903 EAW History
903 Expeditionary Air Wing History
No 903 (Tactical) Wing, as it was known, was formed on 1 Dec 1944 after the renaming of the RAF Wing Headquarters, Comilla. This designation was adopted in accordance with a new policy within Eastern Air Command to disassociate RAF wings from their locations and to make them truly mobile – thus, in modern parlance they became expeditionary.
From both its modern role and location, the symbol of the bastion is selected for the 903 EAW crest, highlighting the defensive role to counter the offensive nature of the lion and also referring to the EAW’s current residence at Camp Bastion. 903 EAW made its first appearance as an Expeditionary Air Wing during Operation TELIC, Iraq. While based out of Contingency Operating Base Basra, it was responsible for command and control of all RAF assets there as well as their associated support units. The EAW operated in this capacity from 2003 until it was stood down after the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq in May 2009.
It was soon called back into existence when reinstated at Bastion Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of Operation HERRICK in December 2009. 903 EAW continues in the role as Airfield Operating Authority, with Camp Bastion serving as one of the busiest UK run airheads in the world. The airfield caters for an abundance of Strategic and Tactical Air Transport aircraft of Coalition forces and rotary aircraft of Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan) and the US Marine Aviation Wings, as well as civilian aircraft.