Colorado Air National Guard Celebrate 95 Years of Service

On Sunday, October 14th, USO Denver’s team attended the celebration of 95 years of the Colorado Air National Guard with the 140th Wing, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado’s Adjutant General, Major General Michael Loh, and other officials.

We learned a lot about the Colorado Air National Guard’s history, and found it so interesting we wanted to share! There’s a nice summary of the Colorado Air Guard’s history written by Janelle Darnell and published on DVIDS (Read the full article). We’ve pulled some of the highlights for you here.

On June 27, 1923 the 120th Aero Observation Squadron, 45th Division, Aviation, was mustered into service as part of the Colorado Army National Guard. A small, but mighty force comprised of eight officers and 50 enlisted members, flew Jennies (Curtis JN-4es) – but had to do so before sunrise and after sunset when the air was less turbulent because of Denver’s high elevation.

After numerous aircraft transitions, the unit eventually started flying the 0-47 – a three-seat, all metal, single-engine aircraft – that took the unit into World War II.

Following the war in 1946, the Colorado Air National Guard was formed as a separate air arm of the state’s National Guard. Its first unit, the newly reorganized 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) flying the P-51 Mustangs, was the first Air National Guard unit to obtain federal recognition nationally – a year ahead of the U.S. Air Force. Also formed was the 140th Fighter Group, which would later become the 140th Wing. In June of 1959, the Colorado Air National Guard assumed command of Buckley Field. This was the first time an Air National Guard organization became a base command during peacetime.

This highly decorated unit mobilized for service in Operation Desert Storm, Operations Northern and Southern Watch, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, in addition to many domestic efforts.

Hours after the planes hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, dedicated aircrews had jets patrolling Colorado skies ready to challenge any who would threaten freedom. That mission became the Air Sovereignty Alert mission and continues today.

Despite being on alert 24/7, the 140th has become the combat commander unit of choice for sustained combat operations. In the 15 years following 9/11, the 140th Wing has supported combatant commanders on four different continents and is slated to continue this arduous schedule for years to come.

The 140th Wing is currently preparing for its next combat deployment in early 2019.

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