The 673D Air Base Wing was activated on 30 July 2010, but that is not the extent of its history and heritage. It traces its roots to 15 July 1958 when the 5040th Air Base Squadron activated at Shemya Airport, Alaska. The squadron’s mission was to provide base support functions to units assigned to Shemya Air Force Station, including civil engineering, logistical support, billeting, food service, postal operations, airdrome facilities, medical and dental services, chaplain services, administrative, legal assistance, and other services as required by tenancy agreements. In the first three years, the squadron was assigned to the 10th Air Division, the 5040th Air Control and Warning Group, and the 5040th Air Base Wing.
On 1 October 1961, the squadron was assigned to the Alaskan Air Command and renamed the 5073rd Air Base Squadron.
While the unit’s name changed, its mission remained the same. One noticeable difference was the increase in tenant organizations from the Army, Navy, and several Air Force Major Commands. In 1962 the total population on the island reached 800 military and 200 civilians, of which 300 belonged to the 5073 ABS.
By 1970 the squadron manning stood around 350 military and civilians while the overall population included: the 2064th Communications Squadron (AFCS); Detachment 1, 6th Strategic Wing (SAC); USASA Field Station (USA); 6984th Security Squadron; 16th Surveillance Squadron; Detachment 205, Headquarters Command USAF; Operational Location 12, 11th Weather Squadron; US Weather Bureau; US Post Office; Armed Forces Radio and Television Service; the 5008th Support Squadron; General Electric and RCA.
By 1974, the support activity at Shemya had increased to a level requiring a group structure, and in October 1974, the squadron was reorganized and re-designated as the 5073rd Air Base Group. The Group contained seventeen divisions of various sizes separated along functional lines, from a large squadron to single-person offices. In January 1990, the Group reorganized into an airbase squadron, a civil engineer squadron, a logistics squadron, and the director of operations, chaplain, comptroller, and clinic.
In 1990, the Alaskan Air Command inactivated, and the 5073 Air Base Group was assigned to the 11th Air Force. In January 1992, the unit received its final designation when the Air Force adopted new rules that eliminated four-digit designations, and the 5073 Air Base Group became the 673D Air Base Group. On 1 April 1995, the 673D Air Base Group inactivated at Shemya, known as Eareckson Air Force Station since 1993, closed the second chapter of the organization.
When the 673D Air Base Wing was activated on 30 July 2010, 673D Mission Support Group was activated, too, and it is this second unit that carries on the heritage and lineage of the 673D Air Base Group from Shemya, not the Wing. The Mission Support Group, the 673D Civil Engineer, 673D Medical, and 673D Logistics Readiness Groups activated to provide the installation management functions of Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson, Alaska, for the Air Base Wing Commander who acts as the host wing and installation commander. The Wing's four groups operate and maintain the joint base for air sovereignty, combat training, force staging, and throughput operations to support worldwide contingencies.
Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson holds the distinction of being one of twelve joint bases that were created in BRAC 2005. The installation hosts the headquarters for the United States Alaskan Command, 11th Air Force, the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, the 3D Wing, and U.S. Army Alaska and its subordinate units. The 673D ABW comprises joint military and civilian personnel supporting America's Arctic Warriors and their families. The Wing supports and enables three AF total-force wings, an Army Brigade, and many other tenant units. In addition, the Wing provides medical care to over 35,000 joint service members, dependents, VA patients, and retirees throughout Alaska. The 673D Air Base Wing maintains an $11.4B infrastructure encompassing 79,000 acres, ensuring Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson remains America's premier strategic power projection platform.