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88th Air Base Wing’s status today and its beginnings
On a typical work day, Ohio’s largest single-site employer welcomes nearly 30,000 people through its gates. They are scientists, engineers and program managers – experts in their fields. They are active-duty military, government civilians and contractors. One hundred and 15 mission partner organizations are dedicated to defending the nation and ensuring that its people live in peace and freedom.
At Wright-Patterson AFB, the foundation for this diverse team’s success is the 88th Air Base Wing. For 75 years, the 88th and its predecessors have provided the strength through support to fuel aerospace innovation.
The lineage of the 88 ABW began in 1944 when it was designated the 4000th Army Air Forces base unit. The unit’s mission was to provide custodial and support functions for Wright Field.
Four years later, Wright Field and Patterson Field merged into a single installation, and the 4000th became the 2750th Air Base Wing to support the new Wright-Patterson AFB.
Throughout the ensuing decades, the wing managed the day-to-day operations of the base. While Air Force scientists and engineers developed new aerospace technologies, such as jet propulsion, guided missiles and stealth technology, the air base wing provided the physical infrastructure, logistical support, human resources, welfare and security needed to ensure the job was done correctly.
That strength through support also applied outside the fence. The wing has bolstered the U.S.’s efforts in conflicts around the globe. During the Vietnam War, the 2750th provided 15 members for the very first Air Force “prime beef” civil engineer force, building revetments to protect planes in hostile territory.
During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, wing personnel processed and deployed more than 2,300 soldiers and 2,200 tons of cargo. And since 9/11, hundreds of 88th Airmen have deployed in support of operations like Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
While the wing has fulfilled its duty in conflicts overseas, the installation has also directly supported international peace. Wright-Patterson AFB’s location was a key consideration in 1995 when it hosted the Balkan proximity peace talks. The wing provided security and logistical support until the diplomatic talks concluded with the signing of the historic Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended more than three years of war in Boznia and Herzegovina.
Wright-Patterson AFB support has extended to the local community as well. For example, in April of 1974, tragedy struck the nearby town of Xenia. The “day of 100 tornadoes” brought an F5-strength twister that killed 34 people and devastated the city.
Airmen from the wing quickly responded with medical aid, heavy equipment to clear debris, and food and water for a devastated community.
While the majority of support in the past 75 years has been provided by Airmen on the ground, there were instances when the wing took flight. In 1959, the 2750th sponsored training aircraft, such as T-33s and F-80s to help Wright-Patt pilots transition from propeller to jet engines. And from 1993 to 1997, the 47th Airlift Flight was assigned to the wing and flew a fleet of C-12 and C-21 support aircraft.
Today, Airmen in 88 ABW organizations strengthen the wing family and mission partners in all areas – from personnel, finance, medical and security to infrastructure maintenance, logistics and communications support. 88th Airmen in Ohio enable the Air Force mission all over the world.
While the wing’s name has changed over the years, its strength through support has remained constant. It’s more than just a motto. It is a commitment to service and a responsibility it never takes lightly. It has made Wright-Patterson Air Force Base a war-winning capability for 75 years.
— Historical information contributed by Air Force Life Cycle Management Center historian.