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virginia air national guard

Jan van Waarde


Without a doubt, the F-105D Thunderchief was the most impressive aircraft to have graced Virginia ANGs ightlines. This F-105D, 59-1743, was photographed at Richmond on 29 April 1972. It carries the standard F-105 markings for the unit, but the F-105 on the right still has the short-lived, old-style ANG badge on the tail, with the lettering Virginia above it. (Stephen Miller) In 1946, the USAF had just been through a massive de-mobilization effort and was downsizing on a truly massive scale with thousands of aircraft being retired. With so many veterans and combat-seasoned personnel around, a new Air National Guard was organized as a reserve force for the regular USAF and every state in the Union started to organize their own aviation elements, almost exclusively made up of those former WWII veterans. On 7 June 1946, the National Guard Bureau (which was the HQ ANG) notied Virginia governor William M Tuck that an ANG unit would be assigned to the state of Virginia. The search for qualied personnel started and on 21 June 1947 149th Fighter Squadron received federal recognition as part of the Virginia Air National Guard. The squadron took over the lineage and honors of the 328th Fighter Squadron, a WWII unit. The 328th had been activated on 10 October 1942 and saw extensive action in Europe, being based in England and France. The squadrons leading ace was George Preddy Jr, who had 28 victories to his credit when he was shot down and killed by friendly AAA while chasing a German Fw190 on 25 December 1944. never regretted it: Flying was fun in those days and we did a lot of it. It was a heck of a good way of life, he said. Spirits were high and it was quickly decided to form an aerobatic team, The Rebel Riders of the Sky. For a few years, they ew their routine with four Thunderbolts and the team became quite popular in the States surrounding Virginia. From the outset, 149th FS also used a few B-26 Invaders, including a TB-26B, as support aircraft; these were mainly used for transport and target-towing duties. Other early support aircraft included the T-6 Texan, Beech C-45 and the C-47; the latter was in use from at least September 1948. One example was named The Old Dominion in large lettering along the fuselage. This aircraft was occasionally used as the transport aircraft for the state governor of Virginia. In those days, ying safety was not the big issue as it is nowadays and regrettably, mishaps were plentiful, although most of these were minor. There were, however, some fatalities as well. On 28 August 1948, the squadron lost a pilot and F-47, while on 22 January 1949, one of the squadrons B-26s was lost together with four crewmembers.

Initially, the unit ew P-47D Thunderbolts, the rst of which was Training missions were own over the local ranges, but the delivered to Richmond on 15 July. The unit was authorized to occasional cross-country ight was also made. Sometime in have 27 Jugs, as the Thunderbolts nick-name was, and these 1948, the squadron ew sixteen F-47s to Blackstone, about were based at Byrd Field, Sandston (VA). Sandston is a small 40 miles southwest of Richmond, and next to Fort Pickett, for town a few miles east of Richmond. The bases facilities were a goodwill visit to the town. However, bad weather closed in on made up of wooden structures left over from World War II, including a large wooden hangar. The P-47Ds were redesignated F-47D in 1947. Several of these Thunderbolts carried names; Lady Louise, Little Stinker, Mighty Mouse, City of Richmond and Happy-GoLucky Gal, to name a few. The USAF concentrated all ANG F-47 units in the eastern part of the USA, while the ANG ghter squadrons in the Mid-West and West received F-51 Mustangs. Wallace R Lundie, a former WWII ghter pilot, was one of the pilots that (Kenneth W Keeton) joined the unit in 1947 and A great action shot of F-47D 44-32745 being serviced at Richmond in 1950.

The F-47D Thunderbolt was a truly impressive aircraft, with the big radial engine in front. This F-47D, 44-89978 is seen here on the ramp at Richmond in 1950, awaiting its pilot. Note the confederate Rebel ag with the lightning on the engine cowling. These are the old-style markings of the units Thunderbolts, the NG was later replaced by ANG. (Kenneth W Keeton) F-47Ds known to have been assigned to 149th FS the town and the aircraft were unable to y back to Richmond 42-29456 50 that day. The residents of Blackstone showed their hospitality 44-32700 50 and treated the pilots to free hotel accommodations and free 44-32745 50 meals in private homes and restaurants, showing the support 44-32856 unknown they gave the Guard. Part of the way of life in the ANG was 44-32866 51 later destroyed in a crash the annual summer camp, during which the entire squadron 44-32886 unknown deployed to another site for two weeks of training as a whole 44-32929 unknown unit. These summer camps were started in the late 1940s and 44-33274 49 50 various locations across the USA were regular destinations. 44-33724 unknown In the 1980s, for example, Volk Field (WI) and Gulfport (MS) 44-89734 unknown were popular destinations. In July 1948, however, on their rst 44-89876 unknown summer camp,149th FS deployed to Dover Army Aireld (DE), 44-89978 50 where they exercised with sister units from Pennsylvania, Mar44-90069 51 yland and the District of Columbia, with about 100 Thunderbolts 44-90073 unknown and a eet of support aircraft present on the aireld. On 31 July, 45-49090 50 a large number of these aircraft participated in a huge y-past 45-49095 50 & 51 named Mighty Mouse over New Yorks Idlewild airport, which was being dedicated 45-49100 51 named Betty. Also named The that day by President Truman. In 1949, 149th FS went to WilmBlunderbolt at one time ington (DE), ying 1100 hours in two weeks, and to Turner Field 45-49114 unknown, crashed in Georgia in 1950. Early in 1950, it was planned that the unit 45-49149 48 was to convert to jets probably old F-84s later that year, 45-49151 48 50 named Rebel Thunderbolts and a number of pilots actually started jet training at Shaw AFB 45-49190 51 in February and March 1950. However, the start of the war in 45-49229 47, w/o in landing accident in either 1947 Korea in June effectively put a stop to these plans and the F-47 or 1948 soldiered on for a few more years. 45-49233 50 45-49269 50 51 Despite some early successes, the war effort in Korea need45-49301 unknown, crashed ed the additional manpower the reserves could give and on 1 45-49302 unknown March 1951, the squadron was called to active duty as part of 45-49283 50 the Korean War call-up, which included large numbers of other 45-49508 51 ANG units as well. Two months before, when he heard the unit 45-49548 unknown was to be recalled, the squadrons C/O, Maj James Barnhardt, 45-49554 unknown, crashed put up a sign that said: Air Force Here we come! Many of the squadrons members actually went to Korea, while others saw duty in various other units in the USA. The parts of the 149th that remained active during the war stayed in the USA and the squadrons F-47s moved to Turner AFB (GA) on 20 March (reporting to SAC), but not before a huge farewell party was thrown View of the rather primitive Richmond ightline in 1950, with F-47D 44-33724 in front, with the newer ANG titles on the fuselage. Note the remnants of the older NGmarkings still showing on the natural metal. The other F-47Ds in the line (including 42-29456 and 44-89876) still carry the older markings. (Kenneth W Keeton)

for the unit at Richmonds Tantilla Gardens by none other than Virginia State Governor Tuck. The weeks before the party, the pilots were polled on their favorite girl, who they would most like to take with them on active duty. This turned out to be well-known (for those days) singer Dorothy Collins, the beautiful star of the Lucky Strikes Your Hit Parade radio show, singing with Raymond Scotts big band. Upon learning the results of the poll, she decided to come to the farewell party to sing the song Good-Bye and to wish the pilots well! To have something to remember her by, they put a saddle on the back of one of the Thunderbolts, on which Ms Collins posed for some publicity photographs. Following a few weeks of operations from Turner, the squadron went to Castle AFB (CA) for an exercise, where they ew with the B-50s of 93 BW. The Jugs made gunnery attacks on the B-50s, recording this with their gun cameras, but also practiced ying long range escort missions. In late 1951, the squadron was reassigned to TAC and moved to Godman AFB (KY), concentrating on a tactical role. They participated in various exercises around the country, including Operation Longhorn, which was a large joint USAF and Army exercise which included an airborne assault attack. This was the largest wargames exercise attempted thus far, and was held in Texas in March and April 1952. For the exercise, the squadron painted the rear fuselage and tail of their Thunderbolts bright red. Other participants included 110 FS and 170 FS. Sadly, an F-47D and its pilot were lost in a crash on 13 August 1952. On 1 December 1952, the unit returned to Virginia state control after the maximum allowable 21 months of active duty. Initially, the unit remained nominally active with the F-47 Thunderbolts but in fact there were hardly any planes, all the units personnel was still scattered around the world and so was the A trio of photographs illustrating the units turbulent 1950s. On top is B-26C 43-22707 rest of the units equipment, but slowly things in Virginia ANG colors on the ramp at Richmond. Unfortunately, only a few VA ANG started to come alive again. The squadron B-26 serials are known, precluding a serial listing like that of the F-47D. In the midreceived B-26 Invaders in November 1953; dle an extremely rare shot of F-86E 51-12987 in full squadron markings, one of only at the time the runway at Richmond was still three Sabres to have been assigned to the unit. On the bottom is RB-57A 52-1475, unable to handle jet aircraft so this is what the one and only B-57 to have been assigned to the unit. Although it was not own they got; for some of the pilots it was a tough operationally, it did receive full squadron markings, as can be seen in this poor-quality (All Kenneth W Keeton) deal to leave ghters and y a bomber in- shot. stead. Both the B-26B and B-26C were used; the unit was redesignated 149 BS (Light) that mess. On 15 June 1957, the squadron was redesignated 149th same month, but initially it was hard to nd qualied B-26 inFIS (Fighter Interceptor Squadron) and was due to transition structors to show the pilots around in their new aircraft. Like the to F-86Es. However, only three Sabres were actually received F-47s, the B-26s continued the tradition of receiving nose art, by the unit and just a single pilot had been checked out when and named aircraft included The Spirit of Manchester and Caplans were changed and on 10 April 1958 the squadron was lamity Jane. The unit started ying dive bombing, skip bombredesignated 149th TRS (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron) ing and strang missions, but oddly enough, the 149th never and started preparing for the arrival of the units new mount, became fully combat-capable ying the Invader, as they were the RB-57A. One all black - RB-57A (52-1475) was received unable to attract a sufcient number of bombardier-navigators by the unit and although it received full 149th TRS markings, it to man the aircraft was never own operationally and was transferred out again in June 1958, following which the squadron regained its old desInitially, the squadron was housed in an old wooden WWII-era ignation, 149th FIS, on 14 June 1958. Yet another new aircraft hangar, but this burned down in a large re on 23 December appeared on the ramp at Richmond, the F-84F Thunderstreak. 1954. In 1955 the ANG announced a $ 2.5 million improveOn 10 November 1958, the squadron was again redesignated, ment program for Richmond, which included lengthening the this time it became 149th TFS (SD) (Tactical Fighter Squadrunway and build a new hangar and ofce buildings. The new ron Special Delivery) which implied that the unit was capable hangar was dedicated early in 1958, slightly delayed because of delivering nuclear weapons. This designation was carried there was a shortage of steel. This new hangar was built a short for a very short period only, by 1959 the unit concentrated on distance away from the old one. Other new facilities included a the conventional weapons delivery role with their Streaks, or new ramp for the aircraft and a motor maintenance and base Hogs, as the pilots called them. supply facility. This remained in use until 2007 when the unit moved to Langley. After the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Berlin crisis followed and the squadron was called to active duty again, on The late 1950s were a time of rapid changes for the unit; the 1 October 1961. Many ANG units were activated and Europes units C/O, General Heath, described this period as a hell of a

nearby Langley AFB instead. However, he did not have enough altitude and steered his aircraft away from populated areas and bailed out over the marsh, he did not use an ejection seat. He F-84Fs known to have been assigned to 149th TFS 51-1646 apr64/oct69 51-1658 feb69/sep69 51-1682 oct69/dec69 51-1706 may69/oct69 51-1745 may64/may69 51-1756 oct65, crashed 17oct65, pilot OK 51-1826 oct67, lost 14oct67 nr Seymour Johnson AFB (SC), pilot OK 51-9419 sep69 51-9430 jul69/mar70 51-9437 jul62, lost 13jul62 nr RichmondByrd Field (VA), pilot OK 51-9457 aug64/may69 51-9469 - early 1960s 51-9482 aug61, crashed 26aug61 near Tappahannock (VA), pilot OK 51-9546 jan69/aug69 52-6365 jan69 52-6370 apr64/aug70 52-6475 feb69/jul69 52-6498 apr64/jul69 52-6507 may64/jun69 52-6515 sep70 52-6593 jul69/may70 52-6598 nov69 52-6600 feb69/aug69 52-6609 mar64/apr69 52-6626 apr64/jul66, crashed 12jul66 nr Hunter AFB (GA), pilot OK 52-6634 sep70 52-6642 mar69/jun69 52-6826 jul60, crashed on 16jul60 near Langley AFB (VA), pilot OK 52-6846 mar69/oct70, crashed 03oct70 near Richmond-Byrd Field (VA), pilot OK 52-7019 feb69/jul69 52-7023 jul64/aug64 52-7060 nov62, lost on 17nov62 near Richmond-Byrd Field (VA), pilot killed 52-8837 jun69/oct69

This photograph of F-84F 51-9469 was taken sometime in early 1960s and show the rst markings the squadron used, which consisted of a VA AIR GUARD on the nose and a yellow triangle on the tail, with a code, in this instance 4. T-33s with the unit carried the same markings. (Ken Hampton) defenses were bolstered by various stateside ghter units. Due to budget restrictions, however, only one of the three planned ANG F-84F units actually deployed to Europe, to Chaumont AB in France, and 149th TFS remained based at Richmond, but could be asked to deploy at short notice. The unit that did deploy was 110th TFS MO ANG. In December 1961, 22 members of the VA ANG were sent to Chaumont to support 7180th TFW (the temporary unit that controlled the ANG F-84 deployment to Europe as well as 110th TFS) operations. They spent eight months in Europe. 149th TFS returned to state control on 20 August 1962, after the crisis had largely subsided. Also during 1962, on 15 October, 192nd TFG was activated as the controlling parent unit of the 149th TFS. From this date, all other sub-units reported to the 192nd TFG instead of 149th TFS. Examples include the 192nd Materiel Squadron (Maintenance), 192nd Combat Support Squadron, and the 192nd USAF Dispensary. On 5 May 1968 the squadron lost an unknown F-84F in a marsh north of Grand View, Hampton (VA). While on a training ight over the Chesapeake Bay, the F-84F of pilot, Maj. William P Lemmond, a lawyer from Hopewell by profession, experienced a catastrophic engine failure. Smoke lled the cockpit and he quickly looked for possible landing sites and chose Patrick Henry AP for his emergency landing. However, upon approach he also lost his radio and noticed there was trafc in the pattern at the airport, so he broke off his approach and opted for

Undoubtedly still one of the best-looking airplanes around, the F-84F was the backbone of the squadron for well over a decade. This photograph of 52-6600 was taken at Andrews AFB on 28 February 1970 and shows the nal F-84F markings used by the squadron. These were very plain and only consisted of the ANG badge on the tail with Virginia on top. (Stephen Miller)

was picked up by a nearby boat, which brought him safely ashore at Langley. USAF ofcials praised the pilot for preventing it from crashing in a populated area. During the entire 13 years that the squadron ew the F-84F, they lost nine of these in crashes. Further info can be found in the serials listing. In August 1968, both 149th TFS VA ANG and 162th TFS OH ANG deployed a number of F-84Fs to Larissa AB in Greece for exercise Deep Furrow, which was an annual exercise sponsored by AFSOUTH (Allied Forces Southern Command), and held between 17 and 23 August. During the exercise, Greek and US forces (including the carrier USS Independence) worked together, and the F-84Fs ew missions against naval targets, including the Independence, but a large airdrop was also part of the exercise, this was the rst time C-141 Starlifters were used as such in a European exercise. The VA ANG ew missions with Greek ghters, they used F-84Fs as well. In June 1969, the squadron deployed ten F-84Fs to Eielson AFB (AK) for exercise Punch Card VI to familiarize themselves with operating conditions in Alaska.

These are the second type of markings the squadron used on the Thunderstreak. The aircraft is painted overall grey and carried the USAF legend on the nose. The ANG badge has appeared on the tail, which was adorned with the state name as well. The photograph was taken at Dover AFB (DE) on 8 May 1965. (Stephen Miller)

F-84Fs were not the only aircraft used by the squadron, as various support aircraft were used over the years. The old C-47 had been replaced by a C-54D and T-33As were used as well. Missions own by these aircraft included target towing, prociency ying and regular transport duties, like ying ground crews to a deployment site and the state governor to various sites around the country. By 1973, the old C-54 had been replaced by a newer Convair T-29A. By 1971, it was the end of the line for the venerable Thunderstreak and on 19 January, the squadrons rst F-105D Thunderchief arrived from McConnell AFB (KS). The Thud had gained fame as the backbone of Americas ghter element during the Vietnam War. Actually, most of the units new Chiefs had just served time ying combat missions over Vietnam and this was reected in the poor state in which a number of aircraft were received they denitely needed some good TLC. Due to work being carried out on Richmonds runway in the summer of 1971, most of the F-105s were delivered to the unit at Langley AFB, Support aircraft noted with 149th TFS: C-26A 86-0459 dec89/may95 C-47B 43-49521 mid50s C-54D 44-72675 70/mar71 C-54G 45-0617 dec72 T-29A 49-1926 oct73 T-33A 49-0937 unknown 51-9119 may64 52-9740 apr63/jun64 53-5265 unknown, store Davis M by 1964 53-5328 60s, coded 28 on n, l/n jun72 56-1669 70 56-3661 70 The Virginia ANG has used a number of support aircraft, like 44-72675, the C-54D on the photograph, which is seen here in full marks at Richmond on 21 March 1971. As can be seen in the table above, various transport aircraft and T-33s were used until the early 1970s, but after the arrival of the F-105 all were transferred out, It was not until 1989 that a C-26A was received. B-26s and T-6s, used in the 1940/50s, have not been included in the list. (Stephen Miller)

One of the units T-33As, 53-5328, seen on the ightline at Richmond in the early 1960s. Note the yellow triangle on the tail with the code 28. (Kenneth W Keeton) where the 149th was temporarily based for the duration. The pilots were overjoyed with the arrival of the F-105 and could not wait to get checked out in the new bird. The unit moved back to Richmond in October and became fully operational on the type in the autumn of 1972. With arrival of the F-105, the squadron said goodbye to its old and trusty T-33As. It was deemed that these were no longer necessary, partly due to the arrival of a few twin-stick F-105Fs. The nal 149th TFS T-33s were retired in the summer of 1972. Over the next ten years, apart from ying local missions to nearby ranges and local exercises, some of these with the Marines in North and South Carolina, the squadron made several deployments to Nellis AFB, as well as several other airelds in the USA, including the summer camps in Gulfport (MS), or at Savannah (GA). The 1980 summer camp was spent at Gulfport, but bad weather curtailed the number of sorties own to

62-4414

61-0086

62-4384

60-0492

F-105Ds known to have been assigned to 149th TFS: 58-1167 apr72, fate unknown 59-1731 1971/may80 named The Huns Hammer (may80) , to MASDC as FK040, arr 28may81 59-1739 oct74/sep75 named The Queen of the Fleet (date?), Preserved at Veterans Memorial, Midland AP, Tx (f/n jul98) 59-1743 apr72/may80 named River Rats & Hanoi Express jul78/may80. Preserved in Heritage Museum, Hill AFB, UT (f/n nov86) 59-1771 sep75/jul80 named Dynamic Duo in 1978/jul80. to MASDC as FK048, arr 25jun81 59-1822 1971/jun80 named Superhog in 1978/jun80, to MASDC as FK030, arr 26feb81. 60-0449 oct74, to MASDC as FK005, arr 28apr75 60-0452 jul80, but named Rebel Rider, to MASDC as FK061, arr 24sep81 60-0492 jan75/may80 named Ye old war horse in 1978/may80, to MASDC as FK045, arr 17jun81 60-0498 oct74/may80 named Top Dog in 1978/may80, to MASDC as FK036, arr 20may81 60-5385 oct74/oct80 named Fireball Express in 1978/oct80, to MASDC as FK042, arr 29may81 61-0050 1971/1977 named The Boss in 1977, Preserved at Richmond IAP, VA (f/n in dec77) 61-0071 1978 named Regal Beagle in 1978. To MASDC as FK049, arr 25jun81 61-0086 sep75/may80 named Yankee Dood it in 1978 and Keepem Flyin in may80, to MASDC as FK062, arr 24sep81 61-0134 1971/sep75 , to MASDC as FK010, arr 13oct76 61-0159 1972/jul78 named Have gun will travel in jul78. To MASDC as FK050, arr 25jun81 61-0164 jan75/may80 named Golden Gun (may80), to MASDC as FK046, arr 17jun81 61-0165 1971/jun73 , Preserved George AFB, CA (f/n oct75) 61-0167 apr74/may80 named Millard the Mallard apr78/may80, to MASDC as FK047, arr 17jun81 61-0170 sep74/may80 named Thunder Ax in may80. Damaged in an accident at Pope AFB (NC) sep74 but repaired, to MASDC as FK063, arr 24sep81 61-0212 sep75/may80 named Thunderchief in 1978, to MASDC as FK037, arr 20may81 62-4229 sep75/aug77, crashed on 31aug77 into Pamlico Sound (NC), when engine amed out 62-4242 oct74/sep75, transferred to 465 TFS AFRES (SH) by jun78 62-4307 jun73, crashed in farmland near Kingsland Road, just north of the James river, 3 miles south of Richmond IAP (VA), the pilot ejected safely, on 27jun73. 62-4344 oct74/may80 named Battlin Gatlin (may80), to MASDC as FK051, arr 25jun81 62-4353 sep75/1978 named No Guts no Glory in 1978 instr at Lackland AFB, TX, f/n may94 62-4365 sep75/may80 named T.C.s Toy & Puff the magic dragon (may80), to MASDC as FK031, arr 26feb81 62-4384 sep75/may80 named Red River Raider in may80. The aircraft was lost on 10 March 1981 over a range at Fort Bragg (NC), when the aircraft exploded during a bomb run. The pilot was killed. 62-4411 sep75/may80 named Magnet Asp in 1978/may80, to MASDC as FK041, arr 28may81 62-4413 1978/may80 named Flying Anvil in 1978, to MASDC as FK065, arr2nov81 62-4414 sep74/sep81 named Ridge Runner in 1978/may80, to MASDC as FK066, arr 2nov81 63-8315 F-105F - apr74/jun77 crashed 4jun77 near Nicklesville, GA 63-8357 F-105F - not actually noted with unit, to MASDC (in 149 TFS mks) as FK055, arr 10jul81 63-8362 F-105F - oct76/sep81 named Do it with.Finesse in 1978/may80, to MASDC as FK089, arr 22jul82

60-0498

62-4411

59-1743

62-4365

The Thunderchiefs of 149th TFS were famous for their beautiful artwork. Most of their aircraft carried a name, and all of them had it applied to the grey area beneath the air intake. Eight examples of this artwork are shown here. (all Stephen Miller) 83, instead of the planned 132. It was the last time the squadron went to Gulfport! tumn Forge exercise, which was held for the rst time in 1976; it was a combined exercise with Reforger (Return of FORces to GERmany), which also brought numerous Army elements to Europe and evolved into huge airlift operations in the 1980s. One of the outcomes of the exercise was quite interesting: it was found that NATO units were able to destroy 20-30 percent of WarPac armored units on the rst day, but they would run out of ammo in about 12 hours, whereas Soviet units carried two weeks worth of ammo with them, allowing them to overrun Allied units after the rst day and win the conict! Missions own included close air support, anti-shipping warfare, low-level navigation and a lot of instrument ying in the harsh European autumn weather. Other aircraft deployments to Europe for the same exercise included eighteen F-4Es of 4 TFW to Bergen in Norway and no less than 58 (!) F-4Ds of 49 TFW to Hahn and Ramstein. All the F-105s at Lakenheath departed for home

A few years earlier, in 1976, the squadron deployed some of its F-105s to RAF Lakenheath in the UK, in reection of USAFs total force policy, which meant that ANG and AFRES units were subjected to the same operational demands an operational unit would have been, and this also recognizes the high standards of any ANG unit. After all, many of the seasoned ANG pilots had more experience than the rst-tour jocks in a regular unit. So far, few ANG units had made the long trek to Europe for such a short deployment, in fact, two ANG F-100 deployments to Ramstein in 1975 were the rst ANG ghter deployments to Europe to be given a Coronet code name. On 23 October, a joint 121st TFS DC ANG and 149th TFS VA ANG deployment, codenamed Coronet Fife, arrived at Lakenheath with sixteen Thunderchiefs, ten of which were from the Virginia ANG. The squadron had no problems nding volunteers to go to England: all 33 of the squadrons pilots eagerly wanted to go! As the F-105s departed Richmond for the UK in the middle of the night, the local Virginia news station prepared the local residents by saying that they were going to make a lot of noise in the middle of the night and the ANG invited the locals to come on down to the base for some coffee and donuts! It took ten aerial refuelings to reach Europe via the southern route over the Azores. As with all USAF deployments to Europe, the formation was accompanied by one of the two EC-135Ks, which acted as Tactical Deployment Control Aircraft, an airborne trafc F-105D 59-1743 Hanoi Express is seen here on the ramp at Richmond on 29 July 1978. The control center, complete with radar aircraft has a yellow n-tip with a black lightning bolt, the latter was applied to the units F-105s and controllers. While in Europe, the in 1974. The centreline store is actually the the fuel tank carried in the F-105s internal bomb squadron took part in the large Au- bay, but lowered for maintenance here. (Stephen Miller)

F-105D 61-0167 Millard the Mallard on the ramp at Richmond on a sunny day on 22 April 1978.

(Stephen Miller)

F-105F 62-4414 on the ramp at Langley AFB on 21 September 1974. This pristine-looking aircraft did not carry any artwork but had been named Ridge Runner by 1978. The centreline store is a dummy BLU-27 napalm bomb. (David Ostrowski)

F-105D 61-0159 Have Gun Will Travel taxying out at Richmond on 29 July 1978.

(Stephen Miller)

Coronet Fife, Lakenheath oct/nov76 121st TFS F-105D 58-1173, 59-1774, 60-0504, 60-0526, 61-0093, and F-105F 62-4413 149th TFS F-105D 59-1731, 60-0498, 61-0086, 61-0164, 61-0212, 62-4229, 62-4365, F-105F 62-4414, 63-8315, 63-8362

ticipate in Gunsmoke. During the competition, the 149th was named the worlds Best A-7 Unit. This was not too difcult, as only two A-7 units took part in the competition, the other being 174th TFS IA ANG. Apart from the A-7s, there were A-10, F-4 and F-16 categories as well. 466th TFS, ying F-16s, were the overall winners of the competition. Several deployments were made in 1985. First, in July 1985, the squadron returned to Howard AFB in Panama for another Coronet Cove deployment. During their stay in Panama, the unit deployed three A-7s and 40 personnel to Taura AB in Ecuador for exercise Blue Horizon 85, ying missions with the Ecuadorian AFs ghters, which were also based at Taura. This was followed by a deployment to Norway in September 1985 as Coronet Panther. Following a night stop at Keavik on 5 September, twelve A-7s arrived at Evenes in Norway on 6 September 1985 and did not depart for home until 21 October. Although Bodo was originally thought to be the destination of the deployment back in 1985, a later history released by the squadron itself suggests that the deployment went to Evenes, which is located 140 miles above the Arctic Circle. During their stay in Norway, the squadron ew 266 operational sorties, but no serials of participating aircraft are known. Following an absence of nearly three years, the squadron returned to Howard AFB, Panama in April 1988. At this time, there already was some tension between the US and Panamas leader, Manuel Noriega. The unit exercised extreme caution while in Panama and as the 192nd TFG commander put it: Off base, there was tension in the air. Eventually, in December 1989, the US would invade Panama to oust Noriega and protect the strategic Panama Canal as Operation Just Cause. The A-7 unit in residence at Howard AFB during Just Cause was 112th TFS OH ANG. Following the invasion, 149th TFS went back to Howard AFB with ve A-7s one nal time on 20 January 1990. Although the Operation had been concluded by that date, there were still elements of the former Panamanian Army at large in the countrys provinces and the units A-7s regularly provided top cover for US Army eld operations and also ew recce missions over areas where enemy activity was suspected. However, on 31 January the Coronet Cove-series of deployments was unexpectedly suspended and the squadron returned home. In 1989 the unit received a C-26A to act as support aircraft for the unit. One of the pilots that ew the aircraft was Capt Sue Gillespie, who was commissioned as the VA ANGs rst female pilot in 1989. The C-26 was retired in the summer of 1995, leaving the unit without a dedicated support aircraft. Another deployment to Evenes was made in 1989, when the unit deployed twelve A-7Ds to Norway as Coronet Anaconda, for yet another Autumn Forge exercise. Although the aircraft

on 6 November 1976, but 61-0212 and 62-4365 returned to Lakenheath with technical problems and nally made it home on 18 November. The squadrons Thunderchiefs were renowned for their elaborate artwork, which was usually painted on the grey patch below the air intake. In 1977, a squadron-wide gunnery competition determined the 24 best shooters within the squadron, each of which had an aircraft assigned to him. The pilot and his crew chief then decided which name and artwork the aircraft would be carrying, culminating in some very interesting designs, as seen on the photographs. Generally, the F-105s were well loved and were an enjoyable aircraft to y. The squadron received A-7D Corsairs in 1981. HQ USAF had informed the unit of the impending change of mission aircraft on 12 December 1980 but for most pilots it was not a change they relished, as they loved their impressive F-105s, and had hoped to get something more glamorous, like F-16s. But hey, they remained in the ghter business, so that was not a bad thing! The rst two A-7Ds actually arrived at Richmond on 24 June 1981, own by the rst Virginia ANG pilot to graduate from A-7 school and an Arizona ANG major. By September, twelve Corsairs had been received and only four F-105s remained on strength. The units intended complement of A-7s was down to 18 A-7Ds from the 24 Thuds they had on the ramp previously. At the same time, the 23rd TFW was busy converting from A-7Ds to A-10As and the wings nal A-7D (and coincidentally the nal activeduty Corsair in the USAF) was transferred to 149th TFS on 14 August 1981. On the other hand, in 1982 the VA ANG received the rst A-7K (80-0288) to be delivered to an operational unit, and that statement disregards earlier deliveries to the AZ ANG, which was not regarded to be an operational unit, but a training unit. In April 1982, the squadron was declared mission ready and in 1983, the number of A-7Ds authorized for the squadron was increased again, from 18 to 24 aircraft. With the A-7, the squadron joined the ongoing ANG commitment to defend the strategically important Panama Canal, and ew missions from Howard AFB in Panama; the units rst deployment to Panama started in March 1983, followed by additional deployments in October 1983 and May 1984. These Coronet Cove deployments, as they were all known, were made by all ANG A-7 units and every unit went to Panama about once a year. Usually, a unit would deploy four to six A-7Ds to Panama for a month, with personnel (all volunteers) being rotated every 15 days. The program started back in September 1978 and would last until 31 January 1990. On 11 August 1984, the squadron came close to losing one of its Corsairs. Capt Denny Linkous was performing an emergency landing at Richmond, but failed to grab the barrier cable and ran off the end of the runway. The undercarriage partly collapsed and the aircraft crashed into some radar equipment before coming to a standstill. Linkous was unhurt and the plane was eventually repaired, though. The squadron also competed in Gunsmoke 85, the USAF air-toground bombing and gunnery competition, held at Nellis AFB between 6 and 19 October 1985. A few months before, in June, the unit won the 9th Air Force A-7 gunnery meet at Rickenbacker ANGB and therefore earned the right to par-

A-7D 71-0350 as seen on 9 February 1982, in the early markings and wrap-around camouage as carried by the units A-7s in the early 1980s. The badge behind the cockpit is the squadrons Rebel badge. The tail band is bright yellow, outlined in white; there is a toned-down ANG badge on the n. (collection Patrick Roegies)

Noted taxying to the active runway with a few practice bombs on a wing-mounted dispenser is A-7D 69-6199. The aircraft was named Dollar 99 after its serial number. Different types of paint were used to paint the serial number and the tail code, which sometimes made it difcult to make out the tail code at all! (Richmond, October 1987, Don Spering) A-7 Corsairs known to have been assigned to 149th TFS Actual change-over dates of the camouage schemes noted below may be some way off, as not every report from the era mentioned which camouage the aircraft actually carried. The SEA camo (South East Asia camo) had two distinct versions: the one with the grey undersides and the wrap-around scheme. No distinction between these two has been made. The Grey camouage also came in two distinct versions: the common version and a rarer one where the lighter grey had been substituted with a dark grey. As far is known, the Virginia ANG never had any A-7s with the latter scheme. No attempt has been made to quote nal fates for the aircraft after they had been transferred to another unit. Finally, all aircraft below are A-7Ds except for 80-0288, which is an A-7K two-seater. 69-6197 69-6198 69-6199 70-0942 70-0943 70-0955 70-0966 70-0976 70-0979 70-0982 70-1020 71-0333 ex 157th TFS/SC l/n jul83, with 149th TFS apr84/aug90. First noted with VA tail code in feb88, already in European One scheme when received by the unit. First noted in grey scheme in apr90. Named Honey Pot in oct89. Upon retirement used as Battle Damage Repair Training aid at Baltimore/Martin State AP (MD), f/n apr91. ex 157th TFS/SC l/n feb82, with 149th TFS oct82/jun83. Never carried VA tail code. Painted in SEA camo when received by the unit. Named Whatsa Sluf in oct82. Transferred to 4450th TG/LV, f/n nov84. ex 162nd TFTG/AZ l/n may81, with 149th TFS nov81/oct90. First noted with VA tail code in oct87. Was in SEA camo when received by the unit, rst noted in European One oct85. Named Dollar 99 oct82/apr90. Transferred to 198th TFS/PR, f/n mar91. ex 23rd TFW/EL l/n jul79, with 149th TFS sep81/jan86. Never carried VA tail code. Painted in SEA camo when received and probably repainted in European One camo, but there are no reports of this actually happening. Named Nail it with nesse oct82. Transferred to 162nd TFG/AZ, f/n oct87. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91. First noted with VA tail code in oct87. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n with European One camo oct87. Named Sweet 16 in oct89 but Cors-Hare II in jun91. Transferred to 198th TFS/PR, f/n feb92. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91. First noted with VA tail code in oct88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n in Grey camo oct88. Named Rebel Rider oct82 and Sassy Susie in jun91. Transferred to 198th TFS/PR, f/n feb92. ex 157th TFS/SC l/n jul83, with 149th TFS may84/jun91. First noted with VA tail code in oct88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, rst noted in European One camo oct85. Named Death Dealer mar86/jun91. Preserved in Virginia Aviation Museum, Richmond-Byrd AP, VA, f/n apr97. ex 125th TFS/OK, l/n jul88. With 149th TFS/VA oct89/jun91. Carried European One camo. Put in storage at AMARC (AE064), arrival date 30sep91 ex 157th TFS/SC, l/n jun83. With 149th TFS apr84/jun91, rst noted with VA tail code jul87. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n in European One camo oct87. Named Virginia Gentleman in oct89. Transferred to 162nd TFS/ OH, f/n jul91. ex 4450th TG/LV l/n apr89, with 149th TFS sep89/jun91. First noted with VA tail code jun91. Carried European One camo, named Bad Company in apr90 and Final Objective in jun91. Transferred to 198th TFS/PR, f/n jan92. ex 4450th TG/LV l/n mar88, with 149th TFS oct88/jun91. Carried VA tail code right away, painted in European One camo, but carried the grey camo (without VA tail code) in jun91. Named Old Warrior oct89/apr90. Transferred to 162nd TFS/OH, f/n jan92. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91. First noted with VA tail code may87, it actually was the very rst aircraft to receive the VA code. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, rst noted in European One camo oct85 and f/n in the grey camo apr90. Named Aint Fleagle mar86/oct89 and Awesome jun91. Transferred to 162nd TFS/OH, f/n jan92. ex 107th TFS/MI l/n sep89. With 149th TFS/VA apr90, already in grey camo when received by the unit. Transferred to 198th TFS/PR, f/n mar91. ex 75th TFS/23rd TFW/EL l/n feb80. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91. First noted with the VA tail code in apr88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, rst noted in European One camo oct85. Named Playmate apr90/jun91. Transferred to 162nd FS/OH, f/n jun92.

71-0345 71-0350

71-0361 71-0364 71-0371 71-0374 71-0376 72-0171 72-0179 72-0192

72-0198

ex 23rd TFW/EL, l/n sep79. With 149th TFS sep81/apr83, carried SEA camo when received by the unit. On 28apr83, this aircraft was lost in a crash at Prince George (VA). It was successfully abandoned by its pilot after the engine caught re. The wreck was noted in the units hangar in Richmond in may83, but was scrapped soon thereafter. ex 157th TFS/SC, l/n aug83. With 149th TFS may84/jun91. First noted with the VA tail code apr88, but lost it by jun91. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, rst noted in the grey camo in oct88. Named Cadillac jun91. Transferred to 162nd FS/OH, f/n jun92. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL l/n may81, with 149th TFS sep81/jun91. First noted with the VA tail code in apr88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n in European One in mar89. Named Play Mate oct89 but Panama Patrol in jun91. Stored at AMARC (AE044), arrival date 22jul91. ex 157th TFS/SC, l/n oct83. With 149th TFS oct85/jun91. First noted with VA tail code apr88. Noted in European One camo in oct85, named Super Sluf mar86 and Thumper apr90/jun91. Stored at AMARC (AE042) on 11jul91. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n oct78. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91. First noted with VA tail code apr88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n in European One camo in apr88. Named Bad Company mar86/oct89. Stored at AMARC (AE063), arrival date 25sep91. ex 157th TFS/SC, l/n may83. With 149th TFS apr84/jun91, rst noted with VA tail code apr88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, rst noted with European One camo in oct85. Named Virginia Gentleman in jun91. Transferred to 198th TFS/PR, f/n jan92. ex 23rd TFW/EL, l/n at Oklahoma City ALC sep81. With 149th TFS oct82/jun91. First noted with the VA tail code in oct88, but lost it in jun91 when the aircraft was prepared for transfer to another unit. Delivered to the unit in SEA camo, but had changed to European One camo by oct85. Transferred to 162nd TFS/OH, f/n jul91. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS nov81/jun91, rst noted with the VA tail code apr88. Initially carried SEA camo when received by the unit, but this changed to European One, f/n may83. Marked 192nd TFG in oct82, but markings had been removed again by dec82. Upon retirement, retained by the VA ANG and put on display as a gate guard, f/n jun92. Moved to the Virginia Aviation Museum, a few blocks down the road, by dec09. ex 74th TFS/23rd TFW/EL l/n mar80. With 149th TFS oct81/jun91, rst noted with the VA tail code in aug87. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n with European One camo in oct85 and rst noted in the grey scheme apr90. Named Taz the terrible in oct82 and Fightin Keydet in oct89. Transferred to 162nd FS/OH, f/n jun92.

A-7Ds 71-0374 and 69-6197 on the ramp at Richmond on 28 August 1990, in the European One and newer grey camouage schemes used by the unit. The n-tip markings of the grey A-7 are white, only the front part is painted in dark blue. No name is carried by this aircraft, but 71-0374 is named Thumper. (S B Sauve)

72-0223 72-0226 72-0228 72-0233 72-0235 72-0240

72-0259 73-1010

73-1015 75-0386 75-0398 80-0288

ex 23rd TFW/EL l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91, rst noted with VA tail code feb88. Initially carried SEA camo but f/n with European One camo in mar89. Noted with the name Rebel Air Pirate on various occasions between oct82 and jun91, but it is unlikely to have been carried in the late 1980s. Stored at AMARC (AE061) on 24sep91. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL may81. With 149th TFS aug81/jun91, rst noted with VA tail code oct88. Initially carried SEA camo, f/n with European One camo in oct85. Named Bluegrass Special in oct82 and Goin my way in jun91. Stored at AMARC (AE043), arrival date 11jul91. ex 188th TFS l/n aug87. With 149th TFS oct88/jun91, carried VA tail from the beginning. f/n with European One camo in sep89, but probably already carried this before that time. Named Sergeant at Arms in jun91. Noted on the dump at Richmond IAP in oct93, probably scrapped after that. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS may81/feb82, but lost in a fatal crash in the Atlantic about 20 miles north of Cape Hatteras (NC) on 09feb82. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91, rst noted with the VA tail code in apr88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, f/n with European One camo in may83 and rst noted in the grey scheme in jun91. Transferred to 124th TFS/IA, f/n jul91. ex 75th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81 and at Oklahoma City ALC sep81. With 149th TFS nov81/jun91, rst noted with the VA tail code in apr88. Initially carried SEA camo, but f/n in European One scheme in apr89 and f/n with grey camo in jun91. Named Tailwind oct89/jun91. Upon retirement the aircraft was own to Tulsa IAP (OK) and was used for spares recovery by 125th TFS, f/n may92. It was due to be sold for scrap, but ended up being preserved in Oklahoma. ex 76th TFS/23rd TFW/EL, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/jun91, rst noted with VA tail code in apr88. Carried SEA camo when received by the unit, this had changed to European One by apr89 and it had received grey camo by apr90. Named Bear Getter in oct89 and Diabolical Angel apr90/jun91. Transferred to 162nd TFS/OH, f/n jan92. ex 157th TFS/SC l/n may83. With 149th TFS apr84/oct90. Was ofcially transferred out of 157th TFS on 04may83 and was noted ying from Richmond, still in its old markings, later that month. First noted in full 149th TFS marks in apr84, f/n with the VA tail code in apr88. Initially carried SEA camo but this was changed to European One by oct85. Transferred to Montgomery Dannelly Field (AL) for Battle Damage Repair Training, f/n apr92. ex 157th TFS/SC l/n dec82, with 149th TFS may83/apr90. First noted with the VA tail code apr88. Initially carried SEA camo, f/n with European One camo in oct89. Possibly noted at Eglin Advanced Warhead Experimentation Facility (AWEF, range C-64), f/n nov00. ex 162nd TFTG/AZ, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/may87, never seen with a VA tail code. Had SEA camo when received by the squadron, f/n with European One oct85. Transferred to 188th TFS NM ANG, f/n oct91. ex 162nd TFTG/AZ, l/n may81. With 149th TFS sep81/sep88, rst noted with the VA tail code in oct87. Received with SEA camo, but f/n with European One camo in oct87. Named Old Warrior oct82/may88. Transferred to 125th TFS/ OK, f/n may89. Sole A-7K with the unit received straight from the production line. With 149th TFS may82/jun91, rst noted with the VA tail code in oct88. Delivered in the SEA camo, but f/n with European One in oct85. Stored at AMARC (AE062), arrival date 24sep91. initially arrived at RAF Lakenheath on 9 September, all Corsairs moved over to Norway on 12 September. The Virginia ANG was the only USAF ghter unit to ever deploy to a bare base like Evenes was north of the Arctic Circle. Other Stateside units deploying to Europe for Autumn Forge included 347th TFW F-16s to Ramstein, 141th TFS F-4Es to Bodo, 118th TFS A-10As to Nordholz and The squadrons sole A-7K, 80-0288, is seen here on the ramp at Richmond in 1984, prioir to the application of European One camouage. (Larry Monger)

One of the squadrons F-16Cs, 86-0216/VA, seen on the Richmond ightline on 28 September 1998.

(Jan van Waarde)

Coronet Anaconda, Evenes September 1989


A-7D 71-0374, 71-0371, 71-0333, 70-0943, 70-0955, 70-0979, 72-0223, 72-0226, 72-0228, 72-0235, 73-1010, 73-1015

706th TFS A-10As to Vandel. Following the exercise, during which 180 missions had been own, all of the units A-7Ds departed for home on 23 September, but 72-0228/235 diverted to Lakenheath with technical difculties. These two nally succeeded in returning to the USA on 5 October. The next year, the unit returned to Europe for another deployment; between 8 June and 21 July 1990 the squadron was part of a mixed ANG deployment to Spangdahlem AB in Germany, known as Creek Corsair. Participating units were 120th TFS CO ANG (sending 3 aircraft, including an A-7K), 146th TFS PA ANG (2 aircraft) and 149th TFS VA ANG (2 aircraft, 70-0955

and 71-0333). Personnel from each of the three units relieved each other in Germany; the Virginians were at Spangdahlem between 23 June and 7 July. While in Germany, the aircraft participated in exercise Cold Fire. Later that same year, Iraq invaded Kuwait and Operation Desert Shield started. Although the unit did not deploy any aircraft, 89 of its squadron members spent duty at various military installations in the United States and overseas. In 1991, the unit wound down Corsair operations and conversion to the F-16C started; they were in fact the rst ANG unit to y the F-16C (and F-16D) version of the F-16. Initially, 24 F16Cs and 2 F-16Ds were assigned to the unit and most of these were ex-52nd TFW jets from Spangdahlem; the rst one for the unit, 85-1572, actually landed at Richmond on 26 June 1991. On 15 March 1992, the squadron was redesignated 149th FS,

F-16C 86-0222/VA seen at the last chance at Richmond on 6 May 1993.

(Bob Greby)

F-16s known to have been assigned to 149th FS 85-1460 ex 526th FS/86th FW/RS, dep RS 20mar92. With 149th FS/VA jul92/aug93. Noted without VA tail code in aug93 and transferred to 175th FS SD ANG, f/n jun94 85-1509 F-16D ex 512th FS/86th FW/RS, l/n sep93. 149th FS/VA nov93/dec93. Transferred to 121th FS/DC, f/n mar94. 85-1546 ex 526th FS/86th FW/RS, dep RS 02apr92. With 149th FS/VA nov93/oct05. Actually did not carry VA tail code between nov93/may94, f/n with the code sep94. Transferred to 175 FSth SD ANG, f/n apr07. 85-1552 ex 52nd FW/SP, dep SP 09nov91. With 149th FS/VA jan92/aug93. Actually did not carry VA tail code in jan92, f/n with the code jul92. Transferred to 175th FS SD ANG, f/n jun94. 85-1572 F-16D ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP (in full 149th TFS mks) on 25jun91, was among the rst F-16s for the 149th to land at Richmond on 26jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA jun91/jun07. Damaged during a nocturnal collision over the Atlantic with 86-0228 on 30jan01. Both aircraft landed safely and were repaired. Transferred to 416th FLTS/412th TW/ED, f/n aug08. 86-0216 ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP (in full 149th TFS mks) on 12aug91. With 149th (T)FS/VA aug91/oct05. Carried special 50th anniversary markings apr97/jan98, reverted to normal markings by jun98. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n mar07. 86-0219 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jul91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/sep07. Noted marked 149 FS sep02/may03; was also specially marked 192FW during the units retirement ceremony on 16sep07. Was the last of the units F-16s to leave Richmond. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n sep07. 86-0222 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP on 09nov91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/aug98. Damaged 03dec93, see main text. Shipped back to Ogden ALC for repair, the wreck was seen there, being worked on, in aug95. By dec96 it had been repaired and was back in use with 149th FS. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n oct99. 86-0223 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA jun91/jun07, it was still at Spangdahlem when noted in jun91; had been own to Richmond by dec91. Marked 149 FS mar06/apr06. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n jun07. 86-0225 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP on 18dec91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/jul06. Transferred to 175th FS SD ANG, f/n jan07. 86-0226 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jul91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/oct94. Transferred to 113th FS/TH, f/n aug95. 86-0227 ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP on 09nov91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/nov07, transferred to 121st FS/DC, f/n may08. 86-0228 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n aug91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/may05. Damaged during a nocturnal collision over the Atlantic with 85-1572 on 30jan01. Both aircraft landed safely and were repaired. Transferred to 175th FS SD ANG, f/n jun06. 86-0229 ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jul91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/jun07. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n may08. 86-0230 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jul91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/oct05. Transferred to 121st FS/DC, f/n dec06. 86-0231 ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n oct91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/jun07. Actually seen without the VA tail code in

F-16C 86-0249/VA, armed with a Maverick missile, shortly after returning from a training mission on 6 May 1993. 86-0232 86-0242

(Bob Greby)

86-0243 86-0244

86-0245 86-0246 86-0249 86-0254 86-0258 86-0259 86-0260 86-0261

dec91, this had been applied by jul92. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n nov08. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n oct91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/sep05. Transferred to 121st FS/DC, f/n nov06. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n may91. With 149th (T)FS/VA aug91/may00. When rst seen in aug91, it was still at Spangdahlem, rst noted in Richmond in dec91. Was at Ogden ALC for rework in dec00, but on 26dec00 it was severely damaged when the landing gear was suddenly retracted during landing at Hill AFB (UT) following a postmaintenance test ight. A complete rebuild of the aircraft started, using parts of F-16N 163571. It was still at Hill in feb05 and never returned to Richmond. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n mar07. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA jan92/sep05. Marked 149 FS sep98/may01. Transferred to 121st FS/DC, f/n oct07. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n oct91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/mar03. In sep00, a set of special markings was painted on the aircraft, based on the scheme carried by 328th FS Mustangs during World War II. It carried the code PE and the name Cripes A Mighty. Transferred to 150th DSE NM ANG, f/n mar04. Returned to 149th FS/VA, noted may05/sep05, but transferred again, to 457th FS/TX, f/n mar07. ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP on 09nov91. 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/apr06. Was one of the few VA ANG F-16s noted with a name, it was named Warrior Princess in dec91. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n nov06. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, dep SP (in full 149th TFS mks) on 25jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA jun91/may06. Marked 192 FW sep04/may06. Transferred to 457th FS/TX, f/n mar07. ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/feb00. To 174th FS IA ANG, f/n aug01. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jul91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/sep05. Noted without VA tail code, following a repaint, in apr00. Full mks again may00. Also marked 192 FW sep96/mar01. Transferred to 175th FS SD ANG, f/n sep08. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jul91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/oct94, transferred to 113th FS/TH, f/n aug95. ex 23rd TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n sep91. With 149th (T)FS/VA oct91/oct94, actually still at Spangdahlem when seen in oct91. Had been delivered by dec91. Transferred to 113th FS/TH, f/n mar95. ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/oct94. Transferred to 113th FS/TH, f/n aug95. ex 480th TFS/52nd TFW/SP, l/n jun91. With 149th (T)FS/VA dec91/oct94. Transferred to 113th FS/TH, f/n aug95. ment: the aircraft started going sideways, and the jet ended up next to the civilian rehouse idling and burning contentedly. We picked it up with a crane, blew the gear down, pinned it, and towed it back to the ramp. Boy, did it stink!! The aircraft was sent back to Ogden ALC for repairs. Between 1 December 1993 and 15 January 1994, the squadron was part of a joint ANG deployment to Incirlik AB in Turkey. Four ANG F-16 units were involved in this deployment, 120th FS CO ANG, 149th FS VA ANG, 174th FS IA ANG and 175th FS SD ANG; these combined deployments became known as Rainbow Team deployments and were conceived to relieve the burden for the units involved, as each unit would man the deployment for a few weeks, before being relieved by personnel from one of the other states. Each of the units quoted contributed three aircraft to the deployment, except the 149th, which only sent over a pair of F-16Cs, 86-0227 and 86-0246. The F-16s took four days to make the ight, arriving in Turkey via Germany, on 4 December. While in Turkey, the squadron supported Operation Provide Comfort II, patrolling the no-y zone over northern Iraq to prevent Iraqi forces from inicting damage on the villages of Kurdish minorities. This deployment also marked the rst time ANG units had been called to active duty since the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. The 149th returned home on 15 January 1994. Over the next ten years, a steady stream of ghters and support aircraft of a large number of units deployed

following the large-scale reorganization of the USAF following the rst Gulf War. Likewise, the units parent group was redesignated 192nd Fighter Group (and subsequently became 192nd Fighter Wing in October 1995). By 1994, the units complement had decreased to eighteen jets, while a few years later the complement was down to just fteen F-16s. Another change for the unit was that they were ordered to remove the Confederate ags from their aircraft and patches in 1992, they had proudly worn these colors since the units inception in the late 1940s, when they called themselves The Rebel Squadron. In the Thunderbolt era, squadron pilots had the confederate ag applied to their ight jackets and helmets. Actually, most of the squadrons pilots even had replica rebel caps which they wore on special occasions! A case of misplaced political correctness? On 28 February 1993, the squadron deployed eight F-16Cs to Andoya AB in Norway for exercise Battle Grifn, which was a NATO cold-weather exercise which included forces from 15 countries, like VMAQ-3 EA-6Bs at Bodo. No serials of participating F-16s are known for the deployment, nor is the return date. On 3 December 1993, almost lost an F-16, when 86-0222 caught re on landing at Richmond IAP, following which the undercarriage collapsed. At that moment, the pilot (safely) ejected from the stricken aircraft, when, according to his own state-

to Turkey in support of the operation, which ofcially ended on 1 May 2003. The Virginia ANG returned to Incirlik for more Operation Provide Comfort II in 1996; between 9 January and 9 April 1996 they were part of another Rainbow Team operating from Incirlik, which included F-16s from 149th FS VA ANG, 174th FS IA ANG and 175th FS SD ANG, each contributing four F-16s to the deployment (serials of F-16s involved unknown). 149th FS personnel deployed to Iraq in February. The squadron was selected to evaluate a new recce pod for the F-16 force, named TARS (Theatre Airborne Reconnaissance System), and from 1995 the unit conducted tests with this portable, pod-mounted electrooptical reconnaissance system, with F-16D 85-1572 being used as the dedicated test aircraft. To provide maximum exibility for its F-16C 86-0219/VA serves as a backdrop for the troops during the F-16 farewell cerghter force, the USAF wanted to see wheth- emony at Richmond on 16 September 2007. (Kenneth W Keeton) er reconnaissance pods could be carried by regular ghter aircraft, giving operational units effort to stop drug smuggling into the United States. the additional function of reconnaissance, with each unit beFollowing the terrorist attacks on the USA on 11 September ing capable of equipping a small number of aircraft with the 2001, elements of the squadron were called to active duty, pod, thus eliminating dedicated recce squadrons. In April 1996, starting on 20 September 2001. Their mission was to provide the squadron was declared fully mission capable with the pod full-time air defence for the USA, and the units F-16s started and the next month, in May 1996, the squadron deployed to ying missions in support of Operation Noble Eagle, defending Aviano to y recce missions over Bosnia, supporting internathe cities in their area from further terrorist attacks. The squadtional peace keeping efforts in the region. This operation was rons home took on the look of an active-duty Air Force base! named Operation Decisive Edge. The ve F-16s involved in Beginning in mid-September, combat air patrols were own day the deployment (86-0223, 86-0229, 86-0230. 86-0243 and 86and night for 218 consecutive days until mid-April 2002; during 0244) arrived in Italy on 30 May (actually, two aircraft (229/244) that period 820 operational sorties were own. To support 24diverted to Spangdahlem and arrived at Aviano the next day). hour-a-day operations, the unit installed three alert trailers for The F-16s usually ew four missions each day, photographing F-16 crews at Richmond, as well as on-base laundry facilities, eight or more targets on each mission. The targets were chosen a mini-BX and a small gymnasium. The USA was in turmoil by NATOs Combined Air Operations Center in Vicenza. These and although never called to active duty as a whole, selected operational tests with the new pod proved quite successful and squadron and wing personnel did their periods of active duty, it was decided to further develop the concept, which ultimately which lasted up to two years at a time, the maximum federally resulted in the denitive TARS pod in 1998. Anyway, the unit allowed. departed Aviano for home again early in July 1996. On 7 June 2002, after being relieved from the 24/7 Noble The next few years were spent participating in various exerEagle patrols, 149th FS deployed six F-16Cs to Aalborg AB cises in the USA and Canada. These included annual particiin Denmark for participation in exercise Clean Hunter 2002, pation in Air Warrior and Red Flag exercises at Nellis or Maple which was held between 10 and 21 June. They were supportFlag at Cold Lake, but in June 1999 the unit deployed to Alaska, ed by KC-135Es from 108th ARS IL ANG. 522nd FS/27th FW followed by a deployment to Hickam AFB (HI) in February and F-16s also took part in the exercise; these had deployed to March 2000. In December 2000, the squadron deployed a deDenmark a few days earlier. 149th FS left for home again on tachment of F-16s (and 130 personnel) to Hato AP, Curacao in 22 June. the Netherlands Antilles as part of Operation Nighthawk, an

Another shot taken at Richmond on 6 May 1993, of F-16C 86-0226/VA.

(Stephen Miller)

In March 2003, a coalition led by Britain and the USA invaded Iraq in an effort to oust Saddam Hussein as the dictator of Iraq. On 1 May 2003, President Bush declared military victory, but this was only the beginning of a long stay in Iraq for the US forces, also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Following 9-11, the US had also gradually increased its presence in Afghanistan and over the next years, the US military was largely devoted to supporting the war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. 149th FS also participated in this effort and in October 2003, the squadron deployed to Al Udeid AB in Qatar, in a joint deployment with 138th FS, supporting US ground troops in Iraq during OIF. The deployment involved six F-16s of each squadron (the VA ANG aircraft were 86-0219, 86-0225, 86-0230, 860243, 86-0245 and 86-0246), and after 45 days of operations, the squadron departed Al Udeid for Moron AB in Spain for the rst leg of the long journey home on 2 December 2003. A news report in the Newport News Daily Press of 14 February 2004 claimed that 149th FS was going to move to Langley AFB in the future and was going to be integrated into 1st FW ying the FA-22 Raptor, much like an Associate squadron in AFRC, maintaining their own unit identity and command structure. This report proved to be correct and USAF ofcially announced their Future Total Force Initiative on 1 December. A few months later, on 13 May 2005, the fate of 149th FS was sealed when the next wave of base closures and unit reductions was ofcially announced: the unit was due to retire all its F-16s over the next few years and move to Langley AFB to y the F-22, just like the newspaper report predicted. The squadron would not own any F-22s but support 1st FW operations by ying their jets. In October 2005, LtCol Phillip Guy became the rst of the squadrons pilots to make the move to Langley AFB and y the Raptor. The rst two-ship mission of F-22As exclusively own by Virginia ANG pilots was own from Langley AFB on 18 February 2006, by LtCol Guy and Maj Patrick DeConcini. As the unit was, at that time, still based at Richmond, the group at Langley was operated by Det.3. On 9 June 2007, the squadron ew its nal tactical F-16 sorties. By that time, the majority of the VA ANG pilots was in training or had completed the Raptor conversion-course. Only a handful of F-16s was left on strength with the unit. On 10 June, 860229 departed to Fort Worth, leaving only 85-1572, 86-0219, 86-0223 and 86-0231 to be reassigned. By 20 June only 219 and 223 were still present and these ew the ofcial last F-16 training mission for the squadron on that date; this was also the date the unit ofcially transitioned to the F-22A, and became the rst ANG squadron to use the type. By this time, twenty

pilots had converted to the type. However, it was not until 16 September 2007 that the nal F-16 (86-0219) ofcially left Richmond during a farewell-ceremony held at the base. That day, the units facility at Richmond was closed in a ceremony; the unit ag was rolled-up by Col Jay Pearsall and then put away. 86-0219 then departed, the pilot dipped the wings of the F-16 and made the nal y-by. On 13 October 2007, 149th FS and associated 192nd FW ofcially moved to Langley AFB, at which time Det.3 was inactivated and replaced by the main body of the unit. That day, a ceremony was held in 27 FSs hangar at Langley. A squadron member quoted that it had been reported that according to some VA ANG F-22 pilots, they really didnt like someone else (i.e. 1 FW) ying their jets, and losing their own identity. The maintenance troops were getting along ne, at the time. However, given the high state of ANG maintenance, it was thought they would soon get tired of putting up with the active duty folks, in the long term. Generally, ANG aircraft maintenance is of a higher standard than in the active duty Air Force. The move to Langley was not entirely a happy one for the squadron. A large number of personnel left the unit altogether, or moved over to the DC ANG to continue working on F-16s, or took other National Guard jobs closer to home, they had the feeling they were sold out by the Air Force. The number of personnel actually transferring to Langley was fairly small, and while at Langley, most felt that they were just a number on the list and not an individual human being. Be that as it may, the squadron moved on and F-22 operations started to gather pace. In late 2007 the squadron resumed their Operation Noble Eagle duties with the Raptors, reaching Full Operational Capability with the F-22A on 13 December 2007. On 6 January 2009, 1st FW deployed twelve F-22s to Kadena AB, and about 50 Virginia ANG personnel, including a few pilots, went along as well. They returned home on 11 April. Unfortunately, the 149th FS is just one of many ANG squadrons to have lost its identity over the past few years and more changes to the ANG force will undoubtedly take place in the future. The past 60 years have seen good and bad times for the squadron, and they have always been a favorite of us aircraft buffs! Credits: Kenneth W Keeton, Virginia Air National Guard Retirees Association, Stephen Miller, Don Spering, Patrick Roegies, USAF, BAR, SEAR, F-16.net, The Air Guard by Rene Francillon, Air Combat, World Air Power Journal. Corrections and additions? Mail jan.van.waarde@scramble.nl.

The shape of the future for the Virginia ANG is captured in this photograph, showing 149th FS F-16Cs 86-0223/VA as lead aircraft, anked by F-16C 86-0245/VA and F-22A 03-4050/FF of 1st FW. (30 March 2006, USAF photo TSgt Ben Bloker)