The 153d Air Refueling Squadron (153 ARS) is a unit of the Mississippi Air National Guard 186th Air Refueling Wing located at Key Field Air National Guard Base, Mississippi. The 153d is equipped with the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.
The squadron is a descendant organization of the 153d Observation Squadron, one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.
The squadrons aircraft are eight KC-135R Stratotankers. The mission of the squadron is to provide air refueling support to major commands of the United States Air Force, as well as other U.S. military forces and the military forces of allied nations.
Activated as part of the Mississippi National Guard in 1939 by the National Guard Bureau. Equipped with Douglas O-38 observation aircraft. Ordered to active service on 15 October 1940 as part of the buildup of the Army Air Corps prior to the United States entry into World War II. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was attached to Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command, performed anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico until August 1943 when the mission was turned over to the United States Navy.
Transferred to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), August 1943. Assigned to Ninth Air Force as a photographic reconnaissance unit. After the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, because a liaison and courier unit flying light aircraft until the end of the war in Europe. Inactivated during December 1945 in Germany.
The squadron was re-designated as the 153d Fighter Squadron and allotted to the Mississippi Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi and was extended federal recognition on 12 September. The squadron was equipped with F-47D Thunderbolts and was allocated to the Fourteenth Air Force, Continental Air Command by the National Guard Bureau.
The unit was called to active federal service on 1 March 1951. This activation temporarily resulted in the dissolution of the Mississippi Air National Guard, as members were sent to various places, including for many, duty in the Korean War. The squadron was sent to Turner AFB, Georgia where it was assigned to the federalized 108th Fighter-Bomber Group with a mission to provide fighter escorts to Strategic Air Command B-50 Superfortress bombers on training missions. In December 1951 it was moved to Godman AFB, Kentucky where it replaced a unit deployed to England. It was released from active duty and returned to Mississippi state control on 10 November 1952.
Reformed in December 1952, being equipped with RF-51D Mustang reconnaissance aircraft. Performed tactical reconnaissance for Tactical Air Command, retiring the Mustangs in 1955 and flying RF-80C Shooting Star aircraft until 1956. Re-equipped with RF-84F Thunderflash reconnaissance aircraft.
At the height of the Cold War in 1961, the squadron was federalized as a result of tensions concerning the Berlin Wall. Part of the squadron remained at Key Field in an active-duty status for about a year before being released.
On 15 October 1962, the 153d was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 186th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 153d TRS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 186th Headquarters, 186th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 186th Combat Support Squadron, and the 186th USAF Dispensary. In 1970 Tactical Air Command retired the RF-84s and they were replaced by the RF-101C Voodoo. In 1979 the Voodoos were again replaced by RF-4C Phantom IIs. RF-101C 56-0166, on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, served with the 186th TRG. The aircraft was flown directly from Key Field to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio on its final flight 27 October 1978.
In 1990 during the Gulf Crisis, several aircraft and support personnel were activated and deployed to Doha International Airport, Qatar, being part of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) during Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm.
In 1992 the squadron's 186th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was realigned to an air refueling unit as the RF-4Cs were retired. The squadron was equipped with KC-135 Stratotankers and placed initially under Air Combat Command, later under Air Mobility Command. The 153d Air Refueling Squadron has seen worldwide duty with the KC-135s, supporting Operation Display Determination, Operation Provide Relief, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Support Justice, Operation Deny Flight, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.Designated 153d Observation Squadron, and allotted to Mississippi NG, on 18 Aug 1939
Activated on 27 Sep 1939
Ordered to active service on 15 Oct 1940
Re-designated: 153d Observation Squadron (Light)
on 13 Jan 1942
Re-designated: 153d Observation Squadron
on 4 Jul 1942
Re-designated: 153d Liaison Squadron
on 31 May 1943.
Inactivated on 15 Dec 1945
Re-designated 153d Fighter Squadron, and allotted to Mississippi ANG, on 24 May 1946.
Extended federal recognition on 12 Sep 1946
Federalized and placed on active duty, 1 March 1951
Re-designated: 153d Fighter-Escort Squadron
1 Mar 1951
Re-designated: 153d Fighter-Bomber Squadron
on 11 Dec 1951
Released from active duty and returned to Mississippi state control, 30 November 1952
Re-designated: 153d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
on 1 Dec 1952
Federalized and placed on active duty, 1 October 1961
Released from active duty and returned to Mississippi state control, 31 August 1962
Re-designated: 153d Air Refueling Squadron
on 1 Apr 1992
Mississippi National Guard, 27 Sep 1939
Forth Corps Area, 15 Oct 1940
V Army Corps, c. Dec 1940
67th Observation (later Reconnaissance; Tactical Reconnaissance) Group, 1 Sep 1941
IX Fighter Command, 12 Dec 1943
Attached to First Army, 4 Feb-15 Nov 1944
Ninth Air Force, 14 Mar 1944
IX Tactical Air Command, 25 Apr 1944
Attached to Twelfth Army Group, 15 Nov 1944 – 26 Jul 1945
XII Tactical Air Command, 15 Jul-15 Dec 1945
Attached to Seventh Army after 26 Jul 1945
116th Fighter Group, 12 September 1946
108th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 1 Mar 1951 – 30 Nov 1952
116th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 30 November 1952
116th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 1 December 1952
116th Fighter Group (Air Defense), 1 July 1955
7117th Tactical Wing, 1 October 1961 – 31 August 1962
Mississippi Air National Guard, 1 September 1962
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
186th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 15 Oct 1962
186th Air Refueling Group, 1 Apr 1992
186th Operations Group, 1 Jun 1992 – present