April 3, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The U.S. Air Force's 31st Fighter Wing, based at Aviano AB, Italy, has been announced as the winner of the 2002 Colombian Trophy. This award is presented to the U.S. Air Force fighter wing which has made the most outstanding contributions to flight safety.
The 31st Fighter Wing is home to two block 40
F-16 fighter squadrons, the 510th FS
and the 555th FS. Both squadrons relocated from Ramstein AB in 1994 and redesignated. The wing was redesignated from the 401st Fighter Wing to the 31st Fighter Wing in 1994 as Aviano took on permanently based aircraft for the first time in over 50 years.
The 31st Fighter Wing's new mission centered on efforts to contain the civil war in Yugoslavia. On 31 March 1993, the United Nations (UN) Security Council had passed Resolution 816, beginning a UN and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO
) sponsored military action in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The wing's role in this peacekeeping mission consisted of a series of air operations: Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Decisive Edge, Deliberate Guard and Deliberate Forge. The wing's latest air operation, Deliberate Forge, started 20 June 1998.