The 363d Fighter Squadron was established at Hamilton Field, California in December 1942. Began training on the P-39 Airacobra at Tonopah Army Airfield, Nevada.
Became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe army of occupation in Germany during 1945. Inactivated in Germany during August 1946.
The wartime 363d Fighter Squadron was re-designated as the 164th Fighter Squadron, and was allotted to the Ohio Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport, Ohio, and was extended federal recognition on 20 June 1948 by the National Guard Bureau. The 164th Fighter Squadron was bestowed the lineage, history, honors, and colors of the 363d Fighter Squadron. The squadron was equipped with F-51D Mustangs and was assigned to the Ohio ANG 55th Fighter Wing, operationally gained by Continental Air Command.
With the formation and federal recognition of the Ohio ANG 121st Fighter Group at Lockbourne Field, near Columbus, the squadron was reassigned. The mission of the 164th Fighter Squadron was the air defense of Ohio. 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. In 1949 the squadron exchanged its F-51Ds for F-51H Mustang very long range escort fighters that were suitable for long-range interception of unknown aircraft identified by Ground Control Interceptor radar stations.
With the surprise invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950, and the regular military's complete lack of readiness, most of the Air National Guard was federalized and placed on active duty. The 164th Fighter Squadron was federalized on 10 February 1951. The 164th, however, was selected to remain in Ohio and continue the air defense mission, being operationally gained by the Eastern Air Defense Force, Air Defense Command. With the end of the federalization of the Air National Guard in 1952, the 164th again was assigned to the 121st Tactical Fighter Group at Columbus, however the squadron remained in an attached status to Air Defense Command.
In September 1953 after the Korean War, the 164th received its first jet aircraft, refurbished F-80A Shooting Stars that had been modified and upgraded to F-80C standards. The squadron only operated the Shooting Star for a year when in October 1954 the equipment was changed to F-84E Thunderjets that had returned from wartime duty in Korea. In August 1954, the 164th began standing daytime air defense alert at Mansfield, placing two aircraft at the end of the runway with pilots in the cockpit from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. This ADC alert lasted each and every day until 30 June 1956.
In early 1957, the squadron sent their war-weary Thunderjets to storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona and received new F-84F Thunderstreak swept-wing interceptors. Later in 1957, the 164th Fighter-Bomber Squadron received the 1st Air Force Flying Safety Award for three consecutive years of accident-free flying, an impressive accomplishment as in the previous three years the squadron had flown three different types of aircraft.
On 10 November 1958, the squadron was re-designated as the 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron and the squadron ended its attachment to Air Defense Command, returning to Tactical Air Command control.
During the 1961 Berlin Crisis, the 164th was federalized as part of the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing and Group for a period of twelve months beginning on 1 October. When activated, the 121st TFW consisted of three operational units, the 162d Tactical Fighter Squadron, based at Springfield Municipal Airport, Springfield Ohio; the 166th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, and the 164th TFS at Mansfied. However, due to funding shortages, only 26 F-84F's of 166th TFS were deployed to Étain-Rouvres Air Base, France, although several ground support units from the 162d and 164th were also deployed. The squadron, however, remained under Federal USAF control until the crisis ended and it was returned to Ohio state control on 31 August 1962.
After the Berlin Federalization ended, the 15 October 1962, the 164th was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 179th Tactical Fighter Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 164th TFS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 179th Headquarters, 179th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 179th Combat Support Squadron, and the 179th USAF Dispensary.
The squadron continued normal peacetime training throughout the 1960s. Individual squadron members volunteered for duty during the Vietnam War, however the 164th was not federalized in 1968 as the F-84Fs were not considered front line combat aircraft. In February 1972, 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.
The squadron flew the F-100s until the winter of 1976 when the 179th was transferred from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command on 5 January. At this time, the unit converted to the C-130B Hercules and received a complement of eight aircraft. With the change of equipment, the unit was designated a Tactical Airlift Group. Upgrade to the C-130H was completed in 1991.
The 179th Airlift Group was active during Desert Shield/Storm providing airlift support throughout the Continental United States and Europe. Portions of the 179th were activated during Desert Shield/Storm and served in the US, Europe and Saudi Arabia.
In March 1992, the 179th adopted the USAF Objective Wing organization and became simply the 179th Airlift Group; the 164th as an Airlift Squadron. On 1 June of that year, Military Airlift Command was inactivated as part of the Air Force restructuring after the end of the Cold War. Air Mobility Command (AMC) initially became the gaining major command for the 179th, although on 1 October 1993, it was moved to Air Combat Command (ACC) along with the other C-130 units.
With the Air National Guard in the post Cold War era providing nearly 50% of the USAF’s tactical airlift capability, the 179th Airlift Group supported combat and humanitarian operations and exercises around the world, beginning in July 1992 as part of Operation Provide Promise; a humanitarian relief operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav War. Ongoing until 1996 airlift units delivered food, medicine, and supplies and evacuating over 1,300 wounded people from the region. It the longest running humanitarian airlift in history.
In late 1992, the 179th began airlifting personnel, equipment and supplies to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. The Air Force enlisted Air National Guard units being charged with carrying out United Nations Security Council Resolution 794: to create a protected environment for conducting humanitarian operations in the southern half of Somalia.
The 179th was also engaged in Operation Uphold Democracy (19 September 1994 – 31 March 1995) providing airlift support to United States military forces in Hati during its military intervention designed to remove the military regime installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
On 11 October 1995, in accordance with the Air Force One Base-One Wing directive, the 179th Airlift Group was expanded and changed in status to the 179th Airlift Wing. Under the Objective Wing organization, the 164th Airlift Squadron was assigned to the 179th Operations Group. Support groups to the wing were the 179th Maintenance Group, 179th Mission Support Group and the 179th 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 December 1996, the 164th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (164th EAS) was first formed from 179th personnel and aircraft and deployed to Pisa Airport, Italy in support of Operation Joint Guard. It assisted in providing logistical support to NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was tasked with upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement. This ongoing commitment continued until 1998. Other Air Expeditionary Force deployments in the late 1990s included Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Joint Forge and Operation Shining Hope, all addressing the Yugoslavian crises of the era.
After the events of 11 September 2001 the 164th EAS has been activated on several occasions, initially providing logistic support for Air Force fighter squadrons engaged in Combat Air Patrols over major cities during Operation Noble Eagle in late 2001 and 2002. The EAS has seen duty in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraq as part of Operation Iraqui Freedom.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), Ohio. The 179th Airlift Squadron would distribute its eight C-130H aircraft The 908th Airlift Wing (AFR), Maxwell AFB, Alabama (four aircraft), and the 314th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas (four aircraft). Flying related Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) moves to Louisville IAP AGS, KY (aerial port) and Toledo Express Airport AGS, OH (fire fighters). However, due to the base's superior record and recommendations for reconsideration by state and local officials, the base was incorporated into the Ohio Air National Guard's future by receiving a bridge mission of flying a C-21 Learjet mission until it becomes operational in the C-27J Spartan.
On July 20, 2008, the 179th AW continued its growth by the standing up of the 200th Red Horse (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) detachment. The Mansfield base has been assigned with 200 Red Horse personnel and another 200 will be assigned to Port Clinton. A new building across the airfield is to be constructed to house the attachment with an approximated completion in 2010.
The 179th AW, along with the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard, was the first unit to train and deploy the C-27J Spartan in 2010. Airmen from the 179th Airlift Wing made Air National Guard history July 26, 2011, by deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for the first time with the C-27J Spartan, one of the Air Force's newest aircraft. This joint mission is being conducted with aircrew from the 164th Airlift Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 179th Airlift Wing, and Soldiers from the Oklahoma and Georgia National Guard. They will be working in conjunction with the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in direct support of the Army for airlift and airdrop operations. The 179th AW made history with a nine-month overseas rotation, as opposed to the typical four-to-six-month Air National Guard deployment schedule.Constituted 363d Fighter Squadron and activated, on 1 December 1942
Inactivated on 20 August 1946.
Re-designated: 164th Fighter Squadron, and allotted to Ohio ANG, on 21 August 1946.
Extended federal recognition on 20 June 1948
Re-designated: 164th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
on 5 November 1952
Re-designated: 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron
on 10 November 1958
Federalized and ordered to active service on: 1 October 1961
Released from active duty and returned to Ohio state control, 31 August 1962
Re-designated: 164th Tactical Airlift Squadron
on 5 January 1976
Re-designated: 164th Airlift Squadron
on 15 March 1992
Components designated as: 164th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron
when deployed as part of an Air and Space Expeditionary unit after June 1996.
357th Fighter Group, 1 Dec 1942-20 Aug 1946
55th Fighter Wing, 20 June 1948
121st Fighter Group, 26 June 1948
121st Fighter-Interceptor Group, 1 November 1952
121st Fighter-Bomber Group, 1 November 1957
121st Tactical Fighter Group, 1 September 1961
Elements attached to: 7122d Tactical Wing (Special Delivery), 1 October 1961-31 August 1962
179th Tactical Fighter Group, 15 October 1962
179th Airlift Group, 15 March 1992
179th Operations Group, 11 October 1995 – present.