137th Airlift Wing [137th AW]
The 137th Airlift Wing traces its origins to the 137th Fighter Group. The 137th was founded on 21 November 1946 at Norman, Oklahoma, and received its Federal recognition on 18 December 1947.
In April 1949, a tornado struck the base at Norman. The damage was considered too extensive for economical repair and the decision was made to move the 137th to its present location at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. The move was accomplished on 6 September 1949.
The 137th Airlift Wing began as the 185th Fighter Squadron, with the P-51 Mustang. Afterwards, a variety of aircraft have been assigned to the Wing, including the F-80 Shooting Star, the F-86 Sabre Jet, the C-97 Stratocruiser, the C-124 Globemaster, and the C-130 Hercules which the wing has had since 1974. The C-130H models flown by the 137th replaced older versions of the Hercules, and were flown by crews from the 137th directly from the factory, becoming the first ANG unit to receive brand new aircraft.
The unit has been assigned to the Continental Air Command, Air Defense Command, Air Combat Command, and the Air Mobility Command. The Wing owns one of the most outstanding flying safety records in the Air Force, having flown over 576,000 accident free flying hours.
Personnel from the 137th Airlift Wing aided New Mexico ranchers faced with livestock devastation after severe winter storms covered the grasslands with snow. 137th aircrew delivered much needed hay to starving livestock, averting near disaster to New Mexico's livestock industry.
The wing also provides vital airlift support and manning expertise in support of numerous worldwide, higher headquarters directed missions. The 137 Airlift Wing provides Counterdrug support coordinated through the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. As of mid-2001, numerous drug enforcement operations have resulted in the destruction of 7.2 million marijuana plants, estimated 4.1 billion dollars in destroyed drugs, 814 arrests, 165 seized weapons, and 1.1 million dollars in currency and assets seized.
Pilots from the Oklahoma Air National Guard flew combat missions in the Korean Conflict. In 1961, the unit received a specially equipped C-97E, the"Miss Oklahoma City" also known as the "Talking Bird", which was utilized as an airborne command post. From 1961 to 1963, it was used to maintain constant secure communications between the nation's capital and President John F. Kennedy during his visits to foreign countries.
The Guard has also participated in various disaster relief missions and riot duty during the 1990's decade. On April 19th, 1995, when the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, personel from the unit responded immediately, assisting in every aspect of the disaster rescue and recovery effort.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Will Rogers AGS by relocating the 137th Airlift Wing (ANG) to Tinker AFB and associate with the 507th Air Refueling Wing (AFR). The 137th's C-130H aircraft would be distributed to the 136th Airlift Wing (ANG), NAS JRB Fort Worth, TX (4 aircraft), and 139th Airlift Wing (ANG), Rosecrans Memorial Airport AGS, MO (4 aircraft). The aerial port squadron at Will Rogers would move to NAS JRB Fort Worth and the Aeromedical Squadron and fire fighters from Will Rogers would move to Rosecrans AGB. The other elements of the 137th's Expeditionary Combat Support would remain in place at Will Rogers. Associating the ANG operation at Will Rogers (64-airlift) with the AFR operation at Tinker (4-tanker) would consolidate and streamline Air Force reserve component operations in Oklahoma City at a base of high military value. Additionally, 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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