On 24 May 1946, the United States Army Air Forces, in response to dramatic postwar military budget cuts imposed by President Harry S. Truman, allocated inactive unit designations to the National Guard Bureau for the formation of an Air Force National Guard. These unit designations were allotted and transferred to various State National Guard bureaus to provide them unit designations to re-establish them as Air National Guard units. The North Carolina Air National Guard origins date to 15 March 1948 with the establishment of the 156th Fighter Squadron and is oldest unit of the North Carolina Air National Guard. It was federally recognized and activated at Morris Field, near Charlotte and was equipped with F-47 Thunderbolts. Its mission was the air defense of the state.
In 1950 the 156th was re-equipped with former World War II F-51 Mustangs, now designated RF-51D which had been used in the United States in a training role. The squadron became part of Tactical Air Command (TAC) as a Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The 156th Fighter Squadron was federalized due to the Korean War on 10 October 1950. During its federalization period, the 156th was deployed to Toul-Rosières Air Base, departing for Europe in January 1952. On 9 July 1952 the activated North Carolina Air National Guard was released from active duty and returned to state control.
In 1955 the facilities at Morris Field were expanded, two years later the 145th Fighter Group was organized consisting of the 156th Fighter Squadron and subordinate units. In 1960 the 145th FG group was re designated the 145th Aeromedical Transport Group flying evacuation missions. In 1964 the 145th ATG was redesignated 145th Air Transport Group (Heavy). From 1966 to 1971 the 145th ATG was deployed to Vietnam, flying over 20 million km without an aircraft accident. In 1990 North Carolina Army and Air National Guard units were mobilized for Operation Desert Shield, followed by Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Personnel from the 145th Airlift Wing were deployed to Germany and other locations. In 1995 North Carolina Army and Air National Guard troops were mobilized for service in Bosnia, Hungary, and Germany. After the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, elements of every Air National Guard unit in North Carolina has been activated in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Flight crews, aircraft maintenance personnel, communications technicians, air controllers and air security personnel were engaged in Operation Noble Eagle air defense overflights of major United States cities. Also, North Carolina ANG units have been deployed overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as other locations as directed.
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