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22d Air Refueling Wing Fact Sheet


Published April 2020



The 22d Air Refueling Wing (ARW) is the host unit of McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The wing is part of 18th Air Force, a numbered Air Force within Air Mobility Command. The 22 ARW has been and continues to be involved in a number of operations providing air refueling, humanitarian airlift and aeromedical evacuation missions around the globe.

The wing's 17 squadrons (16 at McConnell AFB, one at Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire) combine for a force of approximately 3,500 active duty military members.


The base is Total Force, hosting 931st Air Refueling Wing Air Force Reserve and the 184th Wing Air National Guard units. The base's total force strength is around 6,924 personnel. The base also supports 7,948 retirees.

The wing’s primary mission includes the delivery of global air refueling capabilities, both conventional and unconventional, to U.S. armed forces, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and coalition allied aircraft using the KC-135 Stratotanker. The aircraft also doubles as an airlift and aeromedical evacuation carrier. The first KC-46A Pegasus was delivered to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas on Jan. 25, 2019. The aircraft has been in development since Feb. 24, 2011, and its initial flight occurred in Dec. 2014. The KC-46 represents the beginning of a new era in aerial refueling, and will provide a vital capability to the U.S. Air Force and joint partners.

The 22 ARW was established as the 22d Bombardment Wing (BMW), Medium, on 1 August 1948. It was later re-designated as the 22nd Bombardment Wing, Heavy. The wing began its tanker-exclusive history on 1 October 1982 as the 22 AREFW, Heavy.


As the 22 BMW, Medium, and later Heavy, and under the authority of Strategic Air Command (SAC), the unit flew a host of bomber and tanker support aircraft up to October 1982 including the KC-97 Stratofreighter (1952), B-47 Stratojet (1953), B-52D Stratofortress (1963) and KC-135A Stratotanker (1963).  The B-52D was replaced by the KC-10A Extender in 1982.  In January 1994, USAF reorganization efforts moved the 22 ARW to its current home station and flying the KC-135R/T/RT model Stratotankers.  


The approved emblem of the 22 ARW consist of an Ultramarine Blue shield bordered with Air Force Yellow (The USAF colors).  In the center lies a yellow cougar’s paw with extended red claws signifying armed power.  Beneath the shield is a scroll bearing the unit motto: DUCEMUS (pronounced DO-CAME-US), written in the Latin and translated as “We Shall Lead.”

During the 1990s, the wing deployed crews and aircraft to support no-fly missions over northern and southern Iraq and over Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1999, wing aircraft and crews deployed to the Mediterranean to refuel Allied aircraft over Serbia.

After the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. in September 2001, wing-supplied tanker crews and aircraft refueled combat aircraft on missions to the Afghanistan area.

Airmen assigned to the 22 ARW have also supported the Korean Conflict, Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Deliberate Force, Operation Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Odyssey Dawn and a number of tanker task forces.

Team McConnell’s impact extend beyond the boundaries of mission and well into the economic health of the greater-Wichita area economy.

The total impact on the local economy of McConnell AFB and its tenants for FY18 was $617.2 million, within a 50-mile radius of the base.

(Current as of April 2020)



184th Intelligence Wing

The 184th Intelligence Wing has a proud history and a wealth of tradition. The unit was activated to Federal service during WWII, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam Conflict. The 184th Intelligence Wing has been honored with four Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for exceptionally meritorious service.

Upon federal recognition as the 127th Observation Squadron, Aug. 4, 1941, the unit's limited equipment included one BC-1A, one C-47, and four L-1 aircraft. On Oct. 6, 1941, the unit was ordered to extended active duty and remained an integral part of the United States Army Air Corps until Oct. 6, 1945, with duty assignments in Tennessee and Okinawa.

On Sept. 7, 1946, the unit reorganized and was designated as the 127th Fighter Squadron with assignment of F-51 "Mustang" aircraft. The F-51 was flown until December 1949, when the unit received the F-84 "Thunder Jet".
Outbreak of the Korean Conflict resulted in mobilization of the 127th Fighter Squadron into Federal service Oct.10, 1950. Transferred to Alexandria, Louisiana the unit became part of the Fighter Bomber Wing and deployed with the wing to Chaumont, France. On July 9, 1952, after 21 months on active duty, the newly designated 127th FBS returned to Wichita. For the following year, the 127th FBS was again assigned F-51 aircraft due to the shortage of jets created by the Korean Conflict.

In June 1954, F-80 "Shooting Star" jet fighters were assigned, followed by designation of the unit to the 127th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, and assignment of the F-86 "Sabre Jet" in January 1958.

The unit converted to the F-100 "Super Sabre", and was designated the 127th Tactical Fighter Squadron in April 1961. The unit was reorganized as the 184th Tactical fighter Group, Oct. 1, 1962.

In January 1968, following the North Korea seizure of the USS Pueblo, the unit was ordered to extended active duty, and deployed to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. The unit was assigned as part of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing until release from active duty and return to state control in June 1969.

On March 25, 1971, the 184th was designated the 184th Tactical Fighter Training Group and acquired the F-105 "Thunderchief" aircraft. As the Air Force Combat Crew Training School, the unit conducted pilot training in the F-105 for nine years.

On Oct. 1, 1973, the 184th assumed the responsibility of operating and maintaining the Smoky Hill Weapons Range at Salina, Kansas. With more than 36,000 acres, Smoky Hill is the Air National Guard's largest weapons range.

On Aug. 7, 1979, the unit received its first F-4D "Phantom", and on Oct. 8 1979, was designated as the 184th Tactical Fighter Group, equipped with 50 F-4D's.

In April 1982, the 184th was tasked to develop an F-4D Fighter Weapons Instructor Course to meet the needs of the Air Reserve Forces and the Air Force Tactical Air Command.

The 134th Tactical Control Flight was established at McConnell Sept. 15 1982, to provide much needed tactical radar control. A second flying squadron, the 177th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, was established Feb. 8, 1984, with responsibility for all conversion and upgrade training in the F-16. To meet F-4D training requirements, the 184th TFG achieved a 9600 sortie annual flying program, flying 45 sorties per day. In August 1985, the unit reached its first 1000 sortie month.

In January 1987, the 184th was tasked to activate a squadron of F-16A/B "Fighting Falcon" aircraft, and conduct conversion and upgrade training in the F-16. On July 8, 1987, the 161st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron was established as the third flying squadron at the 184th TFG. Formal activation ceremonies for the 161st occurred Sept. 12 1987, with the unit flying 10 F-16s and conducting its first student training class.

In May 1988, the 184th Mission Support Flight was extended Federal recognition by the Air Force Communication Command.

In August 1988, the 127th Tactical Fighter Squadron graduated its final Fighter Weapons Instructor Course Class. The 127th TFS converted as the second F-16 training squadron. The last F-4D departed from the 184th TFG March 31, 1990, and the 177th TFTS converted to the F-16.

On Oct. 19, 1988, the 134th Tactical Control Flight was designated as the 134th Tactical Control Squadron.

The 161st TFTS began converting to the F-16 C/D when the first C/D model arrived at the 184th TFG in July 1990.

In March 1992, the 184th Tactical Fighter Group was designated as the 184th Fighter Group, and became part of the newly formed Air Combat Command in June 1992. In addition, each of the three flying squadrons dropped the word "Tactical" and were designated as Fighter Squadrons.

The 134th Tactical Control Squadron was designated as the 134th Air Control Squadron in June 1992.

In July 1993, the 184th Fighter Group changed gaining commands and became part of the new Air Education and Training Command.

In July 1994, the 184th Fighter Group was designated as the 184th Bomb Wing and again became part of the Air Combat Command, flying the B-1B Lancer. The 184th was the first Air National Guard unit to fly bombers.

The 184th BW was designated the 184th Air Refueling Wing, Sept. 16, 2002, flying the KC-135R Tanker. In addition to the tanker mission, the 184th also took on several new missions within the information operations mission set.

In April 2008, the 184th Air Refueling Wing was designated the 184th Intelligence Wing making it the first Intelligence Wing in the Air National Guard. With the loss of the flying mission the "Flying Jayhawks" are now the "Fighting Jayhawks".

Even with all the many changes over the years, the 184th continues to be one of the most forward thinking, diversified Wing's in the Air National Guard.