182d Fighter Squadron
|182d Fighter Squadron|
182d Fighter Squadron General Dynamics F-16C Block 30F Fighting Falcon 87-255 returning to Lackland Air Force Base after being painted to honor the 65th anniversary of the 182d Fighter Squadron affiliation with the Texas ANG
|Branch||Air National Guard|
|Part of||Texas Air National Guard|
|Garrison/HQ||Kelly Field Annex, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas|
|Engagements||World War II
|Emblem of the 182d Fighter Squadron|
The 182d Fighter Squadron (182 FS) is a unit of the Texas Air National Guard 149th Fighter Wing located at Kelly Field Annex, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. The 115th is equipped with the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon.
World War II
Established in mid-1943 as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron, trained under I Fighter Command on Long Island and Massachusetts. Moved to England, arriving in January 1944. Began operations with IX Fighter Command on 14 March and flew a fighter sweep over the English Channel coast of France. Made strafing and bombing attacks on airfields, rail and highway bridges, trains, vehicles, flak positions, and V-weapon sites to help prepare for the invasion of France.
Supported the landings in Normandy early in June 1944 and began operations from the Continent later the same month. Aided in the taking of Cherbourg, participated in the air operations that prepared the way for the Allied breakthrough at St Lo on 25 July, and supported ground forces during their drive across France.
Continued to support ground forces, participated in the assault against the Siegfried Line, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) by attacking rail lines and trains, marshalling yards, roads and vehicles, armored columns, and gun positions. Operated with the Allied forces that pushed across the Rhine and into Germany.
After V-E Day, served with the army of occupation, being assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Inactivated in Germany on 20 August 1946.
Texas Air National Guard
The wartime 396th Fighter Squadron was re-designated as the 182d Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the Texas Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at the Brooks Army Airfield and was extended federal recognition on 27 January 1947 by the National Guard Bureau. The 182d Fighter Squadron was bestowed the lineage, history, honors, and colors of the 396th Fighter Squadron. The squadron was assigned to the Texas Air National Guard 136th Fighter Group and was equipped with F-51D Mustangs.
The mission of the squadron was the air defense of Texas. During the postwar years, the 182d the 111th primarily trained the Hill Country and west Texas; the 181st Fighter Squadron, based at Love Field, Dallas, covered the north Texas, and the 111th Fighter Squadron, based at Houston Municipal Airport, covered east and southeast Texas to the Mexican Border.
Korean War Activation
As a result of the Korean War, the Texas Air National Guard was federalized and placed on active-duty status on 10 October 1950, being assigned to Ninth Air Force, Tactical Air Command (TAC). TAC ordered the 136th Fighter Group to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where the unit was re-designated to a Fighter-Bomber unit, and its status was changed to a Wing. At Langley, the 136th Fighter-Bomber Wing consisted of the following units:
- 111th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
- 182d Fighter-Bomber Squadron
- 154th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (Arkansas ANG).
At Langley AFB, the 136th trained with their F-51D Mustangs. Unfortunately losing two 111th FBS pilots in a training accident on 15 December. A third pilot was killed on 27 January 1951 in another accident. In February 1951, the aged F-51Ds that the unit had been flying since its activation in 1947 were replaced by F-84E Thunderjets, and the squadron began transition training on the jet fighter-bomber. Most of the training took place at Langley, although some pilots were sent to Shaw AFB, South Carolina. Maintenance crews, all new to jet aircraft, were trained at Langley and engine specialists were sent to the Allision plant in Indianapolis. Assigned to the Arkansas ANG 154th FBS at the time was a Navy exchange pilot, future NASA astronaut Lieutenant Walter Shirra (who happened to be the only pilot assigned to the 136th at the time who was a qualified jet pilot).
In May 1951, less than seven months later, the wing was deployed to Japan, being attached to Far East Air Force and stationed at Itazuke Air Force Base, the first echelon of the 136th arriving on 18 May. The 136th replaced the Strategic Air Command 27th Fighter-Escort Wing, which had deployed to Far East Air Force in the early days of the Korean War. At Itazuke, the squadrons took over the F-84Es of the 27th FEW, which remained in place, its aircraft being reassigned from SAC to Far East Air Force inventory records. On 2 June, the final elements of the 136th arrived in Japan, the national guardsmen officially relieved the 27th Fighter Bomber Wing and the SAC airmen departed for the United States. The 136th was the first Air National Guard wing in history to enter combat.
From Japan the wing engaged in combat operations over South Korea, however flying in the North Pacific area was a challenge to the wing, losing seven F-84Es in non-combat operations and three in combat. On 26 June, in one of the largest air-to-air battles in Korea, two 182d FBS pilots, Captain Harry Underwood and 1st LT Arthur Olighter shot down an enemy MiG-15 that broke though an F-86 Sabre escort of four B-29s. Two other 111th FBS pilots, 1st Lt John Morse and John Marlins scored probables in the same encounter. These were the first combat victories by Air National Guard pilots. On 3 July the 136th sent their aircraft to North Korea, attacking FLAK batteries in downtown Pyongyang while other aircraft attacked North Korean airfields.
However, the short-legged F-84 had limited combat time over Korea, therefore on 16 November 1951 the wing moved to Taegu Air Force Base (K-2) in South Korea for its combat operations. In 1952, the 136th was re-equipped with the F-84G Thunderjet, designed for tactical close air support of ground forces.
During its time in combat, the 136th flew 15,515 combat sorties; was credited with 4 enemy aircraft destroyed; 7 probables and 72 others damaged. It was the first ANG unit to down a MiG-15; it dropped 23,749 (7,120 tons) of bombs and expended over 3 million rounds of .50 caliber ammunition; being awarded Five Korean Campaign Ribbons. The 136th Fighter-Bomber Wing was released from active duty and returned to the United States on 10 July 1952
Air Defense Command
With the 182d's return from the Korean War, the squadron was re-equipped with the Very Long Range (VLR) F-51H Mustang, which had been developed to escort B-29 Superfortress bombers in the Pacific Theater from the Mariana Islands to the Japanese Home Islands. The F-51H would allow the squadron to intercept any unidentified aircraft over any part of Texas. The squadron became part of Air Defense Command (ADC) and resumed its postwar mission of Texas air defense.
It was not until August 1956 that the 182d received first-generation F-80C Shooting Star jets, replacing some of the last F-51H Mustangs in the USAF inventory. In 1957, the squadron was selected by the Air Defense Command to man a runway alert program on full 24-hour basis - with armed jet fighters ready to "scramble" at a moment's notice. This event brought the wing into the daily combat operational program of the USAF, placing us on "the end of the runway" alongside regular USAF-Air Defense Fighter Squadrons. The obsolescent F-80 day fighters were upgraded to the all-weather/day/night F-86D Sabre Interceptor by the end of the year. In June 1959 the squadron traded their F-86Ds for the upgraded F-86L Sabre Interceptor with uprated afterburning engines and new electronics.
In July 1960 the unit became one of the first to transition to the F-102A Delta Dagger Mach-2 all-weather interceptor and began a 24-hour alert to guard the Texas Gulf coast. The 182d enjoyed the distinction of being the first F-102 "Deuce" squadron in the Air National Guard.
When flight operations ended at Brooks AFB in October 1960, the squadron was moved to nearby Kelly Air Force Base, beginning operations on 1 November 1960. In August 1961, as part of an Air Defense Command re-organization, the 182d Fighter Interceptor Squadron's assignment to 136th Air Defense Wing was terminated with 136th being transferred to Tactical Air Command. As a result, the 182d was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 149th Fighter-Interceptor Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 182d Fighter Interceptor Squadron became the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 149th Headquarters, 149th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 149th Combat Support Squadron, and the 149th USAF Dispensary. The 149th was directly assigned to the Texas Air National Guard, being operationally gained by the Air Defense Command 33d Air Division.
As with many other ANG squadrons, the 182d temporally operated two TF-102 twin-seat trainers for ANG F-102 pilots while remaining on runway alert status. Also, the squadron operated T-33A Shooting Star jet trainers and a Convair VT-29 transport for courier duties.
Tactical Air Support
In 1968, the Air National Guard began to retire its F-102s and the 182d was ordered to send their aircraft to Davis-Monthan AFB for storage at AMARC. In July, as part of the drawdown of continental fighter air defense, the 149th FIG was transferred from Aerospace Defense Command to Tactical Air Command (TAC), with the Group and 182d being re-designated as a Tactical Fighter Group and Squadron.
As an interim measure, the 182d Tactical Fighter Squadron was re-equipped with obsolescent F-84F Thunderjets by TAC. The squadron was the second-to-last ANG squadron to fly the F-84F. During the summer of 1971 the 182d began to receive F-100D/F Super Sabre tactical fighter bombers. The 182d was one of the first ANG squadrons to receive the Super Sabre, as most were being operated in South Vietnam at the time. The F-100s received by the squadron were aircraft being withdrawn from the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Wethersfield, England, when Wethersfield was being closed for flight operations, and the wing being re-equipped with the new General Dynamics F-111 at a new base, RAF Upper Heyford.
The Super Sabre was dedicated fighter-bomber, with no concession being made to a secondary air-superiority role and the squadron trained in using the fighter for ground support. Beginning in 1975, the 182d began a NATO commitment, with squadron aircraft and personnel deploying to the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) for Autumn Forge/Cold Fire/Reforger exercises.
By 1979, the Super Sabres were being retired, and were replaced by McDonnell F-4C Phantom IIs, largely Vietnam War veteran aircraft, that were made available to the Air National Guard. With the Phantom, the 182d continued their tactical fighter mission with the more capable aircraft. The squadron also continued its NATO deployments, exercising at USAFE bases in West Germany, England, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In 1986, the Phantoms were reaching the end of the operational service, and they were replaced by the F-16A Fighting Falcon. The F-16s were transferred from the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia. Initially the squadron began to receive Block 15 single-seat F-16As, and a few twin-seat F-16Bs. The Block 15 was the major production model of the F-16A. The F-16s received were modified the Air National Guard's new priority in the 1980s, when it was assigned the primary responsibility of the aerial defense of the continental United States. The aircraft received were the F-16A Air Defense (ADF) variant, being equipped with HF radio and an improved APG-66 radar that was compatible with the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided missiles for air-to-air interceptor missions. A spotlight was installed on the side of the nose to aid in the identification of nighttime intruders. At its peak, the ANG ADF force equipped a defensive chain which surrounded the entire perimeter of the continental United States.
Higher-performance Block 25 F-16C/D aircraft replaced the Block 15 A/B model aircraft in 1996. Although similar in appearance to the earlier models, the Block 25 aircraft were a considerable advancement with the Westinghouse AN/APG-68(V) multi-mode radar with better range, sharper resolution, and expanded operating modes. The planar array in the nose provides numerous air-to-air modes, including range-while-search, uplook and velocity search, single target track, raid cluster resolution, and track-while-scan for up to 10 targets. The radar was capable of handling the guidance of the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile. Upgraded engines made the aircraft capable of Mach-2 performance.
However, the Block 25 aircraft were all powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan, which were prone to engine stalls. In 1998, the squadron received Block 30 aircraft, with wider intakes and the General Electric F-110 engine. However, by the mid-1990s and with the end of the Cold War, there appeared to be no longer any threat to America's homeland from bombers or cruise missiles.
In 1999, the mission of the 149th Fighter Group was changed from Air Combat operations to becoming a Formal Training Unit (FTU) for Air National Guard F-16 pilots under Air Education and Training Command. The 182d provides combat training for active duty, Air National Guard, and Reserve F-16 pilots, including recent graduates from USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training making them combat ready upon graduation of a 9 month course. Almost all instructor pilots within the unit are former active duty F-16 pilots.
Although the squadron is not officially a combat unit, after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and 2002, the squadron flew Operation Noble Eagle air defense missions in the United States in support of USNORTHCOM and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It also deploys to other bases, flying Dissimilar air combat training missions against active-duty, reserve and ANG units.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign the 178th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard to an MQ-1 Predator ISR mission and transfer six additional Block 30 F-16 aircraft to the 182d Fighter Squadron. DoD claimed that its recommendation was made because Lackland (Kelly Annex) (47) had higher military value than Springfield-Beckley AGB (128). This recommendation also would optimize the squadron size of the 182d, the only ANG F-16 Flying Training Unit.
The squadron's Block 30 aircraft, manufactured between 1987 and 1989 are currently reaching the end of their service life. They have been certified by Boeing though at least 2015, however it is unclear what aircraft or what the mission of the unit will transition to in the future.
- Constituted 396th Fighter Squadron on 24 May 1943.
- Activated on 1 June 1943
- Inactivated on 20 August 1946
- Re-designated 182d Fighter Squadron and allotted to Texas Air National Guard on 21 August 1946
- Extended federal recognition on 27 January 1947
- Federalized and ordered to active service on: 10 October 1950
- Re-designated: 182d Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 19 April 1951
- Released from active duty and returned to Texas state control, 10 July 1952
- Re-designated: 182d Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 10 July 1952
- Re-designated: 182d Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 1 July 1955
- Re-designated: 182d Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1 July 1968
- Re-designated: 182d Fighter Squadron, 16 March 1992
- Components designated as: 182d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron when deployed as part of an Air and Space Expeditionary unit after June 1996.
- 368th Fighter Group, 1 Jun 1943 - 20 Aug 1946
- 136th Fighter Group, 27 January 1947
- 136th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 20 July 1952
- 136th Fighter-Bomber Group, 1 January 1953
- 136th Air Defense Group, 1 July 1957
- 149th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 1 August 1961
- 149th Tactical Fighter Group, 1 July 1968
- 149th Fighter Group, 16 March 1992
- 149th Operations Group, 1 October 1995 – Present
- Maurer, Maurer. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force: World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1982.
- Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
- Cornett, Lloyd H. and Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson AFB, CO (1980).
- 396th Fighter Squadron "Thunder Bums"
- 149th Fighter Wing history
- David. Republic F-84 Thunderjet, Thunderstreak & Thunderflash: A Photo Chronicle. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military/Aviation History, 1998. ISBN 0-7643-0444-5.
- Donald, David (2004). Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War. AIRtime. ISBN 1-880588-68-4 Image source listed as United States Air Force
- F-16.net Past and current F-16 airframes assigned to USAF 182 FS