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165th Airlift Wing

The Georgia Air National Guard's 165th Airlift Wing (165 AW) is a unit located at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia. The Airlift Wing, which currently flies the C-130H cargo aircraft, came into existence after World War II in 1946. The unit was officially mobilized first for the Korean War and then for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The wing is part of both the Georgia Air National Guard and the United States Air Force.

The mission of the 165th Airlift Wing is to provide tactical airlift of personnel, equipment and supplies worldwide.



First known as the 158th Fighter Squadron, the 165th Airlift Wing was established on October 12, 1946 at Travis Field (known as Chatham Field at the time), in Savannah, Georgia. It was equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, a powerful fighter that saw extensive service during World War II. Within two years, the 158th was one of the first units in the Air National Guard to receive the new jet fighters, the F-80C "Shooting Star". Regarded as one of the top units in the Air National Guard, the 158th Fighter Squadron received the Spaatz Trophy for the Most Outstanding Guard Fighter Squadron in the country in 1949.

In March 1949, the 158th moved to Hunter Field where it was based until called to active duty during the Korean War on October 10, 1950. In November 1950, personnel reported to George Air Force Base, California, where they transitioned to F-84 Thunderjets. In 1951, the unit deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, where its mission was to provide air defense for the northern portion of Japan. While assigned to that country, the squadron flew regularly to Korea to provide air support to allied forces. The 158th Fighter Squadron returned to the US from Japan in 1952 and was released from active duty. The unit returned to Travis Field with F-51 Mustang piston-powered fighters, although it later received F-84D and F-84F Thunderstreak, and F-86L Sabrejet aircraft.

Reorganization came in 1962, when the unit transitioned from fighter operations to an airlift mission. The 158th Fighter Squadron became the 158th Air Transport Squadron, assigned to the 165th Air Group. The unit performed worldwide airlift missions with new aircraft, the C-97 Stratocruiser. In 1967, the C-124 Globemaster replaced the C-97.

On August 8, 1975, the first of the C-130E aircraft, aptly named the "Hercules," came to Savannah at the international airport to replace the C-124s. The unit currently flies C-130H Hercules aircraft received directly from the Lockheed Factory during September 1981. On 15 April 1992, the unit was re-designated the 165th Airlift Group, and in 1995 was re-designated the 165th Airlift Wing.

The 165th Airlift Wing carrys personnel and equipment around the world. In 2005, the unit deployed aircraft and more than 100 personnel to Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbekistan, for 11 months. During this period, the unit airlifted more than 35,660 tons of cargo in support of the Global War on Terror.[1]

Since the beginning of operations in the Persian Gulf, the 165th Airlift Wing has been integrally involved in air operations. Several elements of the wing have been deployed throughout the region, with airmen serving in Uzbekistan, Turkey, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, the 165th Airlift Wing deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.[2]

Recent Deployments

On 25 January 2010, a small group of Airmen deployed from the 165th Airlift Wing to Haiti in support of the Haitian relief efforts.[3]

In January 2011, the last of six C-130H2 Hercules aircraft began a three-month stint at Bagram Air Base. This was the ninth time the 165th has deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since September 11, 2001, in support of the War on Terror. Deploying with the aircraft were more than 150 Georgia Guard Airmen, including all of the wing s operations division and more than 50 percent of its maintenance department.[4]

During the summer 0f 2011, Air Guard personnel from Savannah s 165th Airlift Wing assisted the Georgia Forestry Commission in fighting wildfires in southern Georgia.[5]

Disaster Response

In January 2010, in response to the earthquake in Haiti, the 165th Airlift Wing placed a C-130 aircraft and crew on standby for the relief effort as ordered by the National Guard Bureau. The 165th quickly established a kitchen and dining area, one of fifteen in the burgeoning military sections of the city.[6]


Major Command

Previous designations[7]

  • 165th Airlift Wing (1995 Present)
  • 165th Airlift Group (1992 1995)
  • 165th Tactical Airlift Group (1975 1992)
  • 165th Air Transport Group (1962 1975)
  • 158th Fighter Squadron (1946 1962)

Squadrons assigned

  • 158th Airlift Squadron (1992 Present)
  • 158th Tactical Airlift Squadron (1975 1992)
  • 158th Air Transport Squadron (1962 1975)
  • 158th Fighter Squadron (1946 1962)

Bases stationed

  • Travis Field/Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Savannah, Georgia (1952 Present)
  • Misawa Air Base, Japan (1951 1952)
  • George Air Force Base, California (1950 1951)
  • Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia (1949 1950)
  • Chatham Field, Savannah, Georgia (1946 1949)

Aircraft Operated[8]

  • C-130 Hercules (1975 Present)
  • C-124 Globemaster (1967 1975)
  • C-97 Stratocruiser (1962 1967)
  • F-86L Sabre (???-1962)
  • F-84D/F Thunderjet (???-???)
  • P-51 Mustang (???-???)
  • F-84 Thunderjet (1950-195?)
  • F-80C Shooting Star (1948 1950)
  • P-47 Thunderbolt (1946 1948)

File:F-51H Georgia Air National Guard c1951.jpg|A 158th FS F-51H in the early 1950s. File:C-124C landing at Travis AFB 1984.JPEG|A preserved Georgia ANG C-124C. File:000508-F-2171A-011.jpg|A 165th AW C-130 during Air Mobility 2000. File:C-130H 165th AW Georgia ANG in flight 2009.JPG|A C-130H in 2009. File:71st_Fighter_Squadron_F-15_Eagle_being_refuelled_by_a_KC-135_Stratotanker_from_the_171st_Air_Refueling_Wing.jpg|An F-15 Eagle receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker.


  • File:Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[9]


  1. See Georgia Air National Guard
  2. see 165th Airlift Wing airmen arrive home from Afghanistan deployment
  3. see 165th Airlift Wing prepares for Haiti deployment
  7. Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0
  8. World Airpower Journal. (1992). US Air Force Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing: London, UK. ISBN 1-880588-01-3
  9. Air Force Personnel Center Awards Search (Post-1991)

External links

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