111th Fighter Wing [111th FW]
The 111th Fighter Wing traces its origins to the 103rd Observation Squadron which was granted federal recognition in June 1924.
The 103rd was inducted into active federal service for what was to be a one year period in February 1941 while the 391st Bombardment Group was constituted in January 1943.
The 103rd returned to Pennsylvania and was recognized as a Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Reading Army Air Base in June 1943.
The 391st played a significant role in the famed Battle of the Bulge from December 23-26, 1944.
In October 1945, the unit returned to the United States and was redesignated as the 111th Bombardment Group and allotted to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard on May 24, 1946. In May 1946, the 103rd was redesignated as the 103rd Bomb Squadron (light).
The new unit earned formal federal recognition in December 1948. The Korean Conflict saw the unit back on active duty in April 1951.
In 1954, the unit transferred into it's first jet aircraft, the F-84F Thunderstreak jets and in May 1954 was redesignated as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Group. It was redesignated as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Wing in July 1955.
In July 1956, the unit underwent a major reorganization and was redesignated as the 111th Fighter Wing (Air Defense) while transitioning to the F94 aircraft. The unit was redesignated as the 111th Fighter Group in October 1957.
In May 1959, The 111th transitioned again to the F-89H "SCORPION". January 1960 saw training completed and combat crews of the 103rd begin to be on a daily runway alert in support of the nations' air defense force.
In April 1962, the 111th transitioned to the "Stratofreighter" and the unit was redesignated as the 111th Military Airlift Group. In July 1962, the 111th was redesignated as the 111th Air Transport Group flying the C-97 aircraft.
The unit moved to Willow Grove Naval Air Station in 1963.
The 111th was redesignated the 111th Military Airlift Group in January 1966.
1969 saw the 111th scheduled to assume another mission as it transitioned to the U-3A "BLUE CANOE" and be redesignated as a Tactical Air Support Group in May 1969. The O-2 aircraft began arriving in 1970. The OA-37 "DRAGONFLY" replaced the aging O-2A in April 1981.
In 1988, the 111th received the first A-10 aircraft. It was redesignated in March 1992 as the 111th Fighter Group. In October 1995, the 111th Fighter Group was redesignated as the 111th Fighter Wing. The 111th FW volunteered to deploy 12 OA-10 aircraft to Al Jaber AB, Kuwait in support of Operation "Southern Watch" from Jul-Oct 95.
The 111th FW deployed in March 1999 to Kuwait in support of Operation "Southern Watch", enforcing the no-fly zone over Iraq. Five A-10s and 300 unit members participated.
The mission of the 111th FW is to maintain highly trained, well-equipped, and motivated military forces in order to provide combat-ready OA-10/A-10 aircraft and support elements in response to wartime and peacetime tasking under state or federal authority.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to deactivate the 111th Fighter Wing (Air National Guard) and relocate its assigned A-10 aircraft to the 124th Wing (ANG), Boise Air Terminal Air Guard Station, Boise, ID (three primary aircraft); 175th Wing (ANG), Martin State Airport Air Guard Station, Baltimore, MD, (three primary aircraft); 127th Wing (ANG), Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mount Clemens, MI (three primary aircraft) and retire the remaining aircraft (six primary aircraft). This recommendation was part of a larger recommendation that would close NAS JRB Willow Grove, PA. DoD claimed that this recommendation would enable Air Force Future Total Force transformation by consolidating the A-10 fleet at installations of higher military value.
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