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Saber Nation: A Wing on a Mission

52d FW mission statement, pillars and priorities


Every wing across the Air Force has a mission statement. This statement gives the organization its task and purpose.

The current mission statement of the 52d Fighter Wing is to “deliver Airpower options to deter and combat aggression.” When people see the “Airpower” portion of this, they often times assume this means flying, but the mission goes well beyond that.

“Our mission statement captures the full spectrum of our capabilities here at Spangdahlem and across the greater 52d Fighter Wing,” said Col David Epperson, 52 FW commander. “We have Airmen operating in five different countries at nine geographically separated units, all of whom are responsible for making sure that we continue to be a mainstay of deterrence throughout Europe, and, if the time ever comes, that we are ready to provide Airpower options to combat aggression.”

The 52d Fighter Wing’s three distinct pillars enable the accomplishment of this diverse mission statement: Mission, Airmen, and Community.

While the Mission pillar has a designated statement, this would not be possible without the other two pillars of Airmen and Community.

“The Airmen make our mission happen,” said Epperson. “Without the commitment of our Airmen and the support of their families, the 52d Fighter Wing would not be the lethal force that it is today.”

According to Epperson, the familial nature of our Saber Nation community is essential to support our Airmen and Mission.

“Our base community is the life blood of our force,” said Epperson. “That truly showed through the pandemic as commissary and AAFES employees came together with Airmen and found ways to provide essential services and DoDEA innovated ways to continue to educate our children in partnership with parents.  Additionally, our local nationals provide continuity and perspective as the veterans throughout our organization.  Every member of our installation is a vital contributor.”

Beyond the base community, the local community is also essential to creating an environment for the mission to thrive.

“We are lucky here at Spangdahlem to have such a welcoming and supportive community,” said Epperson. “It is their hospitality that allows our Airmen and their families to feel at home in the Eifel.” 

The community is also comprised of the surrounding European Allies. Without them, the 52d Fighter Wing would not be able to complete the mission.

“Credible deterrence doesn’t merely come from U.S. forces, it comes from all of our NATO Allies and the forces that they bring to the fight,” said Epperson. “It is with these Allies that we have the strategic and operational breadth needed to deter any adversary.”

Supported by the three pillars that provide the framework for the 52d Fighter Wing, the wing has three priorities: Deterrence, Agile Combat Employment, and Integrated Base Defense.

“I set these priorities in order to focus our energy and align our wing efforts with those of the MAJCOM,” said Epperson. “By maintaining a nuclear-capable force, having the operational flexibility that comes from ACE, and being ready to defend our installation against any threat, the 52d Fighter Wing will always be ready to carry out whatever task is asked of us.”

In line with our priorities, our 52d Fighter Wing goal over this next year is to solidify the tactics, techniques and procedures we continue to develop for agile combat employment in order to realize Saber ACE initial operational capability in support of USAFE’s larger goal for ACE IOC.

“I want everyone within the 52d Fighter Wing family to understand our organization’s purpose, our mission statement,” Epperson continued. “Together, the pillars of Mission, Airmen and Community hold up the wing and make it possible for our organization to continue to deliver Airpower options to deter and combat aggression.”