117th Air Refueling Wing

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117th Air Refueling Wing
106th Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker.jpg
106th ARS KC-135 with refueling boom extended
Active 1 October 1947-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Alabama
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Air Refueling
Part of Alabama Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Birmingham Air National Guard Base, Alabama
Nickname "Dixie Refuelers", formerly "Recce Rebels"
Tail Code White tail stripe, "Alabama" in red letters
Insignia
117th Air Refueling Wing emblem 117th Air Refueling Wing.png

The 117th Air Refueling Wing (117 ARW) is a unit of the Alabama Air National Guard, stationed at Birmingham Air National Guard Base, Alabama. If activated to federal service, it is gained by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command.

The 106th Air Refueling Squadron, assigned to the Wings 117th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the World War I 107th Aero Squadron, established on 27 August 1917. It was reformed on 7 May 1926, as the 106th Observation Squadron, and is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.

Overview[edit]

The 117th Air Refueling Wing flies the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker. Its mission is to train and equip combat ready aircrews and support personnel to perform worldwide aerial refueling and airlift missions. Combat ready civil engineering, support services, medical, personnel, communications and Intelligence technical support UTCs are available for worldwide assignment. the 117 ARW unit supports state and local contingencies when directed by the Governor of Alabama.

Units[edit]

The 117th Air Refueling Wing consists of the following units:

  • 117th Operations Group
106th Air Refueling Squadron
  • 117th Maintenance Group
  • 117th Mission Support Group
  • 117th Medical Group
The 99th Air Refueling Squadron is an Active Associate Unit; an active duty component assigned with the 117th Air Refueling Wing. The 99th Air Refueling Squadron works with, supports and flies the 117th Air Refueling Wing's aircraft.

History[edit]

The original 117th Fighter Group was allotted to the Alabama Air National Guard by the National Guard Bureau in May 1946, it being a re-designation of the World War II 354th Fighter Group.

In September 1956, Tactical Air Command requested the 117th designation be returned to the United States Air Force, for subsequent use and re-activation as the 354th, and restoring the lineage, history and honors to the 354th. The National Guard Bureau discontinued the Alabama ANG 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group on 26 September 1956, and the 1946 re-designation and ANG allotment was revoked and nullified. A new Alabama ANG 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, with no previous World War II history or lineage was established and federal recognition was extended on 28 September 1956.

The 117th Air Refueling Wing, thus is not related in any way to the present-day 354th Operations Group or any of its predecessor units.

First Organization (1947–1956)[edit]

The 117th Fighter Group was extended federal recognition by the National Guard Bureau on 1 October 1947 at Birmingham Municipal Airport, Alabama. Upon recognition, the B-26C Invader 106th Bombardment Squadron (Light) was reassigned to the new unit from the Georgia ANG 54th Fighter Wing, an umbrella organization formed in the postwar years that provided administrative and logistical support for Air National Guard units in the Southeastern United States. The 106th Bombardment Squadron was the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 117th Headquarters, 117th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 117th Combat Support Squadron, and the 117th USAF Dispensary.

The 106th Bombardment Squadron practiced formation bombing as well as low-level intrusion and strafing. Parts for the B-26s were no problem with the massive amount of supplies still stored in wartime warehouses, and many of the maintenance personnel were World War II veterans so readiness was quite high and the planes were often much better maintained than their USAF counterparts. On 1 October 1947 the squadron came under the control of the new 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group at Birmingham, and in 1950, the B-26 Invader light bombers were exchanged for RB-26C Invader reconnaissance aircraft which were unarmed and carried cameras and flash flares for night photography.

Korean War activation[edit]

Lockheed RF-80C-11-LO Shooting Star Serial 45-8391 in the foreground, along with other RF-80s of the 160th Tactical Recon Squadron, 1952. (Photo taken at Neubiberg AB, West Germany)

During the Korean War, the 117th was federalized and ordered to active service on 2 October 1950. The Group's 106th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was reassigned to the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB, South Carolina where it replaced a squadron which was deployed to combat in the Korean War. With the 106th reassigned, Tactical Air Command assigned other federalized Air Air National Guard squadrons to the unit. The Ohio ANG 112th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron; South Carolina ANG, 157th Fighter Squadron and the Montgomery-based 160th Fighter Squadron were assigned to the Group. The organization of the 117th TRG was elevated to a Wing level, and the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was activated with the 117th TRG; the 117th Maintenance and Supply Group; 117th Air Base Group and 117th Medical Group. Once organized, the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was moved to Lawson AFB, Georgia

Douglas A/RB-26C-40-DT Invader serial 44-35599 of the 117th TRW in a temporary wooden nose "hangar", January 1953. Notice the temporary Pierced Steel Planking used for the parking apron with the snow and ice. This aircraft was sold to France in September 1956. It was eventually withdrawn from use in May 1967 and scrapped.

At Lawson AFB, the 112th retained its existing RB-26C Invaders, becoming the wing's night reconnaissance unit. Tactical Air Command equipped the 157th and 160th squadrons with RF-80A Shooting Star daylight photo-reconnaissance jet aircraft, re-designating them both as Tactical Reconnaissance squadrons. The wing then began what was then believed to be a short transition training period. The original plan was to deploy the 117th to France and reinforce the United States Air Forces in Europe at a new base in France, Toul-Rosières Air Base. However Toul Air Base was still under construction, and delays in France for several reasons forced the 117th to remain at Lawson AFB for over a year until finally receiving deployment orders in January 1952.

The 117th arrived at Toul Air Base on 27 January 1952. However at the time of the Wing's arrival, Toul AB consisted of a sea of mud, and the new jet runway was breaking up and could not support safe flying. The commander of the 117th deemed it uninhabitable and its flying squadrons of the wing were ordered dispersed to West Germany. The 112th TRS was transferred to Wiesbaden AB, the 157th TRS deployed to Furstenfeldbruck AB, and the 160th deployed to Neubiberg AB. The non-flying Headquarters and Support organizations were assigned to Toul.

The mission of the 117 TRW was to provide tactical, visual, photographic and electronic reconnaissance by both day and night, as was required by the military forces within the European command. The RF-80's were responsible for the daylight operations; the RB-26s for night photography. In June 1952, the 117th was involved in Exercise 'June Primer'. This exercise took place in an area bordered by a line drawn from Cherbourg to Geneva in the east and in the west by this Swiss, Austrian and Russian occupation zone borders.

The two RF-80 squadrons of the 117th had to complete a number of varying missions, including vertical photography of prospective paratroop air drop zones, oblique photos of the Rhine and Danube river bridges, vertical photography of the airfields of Jever, Fassburg, Celle, Sundorf and Gütersloh and various visual missions on behalf of the seventh army, including artillery adjustment for the 816th field artillery. The 157 TRS had had wire recorders fitted to five of its RF-80's prior to June Primer and these greatly facilitated the latter missions.

By July 1952 the facilities at Wiesbaden AB were becoming very crowded, and it was felt that the B-26's could fly from the primitive conditions at Toul. The 112 TRS returned to Toul, however the jet-engined RF-80's remained in West Germany until a new runway was constructed.

On 9 July 1952 the activated Air National Guard 117 TRW was released from active duty and inactivated in place and its mission was taken over by the newly activated 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. All of the aircraft and support equipment remained at Toul and was transferred to the 10th TRW.

Inactivation[edit]

Returning to its previous Group status upon return to Birmingham, the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was re-formed with the 106th Tactical Fighter Squadron returned to its control. The 106th's RB-26C Invaders were transferred from Shaw AFB and the unit returned to its previous Air National Guard training mission.

On 26 September 1956, the 117th TRG was discontinued when its designation was returned to United States Air Force control.

Second Organization (1956-Present)[edit]

A new Alabama ANG 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, with no previous World War II history or lineage was established and federal recognition was extended on 28 September 1956. The 106th Tactical Fighter Squadron was assigned to the "new" 117th TRG immediately, and the unit continued its previous Air National Guard training mission. The 106th continued to fly the RB-26C until 1957 when the aircraft was reaching its end of operational service and was retired. Replacing the Invader in May 1957 were new RF-84F Thunderstreak jet reconnaissance aircraft, manufactured by Republic for Air National Guard service. The squadron continued to train in tactical reconnaissance missions throughout the 1950s with the Thunderstreaks.

1961 Berlin Crisis[edit]

Republic RF-84F-40-RE Thunderflash, serial 53-7554 of the 106th TRS, shown during a 1964 deployment to France, probably Chaumont AB. Today, this aircraft is on display at the Glenn L. Martin Museum, Martin State AP, MD.

The squadron was federalized a second time on 1 October 1961 as a result of the 1961 Berlin Crisis. The 117th TRG was again federalized, which consisted of the 160th TRS from Montgomery; the 106th TRS at Birmingham; the 153d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Mississippi ANG), and the 184th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Arizona ANG). Due to federal budget restrictions, only the 106th TRS was deployed to Dreux-Louvilliers AB, France, however elements of all three other squadrons rotated to France as part of the USAFE 7117th Tactical Wing over the next year and 106th pilots returned to the United States.

On 27 October twenty 106th TRS RF-84F's were deployed to Dreux, arriving on 3 November. In addition, two T-33A Shooting Star jet trainers and one C-47 Skytrain were deployed as support aircraft. By 22 November, the wing reassembled at the newly reactivated Dreux for an estimated stay of ten months. However, problems developed immediately after their arrival at Dreux. The base had been in standby status for about a year and no longer was used for operational flights. Possibly the French forgot to take into account the fact that the base could be re-opened for exercises and deployments such as was now the case.

In any event, the more than one thousand airmen of the 106th TRS arrived at a base that had been stripped clean. The French had taken away office desks, telephones and typewriters. The kitchens had not been used for some time, a fact that the quartermasters had not taken into account, so getting the base operational again in the short time available took an all-out effort. A few days after the ground units arrived from Alabama, the first aircraft were prepared for a practice flight. The French Air Traffic Controllers, however, refused permission for take-off. Only after a lot of negotiation were several aircraft allowed to take to the air.

Dreux AB came within the Paris Air Traffic Control area, as did the busy Le Bourget Airport and Orly Airports, and an extra squadron of jet aircraft had not been allowed in the French air traffic controllers' staffing levels. The safety of civilian air traffic was used to justify denying the Americans permission to fly out of Dreux AB. Notwithstanding stormy protests by the United States, every form of co-operation was refused and the RF-84s stayed on the ground. The pilots who had only just completed a risky Atlantic crossing of several thousand kilometers, had to wait in the operations room. In the United States, the Birmingham News daily newspaper reported that 'their boys', after the sudden mobilization and the weeks of preparation, had not been sent to Europe to sit around a French airfield doing nothing.

However as strongly the Pentagon protested, the French answer remained 'non!'. Eventually General Reid Doster, commander of the Alabama deployment could do little else but take his aircraft elsewhere. At the end of November 1961 he received permission from the French traffic controllers to go with his aircraft to Chaumont-Semoutiers AB, another USAFE-controlled base in France. Permission was received from the French to move the 7117th TRW on 8 December 1961, however HQ USAFE insisted that the 7117th Wing HQ remain at Dreux AB for airlift traffic. Thus the 106th TRS operated from Chaumont AB, while Wing HQ remained at Dreux.

On 22 July 1962 the 106th TRS returned to Alabama leaving its F-84Fs in France. Dreux AB was placed back in standby status by USAFE, and never really used again until it was turned over to the French in 1966.

Vietnam and late Cold War era[edit]

Republic RF-84F-30-RE Thunderflash of the 106th TRS, Alabama Air National Guard, 52-7425

After the squadron re-formed in Birmingham, the 106th TRS was again re-equipped with RF-84Fs from active-duty squadrons that were receiving the McDonnell RF-101 Voodoo. It continued to fly the Thunderstreak reconnaissance aircraft throughout the 1960s.

The deployment to France proved the responsiveness of Air National Guard forces and was accomplished without incident, it pointed out the need for an Air National Guard air refueling capability. The first training mission aimed at this goal was Exercise "Poncho". The 106th deployed ten RF-84s from Birmingham, Alabama, non-stop to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico with air-to-air refueling utilizing KC-97 Stratotankers for the deployment and KC-135 Stratotankers for the redeployment. This was the first time that an Air National Guard unit had deployed with the requirements for air-to-air refueling over water. This exercise was a complete success and served as a "warm up" for the second phase which would require much more exact planning and coordination.

The second mission was Exercise "Minuteman Alpha". The 106th discovered that the Alaskan Air Command was in need of photographic coverage on many outstanding targets. It was determined that this would afford an excellent opportunity with a two-fold purpose; first, to demonstrate the non-stop deployment capability of the squadron utilizing a distance of 3500 miles, and second, to assist the Alaskan Air Command by completing as many photographic sorties as feasible against outstanding targets. The squadron deployed twelve RF-84Fs non-stop from Birmingham to Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska utilizing Air National Guard KC-97 tankers. This was the first time an Air National Guard jet unit had flown a non-stop mission of this duration. Flying time for the deployment from Birmingham to Anchorage was 8 hours and 27 minutes.

In August, 1964, twelve Birmingham based RF-84F jets streaked into the sky for a non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. The flight proved that the 106th TRS was ready to be deployed to foreign countries within a matter of hours, in the event of a crisis. The 3400-mile deployment to Europe required three air refuelings. Within forty-five minutes after landing the jets were refueled, checked, loaded with film, and were standing on alert with pilots in the cockpits ready for reconnaissance missions. On August 20, twelve jets were heading for home after flying more than 10,000 miles in a little over a week. The jets required four air-refuelings on the return trip. The twelve jets landed in Birmingham August 21, 1964, completing the history making Operation "Ready-Go".

On 9 December 1974 the 117th was expanded to a Wing, and the 117th Combat Support Group, 117th Medical Group and 117th Maintenance Groups were established under the then USAF Tripartite organization plan. The 106th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was assigned to the new 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.

Another sizable exercise in which the 106th TRS participated was Operation Clove Hitch III. In April 1967, the Alabama Air National Guard deployed four RF-84Fs and 93 pilots, intelligence, photo processors, interpreters, and maintenance personnel to Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico to participate in the largest Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Exercise as of that time. The Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and other Air Guard Units participated in the mock invasion of the islands.

In June 1968, the 106th participate in an exercise called Operation Brim Fire which consisted of high-speed low-level attacks on the Army's MIM-23 Hawk Missile System to defend a position such as an airfield against an enemy attack. During the unit's summer encampment of 1968, the 106th TRS photographed more than 600 targets in the north while participating in Guard Strike II. This was an Army and Air National Guard exercise involving 88,000 men in 36 states. The 106th TRS participated in an operation during the summer of 1970 to determine if reconnaissance aircraft could detect oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The results showed the aircraft could not only spot oil spills, but with special film and techniques, could determine where they originated

As the RF-84F was not used during the Vietnam War, the 117th TRG was not activated for duty in Southeast Asia, although some pilots from the 106th went though transition training to the RF-101C and RF-4C and were deployed for combat duty.

106th TRS RF-4C 66-7761 about 1972, shortly after its transfer from the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Udorn RTAFB, Thailand.

In November 1971 the Thundersteaks were retired as they reached the end of their service life and the 117th TRG was chosen to be the first Air National Guard squadron to receive the RF-4C Phantom II tactical reconnaissance aircraft. The squadron received aircraft directly being withdrawn from Southeast Asia as part of the United States pullout from the Vietnam War. The aircraft were equipped with the most highly advanced electronic equipment, and were capable of all-weather day or night reconnaissance and speeds in excess of twice the speed of sound.

A WS-430B, a modular, air transportable, photographic processing and interpretation facility valued at $800,000 was received in August 1972. The 106th took part in Exercise Jack Frost '75 in Alaska. The Birmingham based unit provided four RF-4C Phantoms along with aircrews and support troops and equipment, to supply the aerial photo intelligence information needed by the Army ground forces participating in this annual winter exercise held at Eielson Air Force Base, southeast of Fairbanks. In addition, the men of the 106th TRS flew missions for the Alaskan Air Command over virtually the entire state of Alaska, from Anchorage to the North Slope, and from Nome to Juneau. The 106th TRS flew a total of 45 sorties and compiled more than 100 hours of flying time. It was the first time aircrews utilized electronic counter-measures, chaff, and the aircraft detection devices in an operating environment.

106th TRS RF-4C Phantom II aircraft at Ramstein AB, West Germany, March 1976. Aircraft were participating in "Operation Coronet Sprint". McDonnell RF-4C-26-MC Phantom 65-0893 visible in foreground.

The RF-4C Phantoms were deployed to West Germany in March 1976 to prove that United States based units could beef up NATO forces in Europe within a matter of hours and to introduce the Air Guard aircrews to unique European flying conditions. The exercise dubbed "Operation Coronet Sprint" started on 16 March 1976, when two Air Force C-141 Starlifter transport jets left Birmingham with 100 officers and airmen and support equipment. 19 March found the total complement of the 117th at Ramstein Air Base in the southwestern corner of West Germany situated 35 miles north of the French border and 75 miles east of the tiny country of Luxembourg. During the two-week exercise, the aircrews of the 106th stayed very active, flying 137 sorties over West Germany and surrounding NATO countries for a total of 537 hours. On the morning of 1 April 1976, all 18 of the RF-4C's were launched from Ramstein for the re-deployment to Birmingham

On 19 November 1977, Birmingham Air National Guard personnel completed their participation in Operation Red Flag which is designed to test the Air Force, Navy, Marine and the Army under simulated combat conditions. The task force from Birmingham consisted of 82 crew members, maintenance, intelligence, photo processors and interpreters. The exercise lasted for four weeks and was conducted at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This exercise is conducted annually and provides the most realistic flying training which has ever been conducted. It is as close to an actual combat environment as can be simulated.

106th Reconnaissance Squadron McDonnell RF-4C-24-MC Phantom 65-0833 in late-1980s camouflage motif. Aircraft retired in 1993, now on static display at Jasper, AL VFW post.

The 106th and supporting units of the 117th participated in three major exercises during 1981. The Birmingham Air National Guardsmen again deployed to Nellis AFB to participate in Red Flag 81, to CFB Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada for Amalgam Brave 81-1, and to the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Mississippi for Photo Finish '81.

At Nellis AFB, sixty-seven members of the 106th TRS obtained realistic combat training against the 64th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron, equipped with F-5E Tiger II aggressor aircraft which simulated Soviet Air Force MiG-21 air defense fighters. The 64th TFTAS aircraft were United States Air Force pilots well trained in Soviet tactics. Evasion techniques were tested against simulated ground threats as well as aggressive aircraft. At CFB Goose Bay, The six-day exercise provided the Birmingham Air Guard members with adverse weather conditions to test the Aerospace3 Warning and Control System in tracking low level, high speed targets for interceptors. The Birmingham based RF-4C jet aircraft were used as target vehicles in the operation. It also gave the 106th aircrews a chance to practice evasive maneuvers and tactics.

Many awards were earned by the 117th; for having the best National Guard Publication; for achieving flying milestones; for service to the United States Secret Service; and for outstanding accomplishments on Operational Readiness Inspections. The 117th also earned awards for having the best ANG flying unit in the United States.

Operation Desert Shield[edit]

106th TRS RF-4C Phantom II 64-1047, shown at Shaikh Isa Air Base, Bahrain during Operation Desert Shield. Note the numerous "camels", painted on its intake, representing the number of missions flown. 1047 Flew 172 sorties in Desert Shield.
After its retirement in May 1994, the aircraft was flown to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio where today it is on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. It had more than 7,300 hours of flying time.

By early 1989, the operational lifetime of the F-4 Phantom was ending, and the number of RF-4C squadrons serving both on active-duty as well as in Air National Guard units was being reduced. In large part, the RF-4C was being replaced by the ability of the Lockheed U-2 TR-1A and TR-1B variany, which had taken over the tactical reconnaissance mission. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact led to accelerated retirement plans, and the retirement of the last of the RF-4Cs was in the planning stages when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and further inactivation plans were put on hold. Consequently, the RF-4C was still in service with the USAF at the time of Operation Desert Shield.

When the United States military build-up in the Middle East began following Saddam Hussein’s 2 August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, six RF-4Cs of the 117th TRW equipped with a camera upgrade called the HIAC-1 LOROP (Long Range Oblique Photography) deployed on 24 August 1990 to Shaikh Isa Air Base, Bahrain. Their journey to the war zone may have been the longest nonstop flight made by operational warplanes at that time, requiring 16 air-to-air refuelings and spanning 8,000 nautical miles in 15.5 hours. Initially assigned to HQ United States Central Command Air Forces, the 106th TRS was later further assigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional).

LOROP was capable of high-resolution images of objects 100 miles away using a high-resolution 66-inch focal length camera that was carried in a centerline pod underneath the aircraft. It was used to conduct prewar surveillance and photo-reconnaissance mapping of Iraqi forces in occupied Kuwait as well as those deployed along the Saudi Arabia-Iraq border. In support of RF-4C operations, numerous airmen and aircraft were used, among them C-21 Learjets, to move finished imagery around the theater. In the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia known as the “Black Hole,” coalition air commander Lt. Gen. (later Gen.) Charles “Chuck” Horner scrutinized the RF-4C images of Iraq’s forces every day.

Unfortunately, 64-1044 crewed by Major Barry K. Henderson and Lt. Col. Stephen G. Schraam was lost in an operational accident on 8 October 1990.

The 106th TRS, however, did not engage in combat operations during Operation Desert Storm, being relieved on 18 December 1990 by the 192d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Nevada ANG. Later, RF-4Cs taken from the USAF's 12th TRS/67th TRW and the 38th TRS/26th TRW were deployed and were engaged in combat during Desert Storm.

Air refueling[edit]

106th Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker

After the end of Desert Storm, the phaseout of the RF-4C with the ANG was accelerated. On 16 March 1992, the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing adopted the USAF "objective wing" and was re-designated the 117th Reconnaissance Wing; on 1 June 1992, Tactical Air Command was inactivated, being replaced by the new Air Combat Command (ACC). During 1994, the RF-4Cs were sent to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona for retirement at AMARC. On 1 October, the 117th Reconnaissance Wing was re-designated as the 117th Air Refueling Wing, the mission now becoming aerial refueling with KC-135 Stratotankers, the first tanker arriving later that month.

In November 1995, the unit deployed to Pisa Airport, Italy, in support of Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia. The unit next deployed to RAF Croughton, United Kingdom, in 1999 in support of Operation Noble Anvil over Kosovo. Afterwards, the unit deployed to Curaçao, Netherland Antilles, for Operation Coronet Nighthawk, a Latin American counter-drug operation. The unit participated in numerous Blue Flag exercises and also in the Expeditionary Forces experiment 1998.

After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the 117th ARW was deployed to MacDill AFB, Florida and began refueling F-15 and F-16 aircraft flying Combat Air Patrol missions over major cities in the Southeastern United States as part of Operation Noble Eagle.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended closing the 117th ARW and reassigning its aircraft to other National Guard units. This decision was ultimately reversed.

Lineage[edit]

1990 Desert Shield patch
19970s RF-4C era unit emblem
Early unit emblem from the 1950s
  • Designated 117th Fighter Group, allotted to Alabama ANG, 24 May 1946
Extended federal recognition on 1 October 1947
Re-designated: 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 1 November 1950
Federalized and ordered to active service on: 1 April 1951
Relieved from active duty and returned to Alabama State Control: 15 November 1952
117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group discontinued; allocation and federal recognition revoked and nullified, 26 September 1956
  • Activated as: 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 26 September 1956
Extended federal recognition on 26 September 1956
Federalized and ordered to active service on: 1 October 1961
Relieved from active duty and returned to Alabama State Control: 22 July 1962
Status changed from Group to Wing, 9 December 1974
Re-designated: 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing on 9 Dec 1974
Re-designated: 117th Reconnaissance Wing on 15 Mar 1992
Re-designated: 117th Air Refueling Wing on 16 Oct 1994

Assignments[edit]

Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Air Combat Command, 1 June 1992
Gained by: Air Mobility Command, 16 October 1994

Note: The 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (1 April 1951 – 15 November 1952) has no linage or history with the present-day 117th Air Refueling Wing

Components[edit]

  • 117th Operations Group, 16 October 1994 – Present

Stations[edit]

Operated from: Lawson Air Force Base, Georgia, 1 April 1951-27 January 1952
Operated from: Toul-Rosières Air Base, France, 27 January-9 July 1952
Operated from: Dreux-Louvilliers AB, France, 1 October 1961-31 August 1962
Designated: Birmingham Air National Guard Base, 1991-Present

Aircraft[edit]

117th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]