183rd Airlift Squadron [183rd AS]
The 172d's original designation was the 183d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Night Photo). In 1957 - 183rd TRS became the 183rd Aeromedical Transport Squadron (Light). The C-119 was the first conversion aircraft assigned to the 183d. Six (6) Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars replaced the RB-26. The C-119 widened the mission of the unit. In 1964 183d was upgraded from squadron to group status and redesignated the 172d Air Transport Group. The reorganization increased unit manning to a total of 927 officers and airmen, and retained the 183d Air Transport Squadron as its flying squadron. In 1966 the C-124 Globemaster was assigned to the Mississippi Air Guard. Nicknamed "Ole Shakey" because of the constant vibration of the airframe in flight. The C-124 was capable of carrying a wider range of outsized cargo than any other aircraft in the Air Force inventory at that time.
On 13 December 1971 the 172d converted to the C-130E Hercules aircraft. From 18 February to 1 April 1978 the 172d participated in Operation Volant Oak, an Air Force-sponsored deployment to the Panama Canal Zone. Under Volant Oak, the cargo mission of the Air Force Southern Command would eventually be turned over to units from the Air National Guard and the USAF Reserve, on a rotating basis, relieving regular AF units assigned to Howard Air Force Base in the Canal Zone. In 1980 the 172d received the latest version of the Hercules, the C-130H, the ultra-modern model. After 27 years in the business, the 172d finally received a brand new, factory-fresh aircraft.
On 12 July 1986 the first C-141B Starlifter to be released from Air Force control arrived at Thompson Field to begin its new mission with the Mississippi Air National Guard. With a total of eight (8) aircraft, the unit began a new mission in strategic airlift that greatly expanded its global range.
On 20 November 1995 Congressman G. V. "Sonny" Montgomery announced that six operational C-17 aircraft will be assigned to the 172d Airlift Wing, Jackson, Mississippi. When asked about the C-17 announcement, Major Richard B. Howard, Commander, 172 Aircraft Generation Squadron, responded "We're excited. The depth of our maintenance folks' experience in supporting cargo aircraft -- the C-124, the C-130, the C-141 -- [shows that] now we're ready for the next challenge."
Six C-17 Globemaster IIIs will be assigned to the Mississippi Air National Guard to replace their eight C-141s. These six airlifters will be assigned to support the Strategic Brigade Airdrop mission of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps. They will be expected to train with this unit and be ready to support the 24-hour wheels-up requirement of the nation's contingency corps.
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