109th Airlift Squadron
|109th Airlift Squadron|
109th Airlift Squadron C-130 in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, prior to airlifting the Mars Institute Humvee
|Active||27 August 1917-Present|
|Branch||Air National Guard|
|Part of||Minnesota Air National Guard|
|Garrison/HQ||Minneapolis–Saint Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minnesota|
|Tail Code||Dark Maroon tail stripe "Minnesota" in yellow letters|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
|109th Airlift Squadron emblem|
The 109th Airlift Squadron (109 AS) is a unit of the Minnesota Air National Guard 133d Airlift Wing located at Minneapolis–Saint Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minnesota. The squadron is equipped with the C-130H Hercules. The 109th AS is the oldest unit in the Minnesota Air National Guard, having over 90 years of service to the state and nation. It is a descendant organization of the World War I 109th Aero Squadron, established on 27 August 1917. It was reformed on 17 January 1921, as the 109th Observation Squadron, being the first of 29 National Guard aviation squadrons to receive federal recognition following World War I.
The squadron was established at Kelly Field, Texas in August 1917 as the 109th Aero Squadron. Deployed to France, Constructed facilities and engaged in supply and related base support activities, later redesignated as the 803d Aero Squadron as part of an American Expeditionary Force re-organization. Returned to the United States and demobilized 1919.
Minnesota National Guard 
In 1920 the Minnesota National Guard organized an aviation squadron, the 109th, on paper. On 26 September 1920 the Adjutant General, the Assistant Adjutant General, and Captain Ray S. Miller rented a Curtiss Oriole biplane to launch an 8-day flight to Washington D.C. Their aim was to have the 109th Observation Squadron recognised as the first federally recognized National Guard flying squadron. Subsequently the 109th Observation Squadron, the predecessor to today's Minnesota Air National Guard, passed muster inspection, and was federally recognized by the Militia Department on 17 January 1921. It was the first National Guard aviation squadron to receive federal recognition following the First World War. On recognition or beforehand the squadron was assigned as a divisional observation unit for the 34th Division of the National Guard.
It began flight operations, flying the JN-6H "Jennys" in 1923. The 109th had nine aircraft in their inventory, and the Jenny was the first aircraft assigned the 109th Observation Squadron in 1922. However, before they would receive the “Jenny’s” the Squadron had to move from Curtiss Field in St. Paul to Speedway Field in Minneapolis. The 109th flew out of Speedway Field, a former auto race track. Jenny's were flown by the 109th through the end of 1927.
World War II 
It was called to federal duty in 1941 (World War II). The 109th Observation Squadron was assigned to the 67th Observation Group at Esler Army Airfield, Louisiana in Aug 1941. The Squadron flew antisubmarine patrols along the Gulf of Mexico coastline after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The 109th was transferred to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), Aug-Oct 1942, becoming part of the VIII Fighter Command of Eighth Air Force and then in late 1943 it came under the command of the IX Fighter Command of Ninth Air Force. In May 1943 remained the 109th Reconnaissance Squadron and then the 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Nov 1943 and then another name change in 1945 to the 109th Reconnaissance Squadron. In addition to flying photo reconnaissance missions in support of the strategic bombing missions in the ETO, the 109th flew photo reconnaissance missions in preparation for the D-Day landing at Normandy. The Squadron, also, flew photo reconnaissance missions over the V-1 bomb sites in France.
The Squadron returned to the USA in September 1945 and was disbanded in March 1946.
Minnesota Air National Guard 
The wartime 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was re-activated and re-designated as the 109th Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the Minnesota Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Wold-Chamberlain Field, Minneapolis, and was extended federal recognition on 28 August 1947 by the National Guard Bureau. The 109th Fighter Squadron was entitled to the history, honors, and colors of the 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron was equipped with F-51D Mustangs and was assigned to the 133d Fighter Group. The new unit's mission was the air defense of Minnesota.
Air Defense 
On 2 March 1951 the 109th was federalized and brought to active-duty due to the Korean War. It remained assigned to the 133d Fighter-Interceptor Group and initially was moved to Holman Field, St. Paul when activated. It was returned to Wold-Chamberlain Field, Minneapolis on 28 June for the remainder of its activation. It was reassigned to the Air Defense Command 31st Air Division on 6 February 1952, and returned to the control of the State of Minnesota on 1 December 1952
After the Korean War, the squadron was re-formed by 1 January 1953 and resumed its air defense mission. Was upgraded by ADC in 1954 to the dedicated F-94A Starfire all-weather interceptor. With this new aircraft, the mission of the 109th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron changed from day interceptor to day and night all-weather interceptor. In 1958 the 109th again upgraded to the improved F-89H Scorpion.
Strategic Airlift 
In 1960, the 133d FIG was reassigned to Military Air Transport Service (MATS), trading in its air defense interceptors for 4-engines C-97 Stratofreighter transports. With air transportation recognized as a critical wartime need, the unit was re-designated the 133d Air Transport Group (Heavy). During the 1961 Berlin Crisis, both the Group and squadron were federalized on 1 October 1961. From Minneapolis, the 109th ATS augmented MATS airlift capability world-wide in support of the Air Force's needs. It returned again to Minnesota state control on 31 August 1962. Throughout the 1960s, the unit flew long-distance transport missions in support of Air Force requirements, frequently sending aircraft to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and during the Vietnam War, to both South Vietnam, Okinawa and Thailand.
Tactical Airlift 
The C-97s were retired in 1971 and the 133d TAG was transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC). It transitioned to the C-130A Hercules theater transport, flying missions in support of TAC throughout the United States and Alaska. In 1974 the unit was returned to Military Airlift Command (MAC) when TAC transferred out its troop carrier mission. In the early 1970's, USAF's "Total Force" policy brought the wing into full partnership with its Air Force counterparts by mandating co-operation and teamwork between Air Guard and active duty Air Force units in all phases of military airlift operations. As a result, in succeeding years the unit's C-130s traveled to all corners of the world, airlifting troops, passengers, and cargo during training missions, exercise deployments, and real-world military operations to support Federal and State military airlift requirements.
The unit has been upgraded over the years with newer C-130E aircraft in 1981 and currently flies the C-130H, which it received in 1995. 2011 marked the 90th anniversary of the 1921 decision to make Minnesotaâ€™s 109th Aero Squadron the first federally-recognized National Guard flying unit in the country. To commemorate the heritage of the Minnesota Air National Guard, the 133d Airlift Wing hosted an Air Expo, welcoming upwards of 15,000 members of the community to the base to celebrate.
During 2011, the 109th Airlift Squadron deployed 528 Airmen to 17 countries, serving in support of U.S. operations worldwide, including humanitarian missions to Africa, Honduras and Indonesia. The squadron provides combat-ready air crews, support personnel, and aircraft for the airlift of passengers and cargo anywhere in the world. Upon direction of the Governor, the unit furnishes personnel and equipment, including aircraft, to assist in natural disaster relief or to safeguard life and property in Minnesota.
- Organized as 109th Aero Squadron on 27 August 1917
- Re-designated 803d Aero Squadron on 1 February 1918
- Demobilized on 23 June 1919
- Reconstituted and consolidated (1936) with 109th Squadron which, having been allotted to Minnesota NG, was federally recognised on 17 January 1921
- Re-designated 109th Observation Squadron on 25 January 1923
- Ordered to active service on 10 February 1941
- Re-designated: 109th Observation Squadron (Medium) on 13 Jan 1942
- Re-designated: 19th Observation Squadron on 4 Jul 1942
- Re-designated: 109th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) on 31 May 1943;
- Re-designated: 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron on 13 Nov 1943
- Inactivated on 9 Nov 1945
- Re-designated 109th Fighter Squadron, and allotted to Minnesota ANG, 24 May 1946
- Extended federal recognition and activated on 28 August 1947
- Federalized and placed on active duty, 2 March 1951
- Re-designated: 109th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, on 23 March 1951
- Released from active duty and returned to Minnesota state control, 1 December 1952
- Re-designated: 109th Air Transport Squadron, 1 July 1960
- Federalized and placed on active duty, 1 October 1961
- Released from active duty and returned to Minnesota state control, 31 August 1962
- Re-designated: 109th Military Airlift Squadron, 8 January 1966
- Re-designated: 109th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 20 March 1971
- Re-designated: 109th Airlift Squadron, 16 March 1992
- Post Headquarters, Kelly Field, 27 August-1 November 1917
- Aviation Concentration Center, 1 November-7 December 1917
- Replacement Concentration Center, AEF, 2-18 January 1918
- Air Service Production Center No. 2, 18 January 1918~June 1919
- Post Headquarters, Mitchel Field, 13-23 Jun 1919
- Minnesota NG (divisional aviation, 34th Division), 17 January 1921
- V Army Corps, 10 Feb 1941;
- 67th Observation (later Reconnaissance; Tactical Reconnaissance; Reconnaissance) Group, 1 Sep 1941-9 Nov 1945.
- 133d Fighter Group, 28 August 1947
- 133d Fighter-Interceptor Group, 2 March 1951
- 31st Air Division, Air Defense Command, 6 February 1952
- 133d Fighter-Interceptor Group, 1 December 1952
- 133d Air Transport Group, 1 July 1960
- 133d Military Airlift Group, 8 January 1966
- 133d Tactical Airlift Group, 20 March 1971
- 133d Operations Group, 16 March 1992-Present
See also 
- http://www.nationalguard.mil/news/todayinhistory/january.aspx, accessed December 2012.
- A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
- Maurer, Maurer. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force: World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1982.
- Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
- Gross, Charles J (1996), The Air National Guard and the American Military Tradition, United States Dept. of Defense, ISBN: 0160483026
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 109th Airlift Squadron|