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180th Fighter Wing History

The 180th Fighter Wing was formed in October 1995, but its origins stretch back to Aug. 18, 1917 when the 112th Aero Squadron was organized as a supply unit at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas. Later, in 1927, the 112th moved to the Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Ohio, where they became known as the 112th Observation Squadron, flying a wide range of aircraft throughout the late 1920s and 1930s including the PT-1, BT-1, the O-2 and the O-11.

In 1940, the unit was regrouped as the 112th Liaison Squadron. During that time, the 112th was activated in support of World War II and Lt. Col. Addison Baker, a B-24 Liberator pilot received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the raids on the oil fields at Ploesti, Romania. After the war, the unit was reorganized as the 112th Bombardment Squadron (Light), flying Douglas A-26 Invaders and activated at Lawson Field, Georgia, in support of the Korean Conflict in 1950. After the conflict ended, the unit returned to Ohio as an Air National Guard Fighter Bomber Squadron flying F-51 Mustangs at the Akron-Canton Airport.

Several more reorganizations and aircraft conversions took place over the next 20 years. The unit moved to Toledo as a Fighter Interceptor Squadron and converted to the F-84 E/F Thunderjet model aircraft in 1958. Then, the unit became the 112th Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1958 and was activated for the Berlin Crisis in 1961. The following year, the 112FS became part of the newly formed 180th Tactical Fighter Group. In 1970, the 180th TFG transitioned from the F-84 to the F-100 Super Sabre and then to the A-7 Corsair in 1979. In 1992, the 180th received its first F-16 Fighting Falcon just before being renamed the 180th Fighter Wing in 1995.

Over the years, members of the 180FW and the 112FS have answered the call to duty, supporting several contingencies including Operation Just Cause in 1989, Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in 1991. In 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 unit members volunteered to enforce no-fly-zones over Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch.

Following the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, unit members volunteered to support both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005 and Operation Iraqi Freedom again in 2007 and 2008. In 2013, the wing deployed for the first time to Djibouti, Africa, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2016, the wing deployed more than 250 Airmen, along with our F-16 fighter jets, to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to promote stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and safeguard our national interests abroad by providing influence and deterrence through force presence.

In 2018, nearly 300 Airmen and 12 F-16s deployed to Amari Air Base, Estonia as part of a Theater Security Package, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The Airmen of the 180FW helped build readiness, increase interoperability and enhance the bonds between ally and partner militaries with multinational training events, allowing for a faster response in the event of any aggression by a regional adversary against NATO sovereign territory.

In 2019, the 180FW deployed more than 360 Airmen and 180 tons of equipment to nine locations throughout the world to include: Afghanistan, Antarctica, Qatar, Serbia, South Korea, Alaska, Florida, Georgia and Utah.

In 2020, we deployed more than 400 Stinger Airmen to six countries around the world, including a 300 person, 12 aircraft combat package to support an Aerospace Expeditionary deployment to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The deployments were in support of Operation Resolute Support, enhancing our nation’s national security objectives.

In 2021, over 130 Airmen deployed to three countries around the world including Morocco, Saudia Arabia and the United States in support of Exercise African Lion, Operation Spartan Shield, Operation Allies Welcome and Annual Training missions.

In 2022, nearly 270 Airmen deployed to seven countries across the world to support missions in Guam, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Italy, Germany, and the United States.

Activated in October 2008, the Air Sovereignty Alert mission became the latest mission at the 180FW. Today, the mission is known as Aerospace Control Alert, after the mission underwent an official name change in July 2011, to more accurately depict the mission. Directly supporting Operation Noble Eagle, the 180FW aids in the protection of the continental U.S. and Canada under the direction of the North American Air Defense Command, or NORAD. Since the activation of the mission at the 180FW, ACA has responded to more than 1,257 events, totaling more than 3,441 flying hours in support of ONE.

The ACA team continues to excel at the nation’s number one priority, our 24/7 mission, year after year, earning the highest possible “Mission Ready” NORAD Command inspection ratings for both Alert Forces Evaluations and Alert Forces Operational Assessments in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. The 180FW ACA was the first unit to ever win the 1st Air Force ACA Unit of the Year title, two consecutive years in a row, in 2010 and 2011.

Our ACA team has produced several 1st Air Force level individual award winners over the years, to include Pilot of the Year in 2011, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year in 2009, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year in 2009 and 2011, Maintainer of the Year for 2010 and Command Post Controller of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Additionally, a 180FW Airman was selected as the 1st Air Force First Sergeant of the Year for 2014. In 2015, a 180FW Airman was selected as the 2015 Security Forces Aerospace Control Alert Airman of the Year. In 2017, the team earned the Air National Guard Outstanding Individual Occupational Safety Award.

The team’s continued excellence has earned them the full confidence of the continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region Commander when he stated “the 180FW is the benchmark for these operations.” In the future, the 180FW and the 112FS will continue to be major contributors to the nation’s air superiority.

Proving that the 180FW remains the first choice for the fight, our Stingers remain dedicated to enhancing their skills by conducting realistic training in realistic environments, guaranteeing the wing is always ready when called.

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