Dobbins Air Force Base

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History Georgia Air National Guard

Designated as the 128th Observation squadron and allotted to the Georgia AG on the 20th of July 1940. And was extended federal recognition on the 1st of May 1941 at Gander field, Atlanta, Georgia. On the 15th of September 1941, it was called to active duty and moved 8 days later to Lawson Field, Fort Benning, GA. It moved five time for ASW, (anti submarine) patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. On the 3rd of March 1943 it was redesignated as the 21st Anti Submarine Squadron, at this time it was equipped with the the B-25 and O-47s, it then moved to Gulfport AAF, MS.

In 1944 the 840th Aero Squadron was consolidated with the 128th OS, as the 840th Bombardment Squadron. On the 9th of April 1944 it arrived in Italy, and flying the B-17Gs. It was inactivated on the 25th of September 1945 at Pisa, Italy.

On the 24th of May 1946 the 128th was returned to the Georgia ANG as the 128th FS. It was federally recognized at Marietta AB, GA on the 25th of August 1946 and was equipped with the P-47N Thunderbolt. Marietta was renamed Dobbins AFB on the 8th of February 1950. On the 10th of October 1950 it was called to active duty due to the Korean War.

The 128th was federalized on the 10th of October 1950 due to the Korean War. It was assigned to the federalized Oklahoma Air National Guard 137th Fighter-Bomber Wing and equipped with Republic F-84G Thunderjets. Along with the Oklahoma 125th Fighter Squadron and Kansas Air National Guard 127th Fighter Squadron, the wing was scheduled for deployment to the new Chaumont-Semoutiers Air Base, France, as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE).

By the 27th of November, the wing assembled at Alexandria Air Force Base, Louisiana for conversion training in the newer F-84Gs. Deployment of the wing was delayed, however, by the need to transfer pilots to Korea from training and delays in receiving engines for the F-84Gs, as well as the ongoing construction at Chaumont Air Base. Training and delays continued throughout 1951. Due to these delays, many of the activated National Guard airmen were released from active duty and never deployed to France.

With mostly regular Air Force personnel and all the delays behind them, the remaining Guardsmen departed Louisiana on the 5th of May 1952 for Europe, however, the 128th inherited a base that was little more than acres of mud where wheat fields used to be. The only hardened facilities at Chaumont were a concrete runway and a handful of tar-paper shacks. The 128th wound up being stationed by USAFE at Neubiberg Air Base, West Germany until the facilities in France were suitable for military use. The aircraft arrived at Chaumont on the 25th of June, being the first USAF tactical air fighters to be based permanently in France, albeit working mostly in tents and temporary wooden buildings on their new base.

The Guardsmen of the 128th ended their active-duty tour in France and returned to the United States in late June, leaving their F-84Gs.

It was returned to state control on the 10th of July 1952, and received the same month the F-51H as the 128th FIS in the Air Defence role.

On 1 december 1952 it became the 128th FBS with the F-84D. On the 1st of July 1955 it switched to air Defence as the 128th FIS, and received the F-84F in the summer of 1955. However the last F-84Ds were phased out in March 1957. Converted to the F-86L (MLU version of F-86D) better suited for the air defence mission in spring 1960.

On the 1st of April 1961 the unit’s mssion was changed to Air Transport as the 128th ATS (Heavy) with the C-97F, receiving the C-124C in 1965. Designation changed to 128th MAS (Military Airlift Squadron) on 1 january 1966.

F-100D/F

On the 4th of April 1973 it became Tactical Air Fommand (TAC) gained as the 128th TFS/116th TFW and re-equipped with the F-100D/F. The 116th was changed in status from a Group to a Wing on the 10th of December 1974. In 1975-76 the unit exchanged aircraft with the 118th TFS Connecticut ANG. The last F-100 departed in May 1979 after six accident free years.

MARKINGS: GA in while on the vertical tail. Colours of the squadrons flights blue, yellow, red and green on the fin tip. ANG bage on the tail, initially the round version, later the shield version. Later yellow fin tips, and flight colours stripes under the tip. GEORGIA in yellow on the RWR.

F-105F/G

On the 1st of October 1978 the 128TFS/116TFW Georgia ANG began converting from F-100D/Fs to F-105Gs, assuming the Wild Weasel mission from the 35TFW TAC, George AFB CA. By the 6th of November 1978, the wing had received six F-105Gs from the 35th but, by the end of 1978, due to the late delivery of F-4Gs still retained eight F-100Ds and five F-100Fs. Also received for a short period in 1979-1980 were three ex Kansas F-105Ds. Maintenance personnel from Dobbins AFB received F-105 hands-on training at George and McConnell Air Force Bases and from the Virginia ANG at Richmond. By the end of 1978, three of the five formed F-105G weapons load crews were fully qualified.

On the 18th of April 1980 the 128TFS GA ANG deployed 15 F-105Gs to Travis Field, Savannah GA, the unit's largest deployment with the F-105G. The 9 AF IG "...conducted an Operational Readiness Inspection of the 128TFS and 116TFW. ... The purpose of the ORI was to evaluate mobility, generation, deployment, regeneration, and employment operations of the 128TFS. ... Employment sorties were tasked ... for Wild Weasel support and surface attack operations. ... The grand finale of the inspection was a joint Army-Air exercise dubbed 'Quick Thrust 80-1. On the 12th of July 1980 the F-105 was retired from active USAF service in a "reunion" hosted by the 562TFS, 35TFW, at George AFB CA. An example of every production model of the F-105 participated in the ceremony. A "Sawadee Party" for the F-105 was held the previous day. During the ceremonies, Wild Weasel F-105G 62-4416 was placed on display at George AFB as a memorial to F-105 pilots. F-105 units participating in the Sawadee were: 301TFW AFRES, Carswell AFB TX; 113TFW ANG, Andrews AFB MD; 508TFG AFRES, Hill AFB UT; 108TFG ANG, McGuire AFB NJ; 116TFW ANG, Dobbins AFB GA and 192TFG ANG, Byrd Field VA. Following the retirement of the F-105G at George AFB the 128th TFS was brought full strength with 24 F-105Gs, plus a few reserves. The Kansas ANG which was the F-105 aircrew Replacement Training Unit converted in 1979-80 to the F-4D. So the 128 TFS had to do their own training and received ca. four extra F-105Fs from ANG units and one from 35th TFW increasing the the number to ca. six F-105Fs.

On the 27th of September 1980 the 128TFS Georgia ANG deployed eight Wild Weasel F-105Gs to Murted AB, Turkey under Operation "Coronet Power" in support of NATO's "Display Determination 80". "...The aircraft involved were flown to Torrejon AB, Spain from Dobbins AFB GA ... and continued to Turkey the following day..." after 17 hours of crew rest. "More than 200 116th Guardsmen, including additional aircrews, maintenance and support personnel, were included in the deployment." The unit flew more than 100 sorties in the two week period.

On the 6th of March 1982 the 116TFW Georgia Air National Guard deployed eight Wild Weasel F-105Gs from the 128TFS to Nellis AFB NV for "Red Flag 82-3". This was the last time the Thunderchief participated in this exercise.

Starting the 11th of July 1982 the 116TFW Georgia Air National Guard conducted a Composite Force Training exercise, "Sentry Weasel". The exercise involved thirteen flying units and three services and was staged from Savannah Field Training Site. The wing deployed 15 Wild Weasel F-105Gs from the 128TFS. Flying operations included low-level navigation, air refuelling, high and low intercepts, AWACS, GCI and the dropping of 150 MK-82 inert bombs on interdiction.

In late Summer 1982, F-105G 62-4425, assigned to the 128TFS, Georgia ANG, was severely damaged while landing from a local night mission at Dobbins AFB GA. Pilot, 1Lt Mark "Woodstack" Woodhouse, and EWO, Capt. Bill Bryan, "... impacted the runway almost vertically ... landing at over 200 knots." The afterburner petals were crushed, the ventral fin shoved into the aircraft and engine, the fuel dump torn off and the nose gear almost destroyed when the plane slammed down onto the runway. In repairing the aircraft, the ANG swapped the damaged aft section with the good one from F-105G 63-8345 that had been grounded by wing cracks and was being prepared for static display.

The last official flight of an ANG F-105 from Dobbins AFB GA was on the 25th of May 1983. The 128TFS flew F-105F 63-8299, call sign "Peach 91". For this occasion the aircraft was decorated in special markings by the late photographer Don Spering.The aircraft was flown to Patuxent River NAS MD as one of 18 F-105Fs and Gs to be barged to Aberdeen Proving Ground for use as targets for missile tests.

MARKINGS: Yellow fin tip band outlined in black with GEORGIA in white, ANG Badge on the tail. Flight colours blue, yellow, red and green on the radar reflector on the nose strut, weasels mouth on the nose. ANG shield on the fin, later some had the shieldin Low-viz. In september 1979 62-4425 was the only F-105 with these markings. It also had a stylized GA tail code.

"62-4425 had the name Naada on the intake lips, during its stay in SEA in service with the 17WWS/388TFW at Korat AFB, Thailand in 1972".

Serial presentation initially TAC style AF/63-294, by February 1982 changed to small black serials as USAF/38294. Some received wraparound camouflage.

F-4D

On the 30th of October 1982 the 116 TFW, Georgia Air National Guard, received their first F-4D to begin replacing their Wild Weasel F-105Gs. The wing's conversion from Thunderchiefs to Phantoms was scheduled to begin on the 1st of January 1983 under 116 TFW Programming Plan 82-1, code named "Pacer Change". The conversion was to be completed by the 1st of October 1983. By the 31st of December 1982 the wing possessed eighteen F-105Gs, two F-105Fs and seven F-4Ds. The F-4Ds were ex 401st TFW at Torrejon AB, Spain. On the 1st of September 1983 the 128 TFS completed their conversion from the F-105G to the F-4D.

A deployment to Spangdahlem was made in August 1985, together with F-4D sister unit 160th TFS Alabama ANG, under the name of "Coronet Meteor".

The F-4Ds were transferred in 1986 to the Kansas ANG and few to the 121st TFS District of Colombia ANG.

MARKINGS: A yellow fin-flash outlined in black with GEORGIA in white, same as on the F-105s. Plus later also an black fin tip. Later in 1985 a black fin tip outlined in red with GEORGIA in yellow, plus a black stylized anti-glare panel and cockpit trim, almost the same as on the F-4Ds of 160th TFS Alabama ANG. Flight colours blue, yellow, red and green on the nose wheel door.

F-4D 66-7595 in SEA-style camouflage. Photo May 1983.

Another F-4D in SEA-style camouflage 66-7588.

Coronet METEOR * Deployment to Spangdahlem AB, Germany * 7 AUGUST - 31 AUGUST 1985

Eleven F-4Ds participated: 66-7539; 66-7588; 66-7604; 66-7623; 66-7676; 66-7689; 66-7702; 66-7714; 66-7721; 66-7735 and 66-7768.

On the 27th of August 1985 two F-4Ds visited Soesterberg AB in The Netherlands, 66-714 (66-7714) and 66-588 (66-7588).

F-15A/B

The first F-15 arrived in May 1986 (F-15A 74-0128), conversion completed on the 31st of March 1987. F-15As received were FY74 (a few) and FY75 aircraft. Plus two FY73 F-15Bs. Both FY73 F-15Bs left the unit in 1992, 73-0108 to Luke AFB for preservation, and 73-0112 in July 1992which was transferred to the Israeli AF. They were replaced by two FY 85 F-15Bs.

The F-15s had a single deployment to Europe, very likely in October 1981 for two weeks to Balikesir in Turkey under the name of "Coronet Freedom".

Most of the aircraft were transferred to the 159th FS Florida ANG in 1995, a few went to other ANG units or were withdrawn from service (FY74 aircraft).

In 1992 as part of the post Cold-War reorganizations of the Air Force, the 116th converted to the Air Force Objective organization and the 128th was assigned to the new 116th Operations Group. In 1992 Tactical Air Command was inactivated and the 116th was assigned to the new Air Combat Command (ACC). The 128th TFS/116th TFW was redesignated 128th Fighter Squadron/116th Fighter Wing on the 15th of March 1992.

Last F-15 mission was flown on 30 august 1995 by two specially marked Eagles, they were F-15A 75-0024, "Last Flight" with a likeness of the squadron insignia and the date, and 75-0043, "Georgia On My Mind" and an image of the Georgia state flag.

MARKINGS: Black band outlined in red with GEORGIA in yellow on the outer side of the vertitical tails. Flight colours blue, yellow, red and green as fin tip band on the inner side of the tails. F-15A 74-0116 was the 116th TFW Wing commander, and 74-0128 the 128th TFS squadron commander aircraft. Paticipated in the William Tell Meet in October 1988 with the four flight colours on the vertical rudders. From June 1989 only a gray outlinelow-vis broad band on the outer side of the fins and from spring Spring 1992 GA tail code, no other markings. Camouflage was the Compass Ghost and later the darker Mod Eagle scheme. Some aircraft noted painted gunship gray.


B-1B

Conversion to the B-1B started in August 1995, 1996 became the 128th BS and moved to Robins AFB.

On 1 April 1996, the 116th Fighter Wing was moved from Marietta to Robins Air Force Base, near Warner-Robins in central Georgia. The 116th became a B-1B Lancer Bomb Wing. However, in order to save money, in 2002 the USAF agreed to reduce its fleet of B-1Bs from 92 to 60 aircraft. The 116th Bomb Wing, having older aircraft was ordered to send its aircraft to "active storage" which meant that they could be quickly returned to service should circumstances dictate. Its first B-1B was flown to AMARC storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona on the 20th of August 2002.

MARKINGS: GA tail code, on some black tail stripe outlined in red with GEORGIA in yellow. Georgia state map in tan or green on the middle of the tail.

B-1B 85-0059 in landing at Robins AFB, Georgia on the 19th of April 2002. ©Photo USAF.

85-0059 in flight over Georgia on the 19th of April 2002. ©Photo USAF.

E-8

On the 1st of October 2002 it became the 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron/116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The 128th is equipped with the E-8C Joint STARS.

The 116th ACW was a blend of active-duty and national guard airmen into a single unit. The 116th ACW was equipped with the new E-8C Joint STARS airborne battle management aircraft. Its mission is command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Its primary mission is to provide theatre ground and air commanders with ground surveillance to support attack operations and targeting that contributes to the delay, disruption and destruction of enemy forces. The E-8C evolved from Army and Air Force programs to develop, detect, locate and attack enemy armour at ranges beyond the forward area of troops.

Starting in 2001, elements of every Air National Guard unit in Georgia were activated in support of the Global War on Terror. Flight crews, aircraft maintenance personnel, communications technicians, air controllers, intelligence analysts and air security personnel deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Uzbekistan and other locations throughout the Southwest Asia.

MARKINGS: GA tail code, Black tail stripe outlined in red with GEORGIA in yellow.

116ACW E-8 95-0121visited Ramstein AB in Germany on the 1st of March 2021. Photos by Django Bruinink.

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