|Country United States|
Branch Air National Guard
The 112th Fighter Squadron (112 FS) is a unit of the Ohio Air National Guard 180th Fighter Wing located at Toledo Air National Guard Base, Ohio. The 112th is equipped with the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon.
- World War I
- Ohio National Guard
- World Wars
- Addison Baker
- 112th Liaison Squadron
- Ohio Air National Guard
- Korean War activation
- Cold War
- Air Combat Command
- NORAD Air Defense
The squadron is a descendant organization of the World War I, 112th Aero Squadron, established on 18 August 1917. It was reformed on 20 June 1927, as the 112th Observation Squadron, and is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.
World War I
The 112th Fighter Squadron dates its origins to the organization of the 112th Aero Squadron on 18 August 1917 at Kelly Field, Texas. The squadron served as a supply squadron at Kelly Field, being re-designated as the 633d Aero Supply Squadron (Supply) on 1 February 1918. It remained at Kelly Field, being demobilized on 19 August 1919.
Ohio National Guard
Although authorized in 1921, the 112th Observation Squadron was not organized and federally recognized until 20 June 1927 at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
The squadron, or elements thereof, called up to perform the following state duties: support to civil authorities during a mine worker’s strike at Cadiz, OH, 16 April–17 August 1932; Electric Auto Lite strike at Toledo, OH, in 1934; flood relief efforts along the Ohio River in southern Ohio during January–February 1937; riot control during a labor strike at the Mahoning Valley steel plants 22 June–15 July 1937. Conducted summer training at Camp Perry, OH
The unit flew a wide range of aircraft throughout the late 1920s and 1930s including the PT-1, BT-1, the O-2 and the O-11.
On 25 November 1940 the 112th was federalized and ordered to active service as part of the buildup of the Army Air Corps after the Fall of France. The unit was ordered to Pope Field, North Carolina where it was equipped with North American O-47 observation aircraft. It performed antisubmarine patrols over the North and South Carolina coasts, with a flight operating from Myrtle Beach Airport. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 112th was moved to Dover Field, Delaware and equipped with O-49s and O-57s, performing coastal patrols over the Atlantic for German U-Boats over Delaware Bay and the approaches to Philadelphia. In the spring of 1942, was returned to South Carolina where it continued patrolling the mid-Atlantic coastline shipping routes.
In October 1942, the unit was moved to Birmingham Airport, Alabama where it was inactivated. Its personnel were reassigned to other Army Air Force Units. One of its members, Lt. Col. Addison Earl Baker attended 4-engine transition school and was eventually assigned to the 93d Bombardment Group as a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot.
Eventually being assigned to VIII Bomber Command at RAF Hardwick (USAAF Station 104), England, on 1 August 1943, Col. Baker piloted his aircraft on the low-altitude Allied bombing mission of oil refineries at Ploieşti, Romania, Operation Tidal Wave. Piloting Hell's Wench, a B-24 Liberator (Serial 42-40994), Baker led the 93d as the second formation in the five-group mission of 177 aircraft. Co-piloting the aircraft was a volunteer and former member of the 93rd, Major John L. Jerstad.
En route the aircraft carrying the mission navigator crashed at sea. As a result, when the force reached the target area, the lead group turned at the wrong point and flew towards Bucharest. Baker attempted to warn the mission commander of this error, but when that failed, led the remainder of the force to the correct turning point.
Although Hell's Wench was in flames and had been seriously damaged by German anti-aircraft guns, Baker maintained formation and bombed his target. Subsequently, Baker broke formation to avoid a mid-air collision with bombers from the lead group, now arriving in the target area from the opposite direction. He attempted to gain altitude so that his crew could escape by parachute, but despite his efforts, Hell's Wench crashed and exploded, killing Baker and the other nine airmen aboard.
On March 11, 1944, Colonel Baker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Although his body was never recovered he was given a memorial site in Florence American Cemetery and Memorial Florence, Italy. Major Jerstad also received the Medal of Honor on October 28, 1943, for his role on the mission.
112th Liaison Squadron
In April 1943, the unit was reactivated as the 112th Liaison Squadron at Salinas Army Air Base, California. The squadron was equipped with a series of light courier aircraft and for the next year was a courier unit for Fourth Air Force between airfields primarily in the Pacific Northwest. The unit was reassigned to Ninth Air Force in England in June 1944 where it operated Cessna UC-78 light transport aircraft in England and in liberated areas of France. It was assigned to HQ SHAFE, and provided VIP transportation until the end of the war, eventually serving as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany during 1945. It was inactivated in November 1945 at Drew Field, Florida.
Ohio Air National Guard
The wartime 112th Liaison Squadron was re-designated as the 112th Bombardment Squadron (Light), and was allotted to the Ohio Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Cleveland Municipal Airport, Ohio and was extended federal recognition on 2 December 1946 the National Guard Bureau. The 112th Bombardment Squadron was bestowed the lineage, history, honors, and colors of the 112th Liaison Squadron and all predecessor units. The squadron was equipped 20 R-26B/C Invader reconnaissance aircraft, a C-47, and two T-6s for training.
The Invaders practiced night reconnaissance operations. Parts were no problem and many of the maintenance personnel were World War II veterans so readiness was quite high and the planes were often much better maintained than their USAF counterparts. In some ways, the postwar Air National Guard was almost like a flying country club and a pilot could often show up at the field, check out an aircraft and go flying. However, the unit also had regular military exercises that kept up proficiency and in gunnery and bombing contests they would often score at least as well or better than active-duty USAF units, given the fact that most ANG pilots were World War II combat veterans.
Korean War activation
The 112th Bombardment Squadron was federalized due to the Korean War on 10 October 1950. It was re-designated as the 112th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and assigned to the federalized Alabama ANG 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Group. Moved to Lawson AFB, Georgia, the 117th TRG consisted of the Alabama ANG 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron; South Carolina ANG 157th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, and the Ohio 112th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron.
The 160th and 157th TRS were equipped with RF-80A Shooting Star reconnaissance jets and began training in daylight photo-reconnaissance, while the 112th TRS continued training with its RB-26C Invaders in the night reconnaissance role. The 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was assigned to Ninth Air Force, Tactical Air Command. The wing then began what was then believed to be a short transition training period. The original plan was to deploy the 117th to France and reinforce the United States Air Forces in Europe at a new base in France, Toul-Rosières Air Base. However Toul Air Base was still under construction, and delays in France for several reasons forced the 117th to remain at Lawson AFB for over a year until finally receiving deployment orders in January 1952.
The 117th arrived at Toul Air Base on 27 January 1952. However at the time of the Wing's arrival, Toul AB consisted of a sea of mud, and the new jet runway was breaking up and could not support safe flying. The commander of the 117th deemed it uninhabitable and its flying squadrons of the wing were ordered dispersed to West Germany. The 112th TRS was transferred to Wiesbaden AB, the 157th TRS deployed to Furstenfeldbruck AB, and the 160th deployed to Neubiberg AB. The non-flying Headquarters and Support organizations were assigned to Toul.
The mission of the 117 TRW was to provide tactical, visual, photographic and electronic reconnaissance by both day and night, as was required by the military forces within the European command. The RF-80's were responsible for the daylight operations; the RB-26s for night photography. In June 1952, the 117th was involved in Exercise 'June Primer'. This exercise took place in an area bordered by a line drawn from Cherbourg to Geneva in the east and in the west by this Swiss, Austrian and Russian occupation zone borders.
By July 1952 the facilities at Wiesbaden AB were becoming very crowded, and it was felt that the B-26's could fly from the primitive conditions at Toul. The 112 TRS returned to Toul, however the jet-engined RF-80's remained in West Germany until a new runway was constructed.
On 9 July 1952 the activated Air National Guard 117 TRW was released from active duty and inactivated in place and its mission was taken over by the newly activated 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. All of the aircraft and support equipment remained at Toul and was transferred to the 10th TRW.
With the return from France, the squadron was reformed at Akron-Canton Airport and re-designated as the 112th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. It was re-equipped with F-51H Mustangs, and were one of the last two Air National Guard squadrons to fly this version of the Mustang.
In October 1955, the 112th FBS were informed that they were to receive F-84E Thunderjets, but since the runways at Akron-Canton Municipal Airport were deemed inadequate for jet operations, it was decided to construct an entirely new facility for them at the new Toledo Express Airport at Toledo. The 112th FBS left Akron-Canton for the Toledo Municipal Airport on 1 April 1956 and retired their Mustangs for T-28A Trojans, and operated F-84Es until the summer of 1958. In January 1959, the 112th's facility at the Toledo Express Airport and moved to the new facility. The T-28s were replaced with new F-84F Thunderstreaks and the squadron was designated as a Tactical Fighter Squadron.
On 15 October 1962, the 112th was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 180th Tactical Fighter Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 112th TFS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 180th Headquarters, 180th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 180th Combat Support Squadron, and the 180th USAF Dispensary.
The squadron continued normal peacetime training throughout the 1960s. Individual squadron members volunteered for duty during the Vietnam War, however the 112th was not federalized in 1968 as the F-84Fs were not considered front line combat aircraft. In 1971, the squadron retired its Thunderstreaks and converted to the F-100 Super Sabre as a result of the American draw-down from the Vietnam War. In 1975, the 112th began a NATO commitment, deploying five F-100s to Ramstein Air Base, West Germany 9–25 October 1975 for Operation Cornet Razor.
In the summer of 1979, the F-100s were retired, being replaced with A-7D Corsair II subsonic tactical close air support aircraft from Tactical Air Command units that were converting to the new A-10 Thunderbolt II. The aircraft had excellent accuracy with the aid of an automatic electronic navigation and weapons delivery system. Although designed primarily as a ground attack aircraft, it also had limited air-to-air combat capability. It continued its NATO commitment, deploying six A-7D aircraft to RAF Sculthorpe, England in April 1983 for Operation Cornet Miami; eight A-7Ds in June–July 1986 for Cornet Pine, and thirteen A-7Ds in May–June 1989 for Cornet Pine. The 180th Tactical Fighter Group received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in 1985 and again in 1990. In 1989, while deployed at Panama for a Coronet Cove deployment, 180th A-7s were employed during Operation Just Cause.
Air Combat Command
The 112th TFS did not deploy to Saudi Arabia in 1990 during Operation Desert Shield or Operation Desert Storm as the A-7Ds were considered a second-line aircraft. Squadron volunteers, however were deployed to CENTAF during the crisis and subsequent combat operations.
In March 1992, the 180th adopted the USAF Objective Wing organization and became simply the 180th Fighter Group; the 112th as a Fighter Squadron. On 1 June of that year, Tactical Air Command was inactivated as part of the Air Force restructuring after the end of the Cold War. Air Combat Command (ACC) became the gaining major command for the 180th. Another event in 1992 was the retirement of the A-7Ds, being replaced by Block 25 F-16C/D Fighting Falcons.
The first F-16 to arrive with the 112th FS was a two-seat model, F-16D #83-1175, which was the first F-16D to come off the production line at Fort Worth. It came from the 312th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at Luke AFB, Arizona on the rare leap year date 29 February 1992. F-16s continued to arrive and the last A-7D departed on 18 May 1992. Many of the block 25s that came from the 363d Tactical Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, South Carolina were Desert Storm veterans.
The squadron didn't operate the block 25 for very long. Starting in very early 1994 the squadron gave up its block 25s, which it had only flown for a year, for the much more modern block 42s. The block 25s were sent to various units but mostly to Luke AFB, Arizona. A large amount of the block 42s came from Shaw AFB, South Carolina where that base was converting to the block 50.
On 1 October 1995, in accordance with the Air Force One Base-One Wing directive, the 180th Fighter Group was expanded and changed in status to the 180th Fighter Wing. Under the Objective Wing organization, the 112th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the 180th Operations Group. Support groups to the wing were the 180th Maintenance Group, 180th Mission Support Group and the 180th Medical Group.
In mid-1996, the Air Force, in response to budget cuts, and changing world situations, began experimenting with Air Expeditionary organizations. The Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept was developed that would mix Active-Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard elements into a combined force. Instead of entire permanent units deploying as "Provisional" as in the 1991 Gulf War, Expeditionary units are composed of "aviation packages" from several wings, including active-duty Air Force, the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard, would be married together to carry out the assigned deployment rotation.
In October 1996, the 112th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (112 EFS) was first formed from 162d FW personnel and eight aircraft and deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The 112th EFS joined with the 124th EFS (Iowa ANG) and the 125th EFS (Oklahoma ANG) as part of a "rainbow" deployment to support Operation Provide Comfort. In January 1997, this changed to Operation Northern Watch just prior to the unit's return to Toledo to enforce the No-Fly-Zones over Iraq. More Operation Northern Watch deployments were made to Incirlik AB by the 112th EFS in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002 respectively. The 112th EFS deployed to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, for Operation Southern Watch in 2001.
After the events of 11 September 2001 unit members have volunteered to support both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005 and again for Operation Iraqi Freedom again in 2007.
NORAD Air Defense
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Des Moines Air National Guard Base, Iowa. The F-16 aircraft currently assigned to the 132d Fighter Wing at Des Moines would be redistributed to the 180th Fighter Wing (nine aircraft) Des Moines' F-16s would be distributed to Toledo to support the Homeland Defense Air Sovereignty Alert (ADS) mission and to consolidate the precision-guided weapon employment capability that exists in the Air National Guard.
In August 2008 the 112th FS took over the alert role for the region from the Detroit-based Michigan 107th Fighter Squadron which was converting to the A-10 Thunderbolt II in the next year. The 112th FS officially took over on 2 October 2008.
** This unit is not related to another 112th Aero Squadron (Service) that was activated in March 1918 at Rich Field, Waco, Texas.