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History
History of the 120th Airlift Wing

History
The 120th Airlift Wing originated in 1947 as the 186th Fighter Squadron, flying F-51's and saw combat in Korea in 1951 - 1952. In 1953, the 186th was the first Air National Guard unit to receive the F-86 Sabre Jet along with the task of providing aerial combat capability for our nation's air defense system.

The transition into the F-89C Scorpion in 1955 provided an all weather capability fighter interceptor for more than 10 years and included the "H" and "J" models. The 186th Fighter Squadron was expanded in 1966 with the receipt of the F-102A Delta Dagger and upgraded to the F-106 Delta Dart in 1972. In 1987 the 120th Fighter Wing continued their tradition of combat readiness with the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the world's leading multi-role fighter.
tabHistory of the 120th 
The roots of the 120th Fighter Wing date back to the early morning hours of June 22, 1941 when the German military launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union. "Operation Barbarossa," a simultaneous ground and air offensive caught the Russians off guard and nearly decimated their military.

By the end of the first week, the Red Air Force had lost 4,000 aircraft, a number that represented half the air force. Joseph Stalin appealed to the U.S. and Great Britain with a request to be included in the Lend-Lease program. Pres. Roosevelt enacted lend-Lease in March of 1941 as a way to provide equipment and supplies to our British allies without actually entering the war. The British had been fighting the Germans since September 1939.

Upon approval to assist the Soviets, the biggest question became the one of how to get the material to the Soviet Union. Stalin was reluctant to allow American pilots on Soviet soil, but the North Atlantic was controlled by German U-boats. Many Allied ships went down before Stalin agreed to an Arctic flying route.  Read full history...


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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120th Airlift Wing 
Public Affairs Office
2800 Airport Avenue B
Great Falls, MT  59404
Commercial Phone:
406-791-0159

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