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North Carolina Air National Guard

As a North Carolina Air National Guard Unit, the 145th Airlift Wing is Operationally Gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and maintains a word wide deployment capability in support of both AMC and unified combatant commander tasking. The 145th AW is comprised of several Wing Agencies including the 145th Operations Group, the 145th Maintenance Group, the 145th Mission Support Group, and the 145th Medical Group.

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.[2] 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.[3]

The unit was re-designated as the 145th Tactical Airlift Group on 15 May, 1971 and was equipped with the C-130 B transport aircraft. In 1990 North Carolina Army and Air National Guard units were mobilized for Operation Desert Shield, followed by Operation Desert Storm in 1991. On 1 October 1995 the unit was again re-designated, this time as the 145th Airlift Wing.

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.[4] 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.

Between 2001 and 2017 the unit deployed 4,275 personnel in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In 2012 the 145th AW Airmen supported U.S. Africa Command with deployments in support of Operation Southern Accord and MEDLITE 2012 in Botswana.

Up until September 7th, 2016 the 145th Airlift Wing was a major player in the combat of wildfires across the United States. The C-130s utilized the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) to support wild fire relief until the system was transferred to the Nevada Air National Guard in preparation of the 145th’s next transition. 

In 2017 the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron a component of the 145th Operations Group, supported evacuation operations for Hurricane Irma and Maria, airlifting patients from the impact zone to safety. Later that year on 22 December, the last C-130 departed Charlotte as the Wing entered the initial stages of conversion.

In 2018 while the unit celebrated its 70th anniversary it officially transitioned from the C-130 Hercules to operating the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft meanwhile taking on a larger global airlift mission. The C-17 is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft in the airlift force and can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions. In the same year the 145th Airlift Wing activated over 207 Airmen for Hurricane support, particularly for Hurricane Florence, transporting 3,174,000 lbs. of relief supplies.

In 2019 the Wing began traveling even more on the global scale, conducting missions on across 14 different states, 15 different countries, and visiting 6 continents overall. In 2020 the Wing took part in COVID-19 relief support and from March 6th 2020 to January 2021 the wing, along with the North Carolina Army National Guard, assisted in distributing 7 million food bank meals and 332 thousand school lunches. Additionally, they helped move 4.3 million masks, 1.6 million bottles of hand sanitizer, 7.9 million gloves, 766 thousand face shields, and 21 thousand thermometers Finally members of the medical group assisted with the testing of 57,541 citizens.

The North Carolina Air National Guard establishes an environment where change is welcome. An individual has the assets and the opportunities to achieve the mission and accomplish personal goals. The Air National Guard represents and support units in their service to the nation, the state and the community. The Air National Guard establish policies, exercise command and control, oversees the   mobilization of operational units, facilitates family and employer support, and encourage active community involvement. We direct and support North Carolina Air National Guard units in their service to the nation, the state and the community. Establish policy, exercise command and control, oversee the mobilization of operational units and facilitate family and employer support.   Encourage active community involvement. Establish and foster an environment where change is welcomed and where an individual has the assets and opportunities to accomplish the mission and to achieve the personal goals they set for themselves. We are the 145th Airlift Wing, we are the North Carolina Air National Guard.

History of the ANG

A small graphic of air national guard history

Historian Program

Welcome to the North Carolina Air Guard History page.

The heritage of the North Carolina Air National Guard is filled with milestones and accomplishments. It is the people that have made this unit so special and we hope you can find that on our website. Read this further and you'll be able to better navigate our website to see and hear our rich history.

Notice there are several tabs to the right of this page that send you to different pages.

The News and Feature page has the most current articles about our unit and what has been accomplished recently.

The History page is what you are looking at now. From this page, we hope you can navigate this website and learn about the history of the North Carolina Air National Guard by seeing photos, reading documents, and watching our videos.

If you would like to help in this project of preserving our history, or if you have any feedback, let us know either by calling (704) 391-4339 or sending an email to NCANG.Heritage@gmail.com