USAF Patch Fighter USAFE 20 TFW Tactical Ftr Wing F 111 b 4c
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USAF Patch Fighter USAFE 20 TFW Tactical Ftr Wing F 111 b 4c

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  • Item #: 1P 02US 4USA 06WIN 2OP 0020WG 01
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USAF Patch USAFE 20 TFW Tactical Fighter Wing F 111E RAF Upper Heyford 1980s Black Lettering woven merrowed edge 97mm three and thirteen sixteenth inches diameter.

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Wing History´╗┐´╗┐

20 Fighter Bomber Wing moved from the US to RAF Wethersfield England, on 31 May 1952 with F 84 Thunderjets on a mission of maintaining proficiency for tactical operations with conventional and nuclear weapons in support of NATO operations. Its fighter bomber group set up headquarters 55 and 77 Fighter Bomber Squadrons while due to restricted space 79 Fighter Bomber Squadron located initially to RAF Bentwaters and then to RAF Woodbridge on 1 October 1954.

On 5 June 1952 Tactical Air Command transferred control of the wing USAFE under Third Air Force 49th Air Division. On 15 November 1952 the Wing and Group merged unofficially placing the flying squadrons directly under the Wings operational and administrative control with official realignment taking place on 8 February 1955.

In June 1955 the Wing began to receive F 84F Thunderstreaks with the F 84Gs phased out by June 1955 and F 84F remained in the inventory until December 1957 with conversion to F 1OO Super Sabres beginning on 16 June 1957. 20 Fighter Bomber Wing established an operational detachment at Wheelus AB, Libya in February 1958 and in May 1958 was redesignated 20 Tactical Fighter Wing with 55 77 and 79 Squadrons also relabeled as tactical fighter squadrons. Between May to August 1958 the flying squadrons deployed on a monthly rotational basis to RAF Alconbury RAF Woodbridge and Nouasseur AB, Morocco during a runway closure at RAF Wethersfield. Following the establishment of its Blast Off Victor Alert capability the Wing initiated its first mobility plan on 1 January 1959 establishing a year-round weapons training detachment at Wheelus AB Libya providing monthly squadron rotations and survival and ski training began in Norway in February 1959. 20 Tactical Fighter Wing represented USAFE in the William Tell exercise held at Nellis AFB Nevada in October 1960 and in June 1961 hosted the first NATO Tiger Meet sponsored by 79 Tactical Fighter Tiger Squadron at RAF Woodbridge. Command over the Wing changed to 16 Air Force from 1 July 1961 to 1 September 1963. Additional monthly rotations to Cigli AB, Turkey and to Aviano AB Italy were conducted between 1966 and 1970.  The Political closures of US bases in France led to the opening of RAF Greenham Common under the management of 20 TFW to handle personnel overflow in January 1967. The military coup in Libya forced the closure of Wheelus AB in September 1969 and the switching of the Wings weapons
training to Torrejon AB Spain in November 1969 and all three flying squadrons deployed to Zaragoza AB Spain for weapons training from January to March 1970.

On 10 December 1969 Detachment 1 20 Tactical Fighter Wing was established at RAF Upper Heyford with the Wing relocated there on 1 June 1970.  During September 1970 the Wing began converting to F 111E Aardvark fighter bombers being declared operational on 12 February 1971. The Wing operated from RAF Greenham Common as Operating Location A for dispersal exercises between 29 April 1976 and 17 August 1976. A fourth flying squadron 42 Electronic Combat Squadron was activated as part of the Wing on 1 July 1983 with the first EF 111A Raven electronic warfare aircraft arriving at RAF Upper Heyford during February 1984 however on 1 June 1985 operational control 42 ECS moved to the 66 Electronic Combat Wing at Sembach AB, West Germany. 42 ECS was detached back to 20 TFW in March 1986 for Operation Eldorado Canyon raid on Libya on 14 April 1986 as airborne reserve for F 111F fighter bombers of 48 TFW and to provide electronic defense.  The Wings fighter squadrons deployed to Incirlik AB Turkey for Weapons Training from March to May 1989 and had aircraft there on Weapons Training Deployment in August 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait and Operation Desert Shield began. Further assets were deployed to Inkirlik and incorporated into 7440 Wing Provisional Operation Proven Force and for Desert Storm providing tactical and electronic combat operations from 17 January 1991 to 28 February 1991 with F 111Es flying 456 combat missions and 1327 combat hours and EF 111As flying 252 combat missions and 704 combat hours. The wing also deployed four 42nd ECS EF 111As to Taif Saudi Arabia for the operation flying 219 combat missions and 1155 combat hours. For the campaign RAF Upper Heyford was designated as the Regional Evacuation Control Center and 20 TFW activated the contingency hospital complex and carried out major facility upgrades at RAF Bicester RAF Little Rissington and RAF Croughton to provide food transportation and lodging requirements as well as personnel recreational legal and financial services to support 5000 augmenting personnel and an anticipated 2000 patients. In the first six months of 1991 transient alert personnel in support of Desert Storm serviced and launched 1408 aircraft the largest number of transient aircraft in the history of RAF Upper Heyford.

On 1 October 1991 the Wing was redesignated 20 Fighter Wing and during October won the 1991 Gunsmoke tactical gunnery competition in the F 111 category. The wing was relieved of electronic combat mission on 1 July 1992 with the inactivation of 42 ECS. 79 Fighter Squadron was inactivated on 23 April 1993 with 77 Fighter Squadron following on 9 July 1993 and 20 FW carried out its last operational deployment from Upper Heyford with 55 Fighter Squadron deploying to Incirlik for Dynamic Guard September 1993 prior to 55 FS disbandment on 15 October 1993 with the last F 111s departing Upper Heyford on 7 December 1993 and the station closed on 15 December 1993.

On 1 January 1994 20 Fighter Wing reestablished at Shaw AFB US with F 16s on the renaming of 363 Fighter Wing.

 

 

This patch dates from the 1980s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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