACs 306 Strategic Wing Ramstein AB West Germany to replace Spanish Tanker Task Force of 98 Strategic Wing which had been inactivated at Torrejon AB Spain and Detachment 1 98th Strategic Wing inactivated at RAF Upper Heyford and RAF Mildenhall UK to continue the provision of air refuelling support for the operational alert and exercise Bomb and Reconnaissance commitment of SAC Tactical Air Command USAFE and NATO with used attached temporary duty TDY Boeing KC 135 Stratotankers and crews rotationally deployed by other SAC wings.

ETTF provided refuelling for all RC 135 U 2 and SR 71 Blackbird reconnaissance operations over Europe Middle East Africa and west Asia and supported air refuelling requirements for a variety of aircraft in or transiting the European Theatre including USAF EC 135 Silk Purse aircraft USAF and NATO E 3A AWACSs USAF F 111 Aardvark fighter bombers F 4 Phantoms C 141 Starlifter and C 5 Galaxy transport aircraft KC 10 Extender air refuelling aircraft MC 130 Combat Talon and Combat Shadow Special Operations aircraft B 52 Stratofortress Buff B 1 Lancer bombers and RAF Lightning F6 aircraft.

306 SW relocated to RAF Mildenhall UK on 1 July 1978 and was assigned 922 Strategic Squadron at Hellenikon AB Greece and in August 1978 was assigned 34 Strategic Squadron at Zaragoza AB Spain ZAB with a number of the Wings ETTF KC 135 Stratotankers deployed at both forward operating locations and Lajes Field Azores and Sigonella NAS Italy.

With the need for additional refuelling assets 11 Strategic Group activated at RAF Fairford in September 1978 with KC 135 tankers and crews from continental US units rotationally assigned temporary duties TDYs for ETTF. 11 SG deployed ETTF tanker flights from RAF Fairford to its forward operating locations at Zaragoza AB Spain ZAB Riyadh AB Saudi Arabia and Keflavik AB Iceland as well as undertaking missions from RAF Fairford. 306 Wing took over duties at Keflavik AB Iceland in the early 1980s and deployed ETTF KC 10A Extender air refuelling aircraft to Zaragoza AB in 1985.

ETTF undertook a major role in the success of Operation El Dorado Canyon the US attacks on Libya in 1986 supporting the UK F 111 bombing fleet with a 14 hour radio silence rendezvous mission deploying the largest number of refuelling aircraft ever flown over Europe and the largest fleet of KC 10 Extender aircraft airborne at one time. In addition ETTF supported the reconnaissance flights before and after the attacks.

With the end of the Cold War 11 Strategic Groups air refuelling role at RAF Fairford was transferred to 306 Strategic Wing at RAF Mildenhall in 1990 with 11 SGs last RAF Fairford refuelling sortie on 27 June 1990. ETTF undertook a major role supporting Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. 306 Strategic Wing was inactivated at RAF Mildenhall on 31 March 1992 and responsibility for managing ETTF and its forward operating locations was transferred to the recently activated 100 Air Refuelling Wing with its ability to utilise its own 351 Air Refuelling Squadron KC 135R Stratotanker aircraft as well as rotating TDY air refuelling units from the US.

ETTF continued to support numerous operations both for the US and for North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO. 100 ARW increased its permanent KC 135 force from nine to fifteen aircraft in September 1998 which enabled the Wing to undertake all ETTF duties without the need for TDY assets from US based units and the ETTF mission was ended on 28 November 1998.

 

This patch dates from the 1980s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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