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403rd Wing

Shield of the 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

Shield of the 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

Shield of the 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

Shield of the 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

The 403rd Wing, an Air Force Reserve tenant unit located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is tasked to organize, equip, train and employ airlift forces in support of the nation's interests. This includes the only weather reconnaissance mission in the Department of Defense as well as tactical airlift and airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and agile combat support.

The 403rd Wing is a subordinate unit of 22nd Air Force headquartered at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., and the Air Force Reserve Command, with headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. In wartime or a contingency, the 403rd Wing reports to Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., its gaining major command.

MISSION
The 403rd Wing provides command and staff supervision to assigned squadrons and flights in support of tactical airlift missions, weather reconnaissance and combat support. When mobilized, the 403rd is gained by the AMC and executes missions in support of the theater commander, to include resupply, employment operations within the combat zone or forward area, and when required, aeromedical refugee evacuation and augmentation of other airlift forces.

ASSIGNED ORGANIZATIONS
403rd Operations Group
403rd Operations Support Squadron
36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
815th Airlift Squadron
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron
5th Operational Weather Flight (Shaw AFB, S.C.)
12th Operational Weather Flight (Scott AFB, Ill.)

403rd Maintenance Group
403rd Maintenance Squadron
403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

403rd Mission Support Group
403rd Force Support Squadron
403rd Security Forces Squadron
403rd Logistics Readiness Squadron
41st Aerial Port Squadron
403rd Communications Flight

403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron

MANNING
The 403rd Wing employs more than 1,500 reservists. Air reserve technicians, or ARTs, provide full time management continuity to ensure the readiness of the wing. ARTs carry dual responsibility as both full time civil service employees to the Air Force Reserve as well as providing part time service as a Reservist participating in drill weekends and being accountable to deploy if called upon to do so.

AIRCRAFT FLOWN
The 10 C-130J-30 assigned to 815th Airlift Squadron "Flying Jennies" and 10 WC-130J assigned to 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" make up more than 95 percent of Keesler's total flying mission.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT
The wing's annual budget was an estimated $72 million for FY 2018.

UNIT HIGHLIGHTS
In addition to being the only military flying unit to provide aerial weather reconnaissance in direct support of the National Hurricane Center and fly the W-C130J, the 403rd Wing is responsible for providing tactical airlift support during contingency operations. In December 1989, the unit supported Operation Just Cause in Panama, the U.S. military effort to restore democracy to that country and oust Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. The unit's aircrews and maintenance personnel provided airlift support of combat troops, equipment, humanitarian supplies, detainees and captured weapons.

After the Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait in August 1990, and the onset of Operation Desert Shield, members of the 403rd volunteered for and performed duty in the Middle East, supporting the multi-national effort to stop Iraq from further expansion in the region.

By December 1997, the 815th AS had amassed more than 3,900 mishap-free flying hours while supporting operations around the world, including Provide Promise II from Ramstein AB, Germany, Southern Watch in Saudi Arabia, Coronet Oak from Howard AFB, Panama, Joint Guard in the Balkans, and delivering more than 95,000 tons of food, clothing and medical supplies in support of the Denton Amendment.

In the fall of 1998, following one of the most violent hurricane seasons on record, the 815th AS and the 53rd WRS provided humanitarian relief to Honduras and Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch hit Oct. 29. The 403rd Wing took the lead in staging relief supplies destined for the hurricane-ravaged countries, with its 41st Aerial Port Squadron providing hundreds of man-hours of cargo support.

In May 1999, the wing received the first C-130J in the Department of Defense inventory.

Since September 2001, hundreds of members of the 403rd Wing have been deployed to Joint Forge, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Freedom's Sentinel and Inherent Resolve in Southwest Asia and other locations. This included a historic deployment of over one hundred members to Andersen AFB, Guam to operate and provide support for storm reconnaissance missions in the Pacific theater, and a record-setting deployment to Southwest Asia in September 2009 and May 2018.

RECENT MAJOR EXCERCISES/OPERATIONS:
Operation Enduring Freedom - Southwest Asia (2003, 2004, 2009)
Operation Joint Forge (2002)
Operation Freedom's Sentinel - Southwest Asia (2018)
Operation Inherent Resolve -Southwest Asia (2018)

AWARDS
Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards:
May 1992 - August 1997

403rd Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing:
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - July 1984 to June 1986

920th Weather Reconnaissance Group:
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, - July 1977 to December 1978

(Current as of August 2019)