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In 2001, the wing was converted to provisional status and allocated to Air
Combat Command. It was believed to be active between 2001 and 2004, and deployed
to Masirah Island Air Base, Oman. Its operational component was believed to be
the 355th Air Expeditionary Group.However, the task of developing a
comprehensive listing of AEW units present in Southwest Asia and other combat
areas is particularly difficult as the events of 11 September 2001 and the
Global War on Terrorism has made such an effort significantly difficult. The
USAF seeks to improve operations security (OPSEC) and be sensitive to host
nation politics.The 321st Air Expeditionary Wing trains, advises, and assists
the Authentic Andre Roberts Jersey Iraqi Air Force to develop as a
professional and credible regional airpower partner, with the foundational and
enduring capabilities to maintain internal security and defend against external
threats; provide aerial port, airfield operations, base and medical support, and
command and control in support of USFI; on order transition designated missions,
organizations and functions to other US Government agencies no later than
December 31, 2011.See the 321st Air Expeditionary Group for additional history
and lineage and World War II historyOn 30 May 1954, the 321st Bombardment Wing
(Medium) was activated at Pinecastle Air Force Base, Florida, absorbing the B47
Stratojets and KC97 tankers of the deactivated 4240th Flying Training Wing. Two
weeks later, on 1 January 1954, the wing was assigned to Strategic Air Command a
B47 combat crew training mission was transferred to SAC. McCoy was appointed
commander of the 321st Bombardment Wing on 24 May 1954. He previously commanded
the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill AFB and was considered the "dean" of
Strategic Air Command's B47 Stratojet operational wing commanders.Known
squadrons of the 321st Bomb Wing were:445th, 446th, 447th, 448th Bombardment
Squadron (1 June 1954 24 October 1961)307th Air Refueling Squadron (28 September
8 November 1954)Redesignated: 321st Air Refueling Squadron (8 November 1954 16
September 1956)In November 1957 the base was host to the medium bombers
participating in the annual Strategic Air Command Bombing Navigation and
Reconnaissance Competition. During the competition, a B47 aircraft mishap north
of downtown Orlando took the lives of Colonel McCoy, Group Captain John
Woodroffe of the Royal Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Joyce and Major
Vernon Stuff during preparations for the event. Despite this tragedy, the 321st
Bomb Wing, under the direction of its new commander, Colonel Robert W. Strong,
Jr., won the top honors of the meet, including the coveted Fairchild and McCoy
trophies, distinguishing the 321st as the top B47 Wing in SAC.On 7 May 1958
Pinecastle AFB was renamed McCoy Air Force Base in memory of the late Colonel
Michael N. Women's Andre Roberts Jersey W. McCoy. Formal dedication
ceremonies were held on 21 May 1958 in conjunction with a mammoth open house,
during which an estimated 30,000 Floridians attended.In the summer of 1961, a
complete reorganization of McCoy AFB began. A program got under way to convert
the base from the B47 Stratojet to heavy B52 "Stratofortress" bombers. The 321st
Bomb Wing began phasing out its operations in June 1961 and was deactivated in
October 1961. Its operations at McCoy AFB were temporarily assumed by the 4047th
Strategic Wing until replaced by the 306th Bombardment Wing when the latter
organization relocated from MacDill AFB, Florida in 1963.On 1 November 1963,
321st Strategic Missile Wing was organized as the first Strategic Air Command
(SAC) LGM30 Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile wing, at Grand Forks
AFB, North Dakota.During 1965, the wing's three missile squadrons were activated
and crew training and certification began at Vandenberg AFB, California. In
August 1965, the base received its first Minuteman II missile, shipped by train
from Assembly Plant 77 at Hill AFB, Utah. During the following March, the base
received the first Minuteman II to be shipped via aircraft, an Air Force
first.On 25 April 1966, the 447th Strategic Missile Squadron and its 50
Minuteman II missiles were declared operational. Additional flights came on line
throughout 1966. On 7 December 1966, the wing, with its component 446th, 447th,
and 448th Strategic Missile Squadrons, became fully operational with a
complement of 150 Minuteman missiles.As the first base to deploy Minuteman II
missiles, Grand Forks AFB hosted "Project Long Life II," a unique reliability
test in which modified Minuteman missiles were fueled to travel a few hundred
yards. The first launch from a Grand Forks silo occurred on 19 October 1966 and
was declared unsuccessful. Nine days later, a second attempt also failed. A
third attempt under "Project Giant Boost" occurred in August 1968 and again
proved unsuccessful.Crews from the 321 SMW competed in SAC's first Missile
Combat Competition held at Vandenberg AFB from 2 through 7 April 1967. Later
that month, members from the wing launched its first Minuteman II from
Vandenberg. Despite the wing's relative youth, it quickly established a
reputation for excellence by winning numerous honors during its first few years.
For example, in 1969, the unit received numerous significant honors, including
the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and SAC Outstanding Missile Wing Award.
Throughout the next two decades, the unit would score additional triumphs at
Olympic Arena missile competitions and receive numerous "best" accolades.From
December 1971 to March 1973, the wing converted to Minuteman III missiles. These
missiles represented a significant technological advancement, having multiple
independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). Coordinating the missile
changeover required complex planning and execution. In 1972 alone, 250 separate
nuclear weapon convoys motored over the roads of North Dakota.Modifications
continued that enhanced readiness and improved survivability. For instance,
about midAugust 1975, "Wing Six Integrated Program" (WSIP) was implemented. WSIP
included a silo upgrade that improved the missile suspension system to withstand
greater blastshock and provided the 321st with a remote targeting capability.The
wing underwent continual readiness inspections and participated in numerous
training exercises on base and at Vandenberg. Training improved with the
expansion of onbase simulator facilities. For example, in 1970, wing crews
conducted tests using "Modified Operational Missiles" which enabled them to
exercise all aspects of a missile launch except igniting the engine.Mother
Nature often threatened wing readiness. The organizational history referred to
"the Great Blizzard of '66," " the storm of '75 that caused $10,000 in damages,"
and "one of the harshest winters 119771 which 'hampered maintenance efforts' and
had 'ice storms snapping power lines'." When the heavy snows melted, floods
occasionally resulted. A quick thaw in April 1979 created one of the most
devastating floods within the Red River valley basin during this century. In
addition to protecting the silos from flood waters, wing personnel volunteered
to join the mostly successful 2week struggle to keep Grand Forks and East Grand
Forks dry. This effort was repeated in April 1989.With the restructuring of the
Air Force and the disestablishment of Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the early
1990s the wing first came under Air Combat Command (ACC) in 1992 and then under
Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) in 1993.In March 1995, the Base Realignment and
Closure (BRAC) Commission selected the 321st Strategic Missile Wing for
deactivation.When the decision was made to reduce the ICBM force, Grand Forks
was placed on the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. While the base
survived, the missile field and 321st did not. The 321st Missile Group
inactivated on 30 September 1998.The Air Force activated the 321st in August
2002 as the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing, assigned to AFCENT. The wing
inactivated in 2004, but was activated again in 2008 to assume the mission of
Iraq Training and Advisory Mission (ITAM)Air Force. aircraft in support of
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as they departed from Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, for
Sather Air Base, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. and Iraq reached a new
level. military forces from Iraq by December 2011.While Operation New Dawn
brought a shift in mission for many of the remaining forces in Iraq, the 321st
AEW and ITAMAir Force were poised to continue their mission to train, mentor,
advise and assist the Iraqi air force (IqAF) to develop into a professional and
credible regional airpower partner. When the Iraqi Ministry of Defense (IqMOD)
made the decision to split fixedwing and rotarywing operations in late 2010, the
Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IqAAC) was created. Airmen continued to advise for
both IqAF and IqAAC, the name was changed from ITAMAir Force to ITAMAir and
addressed the fully comprehensive scope of training.The wing and ITAMAir
encouraged the development of Iraqi airpower with the foundational and enduring
capabilities to maintain internal security and defend against external threats.
At the same time, the 321st AEW provided aerial port, airfield operations, base
and medical support, in addition to command and control capabilities to support
USFI. government agencies and the IqAF no later than December 2011.
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