The 189th Airlift Wing (189 AW) is a unit of the Arkansas Air National Guard, stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. If activated to federal service, it is gained by the United States Air Force Air Education and Training Command.
The 154th Training Squadron, assigned to the Wings 189th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the World War I 154th Aero Squadron, established on 8 December 1917. It was reformed on 24 October 1925, as the 154th 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.
The 189th provides aircrew training for the C-130 for all branches of the military. The unit operates the C-130 Tactical Airlift Instructor School, where aircrew instructors are trained to they can return to their units and keep members combat ready. The wing also operates the Air National Guard Enlisted Aircrew Academic School, which provides entry-level training for C-130 loadmasters before they are sent to the 314th Airlift Wing for mission qualification training. The school also provides entry-level flight engineer training.
Established in 1962 when the Arkansas ANG 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was expanded to a Group when elements of the 123d Air Base Group were added.
In June 1965, the group became the first Air National Guard organization to be equipped with RF-101 aircraft. As a result of the Pueblo Crises, the 189th was recalled to active duty in January 1968. In July of that year, the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (augmented) deployed from Little Rock AFB to Itazuke, Japan.
On 1 January 1976, the unit was designated as the 189th Air Refueling Group, Arkansas Air National Guard, and converted to a KC-135 air-to-air refueling mission, and became one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned to the Strategic Air Command as a gaining command.
As an integral part of SAC under "Total Force," the 189th ARG maintained an around-the-clock ALPHA Alert, participated in European, Alaskan and Pacific Tanker Task Forces, and supported worldwide temporary tanker task forces performing in-flight refueling of all types of aircraft as assigned by the Strategic Air Command.
On 1 July 1986, the Arkansas Air National Guard's first C-130 arrived at Little Rock Air Force Base from the 130th Tactical Airlift Group in Charleston, W. Va., and signified the beginning of a mission change from in-flight refueling to training C-130 aircrews for the Air Force and its reserve components, sister services and 27 allied nations.
On 1 October 1986, the unit was redesignated as the 189th Tactical Airlift Group and converted to the C-130 aircraft. The mission squadron was redesignated as the 154th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron and assumed a proportionate share of initial aircrew qualification training, from the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB. Student training actually began on 25 September 1986. October 1986 marked the first graduates: two pilots, a navigator and two loadmasters. The unit faced many challenges with the mission change. Aircrew members were especially concerned about the conversion.
In the beginning, the plan was for unit aircrews to provide three categories of training: initial qualification, re-qualification and aircraft commander upgrade. Today, the 189th Airlift Wing is the home to the only C-130 schoolhouse for C-130 aircrews to become instructors in their respective crew positions. The unit has been the exclusive provider of that training since 1998.
During Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 135 members were activated and served in both CONUS and OCONUS locations. Aircrews from the 189th flew 123 mission sorties in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm without affecting the unit's day-to-day aircrew training mission.
On 16 April 1992, the 189th Tactical Airlift Group was officially redesignated as the 189th Airlift Group, and the 154th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron was redesignated as the 154th Training Squadron, Arkansas Air National Guard. On 1 October 1995, the 189th Airlift Group was designated as the 189th Airlift Wing. The 189th AW was the first Air National Guard unit in the country to be located on an active duty Air Force base flying the same type aircraft as its active duty counterpart, and performing the same day-to-day mission.
Personnel from the 189th Airlift Wing deployed in 2002 to Manas, also known as Ganci Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, as part of the 376th AIr Expeditionary Wing, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to distribute the eight C-130H aircraft of the 152d Airlift Wing (ANG) from Reno-Tahoe IAP AGS to the 189th Airlift Wing (ANG), Little Rock AFB. This recommendation would realign Reno's (101) C-130s to the Air National Guard at Little Rock Air Force Base (17), where a larger, more effective squadron size would be possible. This larger squadron at Little Rock would also create the opportunity for an association between active duty and the Air National Guard, optimizing aircraft utilization.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Schenectady County Airport AGS, NY by transferring four C-130H aircraft from the 109th Airlift Wing (ANG) to the 189th Airlift Wing (ANG), Little Rock AFB. This recommendation would distribute C-130 force structure to Little Rock (17), which would have higher military value. Adding aircraft to the ANG unit at Little Rock would create a larger, more effective squadron. The LC-130 aircraft (ski-equipped) would remain at Schenectady (117).Designated 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, and allotted to Oklahoma ANG, 1962
Extended federal recognition and activated, 1 October 1962
Placed in Non-Operational status, 20 December 1968
Inactivated on: 26 January 1968
Re-designated as: 189th Air Refueling Group, extended federal recognition and activated, 1 January 1976
Re-designated as: 189th Tactical Airlift Group
, 1 October 1986
Status changed from Group to Wing, 1 October 1995
Re-designated as: 189th Airlift Wing
, 1 October 1995
Arkansas Air National Guard, 1 October 1962 – 26 January 1968
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Arkansas Air National Guard, 1 January 1976 – Present
Gained by: Strategic Air Command
Gained by: Military Airlift Command, 1 October 1986
Gained by: Air Mobility Command, 1 June 1992
189th Operations Group, 1 June 1992 – Present
154th Tactical Reconnaissance (later Air Refueling, later Tactical Airlift Training, Later Training) Squadron, 1 October 1962 – 26 January 1968; 1 January 1976 – Present
Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, 1 October 1962 – 26 January 1968; 1 January 1976 – Present
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
31 July 1998 - 30 June 2000