105th Airlift Wing [105th AW]
The 105th Airlift Wing is an Air Mobility Command-gained Air National Guard unit which provides peacetime and wartime inter-theater airlift operations through interface with AMC's global airlift system. The unit is among the very largest in the entire Air National Guard.
The 105th Airlift Wing traces its origins to the 137th Fighter Squadron. On June 24, 1948, the 137th Fighter Squadron of the New York Air National Guard received Federal recognition and began operations at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York. The unit was initially equipped with F-47 "Thunderbolt" aircraft. In September of 1952, the unit was redesignated the 137th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and received the F-51 "Mustang" aircraft as well as a new air defense mission.
In 1953, the unit entered the "Jet Age" when it received the F-94 "Starfighter" all weather interceptor. The unit retained its air defense mission until 1958 when it converted to the famed F-86 "Saber Jet" and was reorganized as the 105th Tactical Fighter Group. In February of 1961, the unit was redesignated as the 105th Aeromedical Transport Group and received its first C-119 "Flying Boxcar" aircraft. The unit later converted to the C-97 "Stratocruiser," a four-engine strategic transport and participated in world-wide missions including support of Southeast Asia operations.
A more recent phase of the unit's history began in 1970 with its redesignation as the 105th Tactical Air Support Group and its assignment to forward air control and communications missions flying the O-2A "Skymaster" aircraft for the Tactical Air Command. In May of 1983, the unit relocated to Stewart International Airport. It was redesignated the 105th Military Airlift Group on May 1, 1984 and later in July, 1985 became the first (and it remains the only) ANG unit in the Nation to fly the C-5 "Galaxy" aircraft.
Soon after receiving its first C-5A aircraft, in October 1985 the unit airlifted 84,600 pounds of cots and bedding to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Gloria.
In October 1987 the 105th began relocating to its new home on Stewart Airport: Stewart Air National Guard Base.
In October 1988 the 105th airlifted 300,000 pounds of hurricane relief and reconstruction supplies to the island nation of Jamaica following Hurricane Gilbert. In January 1989 the unit carried 146,610 pounds of earthquake relief supplies to aid Soviet Armenia. In March 1989 the 105th responded with less than 24 hours notice to an AMC request to airlift an over 80,000 pound submersible vehicle from Andrews and Homestead AFBs to Kadena AB, Japan to assist in search and recovery operations for an Air Force HH-3 helicopter which crashed in the East China Sea. Throughout the summer and fall of 1989 the 105th continued to support reconstruction efforts in Jamaica by airlifting National Guard civil engineering teams and equipment to that island nation. Beginning in October 1989 the unit airlifted over 2,000,000 pounds of relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands following Hurricane Hugo. In December 1991 the 105th airlifted over 145,000 pounds of clothing, blankets and medical supplies to Bucharest, Rumania. In February 1992 the unit participated in Operation Provide Hope, the airlift of humanitarian aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union); delivering 384,000 pounds of relief materials to Saint Petersburg, Russia and Yerevan, Armenia.
1989 ended on a dramatic note for the 105th Airlift Wing as it performed its wartime mission in support of Operation Just Cause. The over 2,200,000 pounds of cargo airlifted by the 105th in support of that operation represented approximately 25% of the initial total airlift effort of all of the Military Airlift Command's C-5 fleet assigned to both active duty and reserve component elements.
On August 7, 1990 Governor Mario Cuomo announced that the Department of Defense had requested, and he had approved, the participation of the personnel and C-5A aircraft of the 105th in active and direct support of Operation Desert Shield in the Persian Gulf region. On August 24 the 137th Military Airlift Squadron was called to active duty by President Bush to provide continued support for this operation. While the 137th was formally deactivated on 15 May 1991, the majority of unit members chose to remain in active status until August 1991 in response to the Military Airlift Command's need for continuing airlift support of Operations Desert Storm and Provide Comfort (Kurdish relief). By the end of May 1991 the 137th MAS had achieved the following Desert Storm airlift totals:
- Total Missions: 836
- Total Sorties: 1,391
- Total Passengers: 17,974
- Total Cargo: 76.8 million pounds
- Miles Flown: 2.9 million
- Hours flown: 7,800
On February 28, 1991 a part of the 105th USAF Clinic was also called to active duty with duty stations at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews AFB, Maryland. All medical personnel were released from active duty during May 1991.
March 1992 marked the redesignation of the unit to the 105th Airlift Group. The unit was further redesignated as the 105th Airlift Wing in October 1995.
In September 1992 the unit responded to Hurricane Andrew; delivering 1,289,953 pounds of food, tents, mobile kitchens, vehicles, and emergency services personnel to the Homestead area of South Florida. In November 1992 the 105th airlifted 118,450 pounds -- including generators, portable shelters and medical supplies and equipment -- to Zagreb, Croatia to support the U.S. Army's 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital's establishment of a facility to provide a full range of health care for United Nations forces deployed in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. From December 1992 to April 1993 the 105th supported Operation Restore Hope providing humanitarian airlift of 2,800,000 pounds of supplies and over 600 passengers into Somalia. Following massive flooding in the central United States in July 1993, the unit airlifted, to Des Moines, Iowa; ten reverse osmosis water purification systems weighing a total of over 380,000 pounds and capable of providing over 600,000 gallons of potable water a day. In August 1993 the unit airlifted 75 tons of relief supplies and equipment to Southern Turkey to be used to help Kurdish refugees from Iraqi terrorism.
In October 1993 the 105th returned to Somalia, delivering military personnel and almost 860,000 pounds of equipment non-stop -- with triple air refueling -- directly from bases in the United States to Mogadishu. In July 1994 105th aircraft began carrying humanitarian relief supplies to the people of Rwanda -- by early September 1,635,189 pounds of supplies and equipment were delivered to East Africa. In late September 1994 the unit began airlifting over a million pounds of supplies and equipment to Haiti as part of Operation Uphold Democracy. The 105th played a key role in July 1995 for Operation Quick Lift when it airlifted 431,000 pounds of cargo and 190 British troops from RAF Brise Norton, UK to Split Croatia in support of the United Nations' Rapid Reaction Deployment Force.
In October 1994 105th aircraft and volunteer crews played a key role in Operations Vigilant Warrior and Southern Watch deterring potential Iraqi aggression in the Arabian Peninsula. In August 1995 the 105th played a key role in airlifting personnel and equipment to Kuwait in support of Operation Vigilant Warrior II and Exercise Intrinsic Action.
Immediately following Hurricane Marilyn in September 1995, the unit airlifted 527,200 pounds of desperately needed supplies and equipment to the citizens of the American Virgin Islands.
In December 1995, 105th Airlift Wing C-5 crews embarked on the first of six missions in support of President Clinton's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, transporting almost 800,000 pounds of U.S. Army support equipment to the European theater.
The 105th returned to the East African country of Rwanda in March 1996 to deliver 120,000 pounds of vital supplies and equipment in support of the Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal and the World Food Program.
After initially working from interim facilities at the former Stewart Air Force Base, now known as Stewart International Airport, in 1993 the 105th completed construction of a $155 million Stewart Air National Guard Base on 250 acres at Stewart. Stewart International Airport is, in terms of total acreage, the Nation's second largest civilian airport. The airport's 12,000 foot main runway is ideally suited to the C-5A mission.
Unit aircraft regularly fly AMC channel missions between the eastern United States and Europe. Additional AMC airlift missions have been flown as far west as Thailand, east to Pakistan and India, north to Alaska and south to Uruguay, Ascension Island and Zimbabwe. Flights within CONUS are both "Guardlift" missions in support of Army and Air National Guard unit deployments and Defense Business Operating Fund (DBOF). AMC airlifts. "Guardlift" missions are also used to support Guard units deploying overseas for annual training and participation in major Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) exercises.
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