101st Fighter Squadron
The United States Air Force's 101st Air Operations Squadron (101 IS), Massachusetts Air National Guard, is an intelligence unit located at Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. From its creation in 1921 to its mission change in 2008, the 101st was the mainstay of aerospace defence for the Northeastern United States. The 101st was deployed during the Berlin Crisis to France and was also deployed to Panama during Operation Coronet Nighthawk. It also participated in Operation Northern Watch. During the September 11 attacks, the 102nd Wing was the first Air Force unit to send aircraft toward New York City, but they arrived too late to help stop the attacks.
Base downsizing through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process removed the wing's F-15C Eagles beginning in 2007, leaving the 102nd with an intelligence gathering mission that will be fully active starting in 2010. It is one of three Air National Guard wings that works with the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.
After World War I ended, there was a general interest in organizing aviation assets for the National Guard system. At the time, in the US force structure aircraft were organized into infantry units in a fashion similar to other weapons, like artillery. Guard units without their own aircraft units would need units from other forces to be sent to operate with them, a situation no-one thought was promising. The War Department agreed that the guard should organize aviation squadrons as an organic part of the 18 infantry divisions assigned to the National Guard.
In Massachusetts, the Archie Club, composed of former Army Air Service pilots, lobbied for the formation of an air unit for the Massachusetts National Guard. The state had earlier been allotted the entire 26th Guard Division. On June 27, 1921, the Adjutant General of Massachusetts authorized the organization of the 101st Observation Squadron, and within weeks 15 veteran World War I pilots were commissioned and assigned to the 101st under the command of Capt. James K. Knowles. The 101st built its own air base on land-filled tidal flats at Jeffries Point, East Boston. The 101 flew its Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" aircraft throughout New England at air shows, county fairs and other events. In addition, the 101st attended two-week summer camps that simulated forward deployments. Pilots flew their Curtiss O-11s to temporary fields on Cape Cod while ground crews followed in trucks. One of these fields became Cape Cod Airport.
In 1933 Jeffery Field was rebuilt with new hangers and administrative buildings, and renamed Logan Airport in honor of Major General Edward L. Logan, who commanded the 26th Division from 1923 to 1928. The 101st was ordered into state service in 1936 and 1938 during a devastating flood and hurricane to fly observation missions and to drop food and equipment to stranded fishermen and the residents of Isle au Haut, Maine. The 101st helped gained fame when it played a big part in the U.S. Army Air Service's flight around the world. It then cared for the Spirit of St. Louis when Charles Lindbergh visited the state.
World War II
In 1940, the 101st was separated from the 26th Infantry Division and in November was ordered into active Federal service for intensive training. Initially the 101st’s 25 officers and 133 enlisted men remained at home station until July 31, 1941 when it was then moved from Logan to Otis Field at Camp Edwards. Otis Field was named in after 1st Lt Frank J. Otis, Jr., MD, a 101st flight surgeon who was killed in a flight accident in 1938. The 101st participated in the North Carolina maneuvers in the fall of 1941 and returned to Otis on December 6, 1941.
With the outbreak of World War II, the 101st was assigned to fly anti-submarine patrols off the coast of New England until September 10, 1942. By then many of its original members has been reassigned during the expansion of the Army Air Forces. During the next two years, the 101st was transferred to several bases and on May 20, 1944 had its mission changed when it was re designated as the 39th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. It was then placed under the command of the Ninth Air Force and deployed to the European Theater in December, 1944 with 45 officers and 297 enlisted men. The 39th flew both P-38s and P-51s during operational missions from January, 1945 to the end of the war in May. The 39th returned to the states in August, 1945 and was re designated as the 101st Fighter Squadron in May 1946, and then inactivated two month later.
Veterans of the 101st and Army Air Force reorganized the 101st at Logan Airport on July 29, 1946. The squadron was equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt and was federally recognized on October 15, 1946.
In the post-war era the National Guard Bureau began a major expansion of its air units. Massachusetts was allotted the 67th Fighter Wing, which consisted of the 101st and the 131st Fighter Squadrons, the 202nd Air Service Group, 601st Signal Construction Company, 101st Communications Squadron, 101st Air Control Squadron, 151st Air Control and Warning Group, 567th Air Force Band, 101st Weather Flight and the 1801st Aviation Engineer Company. The 67th Wing was assigned to Air Defense Command.
With the formation of the US Air Force the Guard units suffered from neglect. In the midst of the switch to jet fighters, the Guard units were left with their handed-down and generally overused World War II propeller aircraft, and had little money for training. As the Cold War intensified, the Air Forced looked to the Guard to fill US-based interception missions and started overhauling their organization. On 1 Nov. 1950 the 67th Fighter Wing was inactivated and replaced by the 102nd Fighter Wing, including just the 101st and 131st along with their associated support units. The squadrons were issued F-84B Thunderjets, but these aircraft were recalled and replaced by F-51 Mustangs which were flown until 1954 when the F-94 Starfire replaced the Twin Mustangs. In 1952 the 253d Combat Communications Group was activated and added to the 102nd. In 1958 the Wing converted to the F-86H Sabre.
From 1956 to 1976, the 102d was headed by Brigadier General Charles W. Sweeney, who piloted the B-29 Superfortress, which dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.
During the summer of 1961, as the Berlin Crisis unfolded, several USAF reserve units were notified on August 16 of their pending recall to active duty. On October 1, the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing and its three squadrons, the 101st Tactical Fighter Squadron, the 131st Tactical Fighter Squadron, and the 138th Tactical Fighter Squadron went on active duty at Otis Air Force Base.
Between 28–30 October, the 101st TFS departed Logan International Airport to Phalsbourg, France. The wing deployed 82 Sabres across the Atlantic. In addition two C-47 Skytrains and six T-33 Shooting Star aircraft were assigned to the wing for support and training purposes. The 101st's primary mission at the time was to provide close air support to NATO ground forces and air interdiction. Starting on December 5, the 102nd began deploying to Wheelus Air Base, Libya for gunnery training.
During its time in Europe, the 101st participated in several USAF and NATO exercises, including a deployment to Leck Air Base, West Germany near the Danish border. At Leck, ground and support crews from both countries exchanged duties, learning how to perform aircraft maintenance and operational support tasks.
On May 7, 1962, the Seventeenth Air Force stated that the 102nd would deploy back to the United States during the summer, returning in July 1962. Regular USAF personnel, along with a group of ANG personnel who volunteered to remain on active duty formed the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the newly activated 366th Tactical Fighter Wing.
Relocation to Otis AFB
In 1968, the 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing moved to Otis Air Force Base. The next year the squadron was reassigned from Air Defense Command to Tactical Air Command. The wing flew the F-84F Thunderstreak from 1964 until June 1971, when a squadron of F-100D Super Sabres was transferred directly from units fighting the Vietnam War. After making the transition to the "Hun," the Mach 2 F-106 Delta Darts soon arrived to replace them. On June 10, 1972, after completing the move to the F-106, the unit officially became the 102nd Air Defense Squadron. On December 30, 1973, Otis AFB was inactivated and transferred to the Massachusetts ANG as Otis Air National Guard Base.
The squadron participated in the interception of Soviet TU-95 Bear bombers on many occasions, the first of which occurred off Long Island in 1975. Many of these occasions included escorting the aircraft to Cuba. Other escort missions involved the escorting of drug smuggling planes and the identifying of one mysterious ghost plane, which turned out later to be a weather balloon.
F-15 from the 49th Fighter Wing that was transferred to the 102ndIn 1976, the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Group was deactivated and re-formed as the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing, assuming authority for the 177th and 125th Fighter Interceptor Groups in Atlantic City, NJ, and Jacksonville, FL, and for the 107th and 147th Fighter Interceptor Groups, flying F-4C Phantom at Niagara Falls, NY, and Ellington Field, TX.
The 102nd FIW deactivated its F-106s on January 5, 1988. Between January and April 1988, the squadron converted to the F-15A Eagle, which it received from a unit deactivating at Minot Air Force Base. It then resumed its alert commitment at Otis, and also provided an alert detachment at Loring AFB. The 101st was the first ANG unit to be equipped with the F-15.
F-15's From OtisThe squadron continued its air defense mission after the fall of the Soviet Union. Examples of this include a 1992 deployment of eight pilots, five F-15 Eagles, and 48 maintenance and security personnel, for five days to Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. The same year, with the reorganization of the USAF, the wing was reassigned from the disbanding Tactical Air Command to the new Air Combat Command.
Between 1991 and 1995 the squadron deployed to Panama as part of Operation Coronet Nighthawk, a drug interdiction operation. From 1995 to 1998 the wing deployed to Iceland for 45 days of air defense duty. During 1998 members both trained for and performed in real-world contingency assignments in Iceland, Canada, Korea, and Europe. In 1999 the wing participated in Operation Northern Watch when it deployed with its F-15 Eagle aircraft to Turkey to patrol and enforce the no-fly zone north of the 36th Parallel in northern Iraq. The squadron again deployed more than 350 personnel to the Middle East and Europe in 2000 to participate in Operation Southern Watch.
Global War on Terror
9/11 Terrorist Attacks
On September 11, 2001, two planes were hijacked and flown towards New York City. Then Federal Aviation Administration contacted the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Northeast Air Defense Sector at Rome, New York, bypassing standard procedures. NORAD ordered the 101st Fighter Squadron to scramble its jets. Two F-15s piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Duffy and Major Daniel Nash were scrambled and took off to fly to New York. Difficulties in pinpointing the exact location of Flight 11 led to a delay of five minutes before the scramble order was given at 8:43. When Flight 11 hit the North Tower at 8:46, the two F-15 Eagles that had been ordered to scramble were still on the runway at Otis; they did not take to the air until 8:52. Lacking a target, the F-15s were directed toward military-controlled airspace off the Long Island coast to avoid New York area air traffic. Uncertain about what to do, the planes were ordered to 'hold as needed' there. At 9:02, Flight 175 hit the South Tower while the fighters flew to their holding position. The Northeast Air Defense Sector was not contacted about this hijacked plane until 9:03. From 9:09 to 9:13 the F-15s stayed in the holding pattern. At 9:13, the pilots of the F-15s told FAA Boston Center that they were heading for Manhattan to establish a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the area. The F-15s arrived over Manhattan at 9:25.
Operations Noble Eagle
More than 600 wing members were mobilized for Operation Noble Eagle at different times. The wing began flying around-the-clock combat air patrols missions immediately thereafter, and continued doing so until February 2002. The wing never deployed overseas to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but it did continue to patrol the Northeastern United States skies. The wing converted from the F-15A/B to the F-15C/D in 2004.
The BRAC 2005 commission originally planned to close Otis Air National Guard Base and dissolve the 101st. Locals argued that this would leave a huge gap in the national air defenses. BRAC officials, after visiting the base, decided to keep it open, but the 101st would still lose its planes, only this time they were only going to the 104th Fighter Wing, based at Barnes Municipal Airport.
The wing hosted its last airshow with the F-15C Eagle at the end of Air Force Week in August, 2007. The wing shared a commonality with the 101st Air Refueling Wing, the 103d Fighter Wing, and the 104th Fighter Wing, which due to BRAC decisions, also changed the type of planes that they flew. Beginning in 2007, the F-15s began moving to Barnes Municipal Airport. With the grounding of the F-15 Eagles, the 158th Fighter Wing, which is based in Vermont temporarily took over the role of patrolling the Northeast's skies. This interruption of the F-15's flight, coinciding with the transitioning of the fighter jets to the 104th Fighter Wing, created some issues. The move was originally scheduled to be completed at the end of January, but the grounding of the F-15's in late 2007 and early 2008 delayed this move to the end of February.
F-15 From 101st Fighter Squadron during the 2007 Cape Cod AirshowOn January 24, 2008, the 101st Fighter Squadron flew its last patrol mission. The unit's wing commander, Colonel Anthony Schiavi, led the flight, accompanied by Major Daniel Nash, who was one of the first responders for 9/11. Fire trucks were on hand when the team landed a half-hour later, giving the planes and the pilots the customary ceremonial hose-down for the last time.
As soon as it was announced that the wing would be kept alive and Otis Air National Guard Base would remain open, the state government began thinking of the future for the 101st. There was talk among the members of the Massachusetts National Guard that it could transition to an intelligence mission so that it could help support the War On Terror. The plans hit a roadblock when it was announced that there were few funds left with which the wing could use to transition into its new mission.
The new mission was finally confirmed when Governor Deval Patrick announced that the wing would transition to an intelligence mission as soon as the planes left. Original BRAC plans only said that a Distributed Common Ground Station would be created at Otis. These plans didn't include the air guardsmen affected by the loss of their jobs. The issue was finally resolved when the Air Force announced its plans, right before the F-15's started to leave for Barnes.
On April 1, 2008, the 101st Fighter Squadron was re-designated as the 101st Air Operations Squadron, with a formal ceremony on April 6. The wing will reach full operation in 2010. By October 1, the wing is expected to be operationally ready.
During the time preceding the wing reaching full operational capacity, members of the wing had the option of moving with the F-15s to Barnes. Most members decided to stay behind and train for their new missions. The crash trucks moved with the F-15s to Barnes, leaving the brush breakers of the Massachusetts Military Reservation behind. The buildings formally occupied by the planes will be reused for the intelligence mission by wing members. These buildings include the hangers that the F-15s formally occupied.
Air National Guard/Air Defense Command - 1946–1969
Air National Guard/Tactical Air Command - 1969–1992
Air National Guard/Air Combat Command -1992–Present
101st Aero Squadron - 22 August 1917 - Redesinated to 639th Squadron
639th Aero Squadron -1918 - 1 February 1918; deactivated - 14 April 1919
101st Squadron - 18 November 1921
101st Observation Squadron - 25 January 1923
101st Observation Squadron (Light) - 13 Jan 1942
101st Observation Squadron - 4 July 1942
101st Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) 2 Apr 1943
101st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron - 11 Aug 1943
101st Photographic Mapping Squadron - 9 Oct 1943
39th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron -29 Mar 1944
39th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron - 4 Dec 1945
101st Fighter Squadron - 29 July 1946–1950
101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron - 1950-1958
101st Tactical Fighter Squadron - 1958–1972
101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron - 1972-1992
101st Fighter Squadron -15 March 1992–2008
101st Air Operations Squadron -2008–Present
Kelly Field - 22 August 1917
Jeffery Field -1921–1941
Logan Airport, Boston - 15 October 1946-1968
Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base -1961–1962 (Berlin Crisis)
Wheelus Air Base -1961 (Gunnery Training)
Leck Air Base -1961 (NATO Exercise)
Otis AFB, - August 1968-31 December 1973
Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts - 1973–Present
102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing - Detachment 1
Bangor International Airport -1993–2008
Loring Air Force Base -1986–1993
Curtis JN-4 Jenny - 1920s
Curtis O-11 - 1920s - 1940s
Consolidated PT-1 - 1920s - 1940s
Consolidated O-17 - 1920s - 1940s
Curtis XO-12 - 1920s - 1940s
Douglas BT-1 - 1920s - 1940s
Douglas O-2 - 1920s - 1940s
Douglas O-38 - 1920s - 1940s
Douglas O-46A - 1930s - 1940s
North American O-47A/B - 1930s - 1940s
North American BC-1A - 1930s - 1940s
Lockheed F-5 - 1941-1945
P-47N Thunderbolt -1946-1950
F-84B Thunderstreak - 1950-1951
P-51H Mustang -1951-1954
F-94A/B Starfire -1954–1956
F-94C Starfire -1956–1958
F-86H Sabre -1958–1964
F-84F Thunderstreak -1964–1971
F-100D/F Super Sabre -1971–1972
F-106A/B Delta Dart -1972–1988
F-15A/B Eagle - 1988–2004
F-15C Eagle -2004–2008