Airlift reaches 70 year anniversary

by Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Today, the 86th Airlift Wing hits its 70 year mark at Ramstein.

The wing originated as the U.S. Army Air Forces 86th Bombardment Group (Light) during World War II and has gradually evolved from a bombardment wing in 1942, to a tactical fighter wing in 1969, into the 86th Airlift Wing July 21, 1994, that we know today.

Established Jan. 13, 1942, the mission of the 86th BG(L) was to provide air support for soldiers who fought in areas like North Africa, Italy and Southern Germany during World War II.

During that time, the 86th earned numerous awards.

Airmen from the wing have earned awards such as the Distinguished Unit Citation, earned in World War II, to the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for Exceptionally Meritorious Service award, earned seven times out of the last 10 years. One of
those seven was earned with valor.

The awards were able to be earned by participating in support of various operations.

The wing’s primary mission now is to provide airlift support to the U.S.  European Command and our Joint and Combined partners.

In the last 10 years alone, the 86th Airlift Wing has participated in
operations like Iraqi Freedom, where the wing’s C-130s took part in the largest airborne combat insertion since Operation Just Cause in 1989. In 2010, the wing participated in Operation Enduring Freedom by supporting the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. During Operation Odyssey Dawn, the wing participated by helping to protect the Libyan people.

The wing has built a large foundation of success, which it hopes to continue.

“The 86th Airlift Wing has a rich history spanning 70 years,” said Silvano Wueschner, the 86th Airlift Wing’s historian. “Given our current tempo we will be sure to add significantly to that heritage in the years to come.”