The U.S. Air Force as you know it no longer exists: beginning today, 17 combat units grounded

According to internal documents obtained by Air Force Times, beginning on Apr. 9, 2013, the U.S. Air Force will begin grounding front line combat units as a consequence of sequestration and the need to deal with budget cuts.

Seventeen squadrons belonging to the various U.S. Air Force commands are going to be affected by the stand down order.

The grounding is aimed to save the 44,000 flying hours (worth 591 million USD) through September.

The funded 241,496 flying hours will be distributed to those squadrons that will remain combat ready or are expected to keep a reduced readiness level called “basic mission capable” until the end of the Fiscal Year 2013.

Whilst some squadron will be immediately grounded, others will be forced down as soon as they come back from their overseas deployment. Among them, the 94th Fighter Squadron from Langley, whose F-22 Raptor stealth fighters currently deployed to Kadena, Okinawa and Osan airbase amid Korean Peninsula crisis, or 354th Fighter Squadron, 12 A-10C of which are currently returning to Davis Monthan after being deployed to Afghanistan.

Raptor Langley

Other grounded units include the Thunderbirds demo team, 555th Fighter Squadron from Aviano airbase, Italy; 77th Fighter Squadron from Shaw AFB, South Carolina; 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons from RAF Lakenheath, UK; 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska; B-52 squadrons belonging to the 2nd Bomb Wing from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and 5th Bomb Wing from Minot AFB, North Dakota; as well as B-1 squadrons from both 2nd and 7th Bomb Wing from Dyess AFB, Texas.

F16CJ 77th FS

Anyway, here’s the detailed list of involved squadrons by airframes prepared by Air Force Times.

F-22

94th Fighter Squadron — Grounded April 9

27th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through September

3rd Fighter Wing — Two squadrons combat mission ready through September

15th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

49th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

F-15 C/D

67th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through September

44th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through July, then Combat mission ready through September

48th Fighter Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

F-15E

336th Fighter Squadron — Grounded April 9

335th Fighter Squadron — Combat mission ready through September

48th Fighter Wing — Two squadrons stand down April 9

391st Fighter Squadron — Stands down April 9

F-16 C/D

8th Fighter Wing — Two squadrons combat mission ready through September

77th Fighter Squadron — Stands down April 9

55th Fighter Squadron — Combat mission ready through September

79th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through July, then combat mission ready through September

555th Fighter Squadron — Stands down April 9

510th Fighter Squadron — Combat mission ready through September

13th Fighter Squadron — Combat mission ready through September

14th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through September

51st Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

57th Wing — One squadron (Thunderbirds) stands down April 9

158th Fighter Wing — One squadron stands down April 9

169th Fighter Wing — One squadron stands down April 9

187th Fighter Wing — One squadron stands down April 9

354th Fighter Wing — One squadron stands down April 9

4th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable until redeployment

421st Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through September

A-10C

75th Fighter Squadron — Basic mission capable through July, then combat mission ready through September

51st Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

52nd Fighter Wing — Closing

442nd Fighter Wing — One squadron stands down April 9

917th Wing — One squadron stands down April 9

HH-60G

18th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

48th Fighter Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

B-1B

7th Bomb Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

2nd Bomb Wing — Two squadrons stand down April 9

B-2

509th Bomb Wing — Two squadrons combat mission ready through September

B-52

2nd Bomb Wing — One squadron stand down April 9

5th Bomb Wing — Two combat squadrons combat mission ready through September

E-3B/C/G

2nd Bomb Wing — Basic mission capable through September

18th Wing — One squadron basic mission capable through September

552nd Air Control Wing — One squadron basic mission capable through September

SE-4B

55th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

EC-130H

55 Electronic Combat Group — One squadron combat mission ready through September

OC-135B

55th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

RC-135S

55th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

RC-135U

55th Wing — One squadron combat mission ready through September

RC-135V/W

55th Wing — One squadron basic mission capable through September

TC-135W

55th Wing (training) — One squadron basic mission capable through September

WC-135C/W

55th Wing. — One squadron combat mission ready through September

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About David Cenciotti 4467 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

14 Comments

  1. They could cut the money they need from worthless political projects and expenses easily but elected officials won’t let them as that money’s going to their donors, So, they cut the programs that are actually useful and we get left with spending going to political cronies and not the nation’s defense.

    • You realize that if they cut every single pork-barrel project that still wouldn’t fix our budget problems, right? They could cut ALL discretionary spending and it would still not eliminate the deficit.

      • oh really what about the billions sent to foriegn countries. I say go back to the old ways when senators and house members only got payed when they were in session and had to have an actual job the rest of the time. none of this one term and full retirement bs. and while we are at it cut the presidents exspense acount out and get rid of secret service gaurds for former presidents. they’re not in office they don’t need protection like that anymore if they want they can payfor it out of their own pocket

        • You also realize that the “billions” sent to other countries makes up about only 1% of the federal budget.

          I have nothing against efforts to cut pork-barrel spending, or maybe even some foreign aid – just don’t imply that doing so is going to do much to balance the federal budget. It would barely be a drop in the bucket.

          If you want to fix this country’s financial woes then you have to deal with medicare, medicaid, social security and defense spending – otherwise, you aren’t going to make a dent.

          I feel bad for Mr. Cenciotti. This is meant to be a blog about military matters not political ones. What’s worse, I’m adding to it. I realize that this story involves politics to some degree, but that doesn’t mean is has to become a political fight.

  2. Mexico is looking pretty good now! I about had it with this betrayal to our citizens!

  3. Who cares about operational readiness. The President needs his 115th round of golf.

  4. So if testing a minuteman III was sending the wrong signal to North Korea, what message does it send to stand down your air force in the face of nuclear threats?

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