151st Air Refueling Squadron

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151st Air Refueling Squadron
KC-135R Tennessee ANG head on view.jpg
A 151st ARS KC-135R Stratotanker.
Active 15 December 1957-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Tennessee
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Squadron
Role Air Refueling
Part of Tennessee Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tennessee
Tail Code White tail stripe, "Tennessee" in orange letters
151st Air Refueling Squadron emblem 151st Air Refueling Squadron emblem.png

The 151st Air Refueling Squadron (151 ARS) is a unit of the Tennessee Air National Guard 134th Air Refueling Wing located at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tennessee. The 151st is equipped with the KC-135R Stratotanker.


Authorized by the National Guard Bureau in 1957 to replace the active-duty 469th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at McGhee Tyson Airport, Knoxville, Tennessee. Extended recognition as a new unit on 15 December 1957 and assigned to the new 134th Fighter-Interceptor Group.

Air Defense[edit]

A 151st Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86D, in the 1950s
151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron emblem

The third Tennessee Air National Guard unit was equipped with F-86D Sabre Interceptors with a mission of air defense over the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the strategic Alcoa aluminum manufacturing facilities in the area. The active-duty Air Force 469th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was inactivated on 8 January 1958, with the 151st taking over the ADC daytime readiness alert mission in October, a status that was estimated to take two years.

Air Defense Command (ADC) released all its supersonic Lockheed F-104A Starfighters to the Air National Guard in 1960 because its fire control system was not sophisticated enough to make it an all weather interceptor.[1] The 151st was one of the Guard squadrons that re-equipped with these aircraft.

Was federalized in November 1961 as a result of the 1961 Berlin Crisis, deployed to Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, and assigned to the USAFE 86th Air Division. In May 1962 while still deployed to Ramstein AB, the unit set an All-Time US Air Force jet fighter flying record of 836 hours 5 minutes. In addition, the unit had the highest flying time per aircraft assigned ever recorded in the Air Force for a jet fighter in any one month to that date. Following the defusing of the Berlin crisis, the 151st was returned to Knoxville in August 1962 and reverted to Tennessee state control.

Following the Cuban missile crisis. ADC decided to station a permanent F-104 unit at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida because of its superior fighter on fighter performance. The lack of an all weather capability not a factor at Homestead because Cuba lacked a bomber force. To equip the 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Homestad and a training squadron at Webb Air Force Base, Texas, the F-104s with the 151st were returned to the active Air Forc.[2]

Air Refueling[edit]

The parent 134th Fighter Group was transferred from ADC to Tactical Air Command and was equipped with the Boeing KC-97G Stratotanker, and assumed an air refueling mission. With no previously qualified aircrew or maintenance personnel assigned, the 134th was still the first Air National Guard flying unit equipped with KC-97's to achieve operational status. They did so in eight months, the previous "normal" time for the conversion was two years. In 1966 the squadron began a rotational deployment to Ramstein Air Base in support of Operation Creek Party. which provided USAFE an air refueling capability. The Creek Party deployment rotations lasted until 1976, and over the decade the 151st saw millions of pounds of jet fuel off-loaded and millions of miles flown, all accident free.

In July 1976 the KC-97s were retired and the parent 134th was transferred to Strategic Air Command, receiving jet KC-135A Stratotankers. Once again the 134th achieved combat operational status in record time. These aircraft were later upgraded to "E" models in 1982 and finally replaced with "R" models in 2006.

The Volunteer spirit has always been alive and well in east Tennessee. This spirit was highlighted by former base commander Gen. Frederick H. Forster (Ret.) when he noted that at the beginning of the call up for Operation Desert Shield we had more volunteers than we needed. The unit has also played an enormous part in Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom by deploying numerous times to several CONUS and Middle East locations including a deployment for the 572d Band. This deployment marks the first time a Traditional Air Guard band has been tasked to deploy.


  • Constituted as the 151st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and allotted to the National Guard on 7 December 1957
Activated on 15 December 1957
Extended federal recognition on 16 December 1957
Federalized and placed on active duty on 1 November 1961
Released from active duty and returned to Tennessee state control on 15 August 1962
Redesignated 151st Air Refueling Squadron, Medium on 18 April 1964
Redesignated 151st Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy on 1 November 1976
Redesignated 151st Air Refueling Squadron on 16 March 1992



Operated from: Ramstein AB, West Germany, Nov 1961-15 Aug 1962
Designated: McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, 1991-Present


See also[edit]



  1. ^ McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000), p. 6
  2. ^ McMullen. p. 17


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

  • McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000)
  • Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0

External links[edit]