Wing History

The motto of the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard, is "Nulli Secundus." This translates from Latin as "Second to None." It is as accurate and appropriate today as it was when the Wing's gallant Airmen earned the motto in the skies over Europe in World War II. It was officially approved as the Wing motto on December 22, 1953. 

More than 1,000 officers and enlisted airmen serve in the 136th Airlift Wing today. The wing plays a vital role in the overall mission of Air Mobility Command. Texas Citizen Airmen operate, maintain and support airlifters that routinely fly to nearly every point on the globe. In addition to the flight crews, the wing requires mechanics, food service, quartermasters, civil engineers, weather, medical and a host of support elements to keep the planes in the sky. 

These volunteers are highly skilled. When mobilized for the USAF Total Force Structure, the twenty units that make up the wing stand ready to carry on the tradition of excellence which its predecessors have established. 

The history of the 136th Airlift Wing begins May 24, 1943, with the constitution of the 368th Fighter Group. The brand-new 368th Fighter Group Headquarters was sent to England a combat element of the 9th Air Force. The Group served gallantly in their P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers (pictured, above), receiving battle honors for the Normandy Campaign, Air Offensive Europe, battles in the Ardennes, Central Europe, and Northern France Campaigns. 

For its outstanding performance of duty at Nons, France, on September 3, 1944, the group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. The group dispatched seven missions against the enemy that day, destroying large numbers of motor transports, horse-drawn vehicles and troops. Additionally, group fighters attacked enemy positions that obstructed the advance of Allied ground forces. 

The group participated in the assault against the Siegfried Line and took part in the Battle of the Bulge by attacking rail lines and trains, marshalling yards, roads, vehicles, armored columns and gun positions. 

Proud and flush with victory, the 368th Fighter Group was inactivated in Germany on August 20, 1946. 

Meanwhile, on June 16, 1946, Major General Fred Walker, then Commander of the Texas National Guard, told the Dallas News in an interview that the War Department had recommended Dallas' Hensley Field as the new home for radar stations for three units of "a new Air National Guard." Maj. Gen. Walker mentioned a Dallas fighter squadron, "as yet unnamed" would augment the three radar units. 

Quickly thereafter on August 21, 1946, the inactivated 368th Fighter Group was redesignated as the 136th Fighter Group and assigned to the new Texas Air National Guard. While wing HQ was located at Hensley Field in Dallas, the wing comprised the 181st Fighter Squadron in Dallas, the 182nd Fighter Squadron in San Antonio, the 111th Fighter Squadron in Houston and the 122nd Bombardment Squadron (Light) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Of all the units assigned to the 136 FG, only the 111 FS had existed before World War II; the Air Force wanted to ensure every unit of the new Air National Guard had a proud legacy to continue from their inception. The creation of the 136th as a Dallas unit can be argued to have begun the day the first Texan took the new unit's colors. 

Enlistment in the Air National Guard was restricted to former servicemen with a maximum of six months' Air Corps experience since Pearl Harbor Day. Colonel T. C. Castle, a B-25 bomber group commander began enlisting personnel. The first three F-51 Mustang fighters for the 181st arrived at Hensley on July 9, 1947. In addition to more than 75 fighters, the wing's full compliment of aircraft included four A-26s attack aircraft, four AT-6 trainers, two C-47 airlifters and one L-5 observation plane. On July 7, 1950, the TANG received its first jet aircraft: four F-84B Thunderjets for the 136 FG. The 181st was the first to receive F-84Bs; the other squadrons were scheduled to receive F-84E models later on. An F-51H fighter assigned to the 111th Fighter Squadron appears on page 4, freshly outfitted in Texas Air Guard markings. 

The new 136th Fighter Group Headquarters was activated on October 10, 1950 for two weeks. Ironically, an Arkansas squadron replaced the 181st because the Air Force had realized that the F-84B jet fighters were too unreliable for combat. The 181st had already lost two F-84Bs to a mid-air collision and another to rotted hydraulics and was in the process of returning the temperamental jets to Tinker Air Force Base when the alert sounded. 

On October 26, 1950, the 136 HQ and the HQ, 236th Air Service Group (part of the wing) deployed to Langley AFB, Virginia, along with the 182 FS, 111 FS and the 154 FS from Little Rock, Arkansas. Together, this composite wing became the first Air National Guard unit mobilized since Word War II. The deployed element received 90 days of combat training and 90 days of conversion training in the new F-84Es. The unit was deemed ready for battle and deployed as personnel replacements to Korean on May 13, 1951. The Texans fell in on the equipment and organization of the 27th Fighter Escort Wing; after the entire 136th arrived, the 27 FEW was redesignated the 136th Fighter-Bomber Group 

The "new" 136 FBW fought in the Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive, in the United Nations Summer and Fall Offensives, in the Second Korean Winter, Korean Summer, Fall of 1952 and Third Korean Winter campaigns. The wing's Thunderjets played an important role in Operation STRANGLE - the battle to halt movement of enemy troops, equipment and supplies, and to disrupt enemy communications. Texas Air Guardsmen were recognized for knocking out enemy cable relay stations at Pyongyang, and for exceptional attacks against rail equipment and tracks bridges, buildings and personnel. The photo at the top of this page shows Thunderjets from the 182nd Fighter Squadron heading out on their first strike of the War, on May 24, 1951. 

By the end of the war, the 136 FBW completed 15,515 combat sorties, dropping 23,719 bombs and 715 tanks of napalm, and firing 4,564 rockets and over three million rounds of 50 caliber machinegun ammunition. Battle losses also reduced the wing from 75 fighters down to 35. Colonel Pendergast, the wing commander, was shot down and killed in 1951. Records suggest more than 30 wing Airmen were killed in action. 

Despite their loses, the 136th earned a good reputation for air-to-air battles over "MiG Alley." On June 26, 1951, six flights of F-84s were escorting four B-29 heavy bombers on a strike against an enemy airfield near Yongyu, south of the Yalu River. Four minutes after the bombs fell, the bombers were attacked by five MiG-15 jet fighters. During the ensuing dog fight, 1st Lieutenant Arthur E. Oligher, assisted by Capt. Harry Underwood, shot down a MiG-15: the first Air National Guard "kill" of the war. The veteran MiG pilots were routed. By the end of the war, the 136 FBW went on to earn three more confirmed kills, seven probable kills and credit for 72 enemy aircraft damaged. 

In addition their impressive combat record, the support elements of the wing build an AF Hospital and an airfield in Taegu, Korea. 

As the pilots completed their 100 missions, they were individually released back to the USA. As active-duty Airmen back-filled the departing Texans, entire groups began to rotate home en masse, leaving their equipment behind for others to use. In May 1952, the last senior NCOs turned their charges over. The wing was released from active military service on July 9, 1952. The all-active unit that remained was redesignated the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing. 

Back in Texas, the wing's history picked back up smoothly. A shortage of jets across the Air Force left very few for the returning Guardsmen. Some old F-84Ds were reconditioned, but most of the fliers made due with old F-51H Mustangs until the Fall of 1953. Brooks Field in San Antonio wasn't long enough for jets, so the 182nd flew Mustangs until they could move the Squadron to Kelly AFB in June 1956. 

In 1955, the 181st was selected by Air Defense Command as an experiment to man a runway alert program, with fully-armed jet fighters ready to scramble every day from dawn to dusk. The 111th and 182nd joined the runway alert program in 1956, and on July 1, 1957, the wing was redesigned as the 136th Air Defense Wing and was reorganized as part of the Air Defense Command.

The newly designated 136th Air Defense Wing replaced their aging F-84 Thunderjets with F-86 Sabrejets starting in 1957. Rumors began to circulate that Dallas was too far from the border to host an air defense mission. In 1960, the 111th and 182nd replaced their F-86s with newer, heavier F-102 Delta Daggers. When the 181st was denied the F-102 upgrade, it was clear the element at Hensley needed to find a new mission. The State Headquarters asked for an air transport mission, but none were available. 

When the active Air Force announced they planned to send their older mid-air refuellers to the Guard, Texas snapped up the mission. In February 1965, the 181st was reorganized under the Tactical Air Command and converted to the KC-97 Stratotanker. The big, ungainly Stratotanker dwarfs its fighter cousins in the all-136th photo (at left). The 181st remained with the 136th as its flying squadron, and the Wing HQ was redesignated an Air Refuelling Wing six months after the 181st converted. The 111 FS, 182 FS and other flying units split off to make their own histories. 

On May 1, 1967, Korean War veteran COL Nowell Didear and the 136th Air Refuelling Wing took off from Baumholder, Germany, on a four-hour mission that off-loaded 14,000 pounds of jet fuel to thirsty F100 fighters. This mission initiated the most unique and far-reaching operations in Air National Guard history -- Operation CREEK PARTY. 

Due to the French decision to withdraw from NATO, the tactical fighter community in Europe was short of bases and options. The conflict in Southeast Asia drew off all the active-duty tankers not needed for the nuclear bomber fleet. After a considerable number of training missions to Greece, Turkey and Italy had to be cancelled in 1967, the Air Force asked the 136 ARW to conduct air-to-air refuelling tests over Europe. Doubts as to the Air Guard's ability to support the active mission were quickly overcome. According to the official USAFE history: "... CREEK PARTY showed that the Air Guard could sustain a significant operational rotation overseas in support of the Air Force without resorting to a politically sensitive mobilization by the President or Congress. It set a precedent for future overseas operational rotations." 

The 136 ARW participated from start to finish in the ten-year, all-Guard mission, refueling every model of jet fighter in the active-duty USAF arsenal. Elements of the 136th spent the decade flying back and forth from Hensley Field to Rhein-Main AFB in Frankfurt, West Germany. The air refueling assignment brought much praise for the 136 ARW and many awards. Among these are two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, one for service during May 1, 1967 to April 30, 1969, and another for service throughout CREEK PARTY. In 1976, the wing received the Distinguished Flying Unit Award -- the highest honor that an Air National Guard unit can receive during peacetime.
In 1976, the wing was transferred from the Tactical Air Command to the Strategic Air Command, but continued its air refueling mission. On April 1, 1978, the mission changed again. The 181st Squadron led the conversion from KC-97L Stratotankers (above) to the C-130B Hercules airlift aircraft (below) while the 136th Air Refuelling Wing evolved into the 136th Tactical Airlift Wing (TAW). The wing also transferred from Strategic Air Command to Military Airlift Command. With the conversion came a new mission: moving the people, equipment and materiel that make it possible to fight a war. 

The 136 TAW began participation in Operation VOLANT OAK in March 1980 with a deployment to the Republic of Panama, and has continued to participate in this family of deployments ever since. Currently, the wing provides airlift support to VOLANT OAK's new iteration, Operation CORONET OAK out of Puerto Rico. This mission takes people and cargo all over the Southern Hemisphere in all range of operations, from over-water to mountain bases to jungle to tropical paradise. This mission has never lacked for volunteers.

1983 was a banner year for the 136th. To start with, the wing was named "The Air National Guard Unit of the Year" by the Air Force Association. To celebrate, the 136th participated in the joint-force TEAM SPIRIT war games in South Korea. The wing planned and conducted its own composite force exercise called SENTRY COWBOY II. The wing also supported Operation RED FLAG, hostile environment training, and Operation COLD FIRE in support of REFORGER 83. Finally, the wing's 531st Air Force Band was recognized as the premier band in the Air National Guard. 

In March 1985, the wing participated in SENTRY COWBOY III at Gulfport, Mississippi. SC III was the largest composite-force exercise ever conducted to date, involving 1,406 flying sorties in just two weeks while under simulated hostile environments. 

In June 1985, the 136th supported its Texas Army Guard cousins in the 49th Armored Division in Operation SENTRY CHAPARRAL. The TANG flew soldiers and equipment from all over the state to Fort Hood, Texas, for the division's annual war games. 

After returning from Operation VOLANT PARTNER in Zaragosa, Spain, in June 1986, the 136 TAW received the first brand-new H-model Hercules aircraft, fresh from the factory. On August 2, 1986, a special welcoming ceremony was held, in which the first C-130H was christened The Sprit of Texas.  

In February 1987, the wing hauled soldiers from the 101st Infantry Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to participate in Exercise GOLDEN EAGLE 87. The wing also carried over 36,000 pounds of jet fuel in special rubber fuel bladders retrofitted into a new C-130H. Later that summer, the wing's Airlift Control Element supported road-building Army National Guard engineers in Quito, Ecuador. 

On December 9, 1989, the 136 TAW deployed aircraft and personnel to Operation VOLANT OAK at Howard Air Base, Panama. The families of the deployed Airmen were stunned to discover their loved ones supporting the December 20 invasion of Panama from inside the war zone!

Starting at 0300 on December 21 through December 24, 1989, the deployed wing members were subject to hostile ground fire, but did not sustain any serious damage. During this rotation, the aircrews flew 55 sorties - 39 of which were combat sorties in support of Operation JUST CAUSE. 

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded their small and defenseless neighbor Kuwait. On August 27, 1990, men and women of the 136th Mobile Aerial Port Squadron (MAPS) were called to active-duty and deployed to Dover AFB, Delaware, in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD. They earned distinction as the first Air National Guard unit to be activated in support of the Gulf War, falling in with Active USAF units in place to provide seamless services to the total force. On November 16-17,1990, the 136 MAPS established a new record by loading 5,458,070 pounds of cargo. This surpassed all previous achievements in the U. S. Air Force: active, guard and reserve. 

In addition aircrews, maintainers and support personnel were deployed to Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD. These Airmen consolidated with other units and miscellaneous pieces to form the 1630th Tactical Airlift Wing (Provisional). On January 16, 1991, the defensive mission was renamed Operation DESERT STORM as the Allied Coalition forces began to attack Baghdad, Iraq. 

On February 9, 1991, the remainder of the 136 MAPS personnel and equipment were moved from Dover AFB to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. 

Throughout February, the 1630 TAW (Provisional) took part in a historic movement, stockpiling more than 60 days of supplies for an entire army corps within the Theater of Operations. Operation DESERT STORM ended shortly thereafter following the famous "flanking sweep" into Iraq. 

On June 1, 1992, the Military Airlift Command evolved into the Air Mobility Command. In keeping with the new doctrine, the 136th evolved from a Tactical Airlift Wing to an Airlift Wing. 

On October 1, 1993, the 136 AW was transferred from AMC to Air Combat Command, the post-merger hybrid of Tactical Air Command and Strategic Air Command. This new ownership wouldn't last long; the wing returned to AMC in April 1997. Patches and stationary that had been tucked away in 1993 were reissued. The wing's mission never changed. 

In 1993, the wing supported Operation PROVIDE PROMISE, hauling food and supplies to the war-ravaged portions of Yugoslavia. In 1994, the 136th expanded its airlift operations in the former Yugoslavia as part of a United Nations' humanitarian relief effort. Additionally, at the end of July, the wing flew one C-130 to east Africa in support of Operation SUPPORT HOPE. 

As part of the military Base Closure and Relocation program (BRAC), the U.S. Navy announced they would close Naval Air Station Dallas (Hensley Field) in September 1998. On November 26, 1996, the wing broke ground for a brand new complex on what had once been the old B-52 bomber end of Carswell AFB in Fort Worth. 

In the 90s spirit of joint operations, the U.S. Navy took over Carswell from the Air Force Reserve and renamed it "Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Carswell Field." Despite the rather confusing name, the 136 AW and other denizens of Hensley field relocated in fine order. The wing formally dedicated its first new hanger in April 1999, and by the change of command ceremony in July 1999 was fully operational in its new home. 

On July 17, 1999, the 136th Airlift Wing took part in Exercise TEXAS TYRADE IV, a multi-service simulated strike on "enemy" forces in Kansas. Airmen from the TANG stood proud beside their comrades in Air Force Reserve's 301st Fighter Wing and Marine Air Group 41's attack jets and mid-air refuellers. The wing has committed itself to joint operations. In December 1999, the JRB scrambled a Navy and Air Force team to photograph the fresh crash site of a downed F/A-18 Hornet fighter. Despite foul weather - and in spite of inter-service rivalry - the 181st Airlift Squadron quickly changed a routine training sortie into a low-level airborne photography mission. The aircraft offloaded its special mission crew in between waves of foul weather (pictured above) and continued on.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the wing has mobilized numerous times in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN and INHERENT RESOLVE in 2015 to present day.  The assigned C-130H's and aircrews have flown more than 7,000 combat hours since 9/11/01.  These missions have included cargo, personnel, distinguished visitor, and medical evacuation transports as well as aerial resupply of ground forces in austere environments.  Support personnel have also deployed in large numbers in support of ground, air, and special operations forces.  Duties performed during these deployments include personnel administration, driving convoys, and weather forecasting.  Rotations of personnel and aircraft to Southwest Asia continue today.

The wing has mobilized numerous times for peacetime relief missions at home and abroad.  The wing supported relief efforts for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav and Ike.  Contributions included deploying aircraft, personnel and equipment to provide direct and indirect relief/recovery operations.  During Hurricane Gustav alone, the wing evacuated more than 635 special needs patients to safety.  Elements of the wing also deployed during the 2010 Haitian Earthquake relief effort.

The 136th Airlift Wing also participates in DoD's State Partnership Program (SPP).  The wing's partner nations are Chile and the Czech Republic.  Exchanges include aircraft operations, maintenance  and medical training.

No one knows for sure what mission is next for the Texas Air National Guard in Fort Worth, but no one really minds. The thousand volunteer guardsmen who make up the 136th Airlift Wing have a proud legacy and an exhilarating future. 

As the U.S. Military grows leaner, projecting its power from the continental U.S. to all points of the globe, the Texas Air National Guard stands ready to take on any mission, anywhere, under any conditions. The 136th is committed to being the lead agent in Texas and the World for whatever the future holds. 

Second to none. 

History is incomplete to present day and is in the process of being updated.