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Resources > Fact Sheets > The History of the 108th Wing


Posted 1/26/2016 Printable Fact Sheet

The 1,200 members of the 108th Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, fill a multitude of missions at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Eight KC-135R Stratotankers assigned to the 141st Air Refueling Squadron allow the wing to support the Air Mobility Command with mid-air refueling and air bridge support to overseas contingency operations and homeland defense. The 108th's service to the State and Nation is diverse. The 204th Intelligence Squadron supports both the Air Mobility Command and the USAF Expeditionary Center and the 150th Special Operations Squadron, operating the C-32, provides a dedicated rapid response airlift to the Department of Defense in support of United States Government crisis response to events abroad and domestically. The 140th Cyber Operations Squadron, activated in 2015, operates the cyber vulnerability assessment and the hunter weapon system. Add in the medical personnel, civil engineers, security forces, supply, operations, communications, personnel, finance and the other Airmen that make up the 108th; the Wing continues to fulfill its missions and goals with excellence.

In 1951, the 108th was activated for the Korean Conflict and again in 1961 for the Berlin Crisis. After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, almost 700 "Guardians of Freedom" of the 108th Wing were mobilized and deployed around the globe in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. The 108th continues to provide support for state and nation without hesitation. In Feb. 2003, the 108th received a partial mobilization order authorizing the unit to activate more than 500 Guard members in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the continuing missions of Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the 108th Wing has filled slots to activate more than 6,075 Airmen in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle and Odyssey Dawn and others.  Most recently, over 300 men and women of the 108th were mobilized in support of Hurricane Sandy.  The excellence exhibited by the 108th personnel aided immeasurably to the situations of the hundreds of thousands that were displaced in the wake of the hurricane.

The tradition of the 108th Wing began with the September 1928 organization of the 119th Observation Squadron, Air Corps and New Jersey National Guard. The lineage of the 119th was transferred when it was redesignated the 490th Fighter Squadron in August 1943, and again in June 1945 when it became the 119th Fighter Squadron.

In May 1949, the 141st Tactical Fighter Squadron was activated at Mercer Airport in Trenton. In the fall of 1957, both the Wing and the squadron moved to McGuire. The 141st dates back to 1917 and is one of the Air Force's oldest squadrons. The squadron's distinctive tiger patch depicts the Princeton University tiger in honor of Hobie Baker, who was a distinguished Princeton athlete and later became the first commander of the 141st.

The 141st was later equipped with F-105B fighter-bombers and both F-4D and F-4E Phantom IIs. In October 1991, the squadron began its conversion to the KC-135E and was redesignated the 141st Air Refueling Squadron.

The 150th Air Transport Squadron was activated as part of the 170th Air Transport Group and was federally recognized in February 1956 at Newark Airport, where it flew C-46 Commandos and C-119 Flying Boxcars. Both the group and the squadron relocated to McGuire in June 1965.

Since 1965, the 150th has been equipped with the C-121 Constellation, the C-7 Caribou and now the C-32. In 1977, the 170th Transport Group was redesignated the 170th Air Refueling Group flying KC-135s. In October 1993, in response to Air Force-wide force structure changes, the 170th Air Refueling Group was retired, and the 150th was reassigned as an Air Refueling Squadron under the 108th Air Refueling Wing. As a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure initiative, the Wing lost one of its two air refueling squadrons; however, it took on new roles in the Air National Guard and United States Air Force and consequently, the decision was made to change its name from "108th Air Refueling Wing" to "108th Wing" in 2008. In January 2008, the 108th Contingency Response Group was added to the 108th Wing's list of beneficial units. They were responsible for training and rapidly deploying personnel and equipment to open airfields in remote locations and extend Air Mobility Command's capacity to deploy people and equipment around the globe. On July 1, 2015 the CRG's mission was no longer a part of the 108th Wing. 

The men and women of the 108th are proud to be a part of the Total Force and they are dedicated to supporting the Air Mobility Command in both the air refueling and strategic airlift roles.

Even though the mission continuously changes, the 108th Wing remains ready, reliable and relevant for whatever tasking our state and nation may require from the New Jersey Air National Guard; leading Global Engagement into the 21st Century and beyond.

For more information about the 108th Wing, contact the Public Affairs Office at 609-754-6358 or via email at usaf.nj.108-wg.list.pa-public-affairs@mail.mil

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