115th Fighter Wing [115th FW]
In February 1951, the 176th Fighter Squadron, with its F-51 fighters, was called to active duty in support of the Korean war effort. The unit remained at Truax Field, without 10 of its 25 aircraft, which had been shipped to the war zone in 1950.
During the active duty tour, the 176th Fighter Squadron converted its aircraft to the F-89A Scorpian, becoming the first Air National Guard unit to fly the modern jet fighter. In October of 1952, the 176th returned to reserve status and state control, and converted back to the F-51 Mustang.
One year later, 1953, the unit was redesignated the 176th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and converted to the F-86A Sabre, the legendary fighter that gained fame as a "MIG Killer" in the Korean War.
In October 1955, the 176 FIS converted back to the F89 Scorpian. During the next 12 years the 176th was equipped with each model of the F-89: the D model with 104 2.75 inch rockets, the H model with rockets and missiles and the J model with the Genie rocket. During that 12 years, the role of the 176th went from that of stand-by reserve force to that of a force of being, a fully participating member of the air defense of the North American continent.
In 1965 the unit began the transition into the F-102 Delta Dagger, and the alert commitment of being ready on 5 minute notice, 24 hours per day. This continued to 1974. In 1972, the 176th was recognized as the best F-102 unit in the U.S. Air Force when it won the William Tell Air-to-Air Weapons meet and six other major awards.
In 1974, the 176th underwent a major change in aircraft, mission, and designation. The role of the unit transistioned from fighter squadron to support squadron when the unit was redesignated the 176th Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS). The aircraft was converted to the O-2 Skymaster observation aircraft with the Forward Air Control mission.
After five years, 1979, the unit was one of the first to become jet Forward Air Control with the OA-37 Dragonfly. The 176th was the last squadron to phase out the OA-37, in 1981.
In 1981, the 176th TASS transistioned again into a fighter role when the unit was redesignated as the 128th Tactical Fighter Wing. This time the wing's aircraft was converted into the A-10 Thunderbolt II. During the next 11 years, the Wing performed the close air support mission, not only in support of Army units located throughout the United States, but on a global scale as well. Numerous deployments to Europe and Central America clearly demonstrated the Wing's readiness for worldwide tasking.
In 1991, the unit received the first "OUTSTANDING" rating ever given to any fighter unit for an Unit Effectiveness Inspection. That achievement was a first for any active or reserve unit in the history of the Tactical Air Command. In addition, during this time, the unit received two Outstanding Unit Awards and numerous flight safety awards.
In 1992, the unit was redesignated the 128th Fighter Wing, under the newly formed Air Combat Command, and it began converting to the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The roles of the new mission include aerospace control and force application. Typical missions include counter air, strategic attack, interdiction, and close air support.
In October 1995, the 128th Fighter Wing was redesignated the 115th Fighter Wing with no change in mission or aircraft. The unit continued in readiness and preparing for all assigned tasking. In 1997 and 1998, the unit received its first combat missions, deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, for Operation Northern Watch and to Al-Jabber Air Base, Kuwait, for Operation Southern Watch; both operations enforcing no-fly zones over Iraq.
The federal mission of the 115th Fighter Wing is to staff and train flying and support units to augment Air Combat Command general purpose fighter forces to effectively and rapidly project F-16 combat power anywhere in the world to perform wartime or peacetime missions as well as operations other than war. The 115th FW maintains mobilization readiness and conduct training in support of Total Force capabilities as directed by its gaining commands.
At the state level, the mission of the 115th is to provide trained and equipped units to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order, and public safety as directed by the Governor of Wisconsin.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Cannon Air Force Base, NM. As a result, it would distribute the 27th Fighter Wing's F- 16s to the 115th Fighter Wing, Dane County Regional Airport, Truax Field Air Guard Station, WI (three aircraft) and several other installations. DoD claimed that this move would sustain the active/Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve force mix by replacing aircraft that retire in the 2025 Force Structure Plan.
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