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105th Airlift Squadron [105th AS]

The 105th Airlift Squadron traces its origins to the 105th Aero Squadron of the American Expeditionary Force which was formed at Kelly Field, Texas in 1917.

On October 1, 1920, Adjutant General Baxter Sweeney gave formal recognition to the First Squadron, Air Service, Tennessee National Guard. Tennessee's unit was the first in the entire South. Only two similar units existed in the country at the time, one in California and one in New York.

Veterans began recruiting efforts and conducting drills (without pay). They raised funds ($3,000) and H.O. Blackwood donated a farm adjacent to Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. The farm was converted to a 100 acre flying site complete with a WWI hangar moved from Memphis and was known as Blackwood Field. On December 4, 1921, the unit received federal recognition and was designated the 136th Air Observation Squadron, flying four new Curtiss JN-6HG "Jennys" and one DH-4B DeHavilland aircraft.

On July 20, 1923, the 136th Observation Squadron was redesignated as the 105th Observation Squadron. In the next fifteen years the Squadron developed strength and stature. It received 0-2 observation airplanes in 1926.

Beginning November 29,1927, it occupied McConnell Field, west of downtown Nashville, named after Lt. Brewer McConnell who was killed in a training accident. The old McConnell field is the current home of Nashville's McCabe Municipal Golf Course. The years 1928 - 1938 were characterized by frequent changes in assigned aircraft. The 0-11 Falcon and 0-17 aircraft were received in 1928, 0-38 aircraft in 1931, 0-25 aircraft in 1935 and 0-47 aircraft in 1938.

On November 25,1930, the 105th Observation Squadron was disbanded and the aircraft and equipment were moved to Memphis Municipal Airport, Memphis, TN. This was necessary in order to comply with the requirement by the Militia Bureau for National Guard air units to operate from an A-1 airport. At the time there were only two such airports in the state, Sky Harbor, near Murfreesboro, and Memphis Municipal. The squadron had been using Sky Harbor on a temporary basis for some months, but its distance from Nashville made it a less desirable National Guard port. Memphis did not have facilities at the time of the squadron's transfer and the program for supplying them faltered.

On March 23,1931 the squadron transfered back to Nashville, at Sky Harbor, where it could share hangar space with American Airways (now American Airlines). After relocation to Sky Harbor, the Militia Bureau accepted the recommendations of the inspecting officers and again extended federal recognition to the squadron April 10, 1931.

Finally, on January 1, 1938, the squadron completed its move to its present home on a tract of land purchased by the City of Nashville. With financial assistance from the state and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a modern airport was constructed and named Berry Field after WPA Administrator Colonel Harry S. Berry, who directed the airport construction. Today this site is known as the Nashville International Airport.

In September of 1940, after summer maneuvers in Louisiana, the squadron was called to active duty. It was sent to Ft. Jackson, SC, and assigned to the newly organized 65th Observation Group which was equipped with 0-52 aircraft. Members of the 105th became a ready source of trained personnel and seasoned pilots as our nation entered World War II. The 105th was inactivated October 18, 1942, but its personnel and aircraft were absorbed into the 521st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy). Then on November 29, 1942, this organization was redesignated the 16th Antisubmarine Squadron. On April 9, 1943, the 105th Observation Squadron (Inactive) was redesignated the 105th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment). The l6th Antisubmarine Squadron was redesignated the 820th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on September 24, 1943.

Members of the 105th flew a variety of missions - observation, antisubmarine patrol, reconnaissance and bombardment. They found themselves switching organizations frequently and flying different aircraft as follows; the twin engine Martin B-10 Bomber, the Vega Ventura B-34, the B-25G Mitchell Bomber, and the four engine B-24J Liberator Bomber.

In June of 1945, the 105th Reconnaissance Squadron (B) was reconstituted on the inactive list. May 24,1946, the squadron was reorganized at Berry Field and assigned to the 54th Fighter Wing, 14th Air Force. November 26, 1946, the 105th Reconnaissance Squadron (B) was redesignated the 105th Fighter Squadron. February 3, 1947, the 118th Fighter Group and the 105th Fighter Squadron were federally recognized with the 105th Fighter Squadron assigned to the 118th Fighter Group flying the P-47 "Thunderbolt" aircraft.

The squadron converted to the C-130A Hercules aircraft in March of 1971, and in 1990, to the C-130H2 aircraft.



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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:08:31 ZULU