4 inch 42nd Air Base Wing Patch – Plastic Backing
The 42nd Air Base Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to Air University of Air Education and Training Command. It is stationed at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama and is the host unit for Maxwell-Gunter. The wing’s primary mission is to support all activities of Air University, the 908th Airlift Wing and other tenant units stationed at Maxwell-Gunter.
The wing was first activated shortly before the beginning of World War II as the 42nd Bombardment Group, a medium bomber unit. It conducted antisubmarine patrols off the Pacific coast following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The group provided units to reinforce the defenses of Alaska and to conduct patrols against German U-boats in the Caribbean Sea. It was brought up to strength by the transfer of veteran squadrons in 1943 when it moved to the Southwest Pacific Theater as part of Thirteenth Air Force. The 42nd saw combat in the Solomon Islands, Russell Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its pre-invasion bombing of Balikpapan from 23 to 30 June 1945. Its missions during the campaign in the Philippines earned it a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. The 42nd was inactivated in Japan in the spring of 1946 after serving as part of the occupation forces there.
The 42nd Bombardment Wing was initially activated in 1953 with Convair B-36 Peacemakers as a component of Strategic Air Command’s heavy bomber force. After two years flying the Peacemaker, it became the second wing to fly the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, and the first to convert to the B-52 from propeller-driven bombers. The wing maintained half of its planes on alert throughout the Cold War, and increased its alert commitment for the Lebanon crisis of 1958 and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The wing also provided aircraft and crews for the Vietnam War and First Gulf War. The wing was consolidated with the group into a single unit in 1985. The consolidated unit was inactivated when its home station, Loring Air Force Base, closed in 1994.
The wing was activated several months later as 42nd Air Base Wing, replacing the 502nd Air Base Wing as the host organization for Maxwell Air Force Base (now Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base), Alabama. It has supported all Air Force units in the Montgomery, Alabama region since that time.