172d Airlift Wing

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172d Airlift Wing
Shelby Auxiliary Field 1 2007-07-09 C-17 training.jpg
172d AW C-17 Globemaster III at Camp Shelby Auxiliary Field 1, 2007
Active 1 July 1965-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Mississippi
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Airlift
Part of Mississippi Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Allen C. Thompson ANGB Field, Jackson, Mississippi
Nickname "Wings of the Deep South"
Motto "By faith and courage"
Tail Code Blue tail stripe, "Mississippi" in yellow letters
Brigadier General William J. Crisler
172d Airlift Wing emblem 172d Airlift Wing.png

The 172d Airlift Wing (172 AW) is a unit of the Mississippi Air National Guard, stationed at Allen C. Thompson ANGB Field, Jackson, Mississippi. If activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command.


The 172nd Airlift Wing operates the C-17 Globemaster III, and has participated in an all-volunteer mobilization and activation since 2005, flying weekly missions into harm's way to return wounded patients of the Total Force safely back to the U.S. Also, the 172d Airlift Wing provides the State of Mississippi support in the event of national emergency, maintains peace and order, and supports civil defense and pre-attack planning.


The 172d Airlift Wing consists of the following units:

  • 172d Operations Group
183d Airlift Squadron
183d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
  • 172d Maintenance Group
  • 172d Mission Support Group
  • 172d Medical Group


On 1 July 1965, the Mississippi 183d Air Transport Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 172d Air Transport Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 183d ATS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 183d Headquarters, 183d Material Squadron (Maintenance), 183d Combat Support Squadron, and the 183d USAF Dispensary. Flying C-121 Constellations, the group was upgraded to C-124C Globemaster II heavy intercontinental transport airlifters in 1966 which meant supplies and equipment could be carried around the world along with personnel.

The C-124 was being retired in the early 1970s and the 172d was realigned to a theater transport mission, being equipped with C-130E Hercules aircraft in May 1972. It was upgraded to new 1979-production C-130H aircraft in 1980 and continued to fly tactical airlift missions until the mid-1980s. On 12 July 1986 the first C-141B Starlifter to be released from active-duty Air Force control was assigned to the Mississippi Air National Guard. With a total of eight (8) aircraft, the unit began a new mission in strategic airlift that greatly expanded its global range.

183d Military Airlift Squadron C-124 Globemaster II in South Vietnam photographed on occasion of the 1,000th U.S. Air National Guard flight to Vietnam.

In March 1988 the 172d took part in the airlift of approximately 3200 troops and almost 1000 tons of cargo on an exercise to Palmerola Air Base, Honduras. The 172d had the distinction of being the only Air National Guard unit in the United States which participated in the airlift of troops to Honduras. On 6 December 1988 the Soviet Republic of Armenia suffered a powerful earthquake. The first Air Guard aircraft to fly to Armenia was a C-141B from the 172d. Before relief missions ended, the 172d would fly six missions with its planes and crew and additionally would furnish a crew to fly a U.S. Air Force C-141 whose crew had reached maximum flying hours. In September 1989 a devastating hurricane struck the tiny island of St. Croix, leaving the island crippled, the 172d flew eleven emergency relief missions, hauling 465 tons of cargo and 472 passengers and encompassing 165 hours of flying time.

From 20 December 1989 to 12 January 1990 the 172d flew 21 sorties in support of Operation Just Cause in Panama. The total amount of cargo transported during the support of Operation Just Cause was 403.6 tons Total number of passengers was 1,274. On 7 August 1990 the 172d's support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm began when aircrew members began voluntary missions. Approximately 98 aircrew members flew missions on a volunteer basis. On 24 August 1990 the 183d Airlift Squadron was activated by Presidential Directive. The 183d MAS was one of the first two reserve units to be activated. From August 1990 to May 1991 the 148 members of the 183d flew 2,880 sorties which transported 15,837 passengers and 25,949.2 tons of cargo.

In 2000, the C-141C with electronic "glass cockpit" was received. In October 2000 after the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, members from the Mississippi Air National Guard's 172 Airlift Wing deployed seventeen members to Ramstein Air Base Germany. Members from the 183d Aeromedical Evacuation and 183d Airlift Squadron picked up four sailors from Ramstein Air Base in Germany and flew them home to Norfolk Naval Station. In February 2003 the 172d retired its last C-141C Starlifter in preparation for the arrival of the wings first C-17 Globemaster III.

On 17 December 2003, Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, Director, Air National Guard, hands off the "keys" to the first C-17 Globemaster III (S/N 02-1112) to Maj. Gen. James H. Lipscomb III, adjutant general for the Mississippi National Guard. C-17A 02-1112 was also the first Globemaster III assigned to the Air National Guard. The C-17 was named the "Spirit of the Minutemen".


  • Designated 172d Air Transport Group and allotted to Mississippi ANG in 1965
Extended federal recognition on 1 July 1965
Re-designated: 172d Military Airlift Group, 8 January 1966
Re-designated: 172d Tactical Airlift Group, 1 July 1971
Re-designated: 172d Military Airlift Group, 1 July 1986
Re-designated: 172d Airlift Group, 16 March 1992
Status changed from Group to Wing, 1 October 1995
Re-designated: 172d Airlift Wing, 1 October 1995


Gained by: Eastern Transport Air Force, (EASTAF), Military Air Transport Service
Gained by: Twenty-First Air Force, Military Airlift Command, 8 January 1966
Gained by: Air Mobility Command, 1 June 1992-Present



Elements operated from: Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, 24 August 1990-30 May 1991
Designated: Jackson Air National Guard Base, 1991
Designated: Allen C. Thompson ANGB Field, 2004-Present



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

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