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126 ARW Chronological Wing History

1927 July 1st the 108th Observation Squadron, 33rd Division Aviation is
formed. Sixteen officers, 74 enlisted and PT-1 Trusty aircraft were assigned.

1930 Douglas O-2H biplanes are assigned to the 108th Observation Squadron.

1935 Douglas O-38 biplanes are assigned to the 108th Observation Squadron.

1937 Performed levee reconnaissance missions, food and medicine drops
over flood ravaged Southern Illinois.

1940 4,800 members of the 108th are mobilized for war. North American O- 47 biplanes are assigned to the 108th Observation Squadron.

1941 Ordered to active service in February. Missions included anti-submarine patrols, search and rescue over the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and mail delivery to troops in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

1943 108th Observation Squadron is deactivated and its members are assigned to active duty units.

1947 56th Fighter Wing is succeeded by the 66th Fighter Wing and with it comes the 344th Bombardment Group, later re-designated the 126th Bombardment Group.

1950 66th Fighter Wing is redesignated the 126th Composite Wing.

1951 126th Composite Wing becomes the 126th Bombardment Wing with assigned units 126th Bombardment Group, 168th Bombardment Squadron and the reactivated 108th Bombardment Squadron. Martin B-26 Marauder and Douglas C-47 Skytrain are assigned.

1951 126th Bombardment Wing activated to support the Korean Conflict at Merignac Air Base in Bordeaux, France then later relocated to Laon Air Base, France.

1953 The 126th Bombardment Wing becomes the 126th Fighter-Bomber Wing equipped with F-51 Mustang aircraft.

1955 The F-84 Thunderstreak replaces the F-51 and the wing and its assigned units become the 126th Fighter-Interceptor Wing.

1957 The 108th Interceptor Squadron converts from F-84's to F-86L Sabre Jet.

1958 The 126th Fighter-Interceptor Wing is redesignated the 126th Air Defense Wing.

1961 The 126th Air Defense Wing, later redesignated the 126th Air Refueling Wing, flies the first Air National Guard air-refueling mission. KC-97 Stratotanker is assigned.

1963 The 126th Air Refueling Wing is the first to mid-air refuel the elite Air Force Thunderbirds.

1964 Operation READY GO was the first non-stop flight of Air National Guard fighters across the Atlantic Ocean.

1967 Operation Creek Party kicks off to provide air refueling to the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) aircraft from Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany.

1968 200 members of the 126th Air Refueling Wing are ordered to federal active duty to aid federal troops to quell civil disturbances in response to the Vietnam War.

1976 KC-135A Stratotanker is assigned to the 126th Air Refueling Wing.

1982, March A KC-135 assigned to the 126th Air Refueling Wing exploded while on a local training sortie on 19 March 1982. All four crew members, Maj. William S. Dixon, aircraft commander; Capt. Robert J. Nicosia, aircraft co-pilot; Capt. Kenneth L. Herrick, aircraft navigator; and Master Sgt. Richard A. Crome, aircraft boom operator were killed. Also killed were 23 passengers from the 928th Tactical Airlift Group, Air Force Reserves, also stationed at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

1983 KC-135E Stratotanker is assigned to the 126th Air Refueling Wing.

1990, Aug Colonel Harold E. Keistler assumed command of more than 700 guard, active duty and reserve personnel in Moron Air Base, Spain in support of Operation Desert Shield.

1990, Dec The entire fleet of KC-135's and 260 personnel from the 126th formed the 1712th Air Refueling Wing (Provisional) in the United Arab Emirates, commanded by Colonel Harold E. Keistler, in support of Operation Desert Storm.

1993 Over 700 personnel from the 126th Air Refueling Wing served on active duty to support the Illinois National Guard's flood control mission in Southern Illinois.

1997 The 126th Air Refueling Wing picks up host responsibility at O'Hare Air Reserve Station after the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision to disband the 928th Airlift Wing and relocate the 126th Air Refueling Wing to Scott Air Force Base in July of 1999.

1999 On July 28th, the last KC-135E "Stratotanker" departed for the final time from O'Hare Air Reserve Station to its new home at Scott Air Force Base. More than 2.5 million tons of cargo was moved over the road and in the air without any major accidents.

2000 The 126th Air Refueling Wing celebrated their 50th anniversary on 1 November 2000. A formal dining-out and celebration was held at the Scott Club to commemorate the occasion.

2000 The 126th Air Refueling Wing became the first E-model KC-135 unit in the Air National Guard to complete the Pacer CRAG conversion.

2001 The entire 126th Security Forces Squadron was activate to provide base and airport security. The 126th Maintenance and Operations Squadrons were activated to support Combat Air Patrols and alert missions.

2003 250 members and eight aircraft were deployed to Lajes Air Base in Portugal to form the 492nd Air Expeditionary Group, commanded by Brigadier General Harold E. Keistler, to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2004 Deployed Expeditionary Combat Support (ESC) personnel from
Security Forces, Transportation, Civil Engineering and the Chaplain Corps to CENTCOM to support ongoing war on terrorism.

2005 Deployed approximately 50 personnel to the Middle East to support the Global War on Terrorism.

2005 Deployed approximately 250 personnel to the Gulf Coast region to
support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

2006, Aug Deployed approximately 250 personnel in support of the Pacific Tanker
Task Force. Deployed members in support of OPERATION JUMP START - border patrol missions.

2006, Nov Deployed approximately 230 personnel to EUCOM in support of
Combat Support (ECS) personnel from Civil Engineering, Security
Forces, Services and Communications to CENTCOM to support
ongoing war on terrorism.

2007, Sept Deployed to Manta, Ecuador in support of USSOUTHCOM Counter- drug and Humanitarian Missions. Deployed Operations, Maintenance and Logistics personnel.

2008 In February, the Wing received the first of its total of eight KC-135R-Model Stratotankers. The aircraft were transitioned to the 126 ARW from the 107th Air Refueling Wing in Niagara, NY, as part of a 2005 BRAC-directed action.

2008 Over 400 personnel from the 126th Air Refueling Wing served on state active duty to support the Illinois National Guard's flood control mission, Mississippi Western Response, in Western and Southern Illinois.

2010 Continued activations in support of the ongoing War on Terrorism.

2011 Two aircraft and four aircrews, nearly 50 members from operations and maintenance, deployed to a forward operating location in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. Operation Odyssey Dawn is the United States' participation in the enforcement of the current Libyan no-fly zone.

1927 PT-1
1930 O-2H
1935 O-38
1940 O-47
1946 B-26
1946 C-47
1953 P-51
1954 T-33
1955 F-84
1957 F-86L
1961 KC-97
1976 KC-135A
1983 KC-135E
2008 KC-135R