3rd Air Force Patch – Hook and Loop
A 3.5″ patch 3rd Air Force Patch – Hook and Loop
The Third Air Force (Air Forces Europe) (3 AF) is a numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA). Its headquarters is Ramstein Air Base, Germany. It is responsible for all U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa operations and support activities in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command’s areas of responsibility.
One of the four original pre–World War II numbered air forces, it was established on 26 March 1941, at Tampa, Florida with a mission of air defense of the Southeastern United States and Gulf Coast regions. During the war, its primary mission became the organization and training of combat units prior to their deployment to the overseas combat air forces.
Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Randall D. Kwiatkowski.
The command directs all USAFE and AFAFRICA forces engaged in contingency and wartime operations in the United States European Command (EUCOM) and United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) areas of responsibility. It also has a unique mission as the U.S. military’s primary liaison to the British government, which is conducted through the command’s 3 AF-UK headquarters at RAF Mildenhall, England. As an integral part of America’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Third Air Force’s area of responsibility includes Air Force missions and personnel in Europe and Africa.
The Third Air Force oversees host nation support agreements for all U.S. military forces based in the United Kingdom through the command’s 3 AF-UK headquarters at RAF Mildenhall.
Through the NATO Partnership for Peace program, Third Air Force manages military contact and assistance programs for a number of countries in Eastern Europe. Third Air Force is also responsible for contingency planning and support of American security interests in Africa.
It is composed of more than 25,000 Airmen. Third Air Force is assigned more than 200 aircraft, while tasked to provide support servicing to thousands of other transient aircraft that visit its bases each year.
Major operational units under Third Air Force are:
31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy (F-16C/D Block 40)
48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom (F-15C/D, F-15E, HH-60)
52d Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany (F-16C/D Block 50)
86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany (C-130, C-20, C-21A, C-37A)
100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom (KC-135R)
435th Air Ground Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
501st Combat Support Wing, RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom
In addition, there are numerous minor units assigned to Third Air Force by HQ USAFE.
603d Air and Space Operations Center
603d Air Communications Squadron