USAF Patch Fighter USAFE 48 u FW Ftr Wing F 15E Qualified
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USAF Patch Fighter USAFE 48 u FW Ftr Wing F 15E Qualified

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USAF Patch USAFE 48 FW Fighter Wing F 15E Qualified RAF Lakenheath 1992 Fully embroidered merrowed edge black return thread 100mm four inches diameter.

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Wing History´╗┐´╗┐

48 Fighter Bomber Wing was activated at Chaumont Semoutiers AB France on 10 July 1952 with F 84Gs on the redesignation of 137 Fighter Bomber Wing to command support groups and the combat flying 48 Fighter Bomber Group comprising 492 493 and 494 Fighter Bomber Squadrons. The Wing supported NATO and USAFE activities operational readiness exercises tactical evaluations and training with the US Seventh Army. The Wing frequently deployed to Wheelus AFB Libya for live firing bombing and gunnery training. In November 1953 the Wing received F 86F Sabres.

To bolster Franco American relations the Wing decided to change the wing insignia and with the Chaumont AB located near the workshops of Frederic Bartholdi the designer of the Statue of Liberty the statue was incorporated into the design. On 4 July 1954 the mayor of Chaumont bestowed the honorary title of the Statue de la Liberte upon the Wing. In late 1956 the Wing reequipped with F 100D Super Sabres and on 8 December 1957 48 FBW assumed direct control of the combat flying Squadrons with the inactivation of 48 Fighter Bomber Group tier. The Wing was redesignated 48 Tactical Fighter Wing on 8 July 1958 with the flying units becoming Tactical Fighter Squadrons.

International relations between France and the US deteriorated in the late 1950s resulting in French President Charles de Gaulle demanding the removal of NATO forces from the country. Under project Red Richard USAFE relocated its units from France. At the same time the advent of the intercontinental ballistic missile had reduced US dependence on European based airborne medium and long ranged bombers leaving SAC Air Bases available for the USAFE units. On 15 January 1960 the 48 TFW redeployed RAF Lakenheath England which underwent conversion to a permanent base to support fighter operations.

The Berlin Wall crisis in 1961 and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis increased Cold War tensions and RAF Lakenheath served as a rotational deployment base for SAC B 47 and B 52 aircraft. In 1962 the Wing came under the operational command of Third Air Force. NATO training and tactical evaluations continued with the Wing earning its first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period from 1 July 1961 to 29 February 1964. During this period the Wing also conducted deployments to Turkey Italy Spain and across the United Kingdom. In 1972 the flying Squadrons were stood down from its NATO commitments and began conversion to F 4D Phantom II fighter aircraft transferred from 81 TFW at RAF Bentwaters with the last F 100 departing in August 1974. In 1977 the Wing exchanged its F 4 Phantoms for F 111F Aardvark fighter bombers transferred from 347 TFW Mountain Home AB with the Wing receiving its third Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the smooth transition. 48 TFW began a series of monthly exercises and deployments to Italy Iran Greece and Pakistan.

495 Tactical Fighter Squadron was activated at 48th TFW on 1 April 1977 to join 492 493 and 494 TFSs to function as a replacement training unit for the other three fighter squadrons. By September 1979 the Wing had flown the highest number of hours ever recorded in a fiscal year by an F 111 unit and during a joint USAFE Operational Readiness Inspection and NATO Tactical Evaluation in March 1980 received its fourth Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. The Wing deployed to RAF Sculthorpe in spring 1983 while the runway at RAF Lakenheath was resurfaced.

Following a number of terrorist attacks attributed by the US to the Libyan government the US ordered a strike against targets in Tripoli which were carried out by the F 111s of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing and United States Navy Sixth Fleet on 15 April 1986 as Operation Eldorado Canyon. In spite of the missions success the Wing lost one aircraft and crew. The Wing received the Navys Meritorious Unit Commendation for its participation in the operation.

On 25 August 1990 Liberty Wing began its deployment to Taif AB Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield Desert Storm with the 492 493 and 494 TFSs 66 F 111Fs in place by December 1990 and flew a total of 1919 combat sorties with 2203 target hits. The Wing returned to RAF Lakenheath on 13 May 1991 and following lessons learnt during the campaign began restructuring in mid 1991 under the Objective Wing Organization program realigning its maintenance fighter squadron work force and establishing several command elements including 48 Logistics Group 48 Medical Group 48 Support Group and 48th Operations Group to control the fighter Squadrons with the 48 Tactical Fighter Wing redesignated 48 Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991 and the 492 493 494 and 495 becoming Fighter Squadrons. The 495 FS was inactivated on 13 December 1991. 493 FS was inactivated on 18 December 1992.

On 15 February 1992 the Wing began its changeover to F 15E Strike Eagle aircraft for 492 and 494 FSs adding air supremacy to its air to ground strike attack mission. The last 493 FS F 111F departed for the US on 16 December 1992 and 493 FS was inactivated on 18 December 1992. 493 Fighter Squadron Grim Reapers was reactivated on 7 January 1994 equipped with F 15C D Eagle fighters tasked with air to air superiority role. In line with USAFs Air Expeditionary concept from 1 October 1994 the Wing is designated 48 Expeditionary Fighter Wing while it supports Air Expeditionary operations away from its base. 48 Fighter Wing deployed its flying Squadrons to RAF Honington as Det 1 Raf Honington in May 1995 when the runway at RAF Lakenheath was being resurfaced. 48 EFW continued to support operations in Iraq and undertook combat operations over the Balkans including Operation Allied Force in 1999.

Since 2001 48 FW units have deployed to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom and to Iraq to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn as USAFEs lead Air Expeditionary Wing and to other US allies including South Korea. The Wing was assigned 56 Rescue Squadron on 28 June 2006 to provide dedicated rescue support. 48 Fighter Wing undertook combat operations during Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya in March 2011 and against ISIS over Iraq and Syria as well as continuing its deployments for Icelandic and Baltic Air Policing while continuing participation in joint exercise in the US and Europe. 48 Wing activated 57 Rescue Squadron on 18 February 2015 allocating 56 Rescue Squadrons pararescue force personnel with 56 Rescue Squadron becoming the last USAF Rescue Squadron to split its pararescue and flying functions to reflect combat conditions where pararescuemen frequently deploy away from their rescue aircraft to carry out personnel recovery. 48 Fighter Wing undertook combat operations against ISIS over Iraq and Syria as well as continuing its deployments for Icelandic and Baltic Air Policing while continuing participation in joint exercise in the US and Europe.



This patch dates from 1992.








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