164th Airlift Wing

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164th Airlift Wing
164th AW C-5 over Memphis.jpg
164th Airlift Wing C-5 Galaxy over Memphis, Tennessee
Active 1 April 1961-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Tennessee
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Airlift
Part of Tennessee Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Memphis Air National Guard Base, Memphis, Tennessee
Tail Code Red tail stripe, "Memphis" in white letters
164th Airlift Wing emblem 164th Airlift Wing.png

The 164th Airlift Wing (164 AW) is a unit of the Tennessee Air National Guard, stationed at Memphis Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. If activated to federal service in the United States Air Force, the 164 AW is operationally-gained by the Air Mobility Command.


In 2013, the 164th Airlift Wing has converted from the C-5 Galaxy to the C-17 Globemaster III,[1] said conversion to be completed by 2015. The 164 AW mission includes carrying fully equipped combat-ready military units to any point in the world on short notice and then provide field support required to help sustain the fighting force.


  • 164th Operations Group
155th Airlift Squadron
  • 164th Mission Support Group
  • 164th Maintenance Group
  • 164th Medical Group


The unit that would eventually evolve into the 164th Airlift Wing was activated on 1 April 1961 as an expansion of the 155th Air Transport Squadron to a Group level organization, with the squadron assigned as a subordinate unit, and with the entire organization operationally-gained when in a Federal status by the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). At this time, the unit received the C-97 Stratofreighter, which was a converted Strategic Air Command (SAC) KC-97 aerial refueling tanker. Conversion to this aircraft brought a worldwide mission with operations to such places as Europe, Japan, South America, Australia and South Vietnam.

During May 1966, the unit set numerous records, to include 10 round trips to Southeast Asia and 1702 flying hours in one month, all accomplished primarily by dedicated part-time personnel.

C-124C in Georgia Air National Guard markings, similar to C-124s operated by the Tennessee Air National Guard, on its final flight on 10 June 1984.

C-124 operations[edit]

May 1967 brought the introduction of the C-124 Globemaster, affectionately known as "Old Shakey". Along with Old Shakey, the group's personnel performed numerous humanitarian missions as well as routine support to the successor to MATS, the Military Airlift Command (MAC). The C-124 was given a well-deserved rest in 1974 when she was retired from military service, reluctantly giving up her berth to the C-130 Hercules.

Air National Guard C-130 Hercules

C-130 Operations[edit]

The 164th's gaining command changed to the Tactical Air Command (TAC) as it assumed a C-130 tactical airlift mission and it was redesignated as the 164th Tactical Airlift Group (164 TAG). However, the unit's presence in TAC was short-lived when in early 1975 all C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, to include the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, were transferred to the Military Airlift Command (MAC). Throughout the remainder of the 1970s, through the 1980s and into 1990, the 164 TAG provided worldwide tactical airlift support. Operation Desert Storm in 1991 brought on the activation of several units of the 164 TAG, with the 164th Mobile Aerial Port Squadron (164 MAPS) being the first Air National Guard Aerial Port unit activated, subsequently serving a six-month tour in Southwest Asia with distinction.

C-141B Starlifter

C-141 Operations[edit]

In April 1992, the 164 TAG's C-130s were transferred to other units when the 164th received the first of eight C-141 Starlifter aircraft. With this conversion came the strategic airlift mission and redesignation as the 164th Airlift Group (164 AG). With the disestablishment of Military Airlift Command (MAC) in 1992, the unit became an operationally-gained asset of the newly established Air Mobility Command (AMC) and was later redesignated the 164th Airlift Wing on 1 October 1995.

In 2004, the 164th retired the C-141B and began operating its current aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy.[2]

C-5 Operations[edit]

Billboard of the Air National Guard's 164th Airlift Wing with C-5

In 2006, Colonel Bob Wilson, a former Commander of the 155th Airlift Squadron, a former Deputy Commander for Operations of the 164th Airlift Wing and a veteran Command Pilot of over 30 years experience in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2006.[3]

2008 brought momentous changes to the 164th:

Due to organizational restructuring in the U.S. Air Force, the 164th Aerial Port Squadron was disbanded and the USAF career fields under Aerial Port were relocated into other functional areas including Logistical Readiness and the Traffic Management Office, among others.

In September 2008, the 164 AW relocated from its former facility on Democrat Road to a new air national guard base on Swinnea Road, the new base having been designed to provide adequate facilities to support the size and mission of the C-5A, including 3 maintenance hangars large enough to fully enclose a C-5. The old air national guard facility and property was purchased by FedEx and utilized for its air operations at Memphis International Airport.[4]

C-17 Operations[edit]

C-17 Globemaster IIIs on a low-level training mission over the Blue Ridge Mountains in the eastern U.S.

In January 2013, the 164 AW received the first of its new C-17A Globemaster III aircraft and the final of 8 aircraft arrived in December 2013.[5]


  • Designated 164th Air Transport Group, and allotted to Tennessee ANG, 1961
Extended federal recognition and activated, 1 April 1961
Re-designated: 164th Military Airlift Group, 8 January 1966
Re-designated: 164th Tactical Airlift Group, 1 March 1971
Re-designated: 164th Airlift Group, 16 April 1992
Status changed from Group to Wing, 1 October 1995


Gained by: Military Air Transport Service
Gained by: Military Airlift Command, 8 January 1966
Gained by: Tactical Air Command, 1 March 1971
Gained by: Military Airlift Command, 1 December 1973
Gained by: Air Mobility Command, 1 June 1992
Gained by: Air Mobility Command


Squadron assigned to Group entire period




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

External links[edit]