Air Force Bases

482nd Fighter Wing

The 482nd Fighter Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, maintains and operates Homestead Air Reserve Base, located near the southern end of the Florida peninsula, about 25 miles south of Miami. It is a fully combat-ready unit capable of providing F-16C multi-purpose fighter aircraft, along with mission ready pilots and support personnel, for short-notice worldwide deployment. The wing has approximately 1,600 members, including more than 1,200 reservists, of which 260 are full-time reservists, in addition to 325 full-time civilians.

The 93rd Fighter Squadron "Makos” fly and maintain the F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft. The F-16s can be identified by the letters “FM” (“Florida Makos”) and the Mako shark displayed proudly on the tail.

Inactivated during the post-war 1950s, the 93rd Fighter Squadron was reactivated in October 1978 at then Homestead Air Force Base, flying F-4C Phantom II fighter aircraft. The “Makos” were the first unit in the Air Force Reserve to fly the Phantom, which was, at that time, the predominant fighter in use by the Air Force. The squadron converted to the modern F-16A in 1989 and upgraded to the F-16C model in 1995.

In August 1992, the “Makos” weathered the devastation of most of the air base by Hurricane Andrew and now operates out of the restored Homestead Air Reserve Base.

In addition, the 482nd FW supports and trains civil engineering, communications, medical, logistics, aircraft maintenance, mission support, aerial port and security forces squadrons which can be deployed inter-changeably with active-duty units to meet U.S. Air Force commitments around the world.

With its unique geographic location, the 482nd FW regularly hosts combat units from all over the world. Visiting units come to southern Florida to take advantage of the superb flying weather, the abundant training airspace and the unit-equipped, state-of-the-art Air Combat Manuevering Instrumentation.

Today’s Air Force is more than 30 percent smaller than it was during Operation Desert Storm. This has resulted in an unprecedented reliance on the continuous use of the modern Air Force Reserve in day-to-day, world-wide operations. The post-Cold War military operations tempo requires daily support of the “Citizen Airman” to a greater extent than at any time in history.

The men and women of the Air Force Reserve’s 482nd FW regularly take time from their civilian lives to proudly meet that challenge. The 482nd FW has a high operations tempo, engaging in year-round training to ensure its personnel and equipment remain combat-ready and worldwide deployable. The 93rd Fighter Squadron has participated in Operation Northern Watch for four consecutive years, patrolling the no-fly zone over northern Iraq that was established by the United Nations in 1991. In May 2000, the wing deployed to Oceana Naval Air Station, Va., for dissimilar-in-combat training with Navy F-14s and F-18s.

The wing also deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch in 2001, flying combat missions over southern Iraq. Members of the security forces, civil engineering and medical squadrons were activated in 2001 and continue to deploy world-wide in support of the Homeland Defense initiative. Since 2001, members of Homestead ARB have deployed on numerous occasions to locations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas in the Middle East in support of Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the continued Global War on Terror.

As the host unit at Homestead ARB, the 482nd FW supports several tenant commands, including a Florida Air National Guard unit that provides air defense alert with armed aircraft capable of inter-cepting, identifying and, if necessary, destroying unknown aircraft which penetrate sovereign U.S. airspace. In addition, the wing also supports the U.S. Customs Miami Air Branch drug enforcement air interdiction mission and a number of other governmental satellite offices. Recently, the 482nd Fighter Wing welcomed Special Operations Command South, a subordinate command of U.S. Southern Command, along with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Maritime Safety and Security Team-Miami.

During the Atlantic hurricane season, the 482nd FW routinely supports forward deployment of the Air Force Reserve’s “Hurricane Hunters” weather reconnaissance mission, and joint relief operations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In October of 2005, Homestead Air Reserve Base teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bring over 1 million tons of relief supplies to South Floridians recovering from Hurricane Wilma.

The 482nd FW provides the Department of Defense with an efficient, cost effective air base, with ready access to a strategic staging location on the rim of the Caribbean Basin, to support contingency and training operations associated with the United States Southern Command area of responsibility.

Current as of December 2005