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134th Air Refueling Wing [134th ARW]

The 134th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) is located at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Unit received Federal recognition in December 7, 1957, as an Air Defense Command (ADC) unit equipped with F-86 aircraft, and performed an ADC daylight alert commitment until July, 1960, when it converted to the F-104 aircraft. In January, 1961, the 134th assumed an ADC twenty four hour per day alert commitment until the unit was activated during the Berlin Crisis in November, 1961.

During the Berlin Call-up, while stationed at Ramstein Air Base Germany, the unit set a U.S. Air Force, Europe, jet fighter monthly flying record of 836 hours with its seventeen F-104 aircraft. The 134th returned to state status in August, 1962.

In March, 1963, the unit's F-1047s were reassigned to the active duty Air Force and the 134th converted to the F-102 aircraft. The 134th achieved combat ready status and passed an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) in the F- 102 six months after starting the transition.

Another aircraft conversion occurred in April, 19647 the fifth in less than seven years when the 134th received the KC-97G and changed to Tactical Air Command. Having no previously qualified KC-97 aircrew or maintenance personnel assigned, the 134th became the first KC-97 unit to achieve C-2 status in only eight months after receipt of the aircraft. The previous conversion time was two years.

After conversion to the KC-97, the unit participated in numerous CONUS, Southeast Asia South American and European deployments. A major commitment was Operation Creek Party, a year round commitment in Germany for two weeks every three months.

Effective 1 July, 1976, the unit converted from Tactical Air Command (TAC) to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the KC-135A aircraft.

The 134th has received eight United States Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards and was selected as thinner Force Outstanding Flying unit by the Air Force Association in 1982.

The unit flew 177 sorties and off-loaded 4.5 million pounds of fuel in Operation Desert Shield.

During Operation Desert Storm, one hundred and nine members of the unit were activated and deployed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. There the unit was part of the 1713th Air Refueling Wing, Provisional, commanded by Colonel Frederick H. Forster of the 134th ARW. During Operation Desert Storm, the 1713th ARW(P) flew 568 sorties and off loaded millions of pounds of fuel to combat and support aircraft.

60 personnel and three planes from the Air National Guard's 134th Air Refueling Wing based in Knoxville were sent overseas to support the NATO's Operation "Allied Force" in Kosovo in April 1999.

The 134th ARW operates KC-135E "Stratotanker" aircraft in world wide support of the U. S. Air Force. The unit provides air to air refueling to all types of U.S. Air Force bomber, fighter, airlift and support aircraft; plus many NATO aircraft.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Birmingham International Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), AL. It would distribute the 117th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135R aircraft to the 101st Air Refueling Wing, Bangor International Airport AGS (two aircraft) and two other bases. Although Bangor (123) ranked lower than Birmingham (63) (see BRAC Recommendation for rank explanation), DoD's military judgment argued in favor of retaining and adding force structure to this installation to increase its overall effectiveness. Bangor would be increased in squadron size from 8 to 12 aircraft because of its critical role in the Northeast Tanker Task Force, as well as its participation in the transatlantic air bridge.

DoD also recommended to realign Beale Air Force Base, CA by distributing Beale's KC-135R aircraft from the 940th Air Refueling Wing (ANG) to the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (four aircraft) and another base. McGhee-Tyson (74) had above average military value for reserve component bases in the tanker mission. Beale's more modern KC-135R aircraft would replace the older, higher maintenance KC-135E models at McGhee-Tyson. The resulting KC-135R increase would increase the tanker force structure into squadron sizes that are more operationally effective.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign March Air Reserve Base, CA by distributing the 163d Air Refueling Wing's (ANG) nine KC-135R aircraft to the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (one aircraft) and several other bases. McGhee-Tyson, though rated lower in military value, would receive one aircraft due to military judgment to robust the squadron to a more effective size of 12 aircraft.

DoD also recommended to realign Key Field Air Guard Station, MS. It would distribute the 186th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135R aircraft to the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (three aircraft) and other installations. DoD claimed that it recommended this realignment because McGhee-Tyson (74) ranked higher in military value rating for the tanker mission than Key Field (92). In addition, Key Field's newer KC-135R aircraft would help replace McGhee-Tyson's older, higher maintenance KC-135E models, and help robust the unit size.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:09:25 ZULU