U.S. and Polish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons, fly in a formation and refuel over Poland during Astral Knight 20, Sept. 17, 2020. The 100th Air Refueling Wing (100 ARW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Third Air Force, United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa. It is stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England. It is also the host wing at RAF Mildenhall. Astral Knight is a multinational exercise that aims to enhance overall coordination with allies and partner militaries during times of crisis.
The 100th Air Refueling Wing is the only permanent U.S. air refueling wing in the European theater. During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 100th Bombardment Group (Heavy), was an Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England, stationed at RAF Thorpe Abbotts. Flying over 300 combat missions, the group earned two Distinguished Unit Citations (Regensburg, 17 August 1943; Berlin, 4/6/8 March 1944). The group suffered tremendous losses in combat, with 177 Aircraft MIA, flying its last mission on 20 April 1945.