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180th Fighter Wing History

Graphic composite featuring elements 180FW present and history.

Graphic composite featuring elements 180FW present and history.

Today’s 180th FW 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. Ten years 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 1920’sand 1930’s 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 they were 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 throughout the next 20 years. First, the unit moved to Toledo as a Fighter Interceptor Squadron and converted from the F-51 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. In 1962, 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 Corsaire in 1979. Then 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 by supporting several real-world contingencies to including Operation Just Cause in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield in 1991. In 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 unit members volunteered to enforce the 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 have volunteered to support both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005 and Operation Iraqi Freedom again in 2007 and 2008. Most recently, in 2013, the wing deployed for the first time to Djbouti, Africa, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

While deployed to Africa, the wing received an unscheduled tasking to forward deploy to Azraq, Jordan. The men and women of the 180FW accepted and flawlessly executed this short-notice challenge and moved 221 personnel, eight F-16 Fighting Falcons and 250 tons of support equipment to stand up a bare base in less than 72 hours. Before returning home, 180FW Airmen assisted in yet another relocation, from Jordan to Afghanistan, moving personnel, aircraft and support equipment to Kandahar.

Always striving to better the wing, and the Air National Guard, the 180FW continually seeks out new missions. In 2006, the 180FW began the development of a 10 acre solar renewable energy site. The site is an operational 1.6 megawatt photovoltaic field which is slated for expansion to approximately 1.9 Megawatts peak electrical capacity. Currently, the system produces approximately 33 percent of the unit’s annual electrical requirements, in turn saving the taxpayers an estimated $230,000 each year while reducing the wing’s dependence on coal by almost 623 tons annually. Most recently, the wing added 10 Dual Access Tracking Arrays.

From 2007 to 2015, the 180th Fighter Wing Medical Group joined Ohio’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear or High-Yield Explosives Homeland Response Force Package, or HRF. This joint package was designed by the National Guard Bureau and is comprised of civilian emergency agencies and Army National Guard components.

Ohio’s HRF team serves the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s region five, supporting Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The team’s mission is to provide immediate response to the Governor in searching disaster sites, rescuing casualties, decontaminating them, performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize them for transport to nearby medical facilities.

The 180FW Propulsion Element was selected in 2008 as the first Pratt and Whitney - 229/220 Repair Network Integration team to have provided War Ready Engines for the F-15 and F-16 communities by rebuilding and testing 81 engines from 2009 to date in support of the Air Force and Air National Guard. These engines have been sent to coalition partners as well as U.S. Air Force installations.

Activated in October 2008, the Air Sovereignty Alert mission became the newest 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 United States 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 135 real-world events, totaling 380 flying hours in support of ONE. The ACA team continues to excel at the nation’s number one priority, our 24/7/365 mission, year after year, earning the highest possible “Mission Ready” NORAD Command inspection ratings and “Best Seen to Date” comments for both Alert Forces Evaluations and Alert Forces Operational Assessments in 2009, 2012 and 2014. 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 as well 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. Most recently 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.

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 remarked “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.

Known for leaning forward in the research, development and implementation of green energy programs, in 2012, the 180FW became the first Air National Guard wing to fly routine training missions solely on biofuel as part of the testing plan with the Air Force to certify more than 40 aircraft models for bio-fuel use. Two 180 FW aircraft were designated to test 100,000 gallons of the renewable fuel as one of the final steps before taking the fuel mainstream and allowing the F-16 to use bio-fuel in unrestricted operations. The wing’s use of Bio-fuels further reduces dependence on fossil fuels and brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of energy independence.

As part of the Air National Guard’s community mission, 27 of our medical personnel deployed to Martin, Tennessee in support of “Hope of Martin,” a two-week health fair in 2013 where they assisted in providing free medical care to over 3,000 patients. Our Airmen helped to conduct over 7,900 medical procedures and produce over 1,100 pairs of eyeglasses for the people of Martin and surrounding communities.

Our Training Affiliation Agreement with the University of Toledo Medical Center, the first agreement of its kind in the Air National Guard and recognized as a benchmark training program at the National Guard level, was renewed for another five years. This training program streamlines medical skills verification and hands-on training of our military medical personnel locally while also providing extra manpower at the medical center during the wing’s training weekends. This partnership is projected to save more than $20,000 in training costs for each of our military medical personnel.

In the fall, the wing successfully relocated aircraft and personnel to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during a three-week runway resurfacing project at Toledo Express Airport. The wing’s alert mission and daily training never skipped a beat as our Airmen executed their responsibilities flawlessly.

The 180FW also received the first of four active duty pilots in 2015, as part of the Active Association integration and contributing to the establishment of the One Force concept.

The 180FW remains committed to maintaining the long-standing tradition of high standards when providing combat ready Airmen for our federal, state and community missions.