139th Airlift Wing [139th AW]
The Air National Guard unit in St. Joseph, Missouri, the 139th Ailift, is the home of the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center [AATTC], which offers hostile environment training to C-130 crews.
The 139th Airlift Wing, located at Rosencrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, MO, flies C-130H Hercules in support of world-wide missions as a reserve component of the Air Mobility Command. The Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center trains aircrew from all components of the Air Force, Marine Corps, and allied nations, training over 1,000 students in 200. The unit, with nearly 1,000 assigned personnel, has an annual operations and maintenance budget of approximately $25 million.
The unit was one of the first federally recognized Air National Guard units in the nation. Colonel John B. Logan was the initial member in August, 1946. Colonel Logan used the facilities at Rosecrans Memorial Airport left by the Army at the close of World War II, to equip the new rapidly growing unit. The 180th Light Bombardment Squadron equipped with B-26 aircraft soon became well known in the St. Joseph area.
In 1951, the 180th Squadron was activated and sent to Bordeaux, France, to replace NATO units which had been transferred to Korea. The 180th spent more than a year in France combining its efforts with regular units to keep our allies safe during the Cold War. When the 180th returned home, it kept the B-26's until 1958 when the unit received RF-84 aircraft and became the 180th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The aircraft and camera equipment gathered intelligence information for all branches of the military service.
In 1961, the unit became the 139th Air Transport Group and began flying C-97 aircraft carrying heavy loads world-wide. During the seven years that the 139th possessed C-97's, the unit visited every continent airlifting cargo and passengers.
In 1968, the C-97's were converted to air-to-air refueling KC-97L's. The 139th refueled nearly every type of aircraft in the inventory during the refueling years. The KC-97L's gave many of the younger 139th personnel the opportunity to visit Europe for the first time. Older members of the unit were able to revisit places they had been during the 1951 activation.
In 1976, the 139th was redesignated as a Tactical Airlift Group and equipped with C-130A's. The medium range four engine cargo aircraft enabled the unit to continue missions to Europe and added missions to South America. The South American missions usually staged from Howard Air Force Base, Panama. The C-130's versatility included air dropping cargo and paratroopers under all flying conditions.
On 4 February 1984, the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center (AATTC) officially began operations at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base. The mission of the AATTC is to provide current academic and combat flying training tactics to airlift air crews of the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, active duty USAF, sister services and allied nations. This training enhances air crew survivability and mission success in a combat environment. AATTC also functions as a clearing house for gathering and disseminating airlift tactics information by means of an annual Airlift Tactics Conference.
On 20 June 1987, the 139th Tactical Airlift Group received its first two of eight factory fresh C-130H model aircraft. The last aircraft arrived in September, 1987. The new aircraft expanded the 139th's capabilities and increase mission effectiveness.
In December of 1989, the 139th TAG had 16 guardsmen and one aircraft participating in VOLANT OAK at Howard Air Force Base, Panama. The guardsmen were conducting their annual active duty training when OPERATION JUST CAUSE began. Initially, the 139th aircraft and air crew were placed on alert to fly General Noriega to the United States, but after 36 hours of alert, the 139th air crew began a heavy schedule of airlift missions.
In August of 1990, the Pentagon requested that specific 139th AG personnel volunteer for OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and the St. Joseph unit quickly responded to serve their country. The 139th was the first National Guard unit from Missouri that was asked to volunteer for OPERATION DESERT SHIELD. On 13 August 1990, the Missouri Air National Guard Base at Rosecrans Memorial Airport became a closed base and civilians were no longer permitted free entry. On 4 September 1990, two aircraft from the 139th TAG departed from St. Joseph for OPERATION DESERT SHIELD with about 100 guardsmen aboard. On 10 October 1990, the aircraft and personnel from the 139th TAG returned to St. Joseph from OPERATION DESERT SHIELD. On 28 December 1990, 230 members of the 139th TAG were ordered to report for active duty for OPERATION DESERT SHIELD for a period of six months. On 2 January 1991, the first aircraft departed Rosecrans MAP for Al Ain Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Deployed 139th personnel and equipment, with a mix of other Air National Guard members, active duty and Foreign National units formed the 1630th Tactical Airlift Wing Provisional. On 22 and 23 March 1991, the 139th TAG deployed to Al Kharj Air Base, Saudi Arabia. On 30 May 1991, the 139th TAG returned to St. Joseph after completing their OPERATION DESERT STORM mission. On 4 July 1991, over 200 members from the 139th TAG, who served in OPERATION DESERT STORM participated in St. Joseph's 4th of July parade. On 17 August 1991, the 139th Tactical Airlift Group celebrated is 45th anniversary. A 45th Anniversary Year Book was distributed with a pictorial history of the unit's participation in OPERATION DESERT STORM. Over 7500 visitors turned out to celebrate the anniversary and observe the airshow and exhibits.
On 2 October 1991, a ground breaking ceremony was held at Rosecrans MAP for the long awaited construction of the Composite Support Facility and the Avionics Shop. During the January, 1992, Unit Training Assembly, the 139th TAG received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. This was the third time the 139th received this award.
On 1 June 1992, the 139th's designation was changed to 139th Airlift Group. This change was due to the reorganization and redesignations of the Air Force's major commands. On 29 and 30 August 1992, the 139th TAG hosted MULEX-92 at Rosecrans MAP. In September 1992, the long awaited Avionics Facility was completed and occupied. In December 1992, the 139th Tactical Clinic and 139th Security Police Flight occupied the new Composite Building.
On 6 July 1993, personnel from 139th Security Police Flight were State activated to augment Missouri Highway Patrol to prevent looting at Big Lake. On 23 July 1993, 21 personnel from 139th AG were activated for State duty to sandbag and control traffic. On 24 July 1993, Rosecrans Air National Guard Base was evacuated due to threat of flooding. On 25 July 1993, the 139th AG activated the Crisis Action Team to respond to St. Joseph losing their water supply. On 25 July 1993, the levee protecting Rosecrans MAP broke and the base quickly flooded to a depth of nine feet. On 14 and 15 August 1993, during the August Unit Training Assembly, a massive cleanup of Rosecrans Air National Guard Base began.
On 1 October 1993, the 139th AG was reassigned from Air Mobility Command to Air Combat Command.
On 1 October 1995, the 139th AG was redesignated to the 139th Airlift Wing by S.O. G-1, 3 Oct 95. On 2 January 1996, the 139th AW took over operation of the Rosecrans MAP control tower. On 3 and 4 August 1996, the 139th AW celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
On 2 January 1996, the 139th AW took over operation of the Rosecrans MAP control tower.
In 1998, the unit performed its mission in the following United States cities among others: San Diego, CA; Manhattan, KS; Fargo, ND; Sierra Vista, AZ; Tampa, FL; Washington, DC; New Castle, DE. The unit also traveled to Hawaii, Alaska, and the Virgin Islands and performed services in several international venues including Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, Bosnia, Great Britain, and Panama.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Will Rogers AGS by distributing the 137th Airlift Wing's C-130H aircraft to the 136th Airlift Wing (ANG), NAS JRB Fort Worth (4 aircraft), and 139th Airlift Wing (ANG), Rosecrans Memorial Airport AGS, MO (4 aircraft). This realignment would create two larger C-130 squadrons at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth (53) and Rosecrans Air Guard Station (114) from three under sized squadrons.
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