History of the WVANG

On May 24, 1946, the United States Army Air Forces, in response to dramatic postwar military budget cuts imposed by President Harry S. Truman, allocated inactive unit designations to the National Guard Bureau for the formation of an Air Force National Guard. These unit designations were allotted and transferred to various State National Guard bureaus to provide them unit designations to re-establish them as Air National Guard units.

The West Virginia Air National Guard was the last ANG unit to be equipped with the Mustang in service. The last F-51 (44-72948) was retired to serve as a museum piece at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on January 27th, 1957.

The West Virginia Air National Guard origins date to March 7, 1947 with the establishment of the 167th Fighter Squadron, which is oldest unit of the West Virginia Air National Guard. Originally equipped with F-51D Mustangs (the new name of the P-51 Mustang after 1947), the 167th Fighter Squadron was federally recognized and activated at Kanawha Airport, Charleston with a primary mission of air defense of the state. However, September 18, 1947 is considered the West Virginia Air National Guard's official birth, which is concurrent with the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate branch of the United States military under the National Security Act of 1947.

 On October 10, 1950, the 167th FS and all personnel were sworn in for 21 months of active duty during the Korean War. Most personnel and all aircraft became part of the 123d Fighter-Bomber Wing, located at Godman Army Airfield, Kentucky. Some members transferred to RAF Manston near London, England, flying F-84 Thunderjet aircraft. Other seasoned (experienced) pilots transferred to Far East Air Force for combat duty in the Korean War. Released from active duty on July 9, 1952, the 167th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (167th FIS) returned to Charleston, West Virginia and resumed flying the F-51 Mustang aircraft.

In the early 1950s, Kanawha Airport could not accommodate jet aircraft, so Shepherd Field in Martinsburg received approval as the new site for the 167th FIS on September 21, 1955. The official move came on December 3, 1955, when the 167th FIS officially relocated from Kanawha Airport to Shepherd Field.

The West Virginia Air National Guard was authorized to expand to two separate aircraft squadrons in 1955 by the National Guard Bureau. On October 1, 1955, the 130th Troop Carrier Squadron (130th TCS) was created at Kanawha Airport, Charleston and was extended federal recognition. This squadron was assigned to Tactical Air Command, which placed it under the Eighteenth Air Force. Equipped with Grumman HU-16 Albatross amphibious aircraft and Curtiss C-46 Commando troop transport aircraft, the primary mission of the 130th TCS was Air Commando special operations missions. On July 1, 1960, the HU-16 and C-46 were replaced by C-119 Flying Boxcar and U-10D Super Courier combat observation aircraft. In 1975, both of these aircraft were replaced by the far more capable C-130E Hercules transport aircraft, with a second upgrade to the C-130H Hercules completed in 1986.

Today, the 130th Airlift Wing provides tactical airlift support to through the use of the C-130J Super Hercules.

The 167th Airlift Wing provides global airlift to Air Mobility Command, with its C-17 Globemaster III transports operating globally in support of the active-duty missions of the Air Force.

After the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, elements of every Air National Guard unit in West Virginia has been activated in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Flight crews, aircraft maintenance personnel, communications technicians, air controllers and air security personnel were engaged in Operation Noble Eagle air defense overflights of major United States cities. Also, West Virginia ANG units have been deployed overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as other locations as directed.