In the beginning

Wing's Roots

The 368th Fighter Group was constituted on May 24, 1943, and activated on June 1, 1943. The aircraft the Group trained with were P-47 fighters. In January 1944 the 368 FG moved to England. On March 14 of that year they began an operation with the 9th Air Force to fly fighter sweeps over the coast of France. To help prepare for the invasion of France, t he Group made strafing and bombing attacks on airfields, highway bridges, trains, vehicles, flak positions and V-weapon sites. In early June 1944, the 368 FG supported the landings in Normandy and began operations from the Continent later that same month.

Beginning July 25, they aided in the taking of Cherbourg, participated in the air operations that prepared the way for the allied breakthrough at St- Lo and supported ground forces during their drive across France.

The 368 FG received a *Distinguished Unit Cross* for support operations in the vicinity of Mons on Sept. 3, 1944, for dispatching seven missions against the enemy, destroying large numbers of motor transports, horse-drawn vehicles and troops, and also attacking enemy positions that obstructed the progress of ground forces.

The Group continued to support ground forces by participating in several missions such as an assault against the Siegfried Line, attacking rail lines and trains, marshalling yards, roads and vehicles, armored columns, and gun partitions during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 through January 1945.

In addition, the 368 FG operated with the Allied Forces that pushed across the Rhine and into
Germany. After Victory in Europe Day, the Group also served with the Army of occupation, and was assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe.

The 368th Fighter Group was inactivated in Germany on Aug. 20, 1946, and became the 136th Fighter Group and was allotted to the Texas Air National Guard the next day. The new 136 FG extended federal recognition on January 27, 1947. Three years later, on Oct. 10, they were ordered into active service assigned to the Tactical Air Command and became the 136th
Fighter Bomber Group.

As the 136 FBG, they flew F-51's until early 1951, then converted to F-84's. Between May and July of that year, they moved to Japan and were attached to the Far East Air Forces for duty in the Korean Conflict. During the Conflict, the Group was re-designated at the 136th Fighter-Bomber Wing, and engaged primarily in interdiction but also performed other operations such as flying close-support and escort for armed-reconnaissance missions. The Wing operated first from Japan and later from Korea.

Following the Conflict, the Wing was re-designated as the 136th Air Defense Wing in 1960 and were recognized as part of the Air Defense Command. In February 1965, the Wing was reorganized under the Tactical Air Command and converted to the KC-97L aircraft. Between 1967 and 1977, a unique air-refueling mission, "Operation Creek" recognized the Wing's service and on April 1, 1978, they converted to the C-130B aircraft and were re-designated as the 136th Tactical Airlift Wing. The Wing then became part of the Military Airlift Command. The new 136 TAW mission was airlift of troops, military equipment, cargo and aeromedical support, and in August 1986 the Wing received the new C-130H aircraft.

On June 1, 1992, MAC was dissolved and became the Air Mobility Command and the Wing was re-designated as the 136th Airlift Wing.

ANG: A Short Story

The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.

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