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154th Airlift Squadron C-130


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154th Airlift Squadron C-130

Fly with the 154th Airlift Squadron in this wooden C-130 model. Each model is carefully carved and hand painted to provide a unique piece you’ll love.

World War I
The 154th Training Squadron traces its origins to the 154th Aero Squadron, organized at Kelly Field, Texas, on 8 December 1917. The squadron was formed with 150 men collected from thirty-two states in every region of the nation. After a week at Kelly Field, the men were moved to Scott Field, Illinois, on 16 December for basic indoctrination training. At Scott, the men were instructed in drill and guard duty. Many personnel transfers happened at Scott with about 76 men transferred to other squadrons, and about 78 transferred into the 154th. On 26 January, the squadron was ordered for overseas duty, and was moved to the Aviation Concentration Center, Garden City, Long Island. It arrived on 29 January 1918 at Mineola Field, where it was prepared and equipped for overseas duty. The squadron was quarantined for several weeks at Mineola due to a rash of measles. However, on 16 February, the squadron was ordered to report to the New York Port of Embarkation at Hoboken, New Jersey, to board the former Cunard Liner RMS Carmania and sailed immediately. The voyage across the Atlantic was uneventful and it arrived at Liverpool, England, on 4 March. In England, the squadron moved to the American Rest Camp at Romsey, near Winchester, arriving there the same date.[3]

At Winchester, the 154th was ordered detached to the Royal Flying Corps for technical training, and departed for the No. 3 Training Depot Station (TDS), RFC Lopcome Center, Nether Wallop, England on 17 March. The squadron was the first American unit assigned to this part of England, and the English had very little knowledge about the traits or character or to what the squadron’s status was at the station. It was assigned to the RFC-34 Wing, and the men were assigned to duty and training in the hangars and various schools of instruction. Initially there was a tendency to minimize the mechanical knowledge of the men of the squadron, however their anxiety to learn was displayed in almost every department and within several weeks, the elementary training was ended and the squadron was entrusted with work of the most important nature.[citation needed] At the end of two months’ training, the 154th was in complete control of two full Flights, consisting of about 24 airplanes, Sopwith Camels, Pups and Avroes. In addition, squadron mechanics in the workshops, the airplane repair shops, the armorers in the gunnery school and the drivers in the Transport Flight had relieved a large proportion of the British personnel for service at the front lines in France. On 16 August, the squadron was split up into several Flights for final training at advanced bases in England, before being re-assembled at Winchester on the 30th. There, orders were received for transfer to France. On 12 September the squadron proceeded to Le Havre, France, and moved to English Rest Camp No.2 there waiting further orders. It then moved to the Replacement Concentration Center, AEF, St. Maixent Replacement Barracks, France, arriving on 17 September 1918.[3]

On 25 September the 154th was ordered to report to the Commander, Air Service Acceptance Park No. 1 at Orly Aerodrome, Versailles, France for temporary duty and to await orders for the Front. However, due to the sudden and unforeseen developments in the war situation, the squadron never received the transfer orders and was at Orly at the time of the Armistice with Germany on 11 November. While at Orly, the men were assigned to several departments, owing to their trades learned while on duty in England. On 24 December, the 154th was ordered to demobilize and moved to the Base Port at St. Nazarine for immediate transport back to the United States. The 154th returned to the United States in late January 1919 and arrived at Mitchel Field, New York, where the squadron members were demobilized and returned to civilian life.[3]

Inter-War years
The great Mississippi River flood of 1927 was one of the worst natural disasters in American history. It inundated 27,000 square miles, an area about the size of New England, killing as many as 1,000 people and displacing 700,000 more. At a time when the entire budget of the federal government was barely $3 billion, the flood caused an estimated $1 billion in damage. Although National Guard aviation units had been regularly called upon to assist civil authorities since early in that decade, the 1927 flood marked the first time that an entire Guard flying unit and its government-issued aircraft had been mobilized to help deal with a major natural disaster.[4]

Governor John E. Martineau called up the 10 officers and 50 enlisted members of the 154th Observation Squadron, Arkansas National Guard, to help locate stranded flood victims as well as to deliver food, medicines and supplies to them and relief workers. The unit also conducted aerial patrols along the Mississippi River scouting for weakened or broken levees. Its JN-4 Jenny aircraft flew some 20,000 miles during the mobilization which lasted from 18 April through 3 May 1927. Members of the unit also worked to strengthen and repair river levees.[4]

Flood relief operations took a toll on the 154th. Two aircraft crashed and at least three aviators were injured. The unit’s remaining aircraft were grounded for maintenance and repairs at one point. Because of the heavy burden of flight operations, five of the unit’s aging JN-4s had to be replaced by PT-1 trainer aircraft in mid-May 1927. The flood relief work of the 154th underscores the long-standing but little understood history of Air National Guard units and their pre-World War II antecedents in supporting civil authorities.[4]

World War II
The 154th Observation Squadron was activated for one year of training on 16 September 1940. The unit completed its one-year training and returned to state control, but was recalled to active duty on 7 December 1941. The unit received extensive stateside training before deploying to North Africa. Most of the squadron sailed from the United States in September 1942 on the HMS Queen Mary, with its first overseas station in Wattisham, England, 4–21 October 1942. From there it boarded ship and sailed to be part of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, going ashore on the second day (9 November 1942) of the invasion in Oran, Algeria. Over the next 2 ½ years the squadron would be stationed in St Leu, Tafaraoui, and Blida, Algeria; Oujda, French Morocco; Youks-les-Bains, Algeria; Thelepte, Sbeitla, Le Sers, and Korba, Tunisia; Nouvion and Oran, Algeria; with final station in Bari, Italy (3 February 1944 – 1 July 1945).[5]

During the period of overseas deployment the 154th operated A-20 Havocs, P-39 Airacobras, P-38/F-4 Lightnings, and was the first unit to operate P-51 Mustangs in the Mediterranean Theatre. A total of 1495 missions and 2522 sorties were flown.

The 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 68th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, was attached to the Fifteenth Air Force for the purpose of flying weather reconnaissance, a duty which had been handled by a P-38 unit called the Fifteenth Air Force Weather Reconnaissance Detachment. Personnel and equipment of the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and the Weather Reconnaissance Detachment were subsequently integrated, and the unit was re-designated the 154th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) on 12 May 44. Operations were limited to weather reconnaissance.

The Squadron was awarded a (Presidential) Distinguished Unit Citation: Rumania, 17, 18, 19 August 1944.

Arkansas Air National Guard
2 October 1950, the 154th Fighter Squadron, along with detachment B, 237th Air Services Group and the 154th Utility Flight reported to active duty for service in Korea. The unit went to Langley Air Force Base, VA where it was re-equipped with the F-84E fighter and completed transition training. The 154th flew its first combat sortie 2 May 1951. Initially operating out of Itaeke, Japan the unit later moved to Taegu, Korea. The 154th returned to Arkansas and was relieved from active duty 1 July 1952. While in Korea the 154th flew 3,790 combat sorties and was awarded the Presidential Korean Citation for its service [6]

The squadron was inactivated in 1952 and redesignated the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron was then relocated to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and reorganized as the 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, absorbing elements of the 123rd Air Base Group.

The squadron moved from Adams Field to Little Rock Air Force Base, Jacksonville, AR, in September 1962 The 154th was the first Air National Guard unit to be equipped with the RF-101 Voodoo in 1965. Soon after, the squadron was again activated to respond to the Pueblo Crisis in January 1968. In July, the 154th deployed to Itazuke, Japan, but was inactivated that December.

On 1 January 1976, the unit converted to KC-135 and was redesignated the 154th Air Refueling Squadron. It was then assigned to the Strategic Air Command, one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned as such. The unit maintained a 24-hour alert and supported worldwide tanker task forces by performing in-flight refueling of all types of aircraft.

The unit received its first C-130 on 1 July 1986 and began training C-130 aircrews. By 1 October, the unit had fully converted to the C-130. Student training began on 25 September. The unit was redesignated the 154th Airlift Squadron on 16 April 1992.

Since 1998, the squadron has been the exclusive provider for instructor training. The school instructs courses for all crew positions on board the C-130, and has taught students from all branches of the military.

Members of the 154th flew in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle. These operations did not affect the wing’s training mission.