125th Fighter Wing

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125th Fighter Wing
125th Fighter Wing - McDonnell Douglas F-15A-13-MC Eagle 75-029.jpg
Tech. Sgt. Aaron Hartley of the Florida Air National Guard's Det. 1, 125th Fighter Wing, guides F-15A-13-MC Eagle 75-029 on the flightline at Homestead Air Reserve Base
Active 1 July 1956-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Florida
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Air Defense Fighter
Size 1100
Part of Florida Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida
Tail Code Black tail stripe "Florida" in white letters, lighting bolt
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Simpler
Notable
commanders
General Craig R. McKinley
Insignia
125th Fighter Wing emblem 125th Fighter Wing.png

The 125th Fighter Wing (125 FW) is a unit of the Florida Air National Guard, stationed at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida. If activated to federal service with the United States Air Force, the 125 FW is gained by the Air Combat Command.

Overview[edit]

As an Air National Guard unit, the 125th Fighter Wing has a dual mission - one state and one federal. The state mission under Title 32 of the United States Code (Title 32 USC) is to provide trained and equipped personnel to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order, and public safety under the Governor of the State of Florida as part of the Florida Air National Guard. The federal mission under Title 10 USC is to provide fully trained and qualified personnel to the Commander, United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) / North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in time of war or national emergency for the defense of the North American continent, with operational claimancy for the 125 FW as a U.S. Air Force unit falling to the Air Combat Command (ACC). The 125 FW is also available to other combatant commanders for forward deployment in order to perform air superiority/air dominance missions in other theaters outside of the United States.

In addition to its primary installation, the Jacksonville Air National Guard Base at Jacksonville International Airport, the 125 FW also maintains an alert detachment of F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft at Detachment 1, 125 FW, Operating Location AA (OL-AA) at Homestead Air Reserve Base in South Florida. The overall wing organization comprises over 1100 citizen airmen in a combination of full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technicians (ART) and traditional part-time drilling air guardsman (TG) categories.

Units[edit]

  • 125th Operations Group (125 OG)
159th Fighter Squadron (159 FS)
  • 125th Maintenance Group (125 MXG)
  • 125th Mission Support Group (125 MSG)
  • 125th Medical Group (125 MDG)

History[edit]

On 1 July 1956, the Florida Air National Guard's 159th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 125th Fighter-Interceptor Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 159th FIS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 125th Headquarters, 125th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 125th Combat Support Squadron, and the 125th USAF Dispensary.

With the establishment of the 125th FIG, the unit converted to the F-86D Super Sabre with the primary mission of continental air defense of the southeastern United States. In 1958, the 125th became the first Air National Guard unit to earn the right to compete in the Air Defense Command's annual WILLIAM TELL Weapons Meet, and was the first team ever to fire a perfect score in that competition.

North American F-86L Sabres of the 159th FIS at Imeson Airport, 1957

In July 1960, the 125th converted from the F-86D to the all-weather, supersonic F-102A and F-102B Delta Dagger. In 1971, following completion of the new Jacksonville International Airport, the 125 FIG relocated from the Jacksonville Imeson Airport to a newly constructed military installation, the current Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, at the new airport. With the concurrent closure of Imeson Airport to all flight operations and its conversion to an industrial park, the 125 FIG vacated its former facilities and turned over same to the City of Jacksonville.

In 1965, given increased Soviet Air Force aircraft operations in Cuba, the 125 FIG established Operating Location Alfa Alfa (OL-AA) and 125 FIG, Detachment 1, at Homestead AFB, Florida to provide air defense ready alert fighter aircraft in the southern portion of Florida. This same alert detachment continues operations today at the present day Homestead ARB with 125th aircraft, pilots and support personnel periodically rotated from home station in Jacksonville.

In January 1968, Air Defense Command was renamed Aerospace Defense Command (ADC) and continued to be the 125 FIG's gaining command.

In July 1974, the 125 FIG converted to the F-106A and F-106B Delta Dart. Only one year after the F-106 conversion, the unit again earned the right to compete that year's annual Air Force air-to-air weapons competition, WILLIAM TELL ‘76, at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

In March 1980, ADC was inactivated and the air defense mission transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC). TAC then became the gaining command for the 125 FIG.

Convair F-106B, AF Ser. No. 57-2509 and F-106A, AF Ser. No. 58-0788. 2509 was sent to AMARC on 24 May 1990 as FN0196. Modified to a QF-106 target drone (AD268) on 23 June 1994. Written off 7 Oct 1997 after ground fire. Purchased by private individual Apr 2000 and moved to El Paso, TX for restoration. 788 was sent to AMARC on 22 Jan 1987 and also modified as a QF-106 target drone (AD150). Shot down by a Patriot missile on 24 Sept 1992.

In April 1987, the 125th converted to the F-16A and F-16B Fighting Falcon, a multi-role fighter that was subsequently modified as the F-16ADF, specifically designed for the Air Defense role. The 125th was the first ANG unit to assume NORAD Air Defense Alert with the F-16ADF, the first operational F-16ADF unit to employ the AIM-7 Sparrow III missile and the first F-16ADF unit to sit alert with the AIM-7 missile.

With the disestablishment of Tactical Air Command (TAC) in 1992, the 125 FIG's gaining command changed to the newly created Air Combat Command (ACC). As part of this change, the unit's designation was changed to 125th Fighter Group (125 FG). With creation of the USAF "objective wing" construct in the early 1990s, the bulk of all Air National Guard groups with operational flying missions were redesignated as wings. As a result, the 125 FG was subsequently redesignated as the 125th Fighter Wing (125 FW), the designation it continues to hold today.

In June 1995, the 125 FW converted to the F-15A and F-15B Eagle, a fighter which added air superiority capability to the Air Defense Mission. During the late 1990s, the 125 FW was also fully integrated into the USAF Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF) construct and routinely deployed aircraft and personnel to the 363rd Air Expeditionary Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base, Al Kharj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, enforcing the No Fly Zone over southern Iraq. Since 11 Sep 2001, the wing has also been extensively involved in Operation NOBLE EAGLE, performing its historic continental air defense mission, as well as continuing to deploy aircraft and personnel to U.S. Central Command Air Forces (USCENTAF), later renamed U.S. Air Forces Central (USAFCENT), in Southwest Asia in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.

On a daily basis, the 125 FW is responsible for the maintenance of a USNORTHCOM / NORAD Air Defense Alert mission at both its home station in Jacksonville, Florida and at an additional operating location at Homestead ARB, Florida. In this capacity, the wing provides armed F-15 aircraft capable of intercepting, identifying, and, if necessary, destroying unknown aircraft which penetrate sovereign U.S. airspace. In the past, this threat has included Soviet Tu-95 Bear bombers, various Soviet-built Cuban Air Force fighters, and civilian narcotics traffickers of various nationalities.

When it initially converted to the Air Defense Fighter (ADF) variant of the F-16A, the 125 FW was the first operational NORAD Air Defense Alert unit to employ the AIM-7 Sparrow III missile, the first F-16ADF unit to sit alert with the AIM-7, and the first unit to deploy to the former Howard AFB, Panama in support of JCS-directed operation CORONET NIGHTHAWK using enhanced identification tactics. In October 1995, the 125 FW became the first unit ever to complete a transition from one fourth generation fighter to another fourth generation fighter as it transitioned from the F-16ADF to the F-15A/B. In April 1997, the 125 FW became the first Air Defense Unit to employ as Blue Air in an Offensive Counter Air (OCA) role, integrated with an active duty unit during a Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

The 125 FW was rated “Outstanding” during an Alert Force Evaluation by the North American Aerospace Defense Command Inspector General in November 1997. This was the highest rating ever given by NORAD. In January 1998, the 125th Fighter Wing received an “Outstanding” on its Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). During this period, the wing also participated in Operation Southern Watch, routinely deploying to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia for operational relief of Regular Air Force F-15C/D units. In 2000, the wing began transitioning to the F-15A/B Multistage Improvement Program (MSIP) variant of the F-15A and F-15B Eagle, and in 2006 transitioned again to the newer F-15C and F-15D models of the Eagle.

The 125 FW also operates a single WC-130H Hercules aircraft for logistical support of the wing, geographically separated units (GSUs) of the Florida Air National Guard and additional "as needed" airlift support to the Florida Army National Guard. The 125 FW also operates C-26B aircraft in support of state and federal law enforcement agencies under Title 32 USC authority.

The 125 FW recently participated in Red Flag (USAF) at Nellis AFB, Nevada, as part of its on-going readiness program.

Lineage[edit]

Emblem of the 125th FIS
  • Established as 125th Fighter-Interceptor Group on 1 July 1956
Re-designated: 125th Fighter Group on 15 March 1992
Status changed from Group to Wing, 1 October 1995
Re-designated: 125th Fighter Wing on 1 October 1995

Assignments[edit]

Gained by: 35th Air Division, Air Defense Command
Gained by: Montgomery Air Defense Sector, Air Defense Command, 1 July 1960
Gained by: 32d Air Division, Air Defense Command, 1 April 1966
Gained by: 32d Air Division, Aerospace Defense Command, 15 January 1968
Gained by: 20th Air Division, Aerospace Defense Command, 1 January 1970
Gained by: Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC), 1 October 1979
Gained by: Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS), First Air Force, 1 July 1987
Gained by: Southeast Air Defense Sector (ANG), Florida ANG, 1 October 1995
Gained by: Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), First Air Force, 1 November 2005
Gained by: Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS), First Air Force, 15 July 2009

Components[edit]

Assigned to 125 OG, 1 October 1995-Present

Stations[edit]

Designated: Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, 1991-Present

Aircraft[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]