182nd Airlift Wing, Illinois Air National Guard   Right Corner Banner
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Resources > Fact Sheets > History of the 182nd Airlift Wing


Posted 12/4/2008 Printable Fact Sheet

What is now the 169th Airlift Squadron (AS) originated during World War II as the 304th Fighter Squadron (FS), which was activated on July 23, 1942. The 304th FS was assigned to the 337th Fighter Group (FG) at the Pinellas (FL) County Airport, and served as an operational training unit equipped with the P-39 Airacobra and the P-40 Warhawk. The 304th FS was disbanded on May 1, 1944. On May 24, 1946, it was reconstituted, redesignated the 169th FS, and allocated to the Air National Guard (ANG).

Led by Lt Col Ralph Pickering, the 169th FS held its first drill in December of 1946, and it received federal recognition on June 21, 1947. By the end of the first year, the unit consisted of 40 officers and 215 airmen. The original base consisted of a shale runway and a single hangar for eight F-51 Mustang fighters, four AT-6 trainers, and a B-26 tow target plane. The first annual training was held at Chicago Municipal Airport (now known as Midway), with flying done at Douglas Field (now known as O'Hare). In 1952, the 169th FS was redesignated the 169th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) and then the 169th Fighter Bomber Squadron (FBS).

By 1953, a large construction project had expanded the base facilities, and in 1954 the 169th FBS obtained the copyright for The Chief, a Walt Disney cartoon character, to display as their emblem. In 1958, the squadron received its first F-84F Thunderstreak, and the unit flew the first ANG air-to-air refueling mission in 1961. The 169th FBS received its first federal activation in 1961 for the Berlin Crisis. A year later, the 182d Tactical Fighter Group (TFG) was formed and assumed control of the redesignated 169th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS).

In May of 1969, the 182d TFG was redesignated as the 182d Tactical Air Support Group (TASG). In January of 1970, the wing received its first O-2A Skymaster aircraft. Members of the 182d TASG provided relief assistance during state active duty for the Canton tornado disaster in July of 1975.

In 1976, the 182d TASG was awarded its first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and the group converted to the OA-37 Dragonfly in 1979. The 182d TASG received an "Excellent" rating on its first Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) under the 12th Air Force, and the group was awarded its second Air Force Outstanding Unit award in 1985. In 1987, construction began on the new base facilities, which were formally dedicated in December, 1990. In January of 1991, 138 personnel were called to active duty for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

In July of 1992, the wing converted to the F-16 Fighting Falcon and was redesignated the 182d Fighter Group (FG). In June of 1993, members served on state active duty in response to the Mississippi River flooding of southern Illinois. Due to government budget constraints and military restructuring projects, the 182d FG converted to the C-130E Hercules and was redesignated the 182d Airlift Wing (AW) effective October 1, 1995. In 1996, the wing began participation in ongoing flying missions for Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia. In 1997, the 182d AW celebrated its 50th anniversary and received an "Excellent" in its first Air Mobility Command (AMC) ORI.

After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, members of the wing were called up to support the Air Force at various locations around the world. During a September 2002 deployment to Oman, wing aircraft flew combat supply missions into Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. On March 29, 2003, SSgt Jacob Frazier of the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) was killed in action while serving with Army Special Forces in Afghanistan. He was the first member of the wing to die in combat.

In March of 2003, immediately following mobilization, six aircraft and over 350 personnel were deployed to Minhad, United Arab Emirates, for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These airmen returned in August after providing airlift support throughout the theater. Since that mobilization, smaller numbers of wing personnel and aircraft have continually supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. On December 28, 2003, a wing crew delivered earthquake relief supplies to Iran, becoming the first US aircraft to land there since 1981.

Col William P. Robertson assumed command on August 7, 2004. Beginning in January of 2005, the wing converted from the C-130E to the newer H3 model. In October of 2006, the wing received a rating of "Excellent" after serving as the lead wing during an AMC ORI. On February 3, 2007, the wing was awarded its third Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period from August 1, 2003 to July 31, 2005. Some personnel remain deployed to combat zones while other members of the wing continue routine worldwide support to the Air Force.


F-51D/H Mustang 1947-1956

AT-11 Kansan 1947-1947

T-6G Texan 1947-1956

A/B-26C Invader 1947-1952

F-80C Shooting Star 1958-1958

T-28A Trojan 1956-1958

VC/C-47 Gooney Bird 1949-1972

T-33A Thunderbird 1955-1969

F-84F Thunderstreak 1958-1969

T-29A/C Flying Classroom 1972-1975

U-3A/B Blue Canoe 1969-1970

O-2A/B Skymaster 1970-1979

C-131E USA Samaritan 1975-1989

OA-37B Dragonfly 1979-1992

C-26A Merlin 1989-1995

F-16A/B Fighting Falcon 1992-1995

C-130E/H Hercules 1995-

Revised 4 Mar 07


Lt Col Ralph M. Pickering 1946-1947

Maj Arthur F. Szold 1947-1951

Maj Harold C. Norman 1951-1956

Maj Harold E. Haskett 1956-1959

Maj Arthur J. Schertz 1959-1962

Col Harold C. Norman 1962-1975

Col George H. Mason 1975-1975

Col Harold C. Norman 1975-1976

Col George H. Mason 1976-1977

Col Roland E. Ballow 1977-1983

Col Kenneth D. Peterson 1983-1989

Col Frank D. Rezac 1989-1994

Col Alan L. Paige 1994-1998

Col Barry W. Beard 1998-2004

Col William P. Robertson 2004-

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