For the 14th time in its history, Air Combat Command officials recently announced the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., led by Brig. Gen. Michael R. Drowley, as among the very best, as it earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period of June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.
In a message to all wing personnel, Drowley declared, “I want to thank each of you for your hard work and commitment to our mission, as the Air Force’s premier advanced training wing and congratulate you on your successes.
“Your commitment and work?ethic are second to none, and the evidence of your impact on the nation’s combat readiness cannot be highlighted enough,” he added.
“Train – Instruct – Lead,” is the mission statement of the 57th, the United States Air Force’s most diverse wing, as it continues to perform an extremely vital role in ensuring the success of Air Force objectives. Its vision is “America’s Airmen prepared to lead, fight and win our nation’s wars.”
Wing personnel provide advanced air and space training to Air Force, joint and coalition warfighters while managing the fast-paced and demanding flying operations at Nellis.
Specifically, wing responsibilities include advanced aircrew training, tactics development and publication, maintenance and logistics, command and control training, and operational test support for U.S. and allied combat air forces the world over.
Units of the wing include the United States Air Force Weapons School, the 57th Operations Group, the 57th Maintenance Group, the United States Air Force Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Operations School and the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, commonly referred to as the “Thunderbirds.” Twelve geographically separated units across nine states extend the impact of the wing.
The Air Force established the wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, in March 1948 to provide air defense of Alaska, flying F-51, F-80, C-47, C-54 and C-82 aircraft.
The unit re-designated as the 57th Fighter-Interceptor Wing on Jan. 20, 1950, before its inactivation on Jan. 1, 1951. The service redesignated the unit as 57th Fighter Weapons Wing on Aug. 22, 1969, activating it at Nellis AFB to replace the 4525th Fighter Weapons Wing on Oct. 15, 1969.
Initially at Nellis, the wing flew the A-7, F-4, F-100, F-105, F-111 and T-39 aircraft. Other re-designations included the 57th Tactical Training Wing on April 1, 1977, the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing on March 1, 1980, the 57th Fighter Wing on Oct. 1, 1991 and the 57th Wing on June 15, 1993.