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A History of the 136th

Early History  - This was written in 1961 and was part of a handout for Aerorama '61 to celebrate the move into a new hanger at Hensley Field

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The 136th Air Defense Wing, now occupying an important position with the Air Defense Command in the Air Defense of the vital Southwest, has achieved a combat record best described by its motto "NULLI SECUNDUS" (Second to None).

This record of service first began on 1 June 1943 during World War II when the 368th Fighter Group Headquarters was constituted at Westover Field Massachusetts. On 4 January 1944, the Group arrived in England and was assigned to the 9th Air Force. The Group served gallantly in combat receiving battle credits for the NORMANDY CAMPAIGN, AIR OFFENSIVE EUROPE, ARDENNES CAMPAIGN, RHINELAND CAMPAIGN, CENTRAL EUROPE CAMPAIGN, AND NORTHERN FRANCE CAMPAIGN. For outstanding performance of duty at Mons, France on 3 September 1944 the unit was awarded the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION.

The Illth Fighter Interceptor Squadron of Houston is the second oldest Air National Guard Squadron in the United States and was originally activated as the lllth Observation Squadron on 29 June 1923. It served with distinction during World War II and won the same battle honors listed for the Group. After World War 11 the lllth was assigned to our 136th Group where it has continued to serve.

After World War II the Group returned home and was redesignated as Headquarters, 136th Fighter Interceptor Group, TEXAS AIR NATIONAL GUARD. It was granted federal recognition on 27 February 1947 at Hensley Field, Dallas, Texas, and the Il1th Fighter Squadron of Houston and 182nd Fighter Squadron of San Antonio became an integral part of the Command.

Under the expert guidance of Group Commander - Colonel (now Major General) Harry Crutcher, Jr., the Group excelled. More citizen-airmen took time off from their occupations and home life to fly a fighter, man a typewriter or drive a truck. More fighter aircraft were assigned and the Group once again became a formidable outfit, capable of immediate combat deployment. Its three Fighter Squadrons, the lllth of Houston, the 182nd of San Antonio and the 181st of Dallas were well manned, the Fighter boys were hitting the target, and the Group as a whole was rated "Top Notch" by Pentagon officials.

About this time the new position of Air Chief of Staff to the State Adjutant General was authorized at Austin and General Crutcher was summoned for the job. His replacement as Group Commander was an aggressive young Fighter Squadron Commander, Colonel Albert C. (Al) Prendergast, a Dallas Insurance Agency Executive. Colonel Prendergast was one of the first officers to enter the Texas Air National Guard subsequent to World War II, and organized the 181st Fighter Squadron. Under his guidance the Group continued to grow and improve its combat effectiveness.

On 26 October 1950, the President of the United States ordered the Group into active military service. Headquarters USAF ordered a move to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and elevated the Group to a Fighter Bomber Wing replacing the F-51 Mustang Fighter's with F-84E Thunderjets. Colonel Prendergast was chosen to command the Wing. Houston's "Ace in the Hole" lllth and San Antonio's "Eagle Over the Alamo" 182nd Fighter Squadron* entered active service with the Group. Dallas' 181st Fighter Interceptor Squadron had already converted to jets and was pulled out to work with Air Defense Command, being replaced by the Little Rock, Arkansas "Week-end Warrior's" 154th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. A first was scored when the Wing arrived at Langley Air Force Base to the tunes of The Eyes of Texas and The Arkansas Traveler and paraded past Tactical Air Command Headquarters with the Texas Flag  texaswav.gif (6994 bytes) flying high.

On 15 May 3.1951, less than seven months later, the Wing was in the Far East of Itazuke Air Force Base, Japan with combat elements already fighting in Korea. On 16 November 1951 the Wing moved to Taegu Air Force Base in Korea. The F-51 Mustang pilots who some seven months previous had never flown a jet, were flying close support combat missions in Republic's F-84E Thunderjets. Their performance was not excelled and the combat record established was a key factor in the Air Force's acceptance of the Air National Guard as full partners on the Defense Team.

This was the first Air National Guard Wing in history to enter combat. Colonel Prendergast Personally led the combat echelons on many of the missions until he was killed in action while returning from one of these missions. Much of the Wing's outstanding success can be attributed to the leadership, guidance, and devotion to duty of this great Commander. He fought to keep his Wing intact and was highly successful in this endeavor. In recent recognition of Colonel Prendergast's contribution to the Texas Air National Guard, an oil portrait of the Colonel was presented to the Texas State Senate and placed on the walls of the Senate Chamber along side the other Texas immortals.

According to records on file, the Unit is considered to have been the most outstanding Fighter Bomber Wing to see action in Korea during the period 1 June 1951 through 31 December 1951. Evidence of this is reflected in the following brief statistics:

Wing participated in following Korean Campaigns:
Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive.
United Nations Summer, Fall Offensive.
Second Korean Winter.
Korean Summer, Fall 1952.
Third Korean Winter.

Some Wing Accomplishments in Korea:
15,515 Combat Sorties.
Enemy Aircraft Destroyed: 4 confirmed, 7 probable, 72 damaged.
Bombs dropped: 23,749 bombs, 7,120 tons.
Rockets fired: 4.564
Napalm dropped: 228.80 tons, 715 tanks
50 Cal. Rds. expended: 3,149,827 rounds.

Some Wing Firsts:
First ANG Wing reorganized under Wing Base Plan.
First ANG Wing mobilized since World War II.
First ANG Wing to get the F-84F's.
First ANG Wing in history to go into combat.
First Fighter Bomber Wing in the Tactical Air Command to enter combat in the Korean
First ANG Wing to down a MIG-15.

Upon its release from active military service on 9 July 1952, the Wing began a complete reorganization. Brigadier General (now Major General) Harry Crutcher, Jr., the Adjutant General's Chief of Staff for Air, was assigned additional duty as Wing Commander. Considerable progress was made during the next six months, and on 26 February 1953, General Crutcher relinquished command, being succeeded by Colonel C. R. Bullock (now Brigadier General). The success of the rapid reorganization was reflected in the fact that the Wing attended its first Field Training Exercise in June 1953 with over 1,000 officers and airmen, opened the new Field Training Site at Travis Field, Georgia, and conducted an excellent exercise,

During this time, the Headquarters supervised the reorganization and operation of a complete Fighter Bomber Wing, plus two non-wing communication units and an Air Force Band. The Wing was redesignated a Fighter Interceptor Wing on I July and became a part of the Air Defense Command.

On I July 1957 the Wing was redesignated an Air Defense Wing and reorganized along Air Defense Command lines. Combat units of the-Wing were selected by the Air Defense Command to man a runway alert program on an "Around the Clock" basis - with armed Jet Fighters ready to "scramble" at a moment's notice. This event brought the Wing into the daily combat operational program of the USAF, placing us on "the end of the runway" alongside regular USAF-Air Defense Fighter Squadrons.

On 5 August 1957 our 147th Fighter Group at Houston was selected to organize and operate a Jet Instrument School to train Air National Guard pilots throughout the nation. This school has been highly successful in reducing the accident rate for the Air National Guard and has brought considerable praise to the State, the Wing and the Group.

On I March 1958 our Wing was expanded to include the 159th Fighter Group (AD) at New Orleans which placed the Texas Wing in command of all Tactical Air National Guard units in the States of Texas and Louisiana.

During its entire history the Texas Wing has been "out in front" in comparison to sister Wings of the Air Guard. Consistently it has been selected by the National Guard Bureau to perform difficult assignments. At present three Groups of the Wing are engaged in transition to new supersonic Jet Fighters -The F-102 "Delta Dart." The Combat Groups at San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans were selected to receive three of the first four P-102 Groups and our San Antonio Group was first in the nation to receive the F-102. Likewise, the Dallas Group is scheduled for transition to supersonic fighters at an early date. The entire Wing has been flying the

F-86D Sabre-Jets of Korean fame.

At all of our flying bases the combat units are manning "runway alert" in daily operational support of the Air Defense Command.

Along with our reorganization, staff members of the Wing have conceived and developed a new system of Field Training. This new plan embraces the concept of training personnel at home base throughout the year in direct mission support. Individuals may be ordered out at any time for periods from one to fifteen days one at a time or by section, squadron or group. This plan was written by the Wing and hand carried to Washington where it was approved by the National Guard Bureau and USAF for a one-year test period during 1960-1961. If successful, the system will be adopted throughout the Air National Guard.

At present the Wing stands at its highest peak of combat readiness with fully trained combat crews, a seasoned staff and highly trained support personnel - a troop strength of 4,673 citizen-airmen.

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