US Air Force Tail Codes

The letters you refer to, along with a series of numbers usually painted beneath, are known as the tail code. This code is used almost universally on fighters, bombers, transports, helicopters, trainers, attack planes, and other aircraft in the US Air Force. An example of a typical tail code is pictured below.

Tail code of an F-4 of the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB in New Mexico
Tail code of an F-4 of the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB in New Mexico

The two-letter base codes change over time as bases close or aircraft move from place to place, but the latest list of codes as of January 2005 is provided below. Also included is the name of the unit to which that code is applied, the aircraft it currently operates, and its parent command. These commands include the Air Combat Command (ACC), US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), Air Education & Training Command (AETC), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), and the Air National Guard (ANG).

Code	Aircraft		Unit				Location 			Command
AC	F-16C/D			177th Fighter Wing		Atlantic City IAP, New Jersey	ANG
AF	TG-10B/C/D, TG-14,	306th Flying Training Group	US Air Force Academy, Colorado	AETC
	TG-15A/B, UV-18, T-41D, 
	C-150, DA-20-C1
AK	C-12J, C-130H, 		3rd Wing			Elmendorf AFB, Alaska		PACAF
AK	A/OA-10, F-16C/D	354th Fighter Wing		Eielson AFB, Alaska		PACAF
AK	KC-135R			168th Air Refueling Wing	Eielson AFB, Alaska		ANG
AK	C-130H, HC-130N		176th Wing			Kulis ANGB, Alaska		ANG
AL	F-16C/D			187th Fighter Wing		Dannelly Field, Alaska		ANG
AV	F-16C/D			31st Fighter Wing		Aviano Air Base, Italy		USAFE
AZ	F-16A/B/C/D		162nd Fighter Wing		Tucson Int'l AP, Arizona	ANG
BB	T-38A, RQ-4A, TU-2S,	9th Reconnaissance Wing		Beale AFB, California		ACC
BC	A/OA-10A		110th Fighter Wing		W.K. Kellogg Airport, Michigan	ANG
BD	A/OA-10A, B-52H		917th Wing			Barksdale AFB, Louisiana	AFRC
CA	MC-130P, HH-60G		129th Rescue Wing		Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif	ANG
CB	T-1A, T-37B, T-38C	14th Flying Training Wing	Columbus AFB, Mississippi	AETC
CC	F-16C/D			27th Fighter Wing		Cannon AFB, New Mexico		ACC
CI	C-130E			146th Airlift Wing		Channel Islands ANGS, Calif.	ANG
CO	F-16C/D			140th Fighter Wing		Buckley AFB, Colorado		ANG
CR	C-130E/H		302nd Airlift Wing		Peterson AFB, Colorado		AFRC
CT	A/OA-10A		103rd Fighter Wing		Bradley Int'l AP, Connecticut	ANG
D	KC-135R			100th Air Refueling Wing	RAF Mildenhall, England		USAFE
DC	F-16C/D			113th Wing			Andrews AFB, Maryland		ANG
DE	C-130H			166th Airlift Wing		New Castle County AP, Delaware	ANG
DM	A/OA-10			355th Wing			Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona	ACC
DM	EC-130E/H		55th Wing			Offutt AFB, Nebraska		ACC
DR	HH-60G			305th Rescue Squadron		Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona	AFRC
DY	B-1B			7th Bomb Wing			Dyess AFB, Texas		ACC
ED	Various			412th Test Wing			Edwards AFB, California		AFMC
F-22 Raptor of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB in California
F-22 Raptor of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB in California

Code	Aircraft		Unit				Location 			Command
EF	F-16C/D			147th Fighter Wing		Ellington Field, Texas		ANG
EG	F-15C/D			33rd Fighter Wing		Eglin AFB, Florida		ACC
EL	B-1B			28th Bomb Wing			Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota	ACC
EN	T-37B, T-38A, AT-38B	80th Flying Training Wing	Sheppard AFB, Texas		AETC
ET	A-10A, F-15A/B/C/D/E	46th Test Wing			Eglin AFB, Florida		AFMC
	F-16A/B/C/D, UH-1N
FC	UH-1N			336th Training Group		Fairchild AFB, Washington	AETC
FE	UH-1N			90th Space Wing			F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming	AFSPC
FF	F-15C/D			1st Fighter Wing		Langley AFB, Virginia		ACC
FL	C-130E, HC-130P/N,	920th Rescue Group		Patrick AFB, Florida		AFRC
FM	F-16C/D			482nd Fighter Wing		Homestead JARB, Florida		AFRC
FS	F-16C/D			188th Fighter Wing		Fort Smith RAP, Arkansas	ANG
FT	A/OA-10			23rd Fighter Group		Pope AFB, North Carolina	ACC
FW	F-16C/D			122nd Fighter Wing		Fort Wayne Int'l AP, Indiana	ANG
GA	E-8C, TE-8A		116th Air Control Wing		Robins AFB, Georgia		ANG
HD	QF-4			Det 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Sqn	Holloman AFB, New Mexico	ACC
HH	C-130H, F-15A/B, 	154th Wing			Hickam AFB, Hawaii		ANG
HI	F-16C/D			419th Fighter Wing		Hill AFB, Utah			AFRC
HL	F-16C/D			388th Fighter Wing		Hill AFB, Utah			ACC
HO	F-4E, F-117A, T-38A	49th Fighter Wing		Holloman AFB, New Mexico	ACC
HT	AT-38B, C-12J, F-15	46th Test Group			Holloman AFB, New Mexico	AFMC
HV	UH-1N			30th Space Wing			Vandenberg AFB, California	AFSPC
IA	F-16C/D			132d Fighter Wing		Des Moines Int'l AP, Iowa	ANG
ID	A/OA-10, C-130E		124th Wing			Boise Air Terminal, Idaho	ANG
IL	C-130E			182nd Airlift Wing		Greater Peoria AP, Illinois	ANG
IS	HH-60G			85th Group			NAS Keflavik, Iceland		USAFE
JZ	F-15A/B			159th Fighter Wing		NAS JRB, New Orleans, Louisiana	ANG
KC	A/OA-10A		442nd Fighter Wing		Whiteman AFB, Missouri		AFRC
KS	C-21A			45th Airlift Flight		Keesler AFB, Mississippi	AETC
KT	C-130E, WC-130H		403rd Wing			Keesler AFB, Mississippi	AFRC
KY	C-130H			123rd Airlift Wing		Louisville Int'l AP, Kentucky	ANG
LA	B-52H			2nd Bomb Wing			Barksdale AFB, Louisiana	ACC
LD	Various			Inter-American Air Forces Acad.	Lackland AFB, Texas		AETC
LF	F-16A/B/C/D		56th Fighter Wing		Luke AFB, Arizona		AETC
LI	HC-130, HH-60G		106th Rescue Wing		Francis S. Gabreski Airport, NY	ANG
LK	C-130			314th Airlift Wing		Little Rock AFB, Arkansas	AETC
LN	F-15C/D/E		48th Fighter Wing		RAF Lakenheath, England		USAFE
LR	F-16C/D			944th Fighter Wing		Luke AFB, Arizona		AFRC
MA	F-15A/B			102nd Fighter Wing		Otis ANGB, Massachusetts	ANG
MA	A/OA-10A		104th Fighter Wing		Barnes Municipal Airport, Mass.	ANG
MD	A/OA-10A		175th Wing			Warfield ANGB, Maryland		ANG
MI	C-130E, F-16C/D		127th Wing			Selfridge ANGB, Michigan	ANG
MK	C-130H			440th Airlift Wing		General Mitchell ARS, Wisconsin	AFRC
MM	UH-1N			341st Space Wing		Malmstrom AFB, Montana		AFSPC
MN	C-130H			133rd Airlift Wing		Minneapolis-St Paul JARS, Minn.	ANG
MN	F-16C			148th Fighter Wing		Duluth Int'l AP, Minnesota	ANG
MO	F-15C/D/E, F-16C/D	366th Fighter Wing		Mountain Home AFB, Idaho	ACC
MS	KC-135R			186th Air Refueling Wing	Key Field, Meridian, Miss.	ANG
MS	C-17			172nd Airlift Wing		Thompson Field, Mississippi	ANG
MT	B-52H			5th Bomb Wing			Minot AFB, North Dakota		ACC
B-52 ordered in 1960 and stationed at Minot AFB with another from Barksdale AFB in the background
B-52 ordered in 1960 and stationed at Minot AFB with another from Barksdale AFB in the background

Code	Aircraft		Unit				Location 			Command
MT	UH-1N			91st Space Wing			Minot AFB, North Dakota		AFSPC
MY	C-130E, F-16C/D,	347th Rescue Wing		Moody AFB, Georgia		AFSOC
	HC-130P, HH-60G
MY	T-6A, T-38C		479th Flying Training Group	Moody AFB, Georgia		AETC
NC	C-130H			145th Airlift Wing		Charlotte IAP, North Carolina	ANG
ND	F-16A/B			119th Fighter Wing		Fargo Int'l AP, North Dakota	ANG
NJ	KC-135E			108th Air Refueling Wing	McGuire AFB, New Jersey		ANG
NM	F-16C/D			150th Fighter Wing		Kirtland AFB, New Mexico	ANG
NO	A/OA-10A		926th Fighter Wing		New Orleans ARS, Louisiana	AFRC
NV	C-130H			152nd Airlift Wing		Reno-Tahoe Int'l AP, Nevada	ANG
NY	F-16C/D			174th Fighter Wing		Hancock Field, New York		ANG
OF	OC-135B, RC-135S/U/V/W,	55th Wing			Offutt AFB, Nebraska		ACC
	TC-135W, WC-135W
OH	F-16C/D			178th Fighter Wing		Springfield-Beckley MAP, Ohio	ANG
OH	C-130H			179th Airlift Wing		Mansfield Lahm Airport, Ohio	ANG
OH	F-16C/D			180th Fighter Wing		Toledo Express Airport, Ohio	ANG
OH	KC-135			121st Air Refueling Wing	Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio		ANG
OK	C-130H			137th Airlift Wing		Will Rogers World AP, Oklahoma	ANG
OK	F-16C/D			138th Fighter Wing		Tulsa Int'l AP, Oklahoma	ANG
OK	E-3B/C, TC-18E		552nd Air Control Wing		Tinker AFB, Oklahoma		ACC
OS	A/OA-10A, C-12J, 	51st Fighter Wing		Osan Air Base, Korea		PACAF
OT	F-15C/D/E, F-16C/D	53rd Wing, 85th T&E Squadron	Eglin AFB, Florida		ACC
OT	A-10A, F-15C/D/E,	53rd Wing, 422nd T&E Squadron	Nellis AFB, Nevada		ACC
	F-16C/D, F-22, HH-60G
OT	F-117			53rd Wing, 53rd T&E Grp, Det 1	Holloman AFB, New Mexico	ACC
PA	A/OA-10A		111th Fighter Wing		Willow Grove NAS JRB, Penn.	ANG
PD	C-130E, HC-130P, HH-60G	939th Rescue Wing		Portland Int'l AP, Oregon	AFRC
PR	C-130E			156th Airlift Wing		Muņiz ANGB, Puerto Rico		ANG
RA	T-1A, T-6A, T-37B, 	12th Flying Training Wing	Randolph AFB, Texas		AETC
	T-38C, T-43A
RI	C-130E/J-30		143rd Airlift Wing		Quonset ANGB, Rhode Island	ANG
RS	C-9, C-20, C-21, C-37, 	86th Airlift Wing		Ramstein Air Base, Germany	USAFE
SA	F-16C/D			149th Fighter Wing		Lackland AFB, Texas		ANG
SC	F-16C/D			169th Fighter Wing		McEntire ANGB, South Carolina	ANG
SD	F-16C/D			114th Fighter Wing		Joe Foss Field, South Dakota	ANG
SI	F-16C/D			183rd Fighter Wing		Capital Municipal AP, Illinois	ANG
SJ	F-15E			4th Fighter Wing		Seymour Johnson AFB, N Carolina	ACC
SL	F-15A/B			131st Fighter Wing		Lambert-St Louis IAP, Missouri	ANG
SP	A/OA-10, F-16C/D	52nd Fighter Wing		Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany	USAFE
SW	F-16C/D			20th Fighter Wing		Shaw AFB, South Carolina	ACC
TD	QF-4			53rd Weapons Evaluations Group	Tyndall AFB, Florida		ACC
TH	F-16C/D			181st Fighter Wing		Hulman Regional AP, Indiana	ANG
TX	F-16C/D			301 Fighter Wing		Carswell ARS, Texas		AFRC
TX	C-130H			136th Airlift Wing		Ft Worth NAS JRB, Carswell, TX	ANG
TY	F-15C/D, F-22		325th Fighter Wing		Tyndall AFB, Florida		AETC
VA	F-16C/D			192nd Fighter Wing		Richmond Int'l AP, Virginia	ANG
VN	T-1A, T-37B, T-38C	71st Flying Training Wing	Vance AFB, Oklahoma		AETC
VT	F-16C/D			158th Fighter Wing		Burlington Int'l AP, Vermont	ANG
WA	A-10A, F-15C/D/E,	57th Wing			Nellis AFB, Nevada		ACC
	F-16C/D, HH-60G, MQ-1, 
WE	E-9A			53rd Weapons Evaluation Group	Tyndall AFB, Florida		ACC
WG	C-130E			913th Airlift Wing		Willow Grove ARS, Pennsylvania	AFRC
WI	F-16C/D			115th Fighter Wing		Truax Field, Wisconsin		ANG
WM	B-2A, T-38A		509th Bomb Wing			Whiteman AFB, Missouri		ACC
WP	F-16C/D			8th Fighter Wing		Kunsan Air Base, Korea		PACAF
WV	C-130H			167th Airlift Wing		Eastern WV AP/Shepherd Fld, WV	ANG
WW	F-16C/D			35th Fighter Wing		Misawa Air Base, Japan		PACAF
WY	C-130H			153rd Airlift Wing		Cheyenne Municipal AP, Wyoming	ANG
XL	T-1A, T-6A, T-38A/C	47th Flying Training Wing	Laughlin AFB, Texas		AETC
XP	C-130H			139th Airlift Wing		Rosecrans Memorial AP, Missouri	ANG
YJ	C-21A, C-130E, UH-1N	374th Airlift Wing		Yokota Air Base, Japan		PACAF
ZZ	E-3B, F-15C/D, HH-60G, 	18th Wing			Kadena Air Base, Japan		PACAF
F-117 Nighthawk ordered in 1988 and stationed at Holloman AFB
F-117 Nighthawk ordered in 1988 and stationed at Holloman AFB

Bear in mind that this list will likely become out of date relatively soon as the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) progresses. The BRAC commission will probably recommend closing several of the bases listed above and consolidating aircraft elsewhere.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 3 April 2005

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