badge formation : United States: United States Air Force, 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, "Statue of Liberty Wing"
An embroidered circular badge with extensions to top and bottom, a narrow red outer border to both the circular badge and both its extensions. The circular component of the badge is embroidered with a map of the Middle East in brown on light blue with Iraq picked out in red. Superimposed at the foot of the badge is the head of the Statue of Liberty in gold with green-bronze detail, right hand raised holding a yellow sword. In the upper right of the circle is a gold combat jet (F-111) with three yellow lightning bolts directed at Iraq, a trail of blue, yellow, red and green extending to the left in a circle round the badge. Both extensions have a black ground on which are written in yellow, respectively 48TFW -DEPLOYED above and WHEN DIPLOMACY FAILED below.
The 48th Fighter Wing (48 FW) is part of the United States Air Force Third Air Force, assigned to HQ Air Command Europe, and is based at RAF Lakenheath, England. The 48 FW is the only F-15 wing based in Europe. It was given the name "Statue of Liberty Wing" on 4 July 1954 and remains the only USAF unit with both a name and a numerical designation.
The 48 FW operates in support of U.S. Air Forces Europe, U.S. European Command and NATO.
In response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, during the first week of August, Col Thomas J. Lennon, 48th Tactical Fighter Wing Commander, received a call from Headquarters, US States Air Force, asking if the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing was ready to deploy. Colonel Lennon built a team of 13 members from wing leadership, known as the “Lucky 13,” and preparations began for the eventual movement of personnel and F-111s to Saudi Arabia.
On 25 August 1990, 18 F-111s took off from Lakenheath as the first USAFE unit to deploy. In this first group, nearly 500 men and women of the Liberty Wing departed with the assuredness of years of training behind them and a clearly defined mission before them. The 48th TFW deployed more than 60 aircraft and 1,500 personnel to Taif Air Base, Saudi Arabia. The 492d, 493d and 494th TFSs deployed, supplying 66 F-111Fs, which were in place by December 1990. Some aircrew & other members of the 495th TFS were deployed & dispersed throughout its 3 sister squadrons.
During the air war 17 January through 24 February 1991, and subsequent four-day ground war of 24 – 28 February 48th TFW F-111Fs flew thousands of sorties, unleashing their lethality of precision-guided munitions on Iraqi armor, artillery, bridges, military airfields and command and control centers. 48th aircrews even stopped the flow of oil contaminating the Persian Gulf by bombing a pumping installation purposefully damaged by retreating Iraqi forces.
Overall, the 48th TFW flew a total of 1919 combat sorties, totaling 2203 target hits. The Wing returned to RAF Lakenheath 13 May 1991.