98th Bombardment Group (H)


98th Strategic Wing

The 98th Aerospace Wing was inactivated on June 5, 1966 at Lincoln AFB and reactivated the same day as the 98th Strategic Wing at Torrejon Air Base in Spain.  For the next decade the 98th possessed no strategic or tactical aircraft, but it had operational control of KC-135 tankers and crews provided by SAC to support command commitments to SAC, Tactical Air Command (TAC), United Sates Air Forces Europe (USAFE) and North American Treaty Organizations (NATO).  Its operational area included the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, most of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

The wing normally had 30 tankers under its control which was the equivalent of two KC-135 wings.  The aircrews were assigned on a temporary duty basis and returned to their units at the completion of their tour.  The primary mission of the wing was to furnish refueling support for USAFE; however, it also supported fighters crossing the Atlantic and when supporting a major deployment it was a rather spectacular scene to see 30 tankers taking off with very short intervals between aircraft.  The wing also had two subordinate units in Europe.  A detachment at Mildenhall RAFB, in the UK, and one at Athens, Greece.  These detachments primarily provided support for reconnaissance missions by RC-135s.

Negotiations for a new treaty with Spain during 1975 resulted in several changes to force alignment in Europe.  One was the removal of the 98th from Torrejon and establishment of unit at Zaragoza.  The revised treaty also limited the number of aircraft permitted in Spain at any one time.  As a result of these developments, a liaison office was established at USAFE headquarters at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to replace the role of the 98th Strategic Wing which departed Torrejon in September 1976.

The Status of Forces Agreement with Spain did not allow the United States flag to be flown over the Spanish bases where American military were stationed.  However, an interesting event happened at Torrejon on July 4, 1976 when the flag of the United States flew over the base all during duty hours in celebration of the 200th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence.  Sadly, it was reported that only a handful of individuals witnessed the raising and lowering of our flag which most of our members would consider unacceptable behavior for a wing bearing the 98th’s name.