History of 131st Fighter Wing

Missouri Air National Guard   

Lambert Field, St. Louis

This is an unofficial history of the 131st Fighter Wing, Mo Air National Guard. If you a former MOANG member and would like to share unclassified unit history,  please contact Scott K. Williams 


Summary History

The following history was distributed during a 1983 MOANG open house, author unknown. It has been updated by N. Alex Sirna (Florissant, Mo.), who added information about the F-4 E Phantom to the F-15 A/B Eagle.

The 35th Division Aviation section , Missouri National Guard was formally  organized on 23  June 1923 ,First Headquarters was located in a filling station  on Manchester Avenue. From there it was moved to  a small room over a grocery store on Olive Street Road In St Louis County . Meetings were held  at  the Airport, then  little more than a pasture, there  were no Airplanes and no uniforms for the Enlisted men . The First flying Equipment  was a Curtiss OX  JN-4  "Jenny" which was purchased by the Officers of the squadron and used  for flight  training  until  early  1924 when Three  Wartime   JN-4's were received. The planes were Housed in a Corrugated  sheet metal  hanger  erected on the field  during the National air races in 1923 and later  turned over to the squadron. Additional aircraft and equipment were received  throughout 1924 and by the years end a well received training program was in  effect.  Only eighteen months had elapsed since the unit was formally  organized. Major Bill Robertson was the first Commander

During the next few years the JN- 4's were replaced  by the PT-1, TW-3, O-11, and O-2H  aircraft and the  unit assumed a mission  of observation and reconnaissance . The Douglas O-38 aircraft was received  in 1933  and replaced in 1938 by the North American  O-47 A,  an all metal mid-wing observation aircraft.

The units first summer encampments were held in  1924 and 1925  at Camp Clark  Nevada, Missouri. Subsequent encampments were  at Fort Riley Kansas;  Lambert Field St Louis; Eglin Field  Florida; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and St Cloud Minnesota .

The Unit entered into active service at the Very start of WWII .in the  early stages of the War the unit was equipped with P-39 and P-40 fighter aircraft . The unit  Distinguished itself in sinking  an enormous  tonnage of Japanese shipping  and received  the Presidential Unit Citation. Later in the war, the 110th  converted to P-51 " Mustang"  . in the early summer of 1946 plans were formulated to  organize the Air National Guard. Federal Recognition  was granted  to the 57th  Fighter Wing  and the 110th Fighter Squadron in September of 1946 .

The 57th Fighter Wing was re-designated the 71st Fighter Wing in 1947, and Finally  the 131st  Composite wing on  1 November 1950.

On 1 March 1951 , as a result of the Korean Emergency, the Wing  was recalled to active federal service for a period of twenty-one months . Shortly after the units return,  It was re -equipped with   with the B-26 Light Bomber.

The 110th received its first  jet aircraft in the spring of 1957. The Unit Flew F-80 and T-33aircraft until June , then transitioned to the F-84F A high degree of operational readiness was maintained with annual summer encampments at Volk Field  Wisconsin.

As a result  of the Berlin Crisis, the 110th Tactical fighter Squadron  was recalled to active service at  Toul-Rosleres Airbase France from October 1961 to August1962.  After returning to St Louis, the unit received F-100C "Super Sabers" in late 1962. It's standard of excellence and operational readiness was maintained for  sixteen years  with the F-100 . In the autumn of 1978, the 110th received the McDonnell Douglas F-4C " Phantom II " then in 1985  the 110th  converted to the F-4E it's current operational aircraft until September  1991, it converted to the F-15 A/B Eagle, it's current operational aircraft.

Aircraft Chronology

(Robertson Air National Guard Base, Lambert Field)

Biplanes: The Missouri Air National Guard began service in 1923 using Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" aircraft. Other biplanes and the year use began are listed below:

Monoplanes:

Jets:

57th Fighter Wing, Missouri Air National Guard in their F-51's "Mustangs" immediately after WWII. In 1947, the 57th became redesignated the 71st Fighter Wing. In 1951 the designation was again changed (131st Tactical Fighter Wing) and  was activated for service in the Korean War [Missouri National Guard Photo]

In 1952, the 131st Fighter-Bomber Wing was established and outfitted with B-26 Douglas "Invader" light bombers.

Entering the Jet Age: The last B-26 Douglas "Invader" belonging to the 131st Bombardment Wing, Missouri Air National Guard leaves Lambert Field on Dec. 15, 1957. It was at this time that the 131st became reorganized as the 131st Fighter Interceptor Wing and were issued F-80 (Shooting Stars") and F-84 ("Thunderstreaks") jets.

 

F-84 "Thunderstreaks" belonging to the 110th Fighter Squadron after returning July 1962 to St. Louis from France during the Berlin crisis.  The squadron first received the F-84 in June, 1957. The F-84 was  gradually replaced with the F-100 "Super Saber". (completely replaced by 1965) [Missouri National Guard Photo]

North American F-100 "Super Saber". The 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron received its first F-100 in Sept. 1962. [Missouri National Guard Photo]. For many color images of the Super Saber F-100C in action with 110th Fighter Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, see http://f-100.org/hun09.shtml

McDonnell Douglas F4 "Phantom". This particular F4 on permanent display overlooking I-70, was the last Phantom flown by the 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron. It has the record of shooting down two MIG-21's. This photo was taken on base looking toward I-70 by Scott K.Williams.

(The Missouri National Guard in St. Louis received its first F-4 in 1978.)

 

The 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1991 began using the McDonnell Douglas F-15 "Eagle".

F-15 Eagle. Photo by Scott K. Williams


MOANG Patches:

Collection of N. Alex Sirna (Florissant, Mo.) If you have a question about MOANG patches, please contact Alex.

Above "Subdued" Patch From F-15 Pilot in Desert Storm.

 

 

References:

City of Flight, The Aviation History in St. Louis, by James J. Horgan; The Patrice Press, St. Louis, Mo. 1990

The "Show Me" Spirit, A 50 Year History of the Missouri Air National Guard 1923-1973, Edited by MSgt. Les Pearson; Published by the State of Missouri; 1973.

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