Evolution of the Air Force Composite Wing
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The Air Force is in the process of two major changes which will greatly impact the shape of the Air Force over the next decade. One of these changes is the reorganization of flying units into composite wings. These composite wings are highly potent combat organizations which stress the principle of unity of command by placing all the necessary forces to conduct one or more aerospace missions under one commander. The original concept of a composite wing is rooted in the history of the Air Force back to World War II. This paper examines the original doctrine and concepts for organizing a fighting force in World War II and then traces the evolution of this organization throughout World War II and up to the Gulf War. There are some striking similarities to todays composite wings in some of the units in World War II. The press of political problems during and after the war caused the Air Force to change to a highly specialized and complicated structure which was in place prior to the Gulf War. Composite wings proved their value in the Gulf War and are currently being organized on several Air Force Bases.