Formed of two or more airmen, this is also referred to as an “element” in basic training.
Broken into three types, flights can be numbered, alpha or functional. A flight comprises individual airmen or sections.
Squadrons consist of two or more flights. They are the lowest level of command with a headquarters element, usually identified by number and function. The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron is an example.
A group consists of two or more squadrons whose functions are similar to what the group is named, such as two or more squadrons supporting medical functions being part a medical group. Groups mostly take on the number of the wing to which they’re assigned. For instance, the 9th Medical Group is part of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing.
Wings comprise two or more groups. There are two types of wings: composite and objective. Composite wings operate more than one kind of aircraft, and may be configured as self-contained units designated for quick air intervention anywhere in the world. Others are based on objective: operational, air base or specialized mission. Wings typically contain an operations group, a maintenance group, a support group and a medical group. The 165th Airlift Wing is an example.
NUMBERED AIR FORCE
Wings, squadrons and groups can all be assigned to a numbered air force, which usually has a geographical assignment. First Air Force, for example, ensures the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Major commands, or MAJCOMs, can be organized two ways: by mission (such as Global Strike Command or Mobility Command) or by region outside the continental United States (such as Pacific Air Forces). Major commands report directly to Air Force Headquarters.