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Pease air show a soaring success

Story by Army Staff Sgt. Courtney Rorick
th Public Affairs Detachment, New Hampshire National Guard

White smoke streamed from the tails of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as thousands of spectators gazed skyward during the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show and Open House, Sept.

An estimated 81, civilians, volunteers and military personnel enjoyed the two-day event that included aerial performances, static displays, and interactive events with New Hampshire's own National Guard.

The event was hosted by the th Air Refueling Wing and came to fruition after two years of planning on the part of New Hampshire’s only Air National Guard base and its community partners. Their goal: bring the community and military members together, while creating an amazing show.

“We really appreciate our community and we’re really excited to share this event with them,” said Col. John Pogorek, commander of the th ARW. “It’s really great to be able to showcase our military and show our citizens what our Guardsmen do.”

The th ARW last hosted an air show more than a decade ago, in

“Air shows are here to inspire children to be a part of their community, invest in their community, and we are able to show them that by giving them hands on opportunities here,” said Maj. Shannon Van Splunder, event director from the th ARW. “We get to invite the community through our gates and make personal connections with them.”

She added the event would not be possible without community support. Army National Guard, Active-Duty personnel, Reservists, Navy Sailors, State police and civilian volunteers worked together to plan and assist with the experience.

“The air show grants us the opportunity to connect the citizens of New Hampshire and we are grateful for that,” said Col. Todd Swass, vice wing commander for the th ARW. “This is a true partnership and they support us every day, so it’s nice to be able to host them here.”

He added that he feels overwhelming gratitude for the invaluable support the community offers as employers, families, and more, to the NH National Guard.

While walking the runway under crystal-blue, summer skies, attendees were treated to more than 30 static aircraft on display. In the air, they were treated to aerial performances by demonstrators that included both the Air Combat Command FA Raptor and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration teams. It was also the first time a KCA Pegasus flew at an air show.

The crowd cheers echoed as the pilots of each aircraft elegantly displayed their aerial ability throughout the multi-day event.

“This show was absolutely awesome,” said Michael Bailey, a native of Richmond, NH. “Seeing how passionate the guys we talk to are about serving is truly impressive.”

Bailey attended with his wife and two sons.

“We were able to go to one of the planes named after Cheshire County, which is the county we are from, which was very cool,” added Bailey. “The crew was excellent at explaining everything, especially to the kids.”

The show had more to offer than airplanes. Inside the base’s newly remodeled hangar, a number of community groups displayed interactive STEM exhibits, allowing children and adults the opportunity to explore science and technology careers available in New Hampshire.

“This program is exceptionally important to me,” said Pogorek. “I am most excited about this being here and sharing this with everyone.”

He added that, with New Hampshire’s population being the second oldest in the country, this program is inherently important to growth and opportunity throughout the state.

“When you can introduce the interests that spark that excitement in young people, and tie it in to the base, it’s a win-win,” said Pogorek. “Hearing the hopes and dreams they have is inspiring for us all.”

In addition to the displays, the wing held two special observances over the course of the weekend.

On Saturday, the wing unveiled a stainless steel sculpture of the World Trade Center to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In his remarks during the ceremony, Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard, recalled the legacy of the Guard’s response to that day.

“We began deploying Soldiers and Airmen in an unrelenting pursuit of those responsible,” said Maj. Gen. David J. Mikolaities, the adjutant general of New Hampshire. “Grief is not the legacy of 9/11, our legacy is how this country responded to adversity. Here at Pease the response was almost immediate. The same night we were supporting combat air patrols in American airspace over what would soon become known as ground zero over New York and Washington D.C.”

Following the ceremony, there was an enlistment event, during which a number of new Airmen and Soldiers completed their oath of enlistment into the military. Officers from the Thunderbirds were on hand to administer the oath.

On Sunday morning, a ceremony was held to official name the th ARW’s new fleet of KC aircraft. The planes were named after the 10 New Hampshire counties and the cities of Portsmouth and Newington, New Hampshire, where the base I located.

Pogorek spoke at the event and praised the community for the integral role it has played in the wing’s mission as it made the conversion from the KC to the KC over the past several years.

An estimated 80, attendees spent time at the base over the course of the weekend. Pogorek said he was pleased with how the event went and was excited the opportunity it provided the base to highlight the many missions, both state and federal, fulfilled by the New Hampshire National Guard.

“Our Airmen and Soldiers are excited to show what they do,” said Pogorek. “They’re proud to serve here, they’re proud to serve overseas, and to share all of that with our fellow citizens is such a wonderful experience.”

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Pease Air National Guard Base is the home of the th Air Refueling Wing and the KCA Pegasus. Our dedicated Airmen serve locally and globally, preserving peace, defending our nation, and projecting our nation’s power through aerial refueling and transport. We are always ready, always there.

Our Guardsmen serve in a wide variety of career fields, supporting our many unique missions, which include operating the Air Force’s new Boeing KCA Pegasus. The modern aerial refueler extends the range of U.S. military and allied nations' in-flight capabilities, ensuring mission-essential aircraft can fly anywhere in the world. The Wing’s tankers have been an emblem in the skies over New Hampshire since the base first became an Airlift Group in The Airmen here continue to make history, playing key roles in disaster response missions while serving as a global power in medical evacuation and humanitarian support, consistently fueling the fight to win our nation’s wars.

Pease is a National Guard Base with a full-time force. Our Guardsmen have a unique ability to serve both their nation and their local community, while also succeeding in their civilian careers. In exchange for their dedication to service, our members receive a substantial benefits package that includes a full tuition waiver to New Hampshire state schools, low cost personal and family healthcare packages, access to financial and career services, and so much more. The th is looking for highly motivated individuals with a drive to serve with excellence in all they do. The National Guard provides paid training and the resources necessary for YOUR success in and out of uniform.  To find out more or to talk to a recruiter contact one of the resources below.

Manchester, Concord, Plymouth
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th Air Refueling Wing

Unit of the New Hampshire Air National Guard

Military unit

The th Air Refueling Wing ( ARW) is a unit of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, stationed at Pease Air National Guard Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States. If activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air ForceAir Mobility Command.

Missions are as follows:[2]

  • Federal: "maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies"
  • State: "provides protection of life, property and preserves peace, order and public safety"


The th Air Refueling Wing consists of the following units:[3]

  • th Operations Group
  • th Maintenance Group
  • th Mission Support Group
    • th Civil Engineer Squadron
    • th Force Support Squadron
    • th Security Forces Squadron
    • th Logistics Readiness Squadron
    • th Communications Flight
  • th Medical Group
  • Wing Staff
    • Command Post, Public Affairs, Airman and Family Readiness Program, Finance, Safety, Environmental Management, Legal Office, Chaplain, Inspector General, Equal Opportunity, Human Resource Advisor


World War II th Fighter Group emblem

The direct predecessor to the st Air Refueling Wing is the World War II th Fighter Group. The th was one of only three groups to use the A Apache dive bomber version of the P Mustang. It was created in as a light bombardment group, training with the Vultee Vengeance, before moving on to the A (and the P) when it entered combat in India as part of the Tenth Air Force.

World War II[edit]

PCNT Mustang th Fighter Group, 14th Air Force Mustang escorting C's over China on 24 July

Trained with V Vengeance aircraft. Moved to India, via Australia, July–September Assigned to Tenth Air Force. Operating from India and using AA Apaches. The unit's aircraft had yellow tails with two black bands, the th Fighter Squadron having its diagonal bands sloping from top right to bottom left, while the other two squadrons had theirs either vertical or sloping the opposite way. The red nose was also a squadron marking. Many planes of this group had a girl's name on the nose, but very few had any artwork.

The squadron supported Allied ground forces in northern Burma; covered bombers that attacked Rangoon, Insein, and other targets; bombed enemy airfields at Myitkyina and Bhamo; and conducted patrol and reconnaissance missions to help protect transport planes that flew The Hump route between India and China.

Converted to PC Mustangs in May Moved to Burma in July and continued to support ground forces, including Merrill's Marauders; also flew numerous sweeps over enemy airfields in central and southern Burma.

Moved to China in August and assigned to Fourteenth Air Force. Escorted bombers, flew interception missions, struck the enemy's communications, and supported ground operations, serving in combat until the end of the war. Ferried P's from India for the Chinese Air Force in November Returned to the US in December

Inactivated in early

On 1 May the New Hampshire Air National Guard's th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the st Fighter-Interceptor Group from the Vermont Air National Guard was transferred to New Hampshire state control, being redesignated the st Fighter Group (Air Defense), and federally recognized by the National Guard Bureau. The th FIS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the st Material Squadron, st Air Base Squadron, and the st USAF Dispensary. The st Fighter Group (AD) was assigned to the Maine Air National Guardst Air Defense Wing.

Maine Air National Guard[edit]

d Fighter Squadron – Lockheed FC Shooting Star 48–,
d Fighter Squadron – Republic FD Thunderbolt , the first aircraft assigned to the New Hampshire Air National Guard

The wartime th Fighter Group was re-designated as the 'st Fighter Group, and was allotted to the Maine Air National Guard, on 24 May It was organized at Camp Keyes, Augusta, Maine, and was extended federal recognition on 4 April by the National Guard Bureau. The st Fighter Group was bestowed the lineage, history, honors, and colors of the th Fighter Group, and all predecessor units. The group was assigned to the Massachusetts ANG 67th Fighter Wing, operationally gained by Continental Air Command.

Upon activation, operational squadrons of the st Fighter Group were:

  • d Fighter Squadron, Maine ANG, Dow Army Airfield, Bangor, Maine
  • d Fighter Squadron, New Hampshire ANG, Grenier Field, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • th Fighter Squadron, Vermont ANG, Burlington Airport, Burlington, Vermont.

The three squadrons were all re-designations of the th Fighter Group's operational squadrons during World War II. All were initially equipped with FD Thunderbolts, with a mission of air defense of their respective states.

In the summer of , the d Fighter Squadron replaced their F Thunderbolts with jet FC Shooting Stars and were re-designated with the "Jet Propelled" suffix on 1 August. The th received Very Long-Range FH Mustangs in the summer of

Air Defense Command[edit]

d FIS North American FL, ,

The unit assumed the F Starfire aircraft of the th FIS and the air defense mission of New Hampshire. By April , the st counted nearly officers and airmen. It was now re-equipped with 24 FL Sabre Interceptor jets, a dedicated swept-wing interceptor which was capable of being directed to intercept targets by Ground Control Interceptor (GCI) radar stations. The rocket-firing aircraft boasted miles per hour (1,&#;km/h) speed, superb maneuverability, and a 1,mile (1,&#;km) range. More than a dozen were in place by May. The old Fs were shipped to other states for training purposes.

Airlift mission[edit]

On 1 September the unit was transferred from ADC to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). The th exchanged its recently acquired Sabres for eight Boeing C Stratofreighter aircraft. Organizationally, the st Fighter Group (AD) was transferred to the Maine Air National Guard, the th Air Transportation Group being established by the National Guard Bureau as a new unit, replacing the st. The lineage and history, however, of the st Fighter Group (AD) were transferred to the th ATS, with the th being redesignated as an Air Transport Squadron.

With the transfer of the st to Maine, the th ATG became one of three groups assigned to the d Air Transportation Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard. Completing the organization were the th Group Headquarters, the d Air Transport Squadron, th Air Base Squadron, th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the th USAF Dispensary, and State Headquarters.

Berlin Airlift[edit]

d ATS CG about

On the night of 13 August , the East German government erected barbed wire barriers around the mile (&#;km) periphery of West Berlin. Without warning, East Berliners had been denied passage rights to the western part of the city by their own soldiers. In response, President John F. Kennedy federalized several Air National Guard units, including the New Hampshire Air National Guard, and the d ATS was placed on active duty. Equipped with eight C aircraft and manned with guardsmen, the unit would stay at Grenier Field during the crisis. But its aircraft and crews ranged throughout the world, touching down at bases in Europe, South America, Alaska, Japan, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia. These missions came in addition to the ongoing ferrying of life-sustaining supplies to West Berlin. The th also airlifted elements of the Turkish Army to South Korea and delivered essential communications equipment to South Vietnam.

Typical of the C flights leaving Grenier AFB was one that departed in early November Its long itinerary started with a stop at Dover AFB, Delaware, then it was on to Lajes Field, Azores; Châteauroux-Déols AB, France; Rhein-Main AB, West Germany; RAF Mildenhall, England; Keflavik Airport, Iceland; Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland, and back to Grenier AFB. This 9,plus-mile flight required in excess of 40 hours of flying time and was supported by a crew of eight.

In 11 months, the crisis cooled, and on 31 August the officers and airmen of the th Air Transport Group were returned to State control.

In late , at the behest of the Department of Defense and in concert with other Air National Guard and Reserve units, th personnel joined in "Operation Christmas Star", airlifting some 23, pounds of gifts to United States forces in South Vietnam. It was a presaging of the unit's active participation in the Vietnam War which would begin in With all-volunteer aircrews, the three d ATS Cs delivered 23, pounds of cargo, completely collected in New Hampshire, then shipped to Saigon and Da Nang between 26 November and 1 December. After Operation Christmas Star, Air National Guard support missions to South Vietnam increased.

Move to Pease AFB[edit]

On 1 January , the Military Air Transport Service was discontinued, being replaced by Military Airlift Command (MAC). With the change of major command designations, the th was redesignated as the th Military Airlift Group, the d as a Military Airlift Squadron. The th became part of the 21st Air Force, McGuire AFB, New Jersey. But more dramatic than any previous change, the closure of Grenier AFB meant that the th was told to pack up and move to a new home at Pease AFB in Newington, New Hampshire. The closure of Grenier AFB had been the result of Air Force-wide downsizing directed by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

At Pease AFB, the th was assigned to buildings on the north side of the base. Like it or not, after 20 years on its own, the th was now side by side with Strategic Air Commandth Bombardment Wing active-duty personnel. At the first drill in February , in the confines of its hangar, the entire man unit received a formal welcome by the th. During the ceremony—a reality check of sorts—base representatives explained the installation's regulations, proper wear of uniforms, and other military courtesies.

As the unit settled into a new home, the d Aeromedical Evacuation flight was formed. It was composed of 13 flight nurses and 29 airmen serving as medical aide technicians. Working aboard the C Stratofreighter planes assigned to the d Military Airlift Squadron, New Hampshire medical crews were assigned to assist transporting patients from Europe and Southeast Asia.

Vietnam War[edit]

First d MAS CC Globemaster II, 9 February

By March , the th began regular logistical support for the burgeoning American forces in South Vietnam. During the next five years, th aircrews averaged two flights a month to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Cam Ranh Air Base, and Da Nang Air Base in South Vietnam, as well as to other USAF-controlled bases in Southeast Asia, transporting air freight and military personnel on globe-circling trips which took Guardsmen away from their homes and jobs for to day periods. Each mission from New Hampshire to South Vietnam could become an air marathon of sorts. During one flight, the trip lasted almost 11 days, as the d flew from Pease AFB to Dover AFB, Delaware, where cargo was loaded. Next it was on to the West Coast, then Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines, and finally, South Vietnam. To help exhausted combat troops get their R&R, the Air National Guard, including the th, flew more than , military personnel throughout the U.S. and overseas. In the 1, "Combat Leave" missions logged, approximately 38, military personnel were transported from Southeast Asia to the states and back again.

In December , the th again changed aircraft, exchanging its C Stratofreighters for the larger and slower CC Globemaster II. The C had been the cargo workhorse of the Air Force since the Korean War. The first of the Cs arrived on 9 February By late fall, the ninth and last Globemaster touched down and crew transitioning was well underway. By September the Group had retrained its pilots to the new aircraft and completed its first Operational Readiness Inspection as a C unit, qualifying to resume global airlift support.

The th hauled much large "out-size" cargo such as trucks, military vehicles, and missile components. It also carried troops and cargo that didn't require the speedy capability of MAC's all-jet C Starlifter and C-5A Galaxy airlift fleet. Although two- and three-day flights within the U.S. were common, the th's overseas commitment was growing. In the unit transported more than 1, tons of cargo and 2, passengers, its aircrews logging 5, hours on 44 overseas missions to Vietnam, England, France, West Germany, Greece, Japan, Portugal, Newfoundland, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan.

Tactical airlift mission[edit]

On 6 April , the Secretary of the Air Force announced the redesignation of the unit to the th Tactical Airlift Group. After 10 years in the airlift business, the unit assumed a new role with its seventh type aircraft—the CA Hercules. The th was also transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC), with a mission to provide mobility and logistical support for ground forces in all types of operations. It was all part of a nationwide program involving one-third of the Air National Guard's flying units and inspired by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. The CA was the backbone of TAC's theater airlift fleet, a medium assault transport with long range (beyond 2, miles), high speed ( to miles per hour), and capable of landing or taking off from a shorter runway than any comparable aircraft. The turbo-prop aircraft with its five-man crew could carry nearly 20 tons of cargo or 92 fully equipped troops, 64 paratroops or 74 litter patients and attendants.

On 8 July the first CA arrived from the th Tactical Airlift Wing, Lockbourne AFB, Ohio. About a month later, on 9 August, the first C flight with allth crew took place. By September heavy Phase I transition training was underway with both aircrew and support personnel at schools throughout the United States. By early , the d Tactical Airlift Squadron began Phase II (combat readiness) training, and in April, low-level flying and navigational training missions were being flown day and night along air routes crossing Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. First drops of paratroopers and cargo began in early May, and in mid-month, the th passed a "no notice" Twelfth Air Force Management Effectiveness Inspection (MEI).

During the summer of , the th participated in a joint Army, Air Force, and National Guard-Reserve training exercise. The U.S. Readiness Command training, code named Boldfire , was centered at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas. During Boldfire, ground personnel were airlifted aboard the unit's C aircraft to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They remained there throughout the exercise, maintaining aircraft. th Cs, in turn, dropped paratroops and equipment in support of ground forces. During this time frame, the unit also had a crew participating in Coronet Shamrock, an Air Force-wide air-drop competition. The th TAG crew won the preliminary competition at Fort Campbell, earning the right to represent the ANG in further competition.

The operational honors were dampened somewhat on 12 October when the d Aeromedical Evacuation Flight was inactivated. The rd AME Flight had been organized and federally recognized on 10 June The unit's 18 officers and 27 enlisted medical personnel would fill vacancies and augment medical services in the th TAC Clinic.

The Energy Crisis caught up with the th at the end of , and all flying activity was suspended from 22 December until 7 January , due to fuel shortages throughout the country. In December , the Group was transferred back to Military Airlift Command (MAC) when TAC's theater transport mission were transferred to MAC.

Air refueling[edit]

Strategic Air Command[edit]

On 1 October the th was relieved from Military Airlift Command and transferred to Strategic Air Command (SAC), becoming a KCA Stratotanker unit. By the end of March , the New Hampshire ANG unit had largely taken over the support of the th Bombardment Wing from its active-duty 34th Air Refueling Squadron which was inactivated on 31 March

By October , the th Air Refueling Group and the th Bombardment Wing shared the same mission and response times, giving them a link to the "Total Force Concept". The d deployed to RAF Mildenhall, England, as part of the European Tanker Task Force. Once in the UK, the unit engaged in friendly competition with active duty flyers in "Giant Voice". The d was also the first ANG unit to air refuel the then-experimental B-1A bomber. A January inspection rated the th SAC's first Air National Guard unit to be "fully operationally ready." It became the second ANG unit in SAC history to stand alert with the active force.

By the end of , the th Air Refueling Group was fully established as one of the "Best" in SAC. During the latter months of , aircraft from the th joined forces with 16 KCA's providing air refueling support for "Crested Cap". This airpower exercise tested the deployment capability of Air Force fighter aircraft moving from the U.S. to Europe in support of NATO war efforts there. The th AREFG finished by winning the "Navigation" Trophy at Giant Voice '79, a four-month competition among SAC, TAC, ADTAC, ANG, AFRES, and RAF-manned bomber and air refueling tankers. The th was the first Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve unit to win a trophy in the year history of the SAC competition.

During the s, the th continued to participate in Strategic Air Command exercises like Global Shield and Giant Voice. In , the d converted from its aging KCA fleet with new fuel efficient KCEs and the receipt of its first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. The wing engaged in routine worldwide deployments with its KCs, refueling a aircraft tanker task force that refueled Fs returning from a deployment in Denmark in August 's Operation "Coronet Rudder". Less than a year later, in February , personnel were deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, as part of "Pacific Sentry". This was the first time d KC tankers had flown 10, miles in support of a mission, a unit distance record. During its 15 days on Guam, the unit conducted missions to Kadena AB, Okinawa, Diego Garcia, Clark AB, Philippines, Japan, and Australia. Additionally, the th CES rebuilt the base fire station on Andersen AFB.

The first th female pilot, 1st Lt. Ellen G. Hard, began flying the KCE in August A resident of Arlington, Massachusetts, Hard was recommended by the NHANG for pilot school at Laughlin AFB, Texas. She had served four years of active duty as a personnel officer at Lackland AFB, Texas, and Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts. Lt. Hard trained on both the KCA and KCE models.

Pease AFB closure[edit]

In , the first Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the closure of Pease Air Force Base. As part of the closure process, a Pease Redevelopment Commission (PRC) was established to plan the closure and redevelopment of the base. On 1 August , it was resolved that the th Air Refueling Group, New Hampshire ANG, would remain at Pease, and the facility would be redeveloped as a civilian airport, among other planned uses by the community.

It took only two years for the active component to complete departure activities, including transferring personnel and assets to other military installations. The th's fleet of FBA bombers departed in phases from June to September The 13 KCA tankers assigned to the th transferred to Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan; Plattsburgh AFB, New York; Eaker AFB, Arkansas; Carswell AFB, Texas, and Fairchild AFB, Washington. in October , the personnel of the th were reassigned throughout the Air Force.

Pease Airport opened for civilian use through an Airfield Joint Use Agreement with the USAF on 19 July Base Closure Law directed that the th ARG be consolidated into a cantonment area. acres (89&#;ha) were identified and retained by the USAF for the Group's continued mission. Having shared resources with an active-duty air base since , the th would learn to adapt to providing all necessary functions for itself.

Base closure-related projects would eventually include an alert facility, dining hall, base security systems, fuels facilities, communications facility, magazine, and a vehicle maintenance facility. Utility deficiencies were so severe that the program also included the complete replacement of the power and communications distribution system, and also eventually the construction of a heat plant.

On 1 April , Strategic Air Command turned control of Pease Air Force Base over to the Department of Defense, and the active military base was closed. The remaining Air National Guard portion of the now civilian facility was renamed Pease Air National Guard Base.

– Gulf Crisis[edit]

Early on the morning of 7 August , Operation Desert Shield, a build-up of friendly forces designed to contain the spread of Iraqi aggression, began. A telephone alert asked every crew member of the d Air Refueling Squadron to provide maximum availability so that an immediate response capability could be developed. All Operations crew members stepped forward in voluntary support.

The unit began functioning on a hour, seven-days-a-week basis. Forty-two Desert Shield missions would be flown in the month of August as the d helped refuel transport aircraft and fighters heading to United States Air Forces Central (CENTAF) bases in the Middle East. Forty volunteers were placed on full active duty status for as long as needed. Close to guard members reported during the next few days as seven additional airplanes arrived TDY from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey ANG units, together with the th's own KCE aircraft forming an Air National Guard tanker task force. By 1 October, the th's heavy support of MAC flights in transit from the West Coast to bases in Saudi Arabia began to slow. The th became one of 12 National Guard units tasked with providing refueling support to Air Force units deployed to Saudi Arabia.

On 12 October the th began deployment of its assets to Saudi Arabia to form the th Air Refueling Wing (Provisional) at King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Jeddah. Personnel and aircraft, however, were dispersed at several locations in the Middle East, including Al Banteen Air Base, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Morón Air Base, Spain; Cairo West Airport, Egypt; and other locations. By January , the build-up of men and material in-theater was complete. Operation Desert Storm, the attack phase of the Allied plan to liberate Kuwait and destroy Iraq's army, was ready to begin. With its strategic location on the Atlantic shore, the th mission reverted to an "Air-Bridge" mode, refueling transiting aircraft heading across the Atlantic or inbound from RAF Mildenhall, England, which served on the other end of the transatlantic route to the Middle East.

After a short hours of ground combat, Iraq's elite Republican Guard quickly collapsed, and Kuwait was easily recaptured by Coalition ground forces. Emotional returns punctuated by parades, bands, speeches, tears, and bear-hugs were commonplace in New Hampshire as they were throughout the country. Many deployed units returning from CENTAF bases stopped at Pease AGB on their way to their home bases. The th, its aircraft festooned with yellow ribbons painted above the boom, remained in "air-bridge" mode, supporting the returning traffic. By late April almost everyone had come home safely. There had been no casualties.

Air Mobility Command[edit]

th ARW KC Stratotankers refueling Virginia ANG F FIghting Falcons,

In July , Russian children from the nuclear-contaminated Chernobyl area flew into Pease to begin attending summer camps. The Samantha Smith Foundation flight saw a Soviet Ilyushin Il, technically a military aircraft, land for the first time at a SAC base. Parked just a few hundred feet away, in an ironic twist, was Air Force One. Later that year, President George H. W. Bush ordered the end of Alert Missions on 1 October,[4] ending a year base ritual.

In May , with the end of the Cold War, the th adopted the Air Force Objective Organization plan, and the unit was redesignated as the th Air Refueling Wing. The d was assigned to the new th Operations Group. A month later, on 1 June, Strategic Air Command was inactivated as part of the Air Force reorganization after the end of the Cold War. It was replaced by Air Combat Command (ACC). In , ACC transferred its KC tanker force to the new Air Mobility Command (AMC).

By mid, the th was reorganizing, bringing the th in line with current Air Force restructuring guidelines. The d's 10 KCE-model aircraft were replaced throughout the summer with quieter, more efficient R-models. With their new CFM engines, a 50 percent decrease in noise resulted, and emissions were reduced 90 percent, while range, fuel off-load capability, and reliability were all increased. By January all the unit's KC's had been converted to R-Models.

A KC at Pease in March
The last KC at Pease departing on 24 March
A KCA arriving a Pease in February

The unit engaged in routine deployments and training until , when the th began operating the Northeast Tanker Task Force together with the Maine Air National Guard. The situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and "Operation Deny Flight" continued to involve th aircraft, crews, and support personnel. In December, 52 unit members deployed with the Niagara Falls th Air Refueling Wing to Pisa Airport, Italy. At Pease, "Operation Phoenix Moat" missions required th participation to help with the flow of personnel and materiel to the area. The mission in Bosnia was renamed "Joint Endeavor" and, finally, "Decisive Endeavor", as the crisis cooled. Consolidating assets, the Air Guard left Istres AB, France, and operated exclusively out of Pisa, rotating units through on a month-to-month basis. The th's turn came again in October , as unit members swapped in and out of the Italian air base for the month.

By , the th had already been rotating members through Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, as part of "Operation Northern Watch", enforcing the no-fly zone over northern Iraq. Three months later, in February , the th, augmented by four transient aircraft, flew 28 sorties offloading gas to an air convoy carrying Army personnel and equipment from Georgia to the theater area. In the face of mounting U.S. military might, Saddam Hussein backed down.

The year saw the th provide support to Operation Joint Forge as well as other operational and training missions. During Operation Joint Forge, the th flew 55 sorties, off-loading over one and one half million pounds of fuel to operational fighters and surveillance aircraft off the coast of the former republic of Yugoslavia.

The th also provided support to the Clean Hunter NATO exercise, with a deployment to Karup Air Base, Denmark. The th also deployed to fill Expeditionary Combat Support shortfalls for Operation Southern Watch and Operation Northern Watch, NORAD alert in Iceland and Alaska, support of NATO AWCS in Germany and individual rotations to Joint Forge in Istres, France. One such deployment involved 50 personnel in Southwest Asia during the summer, as part of an Air Expeditionary Forces deployment.

In its BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign March Air Reserve Base, California. The d Air Refueling Wing (ANG) would distribute its nine KCR aircraft to the th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), Pease Air National Guard Station (three aircraft), and several other bases. Military judgment also placed additional force structure at Pease to support the Northeast Tanker Task Force and also robust the squadron to a more effective size of 12 aircraft.

Following the September 11 attacks in , the th Air Refueling Wing operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week in support of the War on Terror.[citation needed] In , the Wing was selected as an Active Associate Wing,[5] bringing approximately active duty members to its base.

In August , Air Force leaders announced that the th would become the first Air National Guard unit to equip with the Boeing KC Pegasus tanker. The Pegasus was scheduled to enter the Air Force inventory during fiscal year [6] On 31 January , two KCRs ( and ) permanently departed Pease in preparation for arrival of the KCA later in the year.[7] The final KC at Pease, , departed on 24 March , for Goldwater Air National Guard Base in Phoenix, Arizona.[8][9] The first KCA arrived at Pease on 8 August [10] The 12th and final KCA was delivered on 5 February [11]


  • Constituted as the th Bombardment Group (Light) on 28 January [12]
Activated on 2 March
Redesignated th Bombardment Group (Dive) on 27 July
Redesignated th Fighter-Bomber Group, Single Engine on 20 September
Redesignated th Fighter Group, Single Engine on 30 May
Inactivated on 6 January
  • Redesignated st Fighter Group, Single Engine and allotted to the National Guard on 24 May
Activated on 3 February
Received federal on 4 April
Federalized and ordered to active service on 10 February
Inactivated on 6 February
  • Released from active duty and returned to Maine state control on 1 November
Activated and received federal recognition on 1 November
  • Withdrawn from the Maine Air National Guard and inactivated 30 April
  • Allotted to the Vermont Air National Guard, activated and extended federal recognition on 1 June
  • Withdrawn from the Vermont Air National Guard and inactivated 31 March
  • Redesignated st Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 15 April , allotted to the New Hampshire Air National Guard, activated and extended federal recognition on 15 April
  • Redesignated th Air Transport Group, Heavy on 1 September
Redesignated th Military Airlift Group on 1 January
Redesignated th Tactical Airlift Group on 11 September
Redesignated th Air Refueling Group, Heavy on 1 October
Redesignated th Air Refueling Group on 16 March
Redesignated: th Air Refueling Wing on 16 October


  • III Air Support Command, 2 March – 18 July
  • Tenth Air Force, 14 September – 28 August
  • th Fighter Wing, 18 August – 14 December
  • Army Service Forces, Port of Embarkation, 5 – 6 January
  • 67th Fighter Wing, 4 April
  • st Fighter Wing (later st Fighter-Interceptor Wing), 1 November – 6 February
  • st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, 1 November – 30 April
  • st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, 1 June – 31 March
  • st Air Defense Wing, 15 April
  • d Air Transport Wing, 1 September
  • New Hampshire Air National Guard, 8 January
Gaining commands
Air Defense Command, 1 November
Military Air Transport Service, 1 September
Military Airlift Command, 1 January
Tactical Air Command, 11 September
Military Airlift Command, 1 December
Strategic Air Command, 1 October
Air Combat Command, 1 June
Air Mobility Command, 1 June Present


  • th Operations Group, 31 May – Present
  • d Squadron (see d Bombardment Squadron)
  • d Squadron (see d Bombardment Squadron)
  • th Squadron (see th Bombardment Squadron)
  • d Bombardment Squadron (later th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, th Fighter Squadron, d Fighter Squadron, d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron): 2 March – 6 January , 4 April – 6 February ; 1 July – 1 September
  • d Bombardment Squadron (later th Fighter-Bomber Squadron th Fighter Squadron, d Fighter Squadron, d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, d Air Transport Squadron, d Military Airlift Squadron, d Tactical Airlift Squadron, d Air Refueling Squadron)): 2 March – 6 January , 4 April – 6 February ; 1 November – 30 June ; 1 July – 31 May
  • th Bombardment Squadron (later th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, th Fighter Squadron, th Fighter Squadron, th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron): 2 March – 6 January , 4 April – 6 February ; 1 November – 30 June ; 1 July – 14 April
  • th Bombardment Squadron: 2 March – 30 September
  • th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (see d Bombardment Squadron)
  • th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (see d Bombardment Squadron)
  • th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (see th Bombardment Squadron)


  • Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, 2 March
  • Hunter Field, Georgia, 4 July
  • Waycross Army Air Field, Georgia, 22 October – 18 July
  • Nawadih Airfield, India, 14 September
  • Dinjan Airfield, India, 11 October
  • Tingkawk Sakan Airfield, Burma, 6 July
  • Pungchacheng Airfield, China, 28 August – 14 December
  • Fort Lawton, Washington, 5 – 6 January
  • Camp Keyes, Maine, 4 February
  • Dow Air Force Base, Maine, January
  • Grenier Air Force Base, New Hampshire, 23 April
  • Larson Air Force Base, Washington, 2 August – 6 February
  • Dow Air Force Base, Maine, 1 November – 30 April
  • Ethan Allen Air Force Base, Vermont, 1 July – 31 March
  • Grenier Air Force Base (later Grenier Field), New Hampshire, 15 April
  • Pease Air Force Base (later Pease Air National Guard Base), New Hampshire, 11 September – present


  • V Vengeance
  • A Apache –
  • P Mustang, –
  • FD Thunderbolt, –
  • FD Mustang,
  • FC Shooting Star, –
  • FF Sabre –
  • Lockheed FA/B Starfire, –
  • North American FL Sabre, –
  • Boeing CA Stratofreighter, –
  • Douglas CC Globemaster II, –
  • Lockheed CA Hercules, –
  • Boeing KC Stratotanker, –
    • KCA, –
    • KCE, –
    • KCR, –24 March [13]
  • Boeing KCA Pegasus, 8 August –present[10]


Public Domain&#;This article incorporates&#;public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^"Biographies". Air National Guard. Retrieved 4 July
  2. ^"Our Mission". Air National Guard. Retrieved 4 July
  3. ^"Units". Air National Guard. Archived from the original on 3 May Retrieved 4 July
  4. ^Wiley, John K. (2 October ). "Cold warriors pleased with new realities". Ukiah Daily Journal. Ukiah, California. Associated Press. p.&#;4. Retrieved 23 March &#; via
  5. ^Currier, Amanda (8 October ). "Pease partners with McConnell, stands up active-duty squadron". Air Mobility Command. Retrieved 29 June
  6. ^"McConnell, Pease and Altus chosen to host KCA tanker". Air Force Times. 22 May Archived from the original on 30 April Retrieved 3 February
  7. ^"The Wing said good-bye to two of our KCs as we get ready for the arrival of KC later this year". th Air Refueling Wing (Facebook). 31 January Retrieved 3 February
  8. ^"Last KC to leave Pease Air National Guard Base Sunday". Foster's Daily Democrat. Dover, New Hampshire. 19 March Retrieved 23 March
  9. ^@RepChrisPappas (24 March ). "Today the KC departed Pease Air Natl. Guard Base for the final time" (Tweet). Retrieved 24 March &#; via Twitter.
  10. ^ abMcMenemy, Jeff (8 August ). "First KCA tanker arrives at Pease". Retrieved 8 August
  11. ^Lenahan, Ian (5 February ). "Final KCA tanker delivered to th Air Refueling Wing at Pease". Foster's Daily Democrat. Dover, New Hampshire. Retrieved 5 February
  12. ^Air Pictorial, unknown edition, see talk page.
  13. ^Briand, Paul (24 March ). "'Bittersweet' ceremony marks end of KC tankers at Pease". Foster's Daily Democrat. Dover, New Hampshire. Retrieved 24 March

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


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Mission Types in Pease Air National Guard Base (3)


th Air Refueling Wing

The th Air Refueling Wing's KC Stratotanker mission is to provide the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard. The Wing also provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and allied nation aircraft. This unit, located at Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire, has been called on to help with ice storms, flooding, and other situations for the Governor of New Hampshire.

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