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18th Wing


Shield for the 18th Wing. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Naoki Shimoji)

18th Wing (Pacific Air Forces) 

As the host unit at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, the mission of the 18th Wing is to deliver unmatched combat airpower and a forward-staging base to provide sovereign options that promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, ensure the common defense of our allies, and enhance the United States' unparalleled global engagement capability. As the largest combat wing in the Air Force, operating out of the largest Air Force installation in the Pacific, the 18th Wing is ideally suited to accomplish these critical objectives. 

The Wing operates within the framework of the US-Japan security alliance which was formally established in 1960 with the signing of a Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The treaty allows U.S. forces to use facilities and areas in Japan in order to promote Japanese and American mutual interests, contribute to the defense of Japan and preserve regional peace and security. The 18th Wing supports these objectives by providing a responsive staging and operational air base with integrated, deployable, forward-based airpower. Located in a critical region, 18th Wing Airmen and aircraft play a vital geostrategic role in deterring potential threats and maintaining peace and stability. The base's central location also enables the Wing to serve as a staging base for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts throughout the western Pacific, as it did in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami that devastated portions of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. 

The 18th Wing's current fleet of aircraft represents a broad spectrum of combat capability -- F-15C/D air-to-air fighters, KC-135 air refueling tankers, E-3 AWACS airborne command and control aircraft, and HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopters. This robust fleet of aircraft allows the Wing to deter potential threats in the region and respond quickly to any contingency. 

The Wing's diverse mission is accomplished by its five groups: operations, maintenance, mission support, civil engineer and medical. The Wing also provides facilities for U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and other forces assigned to or transiting Kadena. 

The 18th Operations Group is comprised of eight squadrons and one flight. The group has more than 800 personnel who conduct the Wing's flying mission on- and off-station with approximately 80 aircraft. 

The 18th Maintenance Group has six squadrons with more than 2,400 members. The group's 18th Munitions Squadron operates and maintains a war reserve materiel munitions area for the entire Pacific. The 18th Component Maintenance Squadron maintains the only four-bay engine test cell facility within Pacific Air Forces. 

The 18th Mission Support Group is the largest in the Air Force, boasting six squadrons and more than 3,800 personnel. The group provides a full spectrum of mission support to enable combat airpower as well as morale and welfare services for military members, families and guests. 

The 18th Civil Engineer Group has two squadrons and approximately 1,500 personnel. The group is responsible for base maintenance and facilities improvement and oversees all U.S. military housing on Okinawa, which totals approximately 8,100 units. 

The 18th Medical Group is comprised of four squadrons and has about 500 members. The medical group provides medical care to base and joint service personnel, seeing almost 500 patients daily. It has medical professionals on Kadena and in the US Naval Hospital Okinawa on nearby Camp Lester. 

The Wing manages approximately $6 billion in resources, including a $4 billion aircraft fleet. Other equipment and capital assets are valued at more than $2 billion. 

Major 18th Wing Units and Weapon Systems 

18th Operations Group 
- 44th Fighter Squadron - F-15C/D Eagle 
- 67th Fighter Squadron - F-15C/D Eagle 
- 909th Air Refueling Squadron - KC-135 Stratotanker 
- 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron - E-3 AWACS 
- 33rd Rescue Squadron - HH-60 Pave Hawk 
- 31st Rescue Squadron 
- 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron 
- 18th Operations Support Squadron 
- 623rd Air Control Flight 

18th Maintenance Group 
- 18th Maintenance Operations Squadron 
- 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron 
- 18th Munitions Squadron 
- 18th Component Maintenance Squadron 
- 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron 
- 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron 

18th Mission Support Group 
- 18th Communications Squadron 
- 18th Force Support Squadron 
- 18th Security Forces Squadron 
- 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron 
- 18th Contracting Squadron 

18th Civil Engineer Group 
- 18th Civil Engineer Squadron 
- 718th Civil Engineer Squadron 

18th Medical Group 
- 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron 
- 18th Dental Squadron 
- 18th Medical Support Squadron 
- 18th Medical Operations Squadron
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