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109th Airlift Wing
109th Airlift Wing
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109th Airlift Wing History
The 139th Fighter Squadron was established and federally recognized as a fighter base on Nov. 18, 1948, A group of 22 officers and 43 Airmen, mostly World War II veterans, mustered in the Naval Training Center at the Scotia Naval Supply Depot.
Only a year after the Air Force itself was born, the 109th was established in 1948 as a fighter unit. Through six different types of aircraft, the leadership of 11 outstanding commanders, and ever-changing missions, the men and women of the 109th have succeeded in deploying statewide, worldwide and from North Pole to South Pole.
The first Lockheed C-130 Hercules turbo-prop transport arrived at Schenectady in the spring of 1971. Its ability to land and take off in unimproved areas has proven invaluable under battle conditions in the evacuation of wounded and in the delivery of troops, supplies and weapons. In peacetime, the function of the aircraft includes evacuation of earthquake and flood victims as well as food and medical airlift or airdrops to troubled areas throughout the world.
In 1975, the 109th was entrusted with the first and only active mission in the Air National Guard: Supply of the Distant Early Warning (DEW Line) radar sites in Greenland on the polar ice cap. We assumed the mission from the Air Force's Alaskan Command receiving their eleven C-130s, five of which had those strange looking skis with which we are now so familiar. In October 1984, our C-130D aircraft were replaced by eight new C-130 H models, of which four were LC-130's (ski equipped). The last flight to radar site DYE 3 in December 1989 marked the end of the DEW Line mission. Operational science support missions and training still continue to this day on the Greenland ice cap.
Our first mission to Antarctica was in January 1988 in support of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Navy's VXE-6 unit. The 109th continued to augment the Navy's Antarctic flying operations for the next eight years. Early in 1996, it was announced that the 109th Airlift Wing was assigned the Antarctic mission, thus beginning a three-year transition process. On February 20, 1998, responsibility for airlift support to the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) was passed over to 109 AW from VXE-6, during a ceremony in Christchurch, NZ. The 109 AW now provides open field airlift support to the National Science Foundation scientific research mission in both the Arctic and Antarctic. The 109th is now the only LC-130 ski unit in the world.
The Wing's high operational tempo increased dramatically with the surprise attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The 109th provided immediate support deploying 49 Civil Engineers, Services and Public Affairs personnel to Ground Zero within the first 24 hours. Since that time, the men and women of the 109th AW have continued to voluntarily deploy in support of military operations in Southwest Asia and around the world.
Unit moves to Schenectady County Airport.
The 139th FS grew to about 350 men, including 35 pilots to fly the F-51s; the mission was Air Defense and Tactical Support.
In November, the 139th Fighter Squadron is redesignated as an Air Tactical Flying Squadron and converts to tanker missions.
Jan. 18, 1960:
109th is on its way to the global transport business as the first C-97 arrives at Schenectady County Airport.
Unit receives first C-130As, becoming the Tactical Airlift Group.
109th TAG converted to C-130Ds, assuming responsibility for Volant DEW resupply mission on the Greenland ice cap.
First trip to Antarctica. The unit provides airlift support to National Science Foundation's South Pole research program, augmenting the Navy VXE-6 program.
March 4, 1989:
Base named Stratton Air National Guard Base in honor of retired 10-term Congressman Samuel S. Stratton of Schenectady.
109th AW members called to duty in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
139th Aeromeds deploy to Rwanda in support of Operation Provide Support.
Feb. 20, 1998:
Responsibility for airlift support to the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) was passed over to the 109th AW from VXE-6 during a ceremony in Christchurch, NZ.
109th AW aides in the rescue of Dr. Jerry Nielsen, a doctor with breast cancer symptoms and based at isolated Amusden-Scott Research Center in Antarctica.
Sept. 11, 2001:
109th provides immediate support after the World Trade Center is attacked. Nearly 50 civil engineers, services and public affairs personnel are deployed to Ground Zero within the first 24 hours. Since then, the 109th has continued to voluntarily deploy in support of military operations in Southwest Asia and around the world.
A 109th C-130 and crews deploy to Afghanistan, marking the first time since Vietnam that aircraft from the unit flew their own aircraft in a combat theater of operations.
Crews able to get C-130 fuselage onto C-5 Galaxy and transport to the base for training purposes.
Sept. 16, 2008:
Crews take off for first time using 8-bladed props.
A 109th C-130 and crews deploy to Afghanistan, marking the second combat AEF deployment for the unit.
Unit celebrates 25th anniversary of continuous annual deployments to Antarctica in support of Operation DEEP FREEZE.
109th Historic Leadership
Past to Present
Senior Enlisted Advisors/Command Chiefs.
Past to Present
Maj. William J. Flavin
Lt. Col. Frederick J. Zilly Jr.
Col. John C. Campbell
Col. Stanley W. Hemstreet
Col. Douglas B. Morey
Col. John F. Ammerall
Col. Archie J. Berberian II
Col. Jonathan E. Adams
Col. Marion G. Pritchard
Col. Max DellaPia
Col. Anthony P. German
Col. Timothy J LaBarge
Col. Shawn A. Clouthier
Col. Michele L. Kilgore
Years served as Command Chief
Senior Master Sgt. Dave Getty FSA Scott
Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Manupella
Chief Master Sgt. Giacomo Ricci
Chief Master Sgt. Frederick Johnson
Chief Master Sgt. Louis Aldi
Chief Master Sgt. Joseph A. Fedor
Chief Master Sgt. Charlie R. Lucia Jr.
Chief Master Sgt. Michael T. Cristiano
Chief Master Sgt. Amy R. Giaquinto
Chief Master Sgt. Denny Richardson
ANG: A Short Story
The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.
Mexican Border Crisis
World War I
World War II
The Bay of Pigs
Cuban Missile Crisis
Persian Gulf Crisis
After The Storm
Other History Sites
United States Army Center of Military History
Air Force Historical Studies Office
National Museum of the United States Air Force
Air Force Historical Research Agency
Society for Military History
Naval History and Heritage Command
United States Army Heritage and Education Center
United States Marine Corps History Division
Air Force Historical Foundation
History of the ANG