1992 was a watershed year for the US Air Force. The entire organization of the air force that was in place since 1947 was altered.
The familiar Major Commands (MAJCOMS) of Strategic Air Command (SAC), Tactical Air Command (TAC), Military Airlift Command (MAC), Air Training Command (ATC), Air Force Communications Command (AFCC), Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) and Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) were merged and greatly altered from their original missions.
All bomber, fighter and recce assets were combined into Air Combat Command (ACC). ACC would also encompass tactical airlift C-130s and tanker assets along side with ACC mission aircraft into vast 'Composite' wings under the new program 'one base, one boss'. If there had been a TAC Tactical Fighter Wing on a base with a MAC C-130 Tactical Airlift Wing and a SAC KC-135 or KC-10 Aerial Refueling Wing, all of these forces would be combined into a large unit called a 'Wing'. All of the bases communication and air traffic control personnel and assets that were under AFCC would be merged into the ACC "Wing".
All airlifters (C-130, C-141, C-5) and tanker (KC-135 and KC-10) units, except for C-130/ KC-135 and KC-10 units combined into an ACC wing, were brought in to Air Mobility Command (AMC).
All missile and space control assets were brought into the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).
All training assets including the Air University and mission aircraft training (F-15/16 training from TAC, Airlifter training from MAC and bomber/ tanker training from SAC) were brought in alongside the undergraduate pilot training of ATC to form Air Education and Training Command (AETC).
The special ops C-130 and H-3/ H-53 assets were taken from TAC and MAC and combined into the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).
The aerospace testing and development of AFSC was combined with the AFLC logistics units to form the new Air Force Material Command (AFMC).
US Air Forces Europe (USAFE) and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) were unchanged in their basic mission with the addition of the 'one base, one boss' concept.
So how did this affect my little corner of the USAF at that time, Luke AFB?
Luke AFB had a wing of F-16s with the fighter training mission, the 58th Tactical Training Wing (TTW) carrying the "LF" tail code, as well as a wing of F-15s with the fighter training mission the 405th TTW carrying the "LA" tail code assigned under TAC.
At this time, the F-15A/B/D units were winding down operations since the F-15 'Light Grey' training mission was being taken over by the 325th TTW (TAC) at Tyndall AFB.
Luke's F-15E units were the 461st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron (TFTS) and the 550th TFTS. The last 'light grey unit at Luke, the 555th TFTS had shut down operations a few months prior.
During the re-org in April 1992, The 405th TTW was inactivated and all of the F-15 assets were gained by the enlarged 58th Fighter Wing (FW) under ACC.
All F-16 and F-15 aircraft now carried the "LF" Tail Code.
The 550th Fighter Squadron (FS) was inactivated and the aircraft and personnel were stood up under the 555th FS flag. The 461st FS remained in place.
The fighter training mission at Luke remained pretty much un-changed, it was just under ACC command at this time.
However, the newly formed AETC was given operational control of the F-15/ F-15 mission and the 58th FW was realigned under AETC command on 1 July 1993. The 'light grey' training mission of the 325th FW at Tyndall was also reassigned to AETC on this date as well.
On 25 March 1994 the 555th FS was moved w/o/p/e (without personnel and equipment) to the 31st FW at Aviano AB, Italy and the 'Nickel's' F-15E assets and personnel were redesignated as the 550th FS.
Five days later, on 1 April 1994 the 58th FW at Luke was redesignated as the 56th FW.
So the stage is set, the players are in place...
Here is a look back at the F-15Es of the "World Famous Triple Nickel", the 555th FS carrying tail markings of ACC and AETC.
I hope you enjoy the Nickel's 'Mudhens"!
BCNU and thanks for all your support and kind comments on my photography!
Listening to: King Crimson - Islands