138th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon Model
Fly with the 138th Fighter Squadron in this handcrafted F-16 Fighting Falcon Model. Each piece is carved from wood and handpainted to provide a piece you’ll love.
Length – 18 inches.
The 138th Attack Squadron (138 ATKS) is a unit of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing located at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York. The 138th is equipped with the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).
World War II
Formed at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, as a Third Air Force Operational Training Unit (OTU), equipped with A-24 Banshee dive bombers. Moved to California in September 1943 as part of Desert Training Center in Mojave Desert.
After the A-24 was taken out of combat service, trained with P-39 Airacobras and became combat ready, being reassigned to VIII Fighter Command in England, April 1944. Re-equipped with P-51 Mustangs, with a mission for escorting B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers during its first five weeks of operations, and afterwards flew many escort missions to cover the operations of medium and heavy bombers that struck strategic objectives, interdicted the enemy’s communications, or supported operations on the ground.
The group frequently strafed airfields and other targets of opportunity while on escort missions. Provided fighter cover over the English Channel and the coast of Normandy during the invasion of France in June 1944. Strafed and dive-bombed vehicles, locomotives, marshalling yards, anti-aircraft batteries, and troops while Allied forces fought to break out of the beachhead in France. Attacked transportation targets as Allied armies drove across France after the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July. Flew area patrols during the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September. Escorted bombers to, and flew patrols over the battle area during the German counterattack in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), December 1944 – January 1945. Provided area patrols during the assault across the Rhine in March 1945.
Returned to the US in October and inactivated on 17 October 1945 as an administrative unit.
New York Air National Guard
The wartime 505th Fighter Squadron was re-designated as the 138th Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the New York Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Hancock Field, Syracuse, New York, and was extended federal recognition on 28 October 1947 by the National Guard Bureau. The 138th Fighter Squadron was bestowed the lineage, history, honors, and colors of the 505d Fighter Squadron and all predecessor units. It was the first New York Air National Guard squadron that was extended federal recognition.
The squadron was equipped with F-47D Thunderbolts and was assigned initially to the New York ANG 52d Fighter Wing, then in December 1948 to the 107th Fighter Group, operationally gained by Continental Air Command.
The mission of the 138th Fighter Squadron was the air defense of Central and Northern New York. Aircraft parts were no problem and many of the maintenance personnel were World War II veterans so readiness was quite high and the planes were often much better maintained than their USAF counterparts. In some ways, the postwar Air National Guard was almost like a flying country club and a pilot could often show up at the field, check out an aircraft and go flying. However, the unit also had regular military exercises that kept up proficiency and in gunnery and bombing contests they would often score at least as well or better than active-duty USAF units, given the fact that most ANG pilots were World War II combat veterans.
Air Defense mission
In January 1950 the 138th became the first New York Air National Guard unit to receive jet aircraft, obtaining F-84B Thunderjets, mostly from the USAF 20th Fighter Group at Shaw AFB, South Carolina.
138th FIS F-94s in the 1950s
With the surprise invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950, and the regular military’s complete lack of readiness, most of the nation’s Air National Guard was federalized and placed on active duty. The 138th was retained by the State of New York to maintain the air defense mission.
In December 1950/January 1951 the 138th transferred several F-84Bs to the Arizona ANG 197th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, and at the end of 1951 the remainder were transferred to the federalized Michigan ANG 127th Pilot Training Group, also at Luke AFB. The Thunderjets were used for jet pilot transition training for pilots being deployed to Korea. In return, the 138th received Very Long Range F-51H Mustangs with were capable of extended air defense flights over all of New York state. In 1952, the 138th became one of the first Air National Guard squadrons to commence standing daylight runway alert. At least two aircraft from the squadron with pilots in their cockpits stood alert at the end of runway from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset every day of the year.
The air defense mission remained after the Korean War armistice and the unit resumed normal peacetime training and drills. In 1954, the Mustang was ending its service life and Air Defense Command was re-equipping its fighter-interceptor squadrons with jet aircraft. The 138th received F-94B Starfires, however the F-94 required a two-man aircrew, a pilot and an air observer to operate its radar equipment. Trainees for the radar assignment had to attend regular Air Force training schools, and required virtually the same qualifications as the pilot trainees. The additional recruitment of guardsmen led to the units having a manning and capabilities problem that lasted for some time until the unit was returned to full readiness.
In 1956, the 107th Fighter-Interceptor Wing was reorganized and re-designated as the 107th Air Defense Wing. The 107th Fighter-Interceptor Group was re-designated as the 107th Fighter Group (Air Defense) and transferred from Niagara Falls Municipal Airport to Hancock Field on 1 May, with the 138th FIS being assigned. The F-86H Sabre replaced the F-94B Starfires in 1957.
Tactical Air Command
A major change to the 107th Air Defense Wing in 1958 was the transition from an Air Defense Commande (ADC) mission to Tactical Air Command (TAC) and a tactical fighter mission, the 107th being re-designated as a Tactical Fighter Group; and 138th also being re-designated. The new assignment involved a change in the Group’s training mission to include high-altitude interception, air-to-ground rocketry, ground strafing and tactical bombing. The 138th TFS retained their F-86H Sabres.