C-130 National Guard Units in the USA

For those of you who consistently follow this blog, you know that the last few posts have dealt primarily with Air National Guard units, and the aircraft they are known to use.

Well, here is another… In this post, we will look at those National Guard units that use the C-130.

About The C-130

Designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the C-130 is also known as Hercules. The C-130 Hercules has been used in military service since 1957. Probably before many of our readers were even a “twinkle in their Father’s eye.”

The C-130 is quite capable of taking off and landing from minimum maintenance runways and it has been used in a lot of different ways… It was originally designed to transport troops, cargo and medevac, but has also been used

  • as a gunship,
  • for airborne combat operations,
  • search and rescue,
  • weather reconnaissance,
  • aerial refueling,
  • maritime patrol,
  • aerial firefighting
  • etc…

There have been many varieties of Hercules over the years and these mighty planes have been purchased and used by at least 70 countries as well as private companies and organizations.

So today, let’s take a look at the National Guard units that have the C-130 as their primary air vehicle.

103rd Airlift Wing

The 103rd is a unit of the Connecticut Air National Guard and based at Bradley Air National Guard Base in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The 103rd’s lineage goes back to 1943 when they were activated as the 324th Fighter Group.

This was a fierce unit during World War II and was well recognized also for service during the Korean War.

The 103rd’s primary mission now is cargo and troop transport.

109th Airlift Wing

Headquartered at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Schenectady, New York, this unit gained activation in 1956 and allotted to the New York Air National Guard.

The 109th carries an important mission as they provide airlift support to the National Science Foundation‘s South Pole research program.

This unit has also supported Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as various disaster and hurricane relief tasks.

118th Wing

A unit of the Tennessee Air National Guard, the 118th is based at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville.

The 118th Wing is a direct descendant of the 105th Aero Squadron who was formed in 1917.

As the 356th Fighter Group, this unit was deployed to the European Theater for World War II.

The unit also provided airlift missions during the Vietnam War. Also, the unit was mobilized for Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Plus, many of the 118th’s personnel and planes were deployed for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

The 118th is now tasked with supporting global unmanned aircraft intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.

120th Airlift Wing

The 120th Airlift Wing is a Montana Air National Guard unit headquartered at Great Falls Air National Guard Base in Great Falls, Montana.

The 120th was established in 1955 and were originally provided fighter jets and were able to be airborne within 5 minutes. It was in 2014 when the 120th was converted to an Airlift instead of a Fighter Wing and were provided C-130s.

123rd Airlift Wing

Part of the Kentucky Air National Guard, this unit is based at the Louisville Air National Guard Base.

The 123rd is a descendant of the 359th Fighter Group who was established in 1943 and flew over 300 missions over Europe during World War II. They have claims of over 370 enemy aircraft downed.

During the Korean War, the 123rd flew many escort missions.

Many of 123rd personnel deployed for Desert Storm and the unit has been used for a lot of smaller operations since.

It is the opinion of leaders to consolidate the 118th and the 123rd in future plans.

130th Airlift Wing

The 130th is a unit of the West Virginia Air National Guard and stationed at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston.

Established in 1960 as the 130th Air Commando Group and were originally tasked as a combat observation unit.

The 130th and personnel have flown missions all around the world in support of humanitarian needs and military drops.

During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, the 130th was picked to be shut down, but due to overwhelming community support and protest, the decision was made to “Keep Them Flying.”

133rd Airlift Wing

Part of the Minnesota Air National Guard, the 133rd is stationed at the Minneapolis–Saint Paul Joint Air Reserve Station.

Established as a fighter unit in 1943, they were given to the Minnesota Air National Guard in 1946.

This unit participated heavily in the Korean War as well as Vietnam.

It was in the early 1970’s that the 133rd was transitioned to the C-130s and part of Military Airlift Command (MAC).

The unit is always prepared and ready for air missions anywhere around the world.

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136th Airlift Wing

A unit of the Texas Air National Guard and headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, this unit was established in 1943 as a Fighter Group. They flew a dangerous mission strafing and bombing for the preparation of D-Day at Normandy.

They also flew many other World War II missions and earned a Distinguished Unit Citation.

The 136th also mobilized for War in Korea and flew many missions there.

Transitioning, the 136th became a refueling unit in the mid 1960’s. It was in 1978 when this unit became a tactical airlift unit and has since supported many military and humanitarian missions.

137th Special Operations Wing

Based at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base and a unit of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, the 137th is tasked at supporting any Special Operations missions it receives from the Governor of Oklahoma or President of the United States.

The 137th was established in 1950 for War in Korea.

The unit is prepared for anything that comes along.

139th Airlift Wing

This is a unit of the Missouri Air National Guard and headquartered at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Established in 1962 to expand the Missouri Air Guard, the 139th flew many transport missions around the world during the 60s.

In 1969, the unit was changed to an air refueling unit using Boeing KC-97s. But in 1976, the unit returned to transport as they were supplied with the C-130s.

The 139th was the first unit to land in Guyana on a mission to rescue Americans from the People’s Temple that ended as a tragedy with all dead. The unit also participated in

  • Operation Just Cause
  • Operation Team Spirit
  • and others in the Global War on Terrorism.

143rd Airlift Wing

This is a unit of the Rhode Island Air National Guard and stationed at Quonset Point Air National Guard Station.

In service since 1968. Originally, this unit flew the HU-16 Albatross but in 1975, they were given C-130s. The unit participated in many relief missions for United Nations support.

The 143rd has also played a heavy role in dropping troops and supplies for the Global War on Terror.

146th Airlift Wing

Stationed at Channel Islands Air National Guard Station and a unit of the California Air National Guard, the 146th has been in existence since 1943.

This was a fighter unit during World War II and the Korean War.

Since transition to the C-130, the 146th played a huge role in battling the wildfires throughout California.

This unit has deployed to a wide variety of both State and Federal missions.

152nd Airlift Wing

Part of the Nevada Air National Guard, the 152nd is based at Reno Air National Guard Base.

This unit has a primary wartime mission of providing rapid airlift and airdrop of cargo and troops. They can also fly specialized reconnaissance missions in support of military command and control operations, counter drug operations, disaster relief and photo mapping for federal and state agencies

Established in 1958, this unit has served in many zones including Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Africa, and others.

The 152nd was some of the first to fly into Iraq when we invaded.

It was in 1995 when the 152nd began receiving the C-130’s. And the unit has supported many missions since.

153rd Airlift Wing

Part of the Wyoming Air National Guard, this unit is based at Cheyenne Air National Guard Base and was established in 1957.

The 153rd flew many missions in Vietnam and has supported many other U.S. missions since as well as State missions.

156th Airlift Wing

This unit is near me… Based at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the 156th is with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.

The 156th has been active since 1958.

With its close proximity, the 156th has participated in various missions in South America with the War on Drugs as well as various humanitarian missions.

And one C-130 of the unit is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, in order to deliver special forces as required.

165th Airlift Wing

It is a unit of the Georgia Air National Guard stationed at Savannah Air National Guard Base.

Established in 1958, The unit flew many transport missions over the Pacific because of War in Vietnam.

The 165th has lifted well over 35,000 tons of cargo in the fight in the War On Terror.

The 165th was deployed to relief missions as the result of the earthquake in Haiti and has also flown many other missions in other locales.

166th Airlift Wing

Based at New Castle Air National Guard Base, the 166th is a unit of the Delaware Air National Guard. The wing provides the U.S. Air Force with tactical airlift, airdrop capability of paratroops and cargo and aeromedical evacuation of patients anywhere in the world.

In existence since 1962, and some of the missions…

  • Vietnam
  • Wilmington civil disturbance in 1968
  • Operation Desert Storm

179th Airlift Wing

With the Ohio Air National Guard, the 179th is based at Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio.

This unit became a reality in 1962. Some personnel did volunteer for Vietnam, but the unit itself was not deployed. Missions the unit has participated in include:

  • Operation Provide Promise
  • Restore Hope
  • Uphold Democracy
  • Joint Guard
  • Joint Forge
  • Shining Hope
  • and many others.

Final Thoughts

Well there you have the C-130 National Guard Units.

If you are attached to any of these units, give us a shout out.

The C-130 is a great aircraft that continues to transport troops and equipment and is quite competent doing so.

Just leave your questions or comments below.

Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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