3rd Wing

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The 3rd Wing is a corps of professionals dedicated to control and exploitation of the air domain to secure our nation’s interests, providing air dominance, global mobility, and command and control for combatant commanders. The wing flies F-22, C-17, C-12 and E-3 aircraft and is responsible for nearly 2,200 assigned Airmen.

The 3rd Wing formally activated in August 1948 but traces its lineage back to the U.S. Army Surveillance Group, activated July 1, 1919. With the 19th and 90th Fighter Squadron paving the way in World War I, the wing and its organizations have participated in every major U.S. conflict of the 20th century. As the first organized attack group to form within the Army Air Service, the 3rd Attack Group was instrumental in developing close air support doctrine during the interwar period. The group pioneered dive-bombing, skip bombing and parafrag attacks in the 1920s, the earliest forms of precision-guided attack from aircraft, and remains at the leading edge of precision-guided weaponry into the 21st century. Visit for the full 3rd Wing history.


Heritage Park, on Sijan Avenue directly across from and around the 3rd Wing headquarters, is dedicated to the men and women of the 3rd Wing who have made the mission possible, regardless of where the wing has been located. At the center of the park are several of the significant aircraft flown by wings assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson: the F-4 Phantom II, F-102 Delta Dagger, F-89 Scorpion, T-33 Shooting Star, F-15 Eagle and the C-130 Hercules.

The YUKLA 27 Memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 24 American and Canadian crewmembers who died when their E-3B Sentry aircraft crashed in 1995 after a severe bird strike to two engines just after takeoff. The memorial has 24 plaques listing the name and hometown of each crewmember mounted on a half-oval wall, with an E-3 model aircraft in a climbing left bank mounted on a pedestal at the center of the memorial. It also has 24 trees planted in and around the memorial.

Next to the YUKLA 27 Memorial is the Eagle Aviary. It was initially constructed in part due to the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez. In the aftermath of the spill, wildlife paid a heavy toll. Efforts were made to save wildlife and return them to their natural habitats. However, some could not be returned. At the time, Air Force Master Sgt. Kerry Seifert, a master falconer, proposed permanently housing disabled bald eagles on Elmendorf. The 3rd Wing commander at the time, Air Force Col. Rodney P. Kelly, agreed, and a team of volunteers constructed the cage. It was rededicated as part of the YUKLA 27 Memorial Sept. 20, 1996.

The Wall of Heroes is adjacent to the YUKLA 27 Memorial. It honors those members of the 3rd Wing who have been prisoners of war and missing in action. The wall has service stars for each campaign the 3rd Wing has been involved in, as well as the words, “You are not forgotten.”

The center of the Wall of Heroes is dedicated to all of the men and women of the wing, highlighted by 12 individuals who distinguished themselves throughout their careers. The model on display in the center is a De Havilland DH-4 biplane flown by the 3rd Attack Group in the early 1920s.

Near the Wall of Heroes is a new memorial, dedicated in 2000, in memory of a former Alaskan Command commander, Air Force Lt. Gen. David McCloud. The Air Force and a team of volunteers recovered and restored a vintage World War II P-38G Lightning from Attu Island and returned it to Elmendorf. The memorial featuring the plane is the culmination of the project, made possible by McCloud before his tragic death in a private aircraft accident July 26, 1998.

The cumulative effect of these four memorials at Heritage Park provides everyone with a sense of deep pride in the history and heritage of the 3rd Wing and its people.


The 3rd Operations Group provides premier combat-ready aerospace forces to warfighting commanders tasked to defend and protect U.S. interests in the Pacific region and around the world. The group trains, mobilizes, and employs five squadrons comprised of C-17 Globemaster, C-12 Huron, E-3 Sentry, and F-22 Raptor aircraft, providing unmatched air dominance, global mobility, and command and control for Combatant Commanders. Additionally, the group sustains installation operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for critical force-staging and throughput operations in support of worldwide contingencies.

The following squadrons support the 3rd Operations Group’s mission:

  • 3rd Operations Support Squadron
  • 90th Fighter Squadron
  • 525th Fighter Squadron
  • 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron
  • 517th Airlift Squadron


The 3rd Maintenance Group keeps 1,600 personnel and equipment at a high state of readiness to provide forces for worldwide deployments. It maintains and launches F-22, C-17, C-12 and E-3 aircraft supporting the wing’s training, air superiority, interdiction, airlift and airborne air control missions. The group provides engines, munitions, avionics and ground equipment to enable the mission.

The following squadrons support the 3rd Maintenance Group’s mission:

  • 3rd Maintenance Operations Squadron
  • 3rd Munitions Squadron
  • 3rd Maintenance Squadron
  • 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron


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