175th Wing

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175th Wing
104th Fighter Squadron A-10C landing at Mud Lake at the Nevada Test and Training Range.jpg
An A-10C assigned to the 104th Fighter Squadron


135th Airlift Squadron C-27J Spartan.jpg


135th Airlift Squadron C-27J Spartan
Active 1962-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Maryland
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Composite fighter and tactical airlift
Size Approximately 1,500 full-time and traditional part-time members
Part of Maryland Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Maryland
Motto Librati In Promptu (“Poised in Readiness”)
Tail Code "MD" "Baltimore" tail stripe
Commanders
Current
commander
Col Scott L. Kelly
Insignia
175th Wing emblem 175th Wing.png

The 175th Wing (175 WG) is a unit of the Maryland Air National Guard, stationed at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Maryland. If activated to federal service, components of the Wing are gained by the United States Air Force Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command and the United States Air Forces in Europe.

The 104th Fighter Squadron, assigned to the wing's 175th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the 104th Observation Squadron, established on 29 June 1921. It is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II. It is the oldest unit in the Maryland Air National Guard, having over 90 years of service to the state and nation.

Overview[edit]

The 175th Wing is fighter unit and has two active USAF gaining commands: the Air Combat Command for its fighter aircraft and United States Air Forces in Europe for its 235th Civil Engineer Flight.

The wing comprises one flying unit, the 104th Fighter Squadron, as well as support units including security forces, engineers, communications, logistics, aerial port and administrative support functions. Approximately 1,500 full-time and traditional part-time members of the Maryland Air National Guard are assigned to the 175 WG.

The 175th Wing has both federal and state missions.

  • Federal: In peacetime, the 175th Wing prepares for wartime taskings and to augment active military forces. In wartime, provides close air support and tactical airlift capability to meet the needs of combatant commanders worldwide.
  • State: Provides assistance to state authorities during natural disasters, civil disturbances and other emergencies at the call of the governor and provides combat and support forces for homeland defense.

Units[edit]

The 175th Wing is composed of the following major units:

  • 175th Operations Group
104th Fighter Squadron, A-10C Thunderbolt II
  • 175th Mission Support Group
  • 175th Maintenance Group
  • 175th Medical Group
  • 175th Network Warfare Squadron
  • 235th Civil Engineer Flight

Heraldry[edit]

Symbolism: Blue and yellow are the Air Force colors. Blue alludes to the sky, the primary theater of Air Force Operations. Yellow refers to the sun and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. The crossbow symbolizes the fighter mission and the Pegasus denotes the airlift mission. The representation of the Maryland state flag reflects the consolidation of these two missions within the wing and also indicates the unit's home location.

Background: Approved by Air Force on 23 August 1996. This insignia superseded one previously approved by the Air Force for the 175th Fighter Group following that unit's re-designation as the 175th Wing.

History[edit]

On 1 October 1962, the Maryland Air National Guard the 175th Tactical Fighter Group was federally recognized and activated by the National Guard Bureau. The 104th TFS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 175th Headquarters, 175th Material and Supply Squadron, 175th Combat Support Squadron, and the 175th USAF Dispensary. Equipped with F-86H Sabres, the 175th TFG was operationally gained by Tactical Air Command.

Tactical Air Command[edit]

104th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86Hs during 1968 Pueblo Crisis, Cannon AFB, New Mexico painted in Southeast Asian Camouflage Motif North American F-86H-10-NH Sabre 53-1511 in foreground, tail of 53-1255 also shown. 53-1511 now on display at Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB, Georgia

On 13 May 1968 the 175th Tactical Fighter Group was federalized and ordered to active service. It was transferred to Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico along with the NY ANG 139th Tactical Fighter Squadron and 174th Tactical Fighter Squadron as well as the 104th TFS. At Cannon AFB, the Group's mission was to act as a filler unit for the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing which were deployed to the Vietnam War. At Cannon, the squadron trained active Air Force pilots in forward air controller duties. The unit did not deploy overseas. The units were returned to New York and Maryland state control on 20 December 1968 when the TAC 4429th Combat Crew Training Squadron was activated with regular active-duty Air Force personnel.

In 1970 the 175th TFG was realigned from a Tactical Fighter mission to a Special Operations mission when the F-86H Sabres were transferred after being with the 104th TFS for thirteen years. The 104th was one of the last ANG units to fly the F-86. The Sabres, however, were not retired, but instead transferred to the United States Navy which used them both as target drones and as MiG simulators for TOP GUN aggressor training. The F-86H had a similar size, shape, and performance as the MiG-17 fighter then being encountered over North Vietnam, and many a Navy F-4 pilot was "killed" by a F-86H Sabre during these mock battles.

In return, the 104th TFS received Cessna A-37 Dragonfly counter-insurgency aircraft. In the Vietnam War, the A-37 was a very effective ground support aircraft that was simple to operate, maintain and fly. The mission of the 104th was to train in the aircraft to support Air Force and Army special forces personnel and units. In 1974, after the end of American participation in Vietnam, the unit began supporting the Military Assistance Program (MAP) by supplying training to Latin American Air Forces. In addition, in the OA-37 configuration, the aircraft was used as a Forward Air Control (FAC) aircraft, that replaced the aging O-2 Skymaster. In the OA-37 configuration, the aircraft was equipped with small rocket pods, usually with smoke or white phosphorus warheads used for target marking.

In 1979, the 175th was the first Air National Guard unit to receive the A-10 Thunderbolt II ground support aircraft. The 104th received brand new A-10A Thunderbolt II attack aircraft from the factory in Hagerstown, Maryland. The unit continues to fly the latest version (A-10C) of the famed tank killer to this day.

Modern era[edit]

A-10 Thunderbolt II assigned to the 104th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing taking off at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 28, 2012.

Early in the 1990s with the declared end of the Cold War and the continued decline in military budgets, the Air Force restructured to meet changes in strategic requirements, decreasing personnel, and a smaller infrastructure. The 175th adopted the new USAF "Objective Organization" in early 1992, with the word "tactical" being eliminated from its designation and becoming the 175th Fighter Group. Tactical Air Command was inactivated on 1 June, being replaced by the new Air Combat Command (ACC).

During the early 1990s, the 135th participated in humanitarian relief efforts in Somalia, peacekeeping and humanitarian relief in Bosnia,

On 15 June 1996, in accordance with the Air Force "One Wing, One Base" directive, the units of the 135th Airlift Group and 175th Fighter Wing merged to form the 175th Wing. The 175th Wing, is a composite organization with an Air Combat Command-gained fighter unit, an Air Mobility Command-gained airlift unit, a United States Air Forces in Europe-gained civil engineer flight, and, since 2006, a network warfare squadron.

In mid-1996, the Air Force, in response to budget cuts, and changing world situations, began experimenting with Air Expeditionary organizations. The Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept was developed that would mix Active-Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard elements into a combined force. Instead of entire permanent units deploying as "Provisional" as in the 1991 Gulf War, Expeditionary units are composed of "aviation packages" from several wings, including active-duty Air Force, the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard, would be married together to carry out the assigned deployment rotation.

Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules aircraft (s/n 97-1351) from the 135th Airlift Squadron, 175th Wing.
135th Airlift Squadron - C-27J Spartan

The wing has been deeply involved in fielding the latest Air Force aircraft. In 1999, it dedicated its first C-130J Hercules, the latest and most advanced version of the venerable transport. The 135th had played a major role in the test and evaluation of the aircraft and its procedures and was the first fully equipped C-130J unit in the U.S. Air Force. The wing was also selected to be the Air Force's lead unit in converting to the new "precision engagement" A-10C Thunderbolt II. Wing personnel were deeply involved in the test and evaluation process and in September 2007, the 104th Fighter Squadron became the first unit to take the A-10C into combat, when it deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, members of the 175th Wing have repeatedly volunteered or been mobilized to take part in the Global War on Terrorism. From January to June 2003, the 104th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron was formed and deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, where it flew strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda forces and earned the distinction of being the longest-deployed Air National Guard fighter squadron at Bagram.

When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, the 175th Wing was among the first to respond, flying 42 relief missions and deploying nearly 200 troops to support recovery and relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi. From 2006 to 2008, numerous wing members deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border as part of Operation Jump Start, the National Guard mission supporting the U.S. Border Patrol.

BRAC 2005 determined to realign Martin State Air Guard Station (AGS), MD. Distribute the eight C- 130J aircraft of the 175th Wing (ANG) to the 146th Airlift Wing (ANG), Channel Islands AGS, CA (four aircraft), and 143d Airlift Wing (ANG), Quonset State Airport AGS, RI (four aircraft). In return, the 135th Airlift Squadron would receive the new C-27J Spartan Joint Cargo Aircraft (also known as the mini-herc).

Maryland Air National Guard marked its 90th year of operation in 2011. The year saw big changes for the unit with the transition from C-130J Hercules to the new C-27J Spartan Joint Cargo Aircraft that will allow the unit to continue airlift transport capabilities around the world.

The unit saw the completion of the $7.9 million 12 bay fire station, now centrally located on base to handle any aircraft emergencies. Joint HQ office provided support to more than 200 full-time members that were mobilized in 2011. The 175th Wing performed humanitarian and domestic operations as seen in the responses to the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Irene. Three lifesaving humanitarian airlift missions for 28 patients were performed as part of Joint Task Force Haiti. During Hurricane Irene, the wing established a receiving, staging and shipping warehouse operation to support various government agencies in distributing 195 pallets of water and food to Maryland locations throughout the state. The wing conducted operations in Cypress, Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Haiti, Estonia, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Beginning in July 2011, the 135th EAS along with the Ohio Air National Guard 164th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron began rotational deployments for joint operations of the C-27J from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan as the 702d Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. The 702d EAS flew the two aircraft on 3,200 missions, moved 1,400 tons of cargo, transported 25,000 passengers and executed 71 airdrops, according to Air Force data.

702d Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, 2012.

In June 2012, operations of the 702d EAS were suspended by the Air Force and returned to the United States. Originally, C-27J aircraft were supposed to remain in theater through 2014, but the Air Force decided to bring all of the aircraft back to the U.S. before the end of July after it submitted its 2013 budget proposal, which recommends terminating the C-27J and retiring the aircraft.[1]

L-3 Communications, which has maintained the aircraft in Afghanistan, is shutting down its operations in the country and is having its equipment withdrawn as well, an Air Force official said.

The Air Force decided to bring the aircraft back to the U.S. ahead of schedule because the maintenance contract with L-3 will expire this summer, the service official said. Keeping the aircraft in theater would mean spending an additional $20 million to $25 million in maintenance costs, the official said.

The end of the C-27J program "....would leave the Maryland Air Guard without the airlift capability it has used to deliver troops, equipment and supplies to isolated terrain in combat overseas and disasters in the United States.

"It also would leave the 250 pilots, loadmasters, maintenance workers and other personnel of the 135th Airlift Group without an assignment."[2][3] As a result of the termination of the C-27J program, the 135th Airlift Squadron and its parent unit, the 135th Airlift Group, were deactivated by the U.S. Air Force on September 30, 2013.

Lineage[edit]

Legacy 175th Tactical Fighter Group emblem
  • Designated: 175th Tactical Fighter Group, and allotted to Maryland ANG in 1962
Extended federal recognition on 1 October 1962
Federalized and ordered to active service on: 13 May 1968
Released from active duty and returned to Maryland control, 20 December 1968
Status changed from Group to Wing, 15 March 1992
Re-designated: 175th Fighter Wing, 15 March 1992
Re-designated: 175th Wing, 1 April 1996

Assignments[edit]

Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Air Combat Command, 1 June 1992
Re-organized 1 April 1996 with components gained by:
Air Combat Command, 104th Fighter Squadron
Air Mobility Command, 135th Airlift Squadron
United States Air Forces in Europe: 235th Civil Engineer Flight

Components[edit]

Stations[edit]

Designated: Warfield Air National Guard Base, Maryland, 1991-Present

Aircraft[edit]

Decorations[edit]

Awarded: 1999-2001; 1998-1999; 1996; 1992-1994; 2006-2007; 2007-2009

References[edit]

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

  1. ^ 702nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron deactivates at Kandahar Airfield
  2. ^ Brown, Matthew Hay, "Maryland Air National Guard losing planes, mission - Other areas being added, but Air Force cancellation of C27J program nationwide to leave state without airlift capability for disasters, war", The Baltimore Sun, Monday 20 February 2012.
  3. ^ "C27J Spartan: Maryland Air National Guard losing planes, mission. - baltimoresun.com". Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  4. ^ Air Force Personnel Center Awards Search (Post-1991)

External links[edit]