Michigan Air National Guard

Michigan Air National Guard
Michigan Air National Guard
Air National Guard.png
Active 1946 - present
Country United States
Branch Air National Guard
Role "To meet state and federal mission responsibilities."
Civilian leadership President Barack Obama
Michael B. Donley
(Secretary of the Air Force)
Governor Rick Snyder
(Governor of the State of Michigan)
State military leadership Major General Thomas G. Cutler
USAF Roundel Roundel of the USAF.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack A-10 Thunderbolt II
Transport Learjet C-21A

The Michigan Air National Guard is the air force militia of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is, along with the Michigan Army National Guard, an element of the Michigan National Guard. It is considered a part of the United States Air Force, as well as of the state, being under control of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.



The origins of the Michigan Air National Guard can be traced back to the 107th Aero Squadron, which was organized on 27 August 1917. The squadron assembled, serviced, and repaired aircraft during World War I. It was redesignated 801st Aero Squadron on 1 February 1918 and incativated after the end of the war on 18 March 1919. The unit received federal recognition on 7 May 1926. After the war, the squadron was deactivated.[1]

World War II

The unit was activated again on 15 October 1940, being redesignated 107th Observation Squadron with Douglas O-38 and North American O-47 observation planes. It was sent to the airfield at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana for unit training on 28 October 1940. In 1941, the 107th was joined by two other National Guard observation units to form the 67th Observation Group. The 67th Group did anti-submarine patrolling off the East Coast of the US from mid-December 1941 to March 1942, when it returned to Louisiana for training in fighter aircraft.[2]

Under War Department policy, many of Michigan's National Guard units were detached from their former organizations and attached to other units. Such was the case for the 107th Observation Squadron, which entered service with the 32nd Division. The squadron was later attached to the 67th Fighter Reconnaissance Group and performed outstanding service in the European Theater of Operations.

The 67th Group was sent to Membury, England, in August 1942 and flew the Spitfire Mk V and Tiger Moths for a year until equipped with the F-6A Mustang. The 107th became the first operational photographic reconnaissance squadron in Northern Europe. Before the Normandy landings in June 1944, pilots of the Michigan National Guard's 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron were flying photographic missions in preparation for D-Day. The squadron's pilots flew 384 missions to perform the dangerous task of photographically mapping the French coast before D-Day. Miraculously, only one aircraft was shot down from December 1943 to June 1944. Lt. Donald E. Colton was killed in action in the vicinity of Rouen, France, on 9 May 1944. For its efforts during this period, the 107th received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Assigned to support the U.S. First Army during the Normandy Campaign, the 107th became the first recon squadron to operate from French soil. The squadron flew an additional 1,800-plus missions after May 1944 and participated in four campaigns following Normandy.[3]


Following their service during World War II, all Michigan National Guard units remaining in Federal service were officially deactivated by the Army. Officers and men returned to their homes as individuals rather than in units. The Michigan National Guard was again required to undertake post-war re-establishment and organization from scratch. The Governor officially accepted the troop allotment assigned to Michigan by the National Defense Authority on 31 May 1946. The allotment called for 228 troop units (including 16 Air National Guard units) to be manned by 24,795 officers and men. This strength was not attained, however, because the United States War Department immediately began to scale down its plans.

Insofar as possible, units were allotted to Michigan communities that had previously sponsored National Guard units and where state-owned or leased armory facilities were available. Initial priority was given to the organization of the State Headquarters, the 46th Infantry Division, and Air National Guard units. On 29 September 1946, the first post-war units of the Michigan National Guard were activated. Intense organiztional efforts continued for the next two years. On 30 June 1948, the Adjutant General reported to the Governor that 94 percent of the first priority units had been organized and federally recognized. A total of 121 units (including 15 Air Guard units) had been organized in 40 communities with a strength of 8,818 officers and enlisted.[4]

Korean War

The United States' second mobilization in a decade was touched off by the invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950. 26 Michigan Army and Air National Guard units were called to active military service during the Korean War. Inducted strength of these units totaled 2,742 officers and men. All three squadrons of the 127th Fighter Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, were federalized in 1951. Two squadrons were stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The Battle Creek squadron was assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The remaining federalized Michigan Army and Air National Guard units served in the United States, but some of their officers and men were transferred to units that eventually saw service in Korea. With the exception of those who elected to remain on active duty, most of Michigan's Guardsmen completed their tours of duty by the late spring or summer of 1952 and returned home.[5]

Cold War

During the Cold War only the 156th Signal Battalion was federalized on 1 October 1961 at its home stations in response to the Cuban missile crisis. This marked the Michigan National Guard's last call to federal duty for service outside the state for almost 30 years.[6]


When tensions began to reach the breaking point with Kosovo refugees being forced out of their homes in Yugoslavia, In 1997 the 110th Fighter Wing wing took part in Operation Deny Flight in 1997. Joining with other A-10 "Thunderbolt" units from other state National Guards and active-duty Air Force personnel, the Michigan Air National Guard members formed the 104th Expeditionary Operations Group, which were deployed from mid-May to early July 1997. In 1996, air crew members and maintainers from the airlift element of the 127th Fighter Wing deployed to Germany over a period of two months to fly support shuttle missions into Bosnia as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. The fighter element of the Wing took their F-16s to Singapore for training exercises with the Singapore Air Force, and then to Hawaii to participate in RIMPAC '96, a multi-national maritime exercise.

Elements of the Michigan National Guard were some of the last to serve at U.S. military installations in Panama before the return of those facilities to the Republic of Panama. The 171st Airlift Squadron of the 127th Wing is the last Air National Guard unit to perform missions from Howard Air Force Base in Panama and members of the 1775th and 46th Military Police Companies provided law enforcement services and security as Fort Clayton, Panama was closed down.[7]

War on Terror

Michigan Air National Guard F-16s took to the skies within hours of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon to fly combat air patrols over Michigan's cities. The 110th Fighter Wing had service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.[8]

Michigan Air National Guard bases

  • The Alpena Air National Guard Base in Alpena, Michigan houses the Combat Readiness Training Center which trains various units from National Guard and the USAF.

Michigan Air National Guard Units


External links

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