The mission of the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, is to Deter through safe, secure, effective operations. Win the current fight and be ready to win the next fight.
The vision is to be U.S. Air Force's PREMIER ASSIGNMENT for Airmen and families. Our Air Force's most COMBAT READY go-to Fighter Wing. Airmen who RUN TO WORK and are PROUD of who they are and what they do, and a trusted ALLY.
The 31st FW maintains two F-16 fighter squadrons, the 555th Fighter Squadron and the 510th Fighter Squadron, capable of conducting offensive and defensive air combat operations.
The 31st FW also hosts the 56th Rescue Squadron providing a rapidly-deployable, worldwide combat rescue and reaction force response utilizing HH-60G Pavehawk helicopters. The 56th RQS integrates with the Guardian Angels weapon system and other special forces to support insertion, extraction and recovery of both U.S. and allied combatants. The squadron offers long-range rescue, humanitarian assistance, non-combatant evacuation and disaster relief capabilities for USEUCOM, USAFRICOM and NATO in peacetime, contingency and wartime operations.
The 31st FW also has the 57th Rescue Squadron leads, organizes, trains and equips Guardian Angel forces and combat support teams to conduct day and night personnel recovery operations in combat, as well as to provide combatant commanders with options to report, locate, recover and reintegrate isolated personnel. Additionally, the 57th RQS provides personnel recovery, combat search and rescue, civil search and rescue and casualty evacuation subject matter experts to fulfill USEUCOM, USAFRICOM and NATO security cooperation requirements.
In peacetime, the 31st FW prepares for its combat role by maintaining aircraft and personnel in a high state of readiness. The 31st FW also includes the 606th Air Control Squadron, capable of providing air surveillance, control and communications.
The 31st FW is the only U.S. fighter wing south of the Alps. This strategic location makes the wing critical to operations in NATO's southern region.
Beginning July 1994, the wing provided combat support for NATO's first-ever operational mission, Deny Flight, an effort to limit the war in Bosnia through imposition of a no-fly zone. And in August and September 1995, 31st FW F-16s flew more than 400 combat sorties during Operation Deliberate Force. Operation Deny Flight ended with the formal signing of the Dayton Peace Accord, and the wing's emphasis shifted to support what is now Operation Deliberate Forge. In March 1999, in support of Operation Allied Force, U.S. and allied forces assembled at Aviano Air Base, Italy, to react if called upon by NATO leadership.
In 2000, the wing began its full-fledged participation in the Expeditionary Air Force. From March to September 2000, the 510th and 555th Fighter Squadrons conducted back-to-back deployments to Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait, in support of Operation Southern WATCH.
The wing's support of Operation Iraqi Freedom began in late 2003. The 31st FW continued deploying forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and OIF, with personnel supporting combat operations every year since 2003.
The only significant deviation from this pattern occurred in 2007 when the 555th FS deployed to Kunsan AB, Republic of South Korea, to provide theater support to the U.S. Forces Korea commander. This marked the first time in history that an entire USAFE fighter unit deployed to Asia.
In March 2011, the 31st FW played a major role in the United Nations' response to the crisis in Libya, known as Operation Odyssey Dawn in enforcing no-fly zone UNSR 1973. The wing hosted four flying units and more than 1,350 personnel during the 15-day operation, March 17-31. It worked around the clock to launch 2,250 flying operations out of Aviano AB. As OOD came to an end on March 31, so began Operation Unified Protector, with NATO taking the lead until the operation's conclusion Oct. 31.
The 31st FW has one assigned geographically separated unit, the 731st Munitions Squadron at Camp Darby, Italy. The wing also supports numerous other geographically separated units.