110th Fighter Wing [110th FW]
The 110th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard is part of the diverse economy base for the Battle Creek area at the W.K. Kellogg Airport. The 110th Fighter Wing (FW) of the Michigan Air National Guard (ANG) was established in 1947 at the W. K. Kellogg Airport on the west side of Battle Creek, Michigan. The 110th FW, provides close air support, including the capability to carry out a forward air control role in support of ground forces in combat. The 110th FW is currently assigned 17 A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. The current full-time weekday population of the base is 276 people, with a maximum of 935 for an 8-hour period.
When President Bill Clinton made the call to activate several Air National Guard units in May 1999, three stood up and are now a single active-duty Air Force unit flying A-10 Thunderbolt II strike missions against the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Named the 104th Expeditionary Operations Group, the unit was made up of about 500 guardsmen from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass.; the 124th Fighter Wing, Gowen Field, Idaho; and the 110th Fighter Wing, W.K. Kellogg Airfield, Mich. There were also about 200 active-duty support airmen here from more than 30 Air Force units around the world. The unit brought about 18 aircraft to the total number of 480 U.S. aircraft flying missions in support of NATO's Operation Allied Force.
On 02 June 2000 the 110th Fighter Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, based in Battle Creek, MI launched 6 of their A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft on the first leg of their mission to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Southern Watch. The Battle Creek Guard personnel and equipment were part of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) along with personnel and equipment from the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes ANG Base, Massachusetts, and the 124th Fighter Wing at Boise ANG Base, Idaho. The "Killer Bees" as the three units were collectively called, all fly the A/OA-10 and had worked together in Trapani, Italy for Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo Crisis in 1999.
The three Air National Guard units each took a 30-day period of responsibility for the AEF from now into early September of this year. As their part of the AEF, the 110th Fighter Wing deployed personnel to a variety of locations throughout Southwest Asia and Europe. The major portion was enforcing the No-Fly Zone in Operation Southern Watch for a 30 day period. The 124th Fighter Wing assumed the first 30 days, followed by the 104th Fighter Wing in early July. This entailed sending several hundred members to Southwest Asia to fly and support the A/OA-10 aircraft. There was also a number of Support personnel, the Expeditionary Combat Support Element, going to other bases to help support a variety of missions.
In preparation for the deployments, the three units met with active duty Air Force personnel to coordinate the manpower needed, equipment that each unit would be providing and the timeframes to be covered by each unit. As a result of this planning, it was determined that rather than each unit completely packing up all assets for each of their tours of duty, each would provide a particular portion at the beginning, to include aircraft and support equipment, and it would remain for the duration. With this plan, the follow-on units can concentrate on the deployment of the necessary personnel, their personal equipment and tools, and are still be able to fully perform their homestation training missions.
Some Battle Creek aircraft that departed proceeded on to Southwest Asia and joining aircraft from each of the other two units to form a single combined unit. The other airplanes were part of the initial departure as spare aircraft should any problems with any of the deployed aircraft develop enroute. The pilots that flew the planes will also be returning to Battle Creek shortly to await their turn in the AEF rotation.
The members of the 110th Fighter Wing had been preparing the troops for their deployment for approximately three months, gathering lists of volunteers in the needed career fields, preparing the equipment, and personnel getting their personal affairs in order. Although it was expected that most of the troops will be deployed for about 2 weeks, some personnel were needed for longer periods. Although most members are deploying to Southwest Asia to fly missions enforcing the "No-Fly Zone" or to support the aircraft, there were a number of other support personnel who deployed to bases in Europe. They were deployed for similar time periods to relieve other units, both active duty Air Force and Air National Guard, that were part of the AEF. These members deployed during various times between June 2000 and late August 2000.
Although several small groups from the 110th Fighter Wing had deployed by July 2000 to various locations in Southwest Asia in support of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF), and several of their planes were flying missions, The 110th Fighter Wing had not been a large player in the current operation. In mid-July, more than fifty members of the 110th Fighter Wing boarded buses that took them on the first leg of their journey to Southwest Asia to perform a variety of support missions. The buses took them to the Detroit Metro Airport so they could make a military airlift connection in Baltimore. Another twenty or so members began their missions by boarding planes closer to their homes to make the same connection. Over a two week period there were several more departures of this nature as the 110th Fighter Wing continued to send members as part of the Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) package of the AEF.
The Expeditionary Combat Support package consists of personnel with career specialties that support the overall mission. These would include areas such as Civil Engineer, Fire Protection, Command Post, Fuels, Transportation, Chaplain, Services, Supply, and Medical professionals. Those who are deploying went to a variety of bases in the Southwest Asia region, as well as to bases in Europe. They integrated with members of other Air National Guard units as well as active duty Air Force members, putting their training to use in a real world, mission support environment. In early August 2000, the Battle Creek base deployed to the region on a larger scale to assume flying duties in Operation Southern Watch. More than 300 members deployed over the period of responsibility, approximately 30 days. They relieved the 104th Fighter Wing from Barnes ANG Base, Massachusetts who are currently deployed there. There were also additional members of the ECS package deploying at that time, again, to a variety of bases in the region and Europe. The members departed directly from the Battle Creek ANG Base in order to make the military airlift flight out of Baltimore, Maryland. There was a small team of members who departed later in the month to serve as a advance team, making all the necessary preparations for the 110th Fighter Wing to take over.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close W.K. Kellogg Airport Air Guard Station, MI. It would distribute the 110th Fighter Wing's A-10s (15 aircraft) to the 127th Wing (ANG), Selfridge ANGB, MI. The Air Force would place one squadron at Selfridge (62) because it would be significantly higher in military value than Kellogg (122). The Air Force would retire the older F-16s from Selfridge and combine the two A-10 units into one squadron at Selfridge to retain trained and skilled Michigan ANG Airmen from both locations.
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