The United States Air Force's 118th Airlift Wing is a unit of the Tennessee Air National Guard located at Berry Field Air National Guard Base at Nashville International Airport, Tennessee. As an Air National Guard organization, the wing is operationally gained by the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and is the host wing for the C-130 International Training Center. The 105th Airlift Squadron is its single flying squadron.
- See 356th Fighter Group for additional lineage and history information
Roots of the 105th Airlift Squadron and the 118th Airlift Wing reach to 1917, when the 105th Aero Squadron of the American Expeditionary Force was formed at Kelly Field, Texas. In 1919, veterans of the 105th Aero Squadron residing in the Nashville area gathered began organizing the air element of the Tennessee National Guard that became the 118th Airlift Wing.
On 4 December 1921, the unit received federal recognition and was designated the 136th Observation Squadron, and assigned to the U.S. Army s 30th "Old Hickory" Division. Subsequently dubbed the "Old Hickory" Squadron, the squadron insignia still includes a figure of Andrew Jackson "Old Hickory" on horseback. In March 1922, the squadron received the first Curtiss JN-6HG airplanes. The 136th Observation Squadron would eventually receive eight JN-6s and one DeHavilland DH-4 airplane. In July 1923, the squadron was changed from the 136th to the 105th Observation Squadron. In the next fifteen years, the Squadron developed strength and stature in Nashville, along with receiving more reliable O-2 Observation airplanes in 1926.
Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny"
In 1927 flying operations began at McConnell Field, west of downtown Nashville. McConnell Field was named after First Lieutenant Frank B. Brower McConnell, a squadron pilot killed during an airplane accident on maneuvers at Langley Field, Virginia. The years 1928 1938 were characterized by frequent changes in assigned aircraft. The unit would fly the Curtiss O-11 and O-17 in 1928, followed by the Douglas O-38 in 1931, the Douglas O-25 in 1935 and later the North American O-47 in 1938. The O-47 was the unit s first operational single wing aircraft. The unit was actually disbanded for a few months from late 1930 to early 1931. In 1931, the unit was moved to Sky Harbor Airport, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where it shared hangar space with Interstate Airways, now American Airlines. In 1937, the unit began the move to its current location at Berry Field, the main airport for Nashville, Tennessee. By 1938, the squadron had completed its move to Berry Field. The unit formerly occupied Hangars #1, #2, and #4 between Hangar Lane and present taxiway T4. The southeastern end of the airport still contains architecture of the original Berry Field.
Members of the 105th were to make history around the globe flying a variety of missions, including observation, antisubmarine patrol, reconnaissance and bombardment. They found themselves switching organizations frequently and flying different aircraft as follows; the twin engine Martin B-10, the Vega Ventura B-34, and the North American B-25G "Mitchell" medium bomber.
World War II
B-25 Mitchell Berry Field during World War II 118th Fighter Group P-47D 42-28738, TN ANG, about 1948 In 1940, after the summer Louisiana Maneuvers, the squadron was activated. It was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina and assigned to the newly organized 65th Observation Group, which was equipped with O-52 Owl aircraft. Members of the 105th became a ready source of trained personnel and pilots during World War II. From 1943 to 1945, the men from the 105th performed with distinction in the Pacific Campaign and flew over 100 combat missions flying the B-25G "Mitchell" against Japanese targets. During the course of the war, the unit was re-designated the 820 Bomb Squadron and assigned to the 41st Bomb Group, 7th Air Force.
After the Second World War, the Tennessee guardsmen returned to Nashville and the 105th was reactivated, reorganized under state control, and granted federal recognition. In 1947, the 356th Fighter Group was redesignated the 118th Fighter Group and allocated to the Tenn ANG. Subsequently both the 118th Fighter Group and the 105th Fighter Squadron were federally reorganized. The 105th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the 118th Fighter Group flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt . By 1947, the 105th had received 25 P-47 s and additional support aircraft. The unit moved to its present facilities located on Knapp Boulevard in 1952. Berry Field is now known as Nashville International Airport, however the Air National Guard Base is still referred to as Berry Field.
In 1950, the 105th Fighter Squadron was re-designated 118th Composite Wing and in 1951 the 118th Composite Wing, 118th Composite Group and 105th Fighter Squadron were redesignated the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW), Group and Squadron respectively. The 118th TRW was activated for federal service in 1950. It was re-designated as the 105th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and was activated in place in early 1951. While on active duty, it operated two geographically separated units: Detachment 1 flying F-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, from McGhee Tyson AFB at Knoxville, TN, providing air defense for the Atomic Energy Commission facilities at Oak Ridge, and Detachment 2, operating as the 467th Ground Observer Squadron out of Sewart AFB in Smyrna, Tennessee.
In late 1952, the Wing was released from active duty and in early 1953 reformed in Nashville as Headquarters, 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. The 118th TRW consisted of the 105th Squadron, as well as units at Memphis, Tennessee, Little Rock, Arkansas and Fort Smith, Arkansas all flying North American F-51 Mustangs from 1953 to 1955. The units flew the Lockheed RF-80C Shooting Star from 1955 to 1956, and the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash from 1956 to 1961.
In 1961, the wing converted to the airlift mission flying the Boeing C-97G. In 1966, the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) was renamed Military Airlift Command (MAC). As a result, the 118th Air Transport Wing, Group and Squadron were redesignated 118th Military Airlift Wing, Group and Squadron respectively. Six years later the 118th MAW converted to the Douglas C-124C Globemaster II transport and received the first of eight of the aircraft in 1967.
In 1971, the Wing converted to the Lockheed C-130A Hercules and became the 118th Tactical Airlift Wing. In 1978 the Wing was recognized for its achievements and was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. In 1979, the Wing was enlarged from eight to sixteen C-130A Aircraft. In 1989, it had been ten years since the unit had acquired the C-130 airframe while supporting a worldwide tactical airlift mission. Participation in exercises such as Brave Shield, Brim Frost and Red Flag were accomplished with some of the oldest aircraft in the inventory (A models were built from 1954 to 1957). Rotations to Panama in support of Operation Volant Oak beginning in 1977 had become routine. In 1990, the 118th received a total of sixteen new C-130H aircraft from Lockheed, replacing the 30 year-old A models. But, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was to place the largest demand upon 118th personnel in almost 40 years.
C-130 HerculesThe Wing mobilized 462 personnel during 21 deployments for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in southwest Asia and flew a record 7239 flying hours. In 1992, Military Airlift Command (MAC) was reorganized as the Air Mobility Command (AMC). As a part of this reorganization, the 118th Tactical Airlift Wing became the 118th Airlift Wing. With sixteen C-130H aircraft and 1406 personnel at Nashville, the 118th Airlift Wing was one of the largest flying units in the Air National Guard at that time.
Following 11 September 2001, the operational tempo increased. Over one-third of the Wing was activated for one year or more to supporting the National Homeland Security Plan (Operation Noble Eagle), which included deploying aircraft and personnel to bases inside the United States for several months, then assigned a home station alert mission. Shortly after the Wing completed the Noble Eagle mission, the Wing was selected to deploy to Southwest Asia in support CENTCOM Operations.
Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom
In 2003, the 118th deployed ten C-130 s and over 320 personnel to the Middle East in direct support of combat operations at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While living in austere conditions in tents, enduring the desert heat and sand storms, the men and women of the 118th supported combat operations into and out of Baghdad and surrounding areas of Iraq. The 118th was the lead wing in establishing a bare base in support of the largest contingent of C-130 s ever based in a combat environment, over 46 C-130 s located at a single base. The unit supported CENTCOM at various locations in Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. The unit returned home at different times in late 2003 as U.S. forces were drawn down and rotated to meet the changing requirements. In late 2003, the Wing again deployed to Uzbekistan supporting Operating Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
BRAC 2005 and the C-130 International Training Center
As part of BRAC 2005, the Department of Defense was recommended to realign Berry Field Air National Guard Base. This recommendation would distribute the C-130H aircraft of the 118th Airlift Wing to the 182d Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard at Greater Peoria Airport Air National Guard Station, IL (four aircraft), and the 123d Airlift Wing of the Kentucky Air National Guard at Louisville IAP Air National Guard Station, KY (four aircraft). Flying related ECS (aerial port and fire fighters) would move to Memphis IAP Air National Guard Station and the aeromedical squadron from Nashville would move to NAS JRB Fort Worth, TX. Other ECS would remain in place at Nashville. Nashville had a low military value ranking and was near other ANG bases keeping or gaining aircraft.
A 118th Airlift Wing WC-130H at Nashville in January 2010. In October 2007, it was announced that as an amendment to the BRAC 2005 decision, the 118 AW would continue to retain a flying mission, transitioning from an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit to that of a training organization operationally gained by the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). As the C-130 International Training Center, the 118 AW assumed a new role in support of DoD Foreign Military Sales (FMS), training up to 150 international military C-130E and C-130H flight crew and maintenance students annually. Although its C-130H2 aircraft were transferred to other Air National Guard airlift wings, the 118 AW did gain six WC-130H aircraft that had been retired from weather reconnaissance duties with the Air Force Reserve Command's 403d Wing at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. The first class of international C-130 students trained by the 118 AW graduated in October 2008.
- 356th Fighter Group, 8 December 1942-10 November 1945
- Allotted to Tennessee Air National Guard as 118th Fighter Group, 24 May 1946
- Extended federal recognition and activated on 2 October 1947
- Re-designated: 118th Composite Wing, 1 December 1950
- Re-designated: 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 1 February 1951
- Re-designated: 118th Air Transport Wing, 1961
- Re-designated: 118th Military Airlift Wing, 1966
- Re-designated: 118th Tactical Airlift Wing, 1971
- Re-designated: 118th Airlift Wing, 1992-Present
- First Air Force (ADC), 2 October 1947
- Tenth Air Force (ADC), 1 July 1948
- Tenth Air Force (ConAC), 1 December 1948
- Ninth Air Force (TAC), 1 December 1950
- 834th Air Division (TAC), 25 September 1957
Military Air Transport Service, 1961
Military Airlift Command, 1966
- Air Mobility Command, 1992
- Air Education and Training Command, 2007 Present
- 105th Airlift Squadron (1936 present)
- 236th Intelligence Squadron (2009 present)
- 136th Squadron (1921 1936)
- Berry Field Air National Guard Base (1947 present)
- WC-130H Hercules (2008 present)
- C-130H Hercules (1990 2008)
- C-130A Hercules (1971 1990)
- C-124C Globemaster II (1967 1971)
- C-97G Stratofreighter (1961 1967)
- RF-80A Shooting Star (1954 1956)
- RF-84F Thunderflash (1956 1961)
- F-51D Mustang (1953 1955)
- P-47 Thunderbolt (1947 1954)
- Operation Volant & Operation Coronet Oak- airlift support for SOUTHCOM in Central & South America
- Operation Brim Frost airlift support to Alaska in 1985, 1987, 1989
- Operation Arctic Warrior airlift support to Alaska, early 1990s
- Operation Amalgam Warrior airlift support to Alaska, late 1990s
- Operation Amalgam Virgo airlift support to Alaska, late 1990s
- Operation Creek Resolve airlift support in Turkey
- Operation Desert Shield & Operation Desert Storm deployments of Forces in support of CENTCOM in Southwest Asia
- Operation Distant Haven humanitarian operations for Haitian refugees in Surinam
- Operation Provide Relief humanitarian airlift into Somalia
- Operation Provide Promise airlift into Sarajevo and airdrops over Bosnia
- Operation Support Hope humanitarian operations in or near Rwanda
- Operation Uphold Democracy supporting military forces in Haiti
- Operation Southern Watch enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq
- Operation Joint Guard supporting peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia
- Operation Joint Endeavor supporting peacekeeping operations in Bosnia
- Operation Noble Eagle supporting the National Homeland Security Plan
- Operation Enduring Freedom deployment of forces in support of CENTCOM
- Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment of forces in support of CENTCOM operations in Iraq
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award