388th Fighter Wing

388 FW Patch

388 FW Patch


Mission

The primary mission of the 388th Fighter Wing is maintain combat readiness to deploy, employ, and sustain F-16s worldwide to fly, fight and win any conflict.. Although located on an Air Force Materiel Command base, the 388th is assigned to 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. ACC’s mission is to provide the world’s best combat air forces delivering rapid, decisive air power anytime, anywhere.

 

Personnel and Resources

There are approximately 1,600 military and civil service professionals assigned to the 388th FW supporting and employing 48 primary assigned F-16s, and a growing number of F-35As.

 

Organization

The 388th Operations Group is comprised of three fighter squadrons and the Operations Support Squadron. The 4th “Fightin’ Fuujins” and 421st “Black Widows” currently fly the F-16CM. The 34th “Rude Rams” fly the F-35A, the Air Force’s newest 5th generation multi-role fighter aircraft. The 388th Operations Support Squadron is responsible for weapons and tactics development, operational planning, flying training guidance, intelligence, flight scheduling, mobility, life support activities, and people management for the Operations Group.

 

The 388th Maintenance Group is currently comprised of three squadrons, the 388th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and 388th Component Maintenance Squadron, both of which execute back-shop maintenance functions for the F-16 and F-35, and the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which provides on-aircraft maintenance for the F-16 and the F-35. The 388th CMS and EMS will merge in the summer of 2016 to form the 388th Maintenance Squadron, which will consolidate back-shop maintenance functions for the F-35, which all 388th fighter squadrons will fly when the conversion is complete in 2019.

 

The Headquarters Utah Test and Training Range, a group equivalent in the wing structure, manages all aspects of training and test operations at the UTTR, located in Utah’s west desert.

 

History

The 388th Bombardment Group (Heavy) activated at Gowen Field, Idaho on 24 December 1942, and relocated to the Royal Air Force Base at Knettishall, England between June 1943 and the end of World War II. Equipped with B-17 bombers, the group flew 306 missions over Europe, and received two distinguished unit citations. It attacked German ball-bearing and aircraft production, naval yards, and synthetic oil plants, and supported the Allied landings at Normandy. At the end of the war the group dropped food and supplies over Northern Europe, and then inactivated at the end of August 1945. On March 23, 1953, the 388th Fighter Day Wing was established, but not equipped, at Clovis AFB, New Mexico. It was redesignated the 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing on Nov. 5 of that year, and then activated on November 23. Simultaneously, the 388 BG(H) activated and was redesignated the 388th Fighter-Bomber Group. It formed the operational core of this new wing, equipped with F-86 Sabres, and later, F-100 Super Sabres. The 388th relocated to Etain-Rouvres Air Base, France in late 1954, where it remained until 1957, when it inactivated. The wing again activated on May 1, 1962 at McConnell AFB, Kansas and was redesignated the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. Trained on the F-105 Thunderchief, the wing inactivated again in February 1964, but was quickly reorganized and activated again on March 14, 1966, stationed at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB), Thailand. Flying first the F-105, and then the F-4 Phantom II, the wing flew more than 60,000 hours over Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam from 1966-1973. It continued to support U.S. operations in Southeast Asia after the ceasefire with North Vietnam, and participated in the recovery of the S.S. Mayaguez in May 1975. The wing departed from Korat RTAFB in December 1975, taking with it a Presidential Unit Citation, eight Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with combat valor devices, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.

Restationed at Hill AFB, Utah, the 388 TFW continued to fly the F-4, but in April 1977 the Air Force announced that the wing would be the first to be equipped with the new F-16 Fighting Falcon. That multi-role fighter arrived in 1979.  The wing deployed its F-16s to several North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries during the 1980s, and in 1987 won the worldwide USAF GUNSMOKE competition at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

From August 1990-March 1991, the wing deployed its squadrons in support of U.S. and Allied combat efforts in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, the response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The wing flew 4,000 sorties during DESERT STORM, with no losses. After the war the wing continued to deploy elements of its combat squadrons to support postwar treaty enforcement in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Shortly after the Gulf War ended, on Oct 1, 1991, the 388th was redesignated the 388th Fighter Wing. 

After 11 September 2001, the wing added to its deployment duties participation in Operation NOBLE EAGLE, the defense of U.S. airspace, which included providing security over the games of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. It also deployed its squadrons in support of combat operations against Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM between March 29 and May 1, 2003. It continued to provide personnel to support that operation until its end on Aug. 31, 2010.  In 2009 the wing began deploying F-16s to Bagram AB, Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The wing currently supports Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in 2016.

The wing was selected to fly the F-35 Lightning II in December 2013, with the first two F-35s arriving at Hill AFB on Sept. 2, 2015. In 2010, the wing’s 34th Fighter Squadron inactivated. It activated again in 2015 in order to become the Air Force’s first operational F-35 squadron.