117th Kansas Coyotes Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Model
Fly with the Kansas Coyotes of the 117th ARS in this hand crafted KC-135 model. Each model is carefully carved from wood and hand painted to provide for a piece you’ll love. 18 inches
Kansas Air National Guard In early 1957, the Kansas Air National Guard received authorization to expand from one to two squadrons, and the National Guard Bureau transferred the inactive 117th designation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the State of Kansas on 3 January 1957. It was organized at the former Naval Air Station Hutchinson (renamed Hutchinson Air National Guard Base). The squadron was re-designated as the 117th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, and received federal recognition on 23 February 1957 by the National Guard Bureau. The 117th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was bestowed the history, honors, and colors of the 117th Bombardment Squadron. The squadron was equipped with F-80C Shooting Stars and was assigned to the KS ANG 184th Air Defense Wing located at McConnell Air Force Base.
RB-57 Canberra era
RB-57A-MA Canberra (s/n 52-1480) of the 117th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, Hutchinson AGB
The Martin B-57 Canberra was a rare example of a foreign-designed military aircraft being built under license by an American manufacturing company for use by the US armed forces. It was acquired as an interim replacement for the World War II B-26 Invader until the Douglas B-66 Destroyer could be brought into service. The RB-57A was a reconnaissance version of the B-57A bomber. Beginning in early 1958 with the introduction of the RB-66 to the active-duty inventory, the 117th began to receive RB-57A and twin-seat RB-57B Canberra photographic reconnaissance aircraft and assumed a Tactical Reconnaissance mission.
The RB-57s were totally unarmed. It was painted with a high gloss black paint which was intended to minimize detection by searchlights. The crew was two; one pilot and one photo-navigator. It was intended that only a minimum of effort would be required to convert the RB-57A to a bomber mission, which was never actually done in practice.
On 15 October 1962, the 117th was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 190th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 117th TRS becoming the group’s flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 190th Headquarters, 190th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 190th Combat Support Squadron, and the 190th USAF Dispensary.
190th Tactical Reconnaissance Group B-57G Canberras 1973
The unit continued to operate its Canberras at Hutchinson ANGB until 1967, when the 190th TRG and its personnel, aircraft and equipment permanently relocated to Forbes AFB, near Topeka after Strategic Air Command vacated its facilities and transferred Forbes AFB to the Tactical Air Command. The 117th continued to operate the RB-57s until 1972 when the aged aircraft were retired and sent to AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
In return the 190th began to receive the Martin B-57G variant that were modified as night intruders for use in the Vietnam War under a project known as Tropic Moon. B-57Bs were modified with a low light level television camera plus a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) set and a laser guidance system. The laser guidance system now made it possible to carry four 500-lb “smart bombs” on the underwing pylons. With the receipt of the B-57Gs from their combat service in Thailand, the unit was re-designated as the 190th Tactical Bombardment Group on 12 June 1972. The service of the B-57Gs was short, as operation of these B-57Gs proved to be expensive, and the aircraft were hard to maintain in the field. They served until 1974, when they were consigned to storage at Davis Monthan AFB.
Forbes AFB was ordered closed by the Department of Defense as part of a post-Vietnam reduction in force on 17 April 1973. Most of the facility was turned over for civilian use, however the 190th TBG retained a small portion of the base, being renamed Forbes Field Air National Guard Base.
EB-57B Canberra 52-1500 of the 117th DSES
In April 1974, the unit converted to EB-57B Canberra electronic countermeasures aircraft and became the 190th Defense Systems Evaluation Group. The 190th deployed aircraft to bases throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe providing Electronic Counter-Measure (ECM) training and evaluation services to the various Aircraft Control and Warning (Radar) Squadrons. The 117th also used the EB-57 as faker target aircraft against F-102 Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart interceptors. The 190th operated the aircraft until 1978 when they were retired as part of the draw-down of Aerospace Defense Command.
Air Refueling In 1978, the 190th was transferred to Strategic Air Command, being equipped with the KC-135A Stratotanker and began an air refueling mission; one it retains to the present-day. In 1984 the 117th was upgraded to the KC-135E and in 1990, the 190th was the first unit to arrive in Saudi Arabia in August 1990 for service during the 1991 Gulf Crisis, being assigned to the 1709th Air Refueling Wing (Provisional) at King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The 117th flew air refueling missions in support of Operation Desert Shield and later Operation Desert Storm; remaining in the middle east until returning to Forbes AGB in March 1991.
The 190th gaining command shifted to the Air Mobility Command (AMC) with the disestablishment of SAC in 1992, and in 1995 the Group’s status was expanded to a Wing. During 1999, the 190th deployed twice to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operation Northern Watch, refueling Allied aircraft over the northern No-Fly Zone in Iraq.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign McConnell Air National Guard (ANG) Base by relocating the 184th Air Refueling Wing (ANG) nine KC-135R aircraft to the 190th Air Refueling Wing at Forbes Field AGS, which would retire its eight assigned KC-135E aircraft. The 184th Air Refueling Wing ‘s operations and maintenance manpower would transfer with the aircraft to Forbes. Realigning ANG KC-135R aircraft from McConnell to Forbes would replace the 190th’s aging, higher maintenance KC-135E aircraft with newer models while retaining the experienced personnel from one of the highest-ranking reserve component tanker bases.
In June 2007, the 190 ARW gained custody of all KC-135R aircraft from the 184th ARW. This action consolidated all of the Kansas ANG’s KC-135R assets into a single wing located at Forbes Field. The 184 ARW was subsequently re=designated as the 184th Intelligence Wing (184 IW), a non-flying unit at McConnell AFB.