142nd Wing

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142nd Wing
142d Fighter Wing - F-15 Eagle.jpg
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle takes off from the Portland Air National Guard Base 2 October 2010.
Active1943–1945; 1946–present
Country United States
Allegiance Oregon
BranchUS-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
RoleFighter/Air Defense/Special Tactics
Part ofOregon Air National Guard
Garrison/HQPortland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Oregon
Motto(s)Semper Vigilans
(Latin: "Always ready")
Colonel Todd A. Hofford[1]
142nd Wing emblem142nd Wing.png
142nd Fighter Wing emblem142d Fighter Wing.svg
142nd Fighter Wing emblem142nd Fighter Wing.png

The 142nd Wing is a unit of the Oregon Air National Guard, stationed at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon.

As a state militia unit, the 142nd Wing is not in the normal United States Air Force chain of command. It is under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Air National Guard unless it is federalized by order of the President of the United States. If activated to federal service, the wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Combat Command.

The 123rd Fighter Squadron assigned to the wing's 142nd Operations Group, is a descendant organization of 123rd Observation Squadron, formed on 30 July 1940. It is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.

The 142nd Wing is also home to the 125th Special Tactics Squadron (STS), which conducts a wide array of special forces operations both domestically, and internationally. According to the 125th STS mission statement, the squadron is "poised for full spectrum rapid response to all crises and contingencies at home or abroad".[2] Additionally, the 125th STS is one of only two Special Tactics Units in the Air National Guard.[2] The inclusion of the 125th STS under the Wing led to the organization re-designating itself as the 142nd Wing in order to better articulate the varied capabilities of the organization.[3]


The 142nd Wing participates around the globe supporting drug interdiction, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) air defense, as well as contingency operations such as Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. The wing serves the nation, state, and community by providing mission-ready units, personnel, and equipment for:

Today the fighting "Redhawks" continue service as a component of the total force flying the F-15C/D, providing air defense and air superiority capabilities. With more than 1,000 officers and Airman, the unit guards the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canada–US border, on 24-hour alert as part of the North American Air Defense (NORAD) system.


Tech from 142nd Fighter Wing working on a communications tower

To complete these missions, four groups are assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing

  • 142nd Operations Group
-116th Air Control Squadron, Camp Rilea AFTC, Warrenton
-123rd Fighter Squadron
-125th Special Tactics Squadron
-123rd Weather Flight
  • 142nd Maintenance Group
  • 142nd Mission Support Group
  • 142nd Medical Group

In addition, Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Oregon is host to several tenant units as well as the Air Force Reserve 304th Rescue Squadron.


World War II[edit]

Republic P-47D-28-RE Thunderbolt, AAF Ser. No. 44-200284, of the 404th Fighter Squadron (photo taken at Fürth/Industrieflughafen, Germany.)

Formed at Westover Field, Massachusetts in August 1943, the 371st Fighter Group trained in the mid-Atlantic area, and moved to the European theater during February and March 1944, serving in combat with 9th Air Force from April 1944 to May 1945.

During this time, the 371st Fighter Group began operations, using P-47 fighter aircraft over France. This involved dive-bombing, and escort missions prior to the invasion of Europe. Additionally, the 371st attacked railroads, trains, vehicles, gun emplacements, and buildings in France during the invasion on June 6, 1944. The Fighter Group also patrolled beachhead areas and continued its assaults against the enemy during the remainder of the Normandy campaign. This included participation in the aerial barrage that prepared the way for the Allied breakthrough at St Lo on July 25, and supported the subsequent drive across northern France.

Operated in the area of northeastern France and southwestern Germany during the fall and winter of 1944–1945, attacking such targets as storage dumps, trains, rail lines, marshalling yards, buildings, factories, bridges, roads, vehicles, and strong points. Conducted operations that supported Allied ground action in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944–January 1945. Launched a series of attacks against vehicles, factories, buildings, railroad cars, tanks, and gun emplacements during the period 15–21 March 1945, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for this six-day action that contributed to the defeat of the enemy in southern Germany.

Continued operations until May 1945. Returned to the US, October and November 1945, and inactivated.

Oregon Air National Guard[edit]

The wartime 371st Fighter Group was re-activated and re-designated as the 142nd Fighter Group, and was allotted to the Oregon Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Portland Municipal Airport, Oregon, and was extended federal recognition on 30 August 1946 by the National Guard Bureau. The 142nd Fighter Group was bestowed the history, honors, and colors of the 371st Fighter Group. The group's 123rd Fighter Squadron was equipped with P-51D Mustangs and was assigned to the Fourth Air Force, Air Defense Command.

Korean War activation[edit]

The group was federalized and brought to active duty on March 2, 1951. It was assigned to the Air Defense Command Western Air Defense Force. Afterwards, it was then reassigned to the federalized Washington Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter-Interceptor Wing in April 1951, and moved to O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, by May of the same year. The organization was then re-designated as the 142nd Fighter-Interceptor Group on May 1, 1951. At O'Hare International Airport, the 142nd Fighter Group controlled the 62nd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron flying F-86A Sabre interceptors.

The group was inactivated on 6 February 1952, being replaced by the 4706th Air Defense Wing.

Cold War[edit]

A two-seat McDonnell F-101B Voodoo

Resuming its peacetime mission of the air defense of Oregon, Air Defense Command (ADC) upgraded the groups capabilities by allocating the F-94A Starfire all-weather interceptor. With this new aircraft, the mission of the 123rd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron changed from day interceptor to day and night all-weather interceptor. In 1957 the 123rd again upgraded to the improved F-89J Scorpion, and again upgraded to the supersonic F-102A Delta Dagger in 1966. In the summer of 1958, the 142nd implemented the ADC Runway Alert Program, in which interceptors of the 123rd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron were committed to a five-minute runway alert 24/7. The runway alert continues to this day.

In 1972 it received the Mach-2 F-101B Voodoo. As an example of the unit's readiness and capability, in 1976, the unit won top honors at a pair of Aerospace Defense Command (ADC) competitions, the Weapons Loading Competition and the famous William Tell Air Defense Competition. In William Tell 1976, the 142nd garnered first place in the F-101 category and Lieutenant Colonel Don Tonole and Major Brad Newell captured the overall "Top Gun" title flying the McDonnell F-101B Voodoo.

After the inactivation of Aerospace Defense Command in 1979 and the reassignment to Tactical Air Command (ADTAC), the 123rd began receiving F-4C Phantom II aircraft used in the interceptor mission beginning in 1981. Success came again at William Tell 1984 when the unit placed first in the F-4 category flying the McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II and beat many of its F-15 Eagle and F-106 Delta Dart rivals in the overall competition. Majors Ron Moore and Bill De Jager were the overall F-4 "Top Guns" of the competition.

In 1985, as part of the retirement of the F-4C from the inventory, the Oregon Air National Guard began to receive F-15A Eagles from active-duty units receiving the upgraded F-15C. Since the end of the Cold War, the 142nd has served as the principal air defense unit of the Pacific Northwest. In 1992, as part of a large USAF reorganization, both the group and squadron were re-designated yet again as the 142nd Fighter Group and the 123rd Fighter Squadron, respectively. In 1995 the group was elevated to wing status, beginning its current designation as the 142nd Fighter Wing.

The wing participated in a wide variety of expeditionary and humanitarian assistance missions in the turbulent post-Cold War environment while providing air defense of the Pacific Northwest. These included major deployments to Turkey in 1998 for Operation Northern Watch and to Saudi Arabia in 2000 for Operation Southern Watch. The wing deployed aircraft to Panama in 1998 in support of counter-drug missions, helping stem the flow of the drug trade by air. Wing personnel deployed on various other missions, sending medical troops to Belize, civil engineers to Macedonia, and to such places around the globe as Curaçao, Denmark, Germany, Guam, Kuwait, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Global War on Terrorism[edit]

On September 11, 2001, the wing was one of the first units to respond to the terrorist attacks on the east coast with increased air defense to enhance security on the west coast, and subsequently participated in Operation Noble Eagle.

In the 50th Year of William Tell Anniversary Competition held in 2004, the 142nd Fighter Wing was rated first in maintenance, element attack and gun categories. These William Tell successes demonstrate Oregon's long history of excellent performance and readiness to accomplish the real world mission.

In 2004, unit personnel provided humanitarian aid in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 2007 floods in Vernonia, Oregon. The wing also supported ongoing contingency operations in Southwest Asia, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, such as in the 2004 deployment of medical personnel to Qatar and the 2009 deployment of Security Forces Squadron personnel to Iraq.

In 2005, the early 1970s F-15A model were retired and the squadron received its current aircraft, the F-15C Eagle. With more than 1,000 officers and airmen, the 142nd Fighter Wing guards the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canada–US border, on 24-hour Air Sovereignty Alert as part of Air Combat Command the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The wing also stands ready to participate in state and federal contingency missions as required.

The base was selected by the 2005 BRAC to close. Eleventh-hour negotiations between the political delegations from the states of Washington and Oregon saved the base from closure. Ironically the argument made by several groups to save the base was that of the NORAD mission it performed and the air cover it provided for the Pacific Northwest was essential to homeland security. However, the 2005 BRAC commission recommended keeping a small detachment in place at the base in order to support NORAD but close all other operations. As part of the recommendations of the 2005 BRAC, the Air Force Reserve Command's 939th Air Refueling Wing which was also located on the Portland Air National Guard Station was forced to terminate operations.

On June 26, 2007, an F-15 Eagle from the 142nd Fighter Wing crashed into the Pacific Ocean during a simulated dogfight. Two F-15s from the 142nd were flying with two F/A-18 Hornets from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base performing dissimilar air combat training. The United States Coast Guard performed a search using two HH-60 Jayhawks, two Coast Guard Cutters, and one HC-130 Hercules. The night of the crash, the pilot, Major Gregory Young's body was found 40 miles west of Cannon Beach, Oregon.[4] The crash was due to unrecognized spatial disorientation, which caused the pilot to misperceive his attitude, altitude, and airspeed until his aircraft impacted the water.

In August 2010, two F-15 Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing were dispatched to Seattle, Washington, during a visit by President Barack Obama. The aircraft were scrambled due to a civilian aircraft violating protected airspace established for the President's visit.[5] The jets produced two sonic booms over the Seattle skyline, the civilian Cessna 182 left restricted airspace before the jets arrived.

On August 10, 2018, two F-15C's from the 142nd, both originally Massachusetts Air National Guard fighters on a "swap" to the Oregon Air National Guard, intercepted a stolen Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop over Seattle.[6] The fighters armed with live AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, intercepted and escorted the plane away from populated areas before it crashed on Ketron Island, near McChord Air Force Base.[6]

In June 2019, the 142nd Fighter Wing celebrated 30 years of flying the F-15 aircraft.[7] Due in part to the organizations increased familiarity with the aircraft, the 142nd Wing was selected as one of the first operational wings to receive the F-15 EX "Eagle II" fighter jet. The aircraft is slated to arrive sometime in 2024, or 2025.[8]

The unit was redesignated as the 142nd Wing as of 6 March 2020, following the addition of the 125th Special Tactics Squadron to the wing.[3]

In February 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Kate Brown activated the Oregon National Guard to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the public. As part of this effort, members of the 142nd Medical Group worked to administer the vaccine at the Oregon Convention Center mass vaccination site.[9]


Legacy 142nd Air Defense Wing Emblem
  • Constituted as 371st Fighter Group on 25 May 1943
Activated on 15 July 1943
Inactivated on 10 November 1945
  • Redesignated 142nd Fighter Group. Allotted to Oregon ANG on 24 May 1946
Extended federal recognition on 30 August 1946
  • Established as 142nd Fighter Wing, extended federal recognition and activated on 1 November 1950
142nd Fighter Group assigned as subordinate unit
Federalized and placed on active duty, 2 March 1951
Redesignated 142nd Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 2 March 1951
Inactivated on 6 February 1952
  • Returned to Oregon state control and activated on 1 November 1952
Redesignated 142nd Air Defense Wing on 16 April 1956
Group re-designated as 142nd Fighter Group (Air Defense)
Redesignated 142nd Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 1 July 1960
Group re-designated as 142nd Fighter-Interceptor Group
Redesignated 142nd Fighter Wing on 16 March 1992
Group re-designated as 142nd Operations Group
Redesignated 142nd Wing on 6 March 2020[3]


Attached to: Philadelphia Fighter Wing, 30 September 1943 – 14 February 1944
Attached to: XIX Tactical Air Command, 1 August 1944
Gained by: Fourth Air Force, Air Defense Command
Gained by: Western Air Defense Force, Air Defense Command
Gained by: Portland Air Defense Sector, Air Defense Command, 8 June 1958
Gained by: 26th Air Division, Air Defense Command, 1 April 1966
Gained by: 26th Air Division, Aerospace Defense Command, 15 January 1968
Gained by: Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC), 1 October 1979
Gained by: First Air Force, Tactical Air Command, 9 December 1985
Gained by: Northwest Air Defense Sector (NWADS), 1 July 1987
Gained by: Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), 1 October 1997–Present


World War II[edit]

Air National Guard[edit]





Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ "Colonel Todd A. Hofford". 142nd Wing. December 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b "125th Special Tactics Squadron". 142nd Wing. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Frank, Alexander (8 April 2020). "142nd Fighter Wing Redesignates to the 142nd Wing". DVIDS. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ STAFF, SEATTLEPI COM (17 August 2010). "Fighters scrambled after flight restriction violation during Obama visit; booms reported around region". seattlepi.com. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Oregon F-15s Scramble to Seattle to Intercept Possibly Stolen Q400 Airliner (Updated)".
  7. ^ KATU Staff (3 June 2019). "Portland-based 142nd Fighter Wing celebrates 30 years of flying F-15 Eagles". KATU. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  8. ^ "The 142nd Wing is Gearing Up for the New F-15EX". DVIDS. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  9. ^ McCarthy, Dan (26 March 2021). "More Oregon National Guardsman may be called to help administer COVID-19 vaccines". KATU. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Air Force Personnel Center Awards Search post-1991". Air Force Personnel Center. Archived from the original on 24 January 2008.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

External links[edit]