The 187th Fighter Wing (187 FW) is a unit of the Alabama Air National Guard, stationed at Montgomery Air National Guard Base, Alabama. If activated to federal service in the United States Air Force, the 187 FW is operationally-gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC).
To provide the Governor of Alabama, the National Command Authority, and Combatant Commanders with a superbly equipped and trained general purpose F-16C+ Block 30 Aviation Package, associated Expeditionary Combat Support functions and RC-26B counter drug package for worldwide combat and peacetime/humanitarian tasking in support of our community, state, and national interests.
The 187th Fighter Wing consists of the following units:187th Operations Group
100th Fighter Squadron
187th Maintenance Group
187th Mission Support Group
187th Medical Group
On 15 October 1962, the Alabama Air National Guard's 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 160th TRS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 187th Headquarters, 187th Material Squadron, 187th Combat Support Squadron, and the 187th USAF Dispensary. The unit was flying the RF-84F Thunderstreak.
In 1971, the RF-4C Phantom II photo-reconnaissance aircraft was being withdrawn from Southeast Asia, and the 160th began to receive these Vietnam War veteran aircraft. The RF-84Fs were retired and during the 1970s the squadron flew the Phantoms in its aerial reconnaissance mission.
In 1983, the 187th was realigned from its photo-reconnaissance mission and converted to a tactical fighter mission, transferring its RF-4Cs and receiving Vietnam Veteran F-4D Phantom IIs. The F-4D Phantoms were part of a batch equipped to use the AVQ-23 Pave Spike laser designation pod and the AGM-65 Maverick ASM in the 1970s. By 1988 the Phantoms were being withdrawn from the Air National Guard inventory, and the 160th began to receive Block 30 F-16C/D Fighting Falcons to use in the tactical fighter mission.
During the 1990s, the 187th has undertaken an ambitious and successful regimen of participation in many Total Force deployments. These deployments have taken the men and women of the 187th to exercises in South Korea, Norway, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, and many other stateside locations. By far the most significant deployments have been for contingency operations enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq. In 1995, the unit deployed for a 30-day rotation to Incirlik AB, Turkey for Operation Provide Comfort II. The following year, the Wing deployed to Al Jaber AB, Kuwait for Operation Southern Watch. Then in 1997, the Wing returned to Incirlik for Operation Northern Watch. These operations were to enforce the respective northern and southern no-fly zones over Iraq.
After the 9/11 attacks, the 187th performed Combat Air Patrol flights as part of Operation Noble Eagle in the United States. The unit sustained this effort for Operation Noble Eagle for one year following the events of 11 September.
The 187th was again called to active duty in January 2003 until April 2003 as part of the largest military mobilization since the 1991 Gulf War. This marked the largest unit activation in the unit's 50-year history with over 500 personnel being deployed along with aircraft and equipment for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The 187th, as an integral part of the Total Force, deployed to Prince Hassan Air Base (H-5) and Shahid Muafaq Al-Salti Air Base, Jordan, as the lead unit, commanding a mixture of Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, Active Air Force and British Royal Air Force units comprising the 410th Air Expeditionary Wing. This marked the largest integration of coalition Air and Special Forces Operations in history with over 3,500 personnel operating out of this location. The 410th's mission was to prevent Iraqi missile launches against coalition forces and neighboring countries.
In September 2004, the unit again deployed over 300 personnel with aircraft and equipment to Al Udeid AB, Qatar for Operation Iraqi Freedom. This deployment also marked a significant first for the unit and the U.S. Military. The 187th was the first unit to ever use the GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition in combat. The GBU-38 is a 500 lb global positioning system (GPS) guided bomb which, while being very effective, minimizes collateral damage. The GBU-38 is a precision guided munition commonly referred to as a "Smart Bomb". This weapon was effectively employed by the 187th in the Battle of Fallujah.
In 2006, the 160th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Balad AB, Iraq for 90 days and became part of the 322d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
In 2007, the Alabama legislature requested the National Guard Bureau to allow the Alabama Air National Guard's 160th Fighter Squadron to be re-designated as the 100th Fighter Squadron so the state could honor the legacy of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. This authorization was obtained from the Air Force and on 12 September 2009, the 100th Flying Training Squadron of the Air Education and Training Command was inactivated. The designation was transferred to the National Guard Bureau by the Air Force and it was allotted to the Alabama ANG. As a result, the 160th Fighter Squadron was inactivated and the new 100th Fighter Squadron assumed its personnel, equipment and aircraft. The 160th Fighter Squadron stood down in a ceremony at Montgomery Air National Guard Base, on 13 September 2007, with the 100th Fighter Squadron standing up and being bequeathed the history, lineage, and honors of the World War II 100th Fighter Squadron and its successor units.
In August 2009, the 100th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed 240 airmen and aircraft to Balad AB, Iraq as part of the 332d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron supporting Operation Iraq Freedom. This was the first deployment of the 100th FS to the middle east and over 2,000 hours were flown and Precision Guided Munitions were employed. The unit returned to Montgomery in November 2009.
The squadron deployed to Romania in August 2012 to participate in Dacian Viper 2012, a three-week joint exercise with the Romanian Air Force. The Alabama ANG contingent, which included nearly twenty fighter pilots and eight F-16s, exercised with approximately 200 Romanian soldiers, technical staff, and pilots flying six MiG-21 "Fishbed" fighters at 71st Air Base, located near the town of Câmpia Turzii in the northwestern part of Romania.Established as the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and allotted to the National Guard on 11 September 1962
Activated and extended federal recognition on 15 October 1962
Redesignated 187th Tactical Fighter Group
on 1 July 1983
Redesignated 187th Fighter Group
on 15 March 1992
Redesignated 187th Fighter Wing
c. 15 October 1995
117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 15 October 1962
Ninth Air Force, June 1963
117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, June 1963
116th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 July 1983
Alabama Air National Guard, c. 15 October 1995
187th Operations Group, c. 1 March 1994 – present
160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (later 160th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 160th Fighter Squadron), 15 October 1962 – c. 1 March 1994
Dannelly Field (later Montgomery Air National Guard Base), Alabama, 15 October 1962 – present