On 15 Jan 1971 the 434th was reactivated at Grissom AFB, Peru, Indiana as a Special Operations Wing, flying A-37 aircraft. Two years later the Wing was redesignated as the 434th Tactical Fighter Wing with a new tactical air operation mission. In April 1981, the 434th received the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. The wing maintained its A-10 fighter mission until July 1987 when the unit was redesignated the 434th Air Refueling Wing (ARW).
In June, 1992, the 434th Air
Refueling Wing and the 930th Fighter Group (another Air Force
Reserve unit located at Grissom AFB), merged to form the very
first reserve composite wing. The new unit, the 434th Wing, consisted
of KC-135 Stratotanker and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and was
responsible for aerial refueling and close air support missions.
Changes in the Air Force mission led to the unit being reorganized
once again. In 1994, the unit's A-10 squadron was deactivated
and the unit designation reverted back to the 434th Air Refueling
More recently, the 434th ARW
traveled to such countries as Panama, Iceland, England, France,
Italy, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Venezuela to
participate in exercises and front-line operations. During the
December 1993 to May 1996 time period, the Wing staged three
separate deployments to Europe to support Operation Decisive
Endeavor, the United Nations' enforcement of the no-fly zone
over war-torn Bosnia. Deployment sites included Istres, France;
Aviano, Italy, and Piza, Italy. During one such 30 day deployment,
the unit flew 178 aerial refueling missions and offloaded 8,970,000
pounds of fuel to 1,237 receiver aircraft.
The 434th ARW is currently composed of two Air Refueling Squadrons, the 72nd and 74th, each with KC-135R Stratotankers. The wing is the largest air refueling wing in the Air Force Reserve.