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Third Air Force’s long history predates World War II. Today, our role is the product of an 80-year legacy.
Broadly speaking, Third Air Force issues directives to subordinate commands and takes action on behalf of the USAFE-AFAFRICA commander as directed. In addition, Third Air Force exercises delegated authorities over assigned forces that include personnel management, General Courts Martial Convening Authority, and advising subordinate commands on requirements, programs and budget. Third Air Force also works with its subordinate commands to ensure implementation and compliance with relevant policies and directives. Additionally, Third Air Force facilitates coordination between its subordinate commands and USAFE-AFAFRICA, USEUCOM, USAFRICOM, DOD agencies, and other field activities.
As U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s only numbered air force, the NAF's 28-member, command staff provides support for all of Third Air Force, which consists of 10 wings with more than 32,000 Airmen across two continents -- an area-of-responsibility that stretches from the Arctic to the Cape of Good Hope.
Our purpose can be summed up with the three Ds of Third Air Force: Develop – Defend – Deliver.
Airmen and their families are our greatest resource, and we take deliberate actions to develop them as a group and as individuals. We are focused on confronting global challenges in support of the National Defense Strategy to defend our country and our allies. Through our dedicated efforts, we will deliver peace to our nation and its allies by fostering stability and deterring aggression throughout Europe and Africa.
31st Fighter Wing
406th Air Expeditionary Wing
48th Fighter Wing
435th Air Ground Operations Wing
86th Airlift Wing
39th Air Base Wing
100th Air Refueling Wing
52nd Fighter Wing
501st Combat Support Wing
Heavy Airlift Wing
One of the four original numbered air forces, Third Air Force was activated as the Southeast Air District of the United States Army Air Corps on Dec. 18, 1940, at MacDill Air Force Base.
The Southeast Air District was redesignated Third Air Force on March 26, 1941, with a mission for the defense of the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico regions of the United States.
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