Since the early days of the 20th Century, Air Guardsmen have been taking action to protect our nation and assist our citizens in times of need.
The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony mandated that its first militia companies be organized into the first three militia regiments in North America.
New York’s First Aero Company mobilizes during the border crisis with Mexico that was set off by Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico. This event marks the first time a Guard aviation unit was called into federal service.
The National Security Act of 1947 created the United States Air Force (USAF) as a separate military service and established the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the USAF.
The first Air Guard units were mobilized during the Korean War. Fifteen flying squadrons were assigned to the Tactical Air Command.
On May 7, 1954, 1st Lt. Thomas E. Williams, a Tuskegee Airman, joined the 141st Fighter Bomber Squadron in the New Jersey Air National Guard. He became the first known African American pilot in the ANG.
Capt. Norma Parsons became the first woman to join the Air National Guard, enlisting with the New York Air Guard after President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation authorizing female nurses to join.
2nd Lt. Marilyn Koon, a former North Dakota ANG member, became the Air Guard’s first female pilot. She accepted an assignment as a KC-135 pilot in the 161st Air Refueling Group, Arizona ANG, upon earning her wings.
Lt. Col. Linda K. McTague was assigned as commander of the 201st Airlift Squadron, District of Columbia ANG. She was the first woman to serve as commander of an Air Guard flying squadron.
Within moments of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the 102nd Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard, assembled two F-15 fighter aircraft, making them the Nation's first airborne responder. In the hours following, 34 Air Guard fighter units were readied for combat missions, with 15 of these units providing combat air patrols for major US cities including New York City and Washington, D.C.
TSgt Keary Miller of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron is awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions on March 4, 2002. Greeted with gunfire upon his aircraft landing, Miller dragged a helicopter pilot to safety, established multiple casualty collection points, and treated the wounded while setting up the distribution of ammunition for Army Rangers who were fighting the enemy.
Lt. Gen Daniel James is the first African American to become Director of the Air National Guard.
Within Operation Iraqi Freedom's first six months, Air Guard C-130 crews airlifted 22,000 tons of cargo and 47,000 passengers, and flew 8,600 sorties in 21,000 hours. ANG tankers also provided one-third of the Air Force refueling aircraft for this mission.
Within the first week of the disaster, 150 Alaska Air Guard members were mobilized to assist in relief efforts. Three C-130 cargo planes were sent by the California ANG as well as a KC-135, which transported a Department of Defense forensics team to help identify victims.
By the time the hurricane made its first landfall, the ANG had mobilized 840 personnel. All 54 states and territories responded to recovery efforts. The ANG also flew 73 percent of the airlift for the relief operations.
Members of the Kentucky ANG established a hub for humanitarian aid to process inbound food, water and supplies.
52 ANG members from the 109th Air Operations Group, Hawaii ANG and 157th Air Operations Group, Missouri ANG mobilized in support of Operation Tomodachi, a humanitarian relief operation to support Japan following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
New York ANG Airmen flew C-130s to deliver fuel nozzle conversion kits so that FEMA fuel could be pumped into NYC government and emergency vehicles. Eight air controllers from the New York Air National Guard were also brought in to manage the highly congested air space at Floyd Bennet Field.