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Posted 2/22/2012 Printable Fact Sheet
403rd Wing patch
403rd Wing patch
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The 403rd Wing, an Air Force Reserve tenant unit located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is the only Department of Defense unit tasked to organize, equip, train and perform all hurricane weather reconnaissance in support of the Department of Commerce.

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.

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.

403rd Operations Group
403rd Operations Support Flight
815th Airlift Squadron
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron
345th Airlift Squadron (19th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB, Ark.)

403rd Maintenance Group
403rd Maintenance Operations Flight
403rd Maintenance Squadron
403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

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

403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron

96th Aerial Port Squadron (Little Rock AFB, Ark.)

The 403rd Wing employs more than 1,400 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.

The combined eight 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.

The wing's operating budget in fiscal year 2010 was $80 million. Total economic impact on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in FY 2010 was an estimated $101 million.

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-30, 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 and Iraqi Freedom 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.


Operation Enduring Freedom - Southwest Asia (2003, 04, 09)
Operation Joint Forge (2002)
Coronet Oak (1999)
Winter Storm Recon, Hurricane Mitch, Coronet Oak, Southern Watch (1998)
Winter Storm Recon/El Nino Research, Coronet Oak, Joint Guard, Provide Promise II (1997)
Coronet Oak, Southern Watch (1996)

Argentina, Ecuador, Russia, Antigua, Nicaragua, Albania, Mexico, Dominican Republic (1996)
Honduras, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Haiti (1995)
Haiti, Germany/Turkey (1994)

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

403rd Wing Public Affairs:
SAF/PA Magazine of the Year - 2003
AFRC Best Community Relations - 2002
AFRC Best Media Relations - 2002
Best Media Relations Program - AFRC -1995, 1998

403rd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron:
CMSGT James Clouse Trophy - 1988

Miscellaneous Awards:
MX Effectiveness Award AFRC - 2002
Logistics Plans Unit of the Year - 2000
DOD African American Community Services Award - 1998
Air Combat Command Flight Safety Award - 1995, 1996, 1997
Highest Scoring Reserve C-130 Unit, Airlift Rodeo - 1990

Current as of June 2011

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