187th Fighter Wing [187th FW]
The roots of the 187th Fighter Wing dates back to 1952 when the Alabama Air National Guard organized the 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Birmingham, Alabama equipped with the RF-51 Mustang. The squadron moved to Dannelly Field on January 1, 1953, and entered the jet age with the arrival of the RF-80 in 1955. Within a year the 160th transitioned to the RF-84 Thunderflash aircraft, which served as the squadron's primary aircraft for the next 15 years.
The squadron was mobilized during the Berlin Crisis in 1961-1962. In August 1962, the squadron returned to normal peacetime status and was reorganized. It was then officially designated the 187th Reconnaissance Group.
In 1971, the Thunderflash was replaced by the Phantom II, which was flown for 17 years. From 1971-1982, the group remained in the reconnaissance role flying the RF-4C. The 187th won many honors during this timeframe, including the best reconnaissance unit in the nation in the Photo Finish "81" competition.
In 1982, the 187th changed missions from reconnaissance to a tactical fighter group and flew the F-4D. The group established itself as a premier tactical fighter unit by capturing overall top honors in the ANG Fangsmoke competition in 1987.
In October 1988, the group converted to the F-16 aircraft.
In October 1995, the group changed to "Wing" status.
The federal mission of the 187th FW is to provide fully capable F-16 flying forces, people, and equipment to meet all our worldwide military tasking. The state mission of the 187th FW is to provide personnel and resources to support the military, humanitarian, and civic needs of our State and communities.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Great Falls International Airport Air Guard Station, MT. It would distribute the 120th Fighter Wing's F-16s to the 187th Fighter Wing, Dannelly Field AGS (three aircraft) and another installation. DoD recommended this realignment because Great Falls (117) ranked lower in military value than did Dannely (60).
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