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47th Flying Training Wing History

The 47th Flying Training Wing has been active at Laughlin Air Force Base since September 1, 1972. In the nearly fifty years that it has been operating at Laughlin, the 47th Flying Training Wing has trained more than 15,000 pilots for the United States and its allies, and has seen many bright and dedicated Airmen come and go through its gates.

Although the wing got its start as a flying training wing in 1972, its lineage actually dates all the way back to 1947, when the 47th Bombardment Wing, Light was established on July 28, 1947. The wing was first organized as a unit on August 15, 1947, and its first commander was Colonel William M. Prince.

The 47th Bombardment Wing, Light trained in night operations, conducted firepower demonstrations, and participated in tactical exercises. The wing was first organized at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, before moving to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, in November 1948. During this period, the wing flew the Douglas A-26 Invader, and, later, the Martin B-26 Marauder. The wing was inactivated on October 2, 1949.

On March 12, 1951, the Air Force reactivated the wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where it transitioned to the B-45 medium jet bomber. From May 1951 until February 1952, the wing provided combat crew training in B-26 aircraft and operated the United States Air Force Air Crew School (Light Bombardment and Tactical Reconnaissance, Night Photographic).

The wing moved to Sculthorpe Royal Air Force Station, England, in June 1952 and for the next decade performed tactical training operations, including participation in exercises and firepower demonstrations in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the assignment to England, the wing was redesignated the 47th Bombardment Wing, Tactical. The wing converted from the B-45 bomber to the Douglas B-66 Destroyer in 1958. From 1960 to 1962, the wing also assumed an air refueling mission utilizing the KB-50 tanker.

The wing was inactivated in June 1962. A decade later, on September 1, 1972, the wing was reactivated and redesignated the 47th Flying Training Wing, replacing and absorbing the resources of the 3646th Pilot Training Wing at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

At Laughlin, the wing supported the Accelerated Co-Pilot Enrichment Program at numerous locations from 1976 to 1986, and began Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) in November 1993. The wing added airlifter-tanker track pilot training in 1994.

The wing's mission since 1972 has been to train pilots for the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and allied nation air forces. Today the wing utilizes the T-6A Texan II, T-38C Talon, and T-1A Jayhawk aircraft to perform this mission, while striving, every day, to build combat-ready Airmen, leaders, and pilots.



(Current as of June 2019)