Frisian Flag 2019
Four times in a row (Frisian Flags 2015-2018) twelve F-15C/Ds were deployed to Leeuwarden air base in The Netherlands as part of a USAF Air National Guard (ANG) Theater Security Package (TSP) deployment to Europe. The timeframe for the TSP deployment was chosen to coincide with the annual Frisian Flag exercise at Leeuwarden. The 2019 edition saw the arrival of ten F-16Cs of the Minnesota ANG 179th Fighter Squadron “Bulldogs” part of the 148th Fighter Wing, based at Duluth Air National Guard Base in Minnesota.
The deployment was only for participation in Frisian Flag and the aircraft departed all in two cells on April 17 to the USA.
All photos ©Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak unless stated.
Founded in World War II, the 393rd Fighter Squadron was assigned to the Minnesota ANG as 179th Fighter Squadron on May 24, 1946 and received federal recognition on September 18, 1948. It was equipped with the P-51 / F-51 (from 1948) Mustang on Duluth International Airport. During the Korean War, the squadron became an active USAF squadron and was assigned to the ADC, the Air Defense Command as 179th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from Duluth in the period March 1, 1951, November 30, 1952. On December 1, 1952, active status was terminated, the squadron came under the control and command of the state again. The first fighter jet of the 179th Fighter Interceptor Squadron was from summer 1954 the F-94A / B Starfire, an all-weather fighter reminiscent of a "gym" T-33. The improved F-94C followed in the summer of 1957.
After the Starfire, they switched to the F-89J Scorpion in July 1959, which in turn was exchanged for the F-102 in November 1966. The Delta Daggers were from 59th FIS on Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. The Delta Dagger lasted until April 1971 when the F-101 Voodoo arrived in Duluth, Minnesota.
On July 1, 1960, the 148th Fighter Interceptor Group was formed with the flying squadron being the 179th FIS. From that date, the 179th FIS, together with USAF-ADC 11th FIS, provided the 24-hour alert. The Voodoo was used until 1976. After that, the 179th was given a completely different mission: after a long period as an interceptor squadron, the designation on January 10, 1976 became the 179th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron received the RF-4C Phantom II, the aircraft originating from the 10th TRW at RAF Alconbury in the UK. The new mission was reconnaissance in all-weather conditions, at high and low altitude during day and night. A deployment with the RF-4Cs was Coronet Briddle (Lechfeld August 1979). However, the reconnaissance mission was short-lived. On November 15, 1983 they started flying air defense again with the F-4D Phantom again as the 179th FIS.
F-102A 56-1432/D from the 179th FIS was on MASDC from May 1971, and is being prepared here for departure to Camp Robinson as a monument. Now stands in Palm Springs in California and painted as' 61188 Texas ANG' in which former President George H.W. Bush flew in his Texas ANG time. Photo MASDC November 1977.
Deployment Creek Klaxon
In 1986-1987, the 86th TFW at Ramstein AB switched from the F-4E to the F-16C / D. The alert for Ramstein was then taken over by ANG units. This happened under the name Creek Klaxon from March 1, 1986 to April 6, 1987. On April 1, 1987, the 86th took over the alert task again. Three ANG squadrons, the 178th FIS North Dakota, the 194th FIS California ANG and the 179th FIS Minnesota ANG each supplied three F-4Ds. All ANG F-4C / D squadrons provided staff on a rotational basis. Photo June 1986.
The first Block 15 F-16s arrived on 10 March 1990, followed in 1993 by the F-16A / B ADF, Air Defense Fighter variant of the Fighting Falcon. This differs from other F-16As in that this type is made more suitable for interceptions. Unlike other F-16As, type was able to fire the AIM-7 Sparrow rocket. It is fairly easy to distinguish from other versions of the F-16A by the IFF antennas for the cockpit and the bump on the tail base. The bumps were necessary because the antenna for the radio in the ADF variant was moved to the front edge of the vertical tail. This meant that a new place had to be found for the flight control accumulators. The bumps on the tail base were added to accommodate this equipment.
The designation of the 179th was changed to Fighter Squadron on March 17, 1992, and the 148th OG, Operations Group, was formed. From October 1995, the Minnesota ANG provided an alert detachment at Tyndall AFB in Florida as Det 1, 148th Fighter Wing. In 1999 the unit with their ADFs switched to a more general mission, from then on they also practiced dropping bombs instead of purely the interception missions of the past. After the attack on 11 September 2001, aircraft of the Combat Air Patrols unit flew with sharp armament over New York and Washington, DC.
In 2002, the F-16A ADFs were exchanged for the more modern F-16C Block 25 from the 138th FS New York ANG. The first Block 25 arrived on December 14, 2002. With the arrival of the Block 25 F-16s, the alert detachment on Tyndall AFB was terminated. With this variant, the 179th FS also went to a war zone for the first time in 2005 on a deployment. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the unit flew missions from Balad AB in Iraq for several months. During this deployment, the unit deployed its weapons for the first time during a conflict.
1990 - 2003
In the early 'Falcon' days with the A/B-models flown the tail markings consisted of a blue tailband with 'Duluth' titles in white stencilling. Seven blue stars adorned the middle of the tail section with the serial beneath it. The seven stars in fact represented 'Ursa Minor', but this is actually better known as the 'Little Dipper'. The top star represents Polaris, better known as the north star. This constellation on the tail represented Minnesota's nickname, 'The North Star State'. The photo shows 81-0778 but with grey tailband/stars.
In April 2010 the unit was the first in the Air National Guard to convert to the block 50 F-16C, almost all aircraft were from the 52nd FW SP, at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. The 52nd was reduced from two to one F-16 squadron. The Block 25s mostly went to AMARC for storage, the last Block 25 left on 14 September 2010.The Block 50 version is equipped for the Wild Weasel role, destroying enemy air defenses. In that context, the aircraft usually fly with a Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod and an ASQ-213 Harm Targeting Sight at both suspension points below the air inlet. An AN / ALQ-184 ECM pod is often taken on the centerline pylon, often under the wings the large AGM-88 High-speed Anti Radiation Missile. As part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 179th FS was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in the period August 2012 - November 2012. The next deployment was to Osan AB, South Korea. Twelve Minnesota F-16s arrived there on 20 April 2016. This occurred in the context of a Theater Security Package.
The F-51s had MINN AIR GUARD on the hull in front and behind the cockpit, there are also pictures of Mustangs with red and also yellow paintings on the spinners, nose and tail tip and diagonal tires behind the hull. MINN AIR GUARD was on the nose of the F-94 and F-89. There is also a photo of an F-94B with MINN AIR GUARD on the body and with yellow markings. These planes flew in bare metal. Later versions of the Scorpion were in air defense gray with US AIR FORCE on the nose.
As with the Wisconsin ANG, the ex 59th FIS Delta Daggers also had red tails and outer wing parts, plus a black letter code A, B, C or D on the brake valves (for the flight?). The painting on the F-101s was blue with white stars. The RF-4C Phantoms had red, blue or yellow tail tips, presumably the flight colors, plus MINNESOTA in white on the fuselage. In 1980 the name was in the tail tip, the noses turned obliquely downwards from the front cockpit. The F-4Ds were initially air defense gray with blue markings with white stars, and later also in Hill Gray (F-16 Schedule) with low-viz markings. The serials were applied to the Phantoms in a different way, namely the fiscal year followed by the last three of the serial, as an example the 65648 (65-0648) and the 66512 (66-7512).
In the F-16A ADF era, the aircraft of the 179th FS could be recognized by the tail painting with six stars. In the fall of 1998, the F-16 ADF 81-0795 was given a special painting for the 50-year anniversary. From 2000, a more standard tail painting was slowly applied, consisting of a light blue tail band with the city name Duluth in it and MN (short for Minnesota) as a tail code. On both sides of the trunk the nickname of the unit appeared above the two wings, "Bulldogs" in large italics. For the Block 25 F-16s, DULUTH was applied to the tail band in capital letters and 148th FW was applied below the tail.
From 2007, the units of the unit received a drawing from a Bulldog instead of the MN tail code on the tail. The Duluth tail band remained the same. BULLDOG on the hull was replaced by MINNESOTA. Now that the Block 50 units of the unit are painted with the dark "Have Glass 5" paint, the Bulldog image is often executed in a lighter paint. Unfortunately, there are no photos on the site of the Minnesota ANG so that we cannot show much from the F-16 period. New for both squadrons in the F-16 period were the commander markings: there were aircraft with commander markings for the Wing, for the Group and for the squadron.
For operational support and transport, the unit had the C-47, T-33A, C-131 and C-26, among others.