172d Air Support Squadron

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172d Air Support Squadron
172nd Air Support Squadron in the Field.jpg
Airman 1st Class Nickolas Holbrook, 110th Airlift Wing, Communications Flight, prepares simulated rockets for overhead C-130s at Grayling Air Gunnery Range, Frederic, Mich.
Active 10 February 1943 – present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Michigan
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Squadron
Role Airfield Support
Part of Michigan Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan
Engagements World War II
172d Air Support Squadron emblem 172d Airlift Squadron - Emblem.png

The 172d Air Support Squadron is a unit of the Michigan Air National Guard 110th Airlift Wing located at Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan. The 172d was last equipped with the C-21A Learjet before the aircraft were transferred in 2013.


World War II[edit]

P-51 Mustangs of the 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group July 26, 1944

Established in early-1943 as the 375th Fighter Squadron and equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, the squadron trained under I Fighter Command in the mid-Atlantic states. Also flew air-defense missions as part of the Philadelphia Fighter Wing. Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Fighter Command in England, November 1943.

The unit served primarily as an escort organization, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of B-17/B-24 bomber formations that the USAAF sent against targets on the Continent. The squadron also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. Attacked such targets as airdromes, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways. During its operations, the unit participated in the assault against the Luftwaffe and aircraft industry during the Big Week, February 20–25, 1944, and the attack on transportation facilities prior to the Normandy invasion and support of the invasion forces thereafter, including the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July.

The squadron supported the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September, 1944, and deployed to Chievres Airdrome, (ALG A-84), Belgium between February and April, 1945, flying tactical ground support missions during the airborne assault across the Rhine. The unit returned to Little Walden and flew its last combat mission on April 20, 1945. Demobilized during the summer of 1945 in England, inactivated in the United States as a paper unit in October.

Michigan Air National Guard[edit]

After the war, the squadron was allotted to the Michigan Air National Guard in March 1946 as the 172d Fighter Squadron. It was organized and equipped with P-51D Mustangs at Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, Michigan in 1947. This was the same year the United States Air Force became an independent branch of the armed forces and the 172d Fighter Squadron received federal recognition as an Air National Guard squadron.

Activation during the Korean War[edit]

In February 1951 the 172d Fighter Squadron was called to active duty for the Korean War and assigned to Air Defense Command (ADC). Upon activation it was redesignated the 172d Fighter Interceptor Squadron and moved to Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan, where it was assigned to the 56th Fighter-Interceptor Wing. However, ADC experienced difficulty under the existing wing base organizational structure in deploying its fighter squadrons to best advantage.[1] As a result, in February 1952 the squadron was reassigned to the 4708th Defense Wing, a regional organization.[2] The squadron was released from active service and returned to the Michigan Air National Guard on 1 November 1952 and its mission, personnel and F-51 Mustangs were transferred to the 431st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which activated the same day at Selfridge.[3]

Return to National Guard Service[edit]

The 172d Fighter Interceptor Squadron flew the P/F-51 Mustang until 1954. The 172d, redesignated as a Fighter-Bomber Squadron, transitioned into the North American F-86 Sabre Jet. The Unit flew this aircraft only until 1955 when they transitioned into the more sophisticated Northrop F-89 Scorpion. In 1956, the National Guard Bureau announced that the 172d Fighter-Bomber Squadron would become part of the newly created 110th Fighter Group. The Unit flew the F-89 Scorpion until 1958. In 1958, the 172d Fighter-Bomber Squadron traded its F-89’s for a new mission and a new aircraft, the Martin RB-57A Canberra and the reconnaissance mission.

The 172d, now designated as the 172d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew RB-57A’s until 1971. In 1971, the Unit’s mission changed again to the Forward Air Control (FAC) mission, with the transition to the O-2 Skymaster, which it flew until 1980 when it transition to the OA-37 Dragonfly. The 172d was the last USAF/ANG unit to fly the Dragonfly. The dedicated FAC mission lasted until the 172d transitioned to the Fairchild/Republic A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, AKA “Warthog” in 1991 and was re-designated the 172d Fighter Squadron.

The squadron served in several United Nations Operations and contingencies throughout the world. From Bosnia, to Kosovo, to Alaska and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In 2009, the squadron was realigned from a fighter squadron to an Airlift Squadron flying the C-21A. On July 12, 2013, the last C-21 departed, and the unit reverted to an air support squadron.[4]


Emblem of the World War II 375th Fighter Squadron
  • Constituted 375th Fighter Squadron on 28 Jan 1943
Activated on 10 Feb 1943
Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945
  • Re-designated as 172d Fighter Squadron, Single Engine and allotted to Michigan Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946
Received federal recognition and was activated on 16 September 1947
Federalized and placed on active duty, 10 February 1951
Designated as 172d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 10 February 1951
Released from active duty and returned to Michigan state control, 1 November 1952
Re-designated as 172d Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 1 November 1952
Re-designated as 172d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1 November 1953
Re-designated as 172d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 1 October 1962
Re-designated as 172d Tactical Air Support Squadron, 1 July 1971
Re-designated as 172d Fighter Squadron, 16 October 1991
Re-designated as 172d Airlift Squadron, 1 March 2009
Re-designated as 172d Air Support Squadron, 2013




See also[edit]


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

  1. ^ Grant, C.L., The Development of Continental Air Defense to 1 September 1954, (1961), USAF Historical Study No. 126, p. 33
  2. ^ Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980 (PDF). Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 123. 
  3. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 532–533. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. 
  4. ^ http://www.freep.com/article/C4/20130714/BUSINESS06/307140055/Michigan%20Business

External links[edit]