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History of the 110th Airlift Wing

The 110th Airlift Wing traces its lineage through one of its component units: the 172nd Fighter Squadron.

On Sept. 16th, 1947 172nd Fighter Squadron passed final inspection and earned federal recognition.

The base commander at the time was Captain Ross Norwood. Norwood - who advanced in rank to Lt. Colonel - oversaw the activation of the 172nd and its deployment to what was then called Selfridge Air Base during the latter stages of the Korean War in 1952.

Norwood Commanded until 6 February 1953 when Major Robert Flagg assumed command.

When the 172nd returned to Battle Creek, it began the transition from prop to jet, exchanging its Mustangs for F-86 Sabres, which flew from 1954 to 1955, when they were replaced by F-89 Scorpions.

In 1956, the 110th Fighter Group was organized as part of the new force structure being adopted across the nation. The 172nd remained the only flying squadron, but now it was joined by the 110th Air Base Squadron, the 110th Materiel Squadron and the 110th Infirmary.

Major Percy Lewis served as commander during this transition and was succeeded by non other than Captain Howard Strand.

In 1957, the 110th received a new aircraft, the RB-57 Canberra, and a new mission - tactical reconnaissance.

The resulting reorganization cost the 110th Fighter Group 40 percent of its manpower and its name - the group was deactivated and the 172nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron once again became Battle Creek's primary Air National Guard unit.

A second non-flying squadron, the 172nd Reconnaissance Technical Squadron helped prevent the loss of additional Guard members.

In 1962, the 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was reactivated with Major Howard Strand serving as its commander. Major Strand departed in January 1965 to become deputy commander of the 127th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Selfridge, but he returned again in 1974 to lead the 110th until 1981.

The 172nd flew Canberras until 1971, when it undertook the radical and unexpected transformation from the RB-57 jets to the smaller, prop-powered O-2 Skymaster.

On 11 June, 1971, the 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Group became the 110th Tactical Air Support Group.

For the next 10 years the buzz of pusher-props replaced the black puffs of jet engines firing up on the ramp. Colonel Strand continued to lead the 110th through the uncertainties of the 1970s.

In 1980, the 110th saw a return to jet power in the form of the OA-37 Dragonfly.

The following year saw Colonel Leroy Crane take command of the 110th, a position he retained until 1984 when he was succeeded by Colonel Ronald Seely.

Colonel Seely remained with the 110th until 1990, when he departed to become the Assistant Adjutant for Air in Lansing. His successor, Colonel John Bradley III, oversaw two transitions - from the Dragonfly to the OA-10 Thunderbolt II, our beloved Warthog, and from the 110th Tactical Air Support Group to the 110th Tactical Fighter Group.

That lasted until June, 1992 when we dropped the "Tactical" and received our current insignia.

Colonel Bradley was succeeded in June 1995 by Colonel Ronald Moore, on whose watch the 110th Fighter Group became, the 110th Fighter Wing.

Lt. Col. Ken Heaton took command of the Wing in July of 1997 and led the units deployment to Operation Deny Flight. Colonel Heaton went on to become the Assistant Adjutant for Air until his retirement. When he departed from Battle Creek in April 2001, he was succeeded by our present commander, Colonel Rodger Seidel.

Sixty years, 11 commanders, seven types of aircraft, six major reorganizations.

The 110th Fighter Wing had service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Though its aircraft have changed, it remains dedicated to the Air Force values of Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.

The 110th Fighter Wing underwent a major transition moving from the A-10 aircraft to the C-21 aircraft in 2009. The C-21, which arrived in October 2008, is a twin turbofan engine passenger aircraft, the military version of the Lear Jet 35A. With a crew of two, it can accommodate eight passengers and 42 cubic feet of cargo. For aeromedical evacuations, it can carry one small litter or five ambulatory patients plus one flight nurse and two medical technicians. The aircraft first entered service in 1984 has a top speed of 530 mph, a range of 2,306 miles and a ceiling of 45,000 feet. The Air Force has an inventory of 35 C-21s with an additional 21 in the Air National Guard.

In addition, the base also witnessed the creation of a new unit, the 217th Air Operations Group on April 1st, 2009. The 217th AOG is a unique organizational structure to support the 17th Air Force (AFAFRICA). The 217th AOG has five squadrons that include air support, communications, intel, mobility, and operations in a largely self-contained package.

In 2010, the 110th Fighter Wing became the 110th Airlift Wing.

In 2015, the 110th Airlift Wing became the 110th Attack Wing transitioning to its new mission  the RPA/MQ-9 since 2013.
tabAir National Guard: A Short Story 
The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.

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3545 Mustang Avenue
Battle Creek, MI 49015-5509
(269) 969-3234 or 
(269) 969-3380
DSN: 580-3234 or 
Fax: (269)969-3554, 
DSN 580-3554 

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