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FACTSHEET | Oct. 3, 2016

459th Air Refueling Wing

The 459th Air Refueling Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command unit, provides air refueling and aeromedical transport support with its KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft to joint units worldwide.

The wing is composed of three groups (Operations, Maintenance, and Support) and two medical squadrons (Aerospace Medicine Squadron and Aeromedical Staging Squadron). Traditional reservists, a full-time civilian and Air Reserve Technician staff of more than 1,300 people provides day-to-day administration and management of the unit. It is the only AFRC unit in the National Capital Region and a seven-time recipient of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. During peacetime, the 459th falls under the command and control of AFRC, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. In war or during times of national emergency, the 459th is under the direction of Air Mobility Command.

The 459 ARW provides in-flight refueling capabilities to joint mission partners across the globe during exercises and critical missions through the deployment and maintenance of the KC-135R Stratotanker. Other missions include presidential and congressional support; movement of urgent, priority and routine patients; administrative preparation of patients for flight and ensuring they are clinically supported while waiting for transport.

Since its activation in 1943, the 459th has participated in many exercises and contingencies to include Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Northern and Southern Watch, Noble Anvil, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve. The wing has also served in places around the globe to include Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Bosnia and Kosovo.

The wing has contributed to humanitarian missions in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and flooding in Honduras and the Dominican Republic in 2006.

In 2015, KC-135R missions were critical in suppressing emerging Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant threats through the refueling of fighters and bombers targeting threats in Syria and Iraq. Additionally, air refueling crews enabled U.S. embassy evacuation operations in Yemen.

Joint Base Andrews units, including the 459 ARW, received recognition from the President of the United States for outstanding and innovative performance resulting in the 2015 Commander In Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence.