JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Twenty-five years ago Oct. 16 in Gunfighter history, the 149th Fighter Group was redesignated as the 149th Fighter Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Today, the 149th FW trains combat-ready F-16 pilots for worldwide operations.
The formation of today's 149th Fighter Wing traces back to 1943 when the 396th Fighter Squadron was activated and served honorably during World War II.
During the war, the 396th FS served in the European Theater, where it earned the Belgian Fourragere. The unit also earned the Belgian Croiz de Guerre twice and was recognized with the Distinguished Unit Citation for action over Mons, France, Sept. 3, 1944.
After the war, most Guard units were given the lineage of similar World War II combat units. In keeping with this tradition, the 396th FS was inactivated Aug. 20, 1946 and later re-designated as the 182nd Fighter Squadron, a Texas Air National Guard unit.
The 182nd FS received federal recognition Oct. 6, 1947 and was given a fighter-bomber mission. The 182nd began flying the F-51 "Mustang" in 1947 and accepted its first jet, the F-84E "Thunderjet" when the squadron was called to active duty during the Korean War.
The squadron, as an element of the 136th Fighter Wing, was the first Air National Guard squadron to see combat during that war; the first Air National Guard unit to shoot down a MiG-15; and the first to successfully demonstrate the applicability of aerial refueling during combat.
On July 1, 1960, the unit was re-organized as the 149th Fighter Group with the 182nd FS as a component of the group. On Oct. 16, 1995, the 149th Fighter Group was redesignated as the 149th Fighter Wing.
On Oct. 23, 1999, the mission of the 149th FW changed from an Air Combat Operations unit to a Formal Training Unit under the Air Education and Training Command. Although the unit has experienced several reorganizations in its 73-year history, the 149th has always flown fighter aircraft.
For a video about the history of the 149th Fighter Wing, visit https://www.149fw.ang.af.mil/About-Us/History/.