189th Airlift Wing [189th AW]
The 189th Airlift Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard, is located on Little Rock Air Force Base, AR. The 189th AW has 18 subordinate units on Little Rock AFB -- Headquarters 189th AW, 189th Operations Group, 189th Logistics Group, 189th Support Group, 154th Training Squadron, 189th Operations Support Flight, 189th Maintenance Squadron, 189th Logistics Support Flight, 189th Logistics Squadron, 189th Aircraft Generation Squadron, 189th Civil Engineer Squadron, 189th Medical Squadron, 189th Mission Support Flight, 189th Services Flight, 189th Security Forces Squadron, 189th Communications Flight, 189th Aerial Port Flight, and the 189th Student Flight.
The mission of the 189th AW is to provide aircrew training for students from each branch of the military that flies the C-130 and from 23 foreign countries. The unit operates the C-130 Tactical Airlift Instructor School at Little Rock Air Force Base, and also provides initial qualification and upgrade training for pilots, navigators, flight engineers and loadmasters.
Additionally, since 1988, the wing has operated the Air National Guard Basic Academic School. The school provides flight engineer and loadmaster entry level training for all branches of the service including the active Air Force, Air Force Reserve, ANG, Marine Corps, Navy Reserve and Coast Guard.
The organization is a direct descendant of the 154th Observation Squadron, Arkansas National Guard, which was formed in October 1925 at Little Rock Municipal Airport, Little Rock, AR.
The 154th Observation Squadron was ordered to active duty in 1940 and saw action during World War II in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and England. It was redesignated the 154th Fighter Squadron on its return to inactive status after the war.
The squadron again was ordered to active duty in October 1950 for the Korean conflict, flying combat missions out of Itazuke Air Base, Japan, and Taegu, Korea, as part of the 136th Fighter Group. The squadron returned to inactive status in the spring of 1952 and was redesignated the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron moved from Adams Field to Little Rock Air Force Base, Jacksonville, AR, in September 1962 and reorganized as the 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group one month later when elements of the 123rd Air Base Group were added.
In June 1965, the group became the first Air National Guard organization to be equipped with RF-101 aircraft. As a result of the Pueblo Crises, the 189th was recalled to active duty in January 1968. In July of that year, the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (augmented) deployed from Little Rock AFB to Itazuke, Japan. In December, the squadron was released from active duty and returned to inactive status at Little Rock AFB and assumed the RF-101 Replacement Training Unit mission from the active Air Force.
On January 1, 1976, the unit was designated as the 189th Air Refueling Group, Arkansas Air National Guard, and converted to a KC-135 air-to-air refueling mission, and became one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned to the Strategic Air Command as a gaining command.
As an integral part of SAC under "Total Force," the 189th ARG maintained an around-the-clock ALPHA Alert, participated in European, Alaskan and Pacific Tanker Task Forces, and supported worldwide temporary tanker task forces performing in-flight refueling of all types of aircraft as assigned by the Strategic Air Command.
On July 1, 1986, the Arkansas Air National Guard's first C-130 arrived at Little Rock Air Force Base from the 130th Tactical Airlift Group in Charleston, W. Va., and signified the beginning of a mission change from in-flight refueling to training C-130 aircrews for the Air Force and its reserve components, sister services and 27 allied nations.
On October 1, 1986, the unit was redesignated as the 189th Tactical Airlift Group and converted to the C-130 aircraft. The mission squadron was redesignated as the 154th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron and assumed a proportionate share of initial aircrew qualification training, from the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB. Student training actually began on September 25, 1986. October 1986 marked the first graduates: two pilots, a navigator and two loadmasters. The unit faced many challenges with the mission change. Aircrew members were especially concerned about the conversion.
In the beginning, the plan was for unit aircrews to provide three categories of training: initial qualification, re-qualification and aircraft commander upgrade. Today, the 189th Airlift Wing is the home to the only C-130 schoolhouse for C-130 aircrews to become instructors in their respective crew positions. The unit has been the exclusive provider of that training since 1998.
The Guard has always touted the amount of experience its members have, and the 189th Airlift Wing is no different. Perhaps the biggest reason for the mission modification in 1998 was because of experience. Unit pilots average more than 3,200 hours in the C-130, navigators almost 3,500 hours, flight engineers more than 3,100 hours and loadmasters almost 2,900 hours. One pilot has recorded more than 8,000 flying hours and another is closing in on that mark. By comparison, the active duty 314th Airlift Wing's instructor pilots here average 2,600 flying hours, navigators 1,800 hours, flight engineers 3,000 hours and loadmasters 3,500 hours.
The unit has embraced the training mission and knows the important role it plays for the Air Force. More than 4,800 students have graduated from the basic C-130 course or the unit's aircrew instructor school, which began in 1998 after a mission modification. The unit has taught aircrew members in all crew positions -- pilot, navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster -- the basics of flying a C-130. The Guard unit has taught students from the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and almost 30 allied nations.
Since taking on the training mission, the unit has only lost one aircraft, which occurred when one of the cargo aircraft crashed short of a runway at Greenville, Miss. The aircraft, with three instructors and three students aboard, was practicing touch-and-go landings when it crashed. No one on board survived.
During Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 135 members were activated and served in both CONUS and OCONUS locations. Aircrews from the 189th flew 123 mission sorties in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm without affecting the unit's day-to-day aircrew training mission.
On April 16, 1992, the 189th Tactical Airlift Group was officially redesignated as the 189th Airlift Group, and the 154th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron was redesignated as the 154th Training Squadron, Arkansas Air National Guard. On October 1, 1995, the 189th Airlift Group was designated as the 189th Airlift Wing. The 189th AW was the first Air National Guard unit in the country to be located on an active duty Air Force base flying the same type aircraft as its active duty counterpart, and performing the same day-to-day mission.
Personnel from the 189th Airlift Wing deployed in 2002 to Manas, also known as Ganci Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, as part of the 376th AIr Expeditionnary Wing, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to distribute the eight C-130H aircraft of the 152d Airlift Wing (ANG) from Reno-Tahoe IAP AGS to the 189th Airlift Wing (ANG), Little Rock AFB. This recommendation would realign Reno's (101) C-130s to the Air National Guard at Little Rock Air Force Base (17), where a larger, more effective squadron size would be possible. This larger squadron at Little Rock would also create the opportunity for an association between active duty and the Air National Guard, optimizing aircraft utilization.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Schenectady County Airport AGS, NY by transfering four C-130H aircraft from the 109th Airlift Wing (ANG) to the 189th Airlift Wing (ANG), Little Rock AFB. This recommendation would distribute C-130 force structure to Little Rock (17), which would have higher military value. Adding aircraft to the ANG unit at Little Rock would create a larger, more effective squadron. The LC-130 aircraft (ski-equipped) would remain at Schenectady (117).
In a recommendation to realign Little Rock AFB, four C-130Js from the 314th Airlift Wing (AD) would transfer to the 189th Airlift Wing (ANG), Little Rock AFB.
DoD also recommended to realign Dyess AFB, TX. The C-130 aircraft assigned to the 317th Airlift Group would be distributed to ANG 189th Airlift Wing (two aircraft), Little Rock AFB, AR. The majority of the 317th's aircraft would go to Little Rock (17-airlift), which would enable consolidation of the active duty C-130 fleet into one stateside location at Little Rock, and would robust the ANG squadron to facilitate an active duty association with the Guard unit.
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