The 177th Fighter Wing (177 FW) is a unit of the New Jersey Air National Guard, stationed at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, New Jersey. If activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Combat Command.
The 119th Fighter Squadron assigned to the Wings 177th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the World War I 5th Aviation School Squadron (later 119th Aero Squadron), established on 5 June 1917. It was reformed on 30 January 1930, as the 119th 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.
Federal Mission: provide combat-ready citizen airmen, aircraft and equipment for worldwide deployment in support of United States Air Force objectives.
State Mission: support the citizens of New Jersey by protecting life and property, preserving the peace, order, and public safety when called upon by the Governor.
The 177th Fighter Wing comprises the following units:177th Headquarters Group
177th Mission Support Group
177th Maintenance Group
177th Operations Group
119th Fighter Squadron
177th Medical Group
227th Air Support Operations Squadron
On 15 October 1962, the New Jersey Air National Guard 119th Tactical Fighter Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 177th Tactical Fighter Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 119th TFS became the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 117th Headquarters, 117th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 177th Combat Support Squadron, and the 177th USAF Dispensary.
In January 1968, a new crisis, the seizure of the American ship USS Pueblo by North Korean forces, and the 119th was called to active duty. In May 1968, the 119th TFS was assigned to the 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard and stationed at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina when the active-duty 354th TFW was deployed to South Korea. Group personnel were spread throughout the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, and South Vietnam. The 177th TFW was placed in non-operational status. The 177th TFG was reformed at Atlantic City airport in June 1969, and returned to New Jersey State control. The 119th TFS transitioned into the F-105 "Thunderchief" in 1970.
In 1972, the National Guard Bureau announced that the 177 TFG would be assigned to the Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM) and be responsible for protecting the United States from airborne attacks, and so was re-designted as the 177th Fighter-Interceptor Group and 119th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In 1973, the unit transitioned to the F-106 "Delta Dart" all-weather interceptor and assumed alert status the following year. In 1979 Aerospace Defense Command was inactivated and the group was reassigned to Air Defense Tactical Air Command (ADTAC), and then again changed to a numbered Air Force, First Air Force in 1985.
October 1984, the 177th FIG participated in the air defense community's Worldwide Weapons Meet, known as "William Tell", at Tyndall AFB, Florida. The unit captured the Special Achievement Award for Professionalism and Team Spirit, Overall Best Looking Aircraft, Best F-106 Team, Major Richard I. Bong Fighter Interceptor Award, Top Gun Award, F-106 Category Best Looking Aircraft Award, the Pratt and Whitney Award, the Sperry Corporation Award, and the General Dynamics Corporation Award.
In July 1988 the 177th started receiving their first F-16A/B, "Fighting Falcon"s. These were of the block 15 type, replacing the aging F-106 in the air defense role. Since this was the primary role of the unit, it was decided to upgrade these airframes with the Air Defense Fighter (ADF) option. To that date the unit also flew some F-106s aside the F-16. The 119th FS was the last USAF unit to withdraw the F-106 from operational duty. In 1994 the squadron started trading in their ADF version of the Falcon for the more advanced block 25 version.
During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, 73 members of the 177 FIG were called to active duty, and others served as volunteers. Fire fighters and Food Services personnel from the 177th Civil Engineering Squadron, elements of the 177th USAF Clinic, members of the Transportation section of the 177th Resource Management Squadron, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel from the Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron provided backfill at various bases whose members had been deployed to Saudi Arabia. Those activated from the 177th Security Police Flight served at home station. And the 177th Chaplain's Assistant completed a five-month tour of active duty in Saudi Arabia. All members were returned to normal Guard status at home base by July 1991.
From 18–26 January and 14–21 March 1998, the wing provided Operational Readiness Inspection support for 125th FW, based in Jacksonville, Florida. This included six aircraft and 35 support personnel deployed to the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) at Savannah, Georgia. The deployment lasted from 18 through 26 January. 177th personnel also provided support for the 108th ARW’s Operational Readiness Exercise from 14 through 21 March, also held at the CRTC. The 177th participated in a live missile firing exercise - COMBAT ARCHER - at Tyndall AFB, Florida. 12 pilots and 60 maintenance personnel deployed to support this exercise from 1 through 14 February.
From 1 May through 13 June 1998, the wing deployed five F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft and 46 personnel to Howard AFB, Panama, in support of OPERATION CORONET NIGHTHAWK. 130 personnel rotated on a two-week basis during the six-week deployment. Operating as part of a joint interagency task force, the wing’s role was to detect and identify suspected drug smuggling aircraft. Once identified, the suspected aircraft are turned over to law enforcement agencies for apprehension.
The 177th FW deployed from November to December 2000 to Saudi Arabia, as part of Aerospace Expeditionary Force 9 in support of Operation Southern Watch. The 177th has previously deployed personnel in support of both Operations Northern and Southern Watch.
As a result of the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001 the Wing found itself in a key position. Located between New York and Washington DC, the 119th FS was immediately tasked with providing combat air patrols over cities in its region. In fact three aircraft were scrambled to intercept the aircraft that impacted the pentagon, but were too late. They were then vectored to intercept flight 93 which eventually crashed in Pennsylvania. Although these three pilots did not know it at the time they would have been given authorization to down the airliners once intercepted. Following the attacks, the 119th FS began flying missions for Operation Noble Eagle. On 12 July 2002 the squadron flew its 1000th mission for Operation Nobel Eagle. From that year they also started to contribute in other overseas contingency operations.
In September 2007 the first USAF F-16Cs to be retired to AMARG were from the 119th FS who sent two to the desert boneyard. In replacement for the ageing block 25s were the not much newer block 30s. During this transition the mission of the squadron remained. This being a double task as an air defense squadron in the northern section of the US and as a multirole squadron to carry out contingency operations abroad.
The 177th Medical Group earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in 2009.
The wing's 119th Fighter Squadron currently flies the F-16C Fighting Falcon, a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.
Since October 1998, the wing has had an active involvement in Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.Designated 177th Tactical Fighter Group, and allotted to New Jersey ANG, 1962
Extended federal recognition and activated, 15 October 1962
Placed in Non-Operational Status, 26 January 1968-18 June 1969
Re-designated: 177th Fighter-Interceptor Group
, 27 Jan 1973
Re-designated: 177th Fighter Group
, 15 Mar 1992
Status changed from Group to Wing, 11 October 1995
Re-designated: 177th Fighter Wing
, 11 October 1995
New Jersey Air National Guard, 15 October 1962
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Aerospace Defense Command, 27 January 1973
Gained by: Air Defense, Tactical Air Command, 1 October 1979
Gained by: First Air Force, Tactical Air Command, 6 December 1985
Attached to: Northeast Air Defense Sector, 1 July 1987
Attached to: Northeast Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 December 1994
Attached to: Eastern Air Defense Sector, 15 July 2009-Present
177th Operations Group, 11 October 1995 – Present
119th Tactical Fighter (later Fighter-Interceptor, later Fighter) Squadron, 15 October 1962 – 26 January 1968; 18 June 1969 – 11 October 1995
Assigned to 177th OG, 11 October 1995-Present
National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 15 October 1962 – 26 January 1968; 18 June 1969
Designated: Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, New Jersey, 1991-Present