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189th Airlift Wing

189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
112 CMSgt Williams Drive
Little Rock AFB AR 72099
Phone: (501) 987-6068
Fax: (501) 987-1049

189th Airlift Wing

The Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing is located on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., and is aligned in the standard combat wing organization with the 189 AW headquarters staff, 189th Operations Group, 189th Maintenance Group, 189th Mission Support Group and the 189th Medical Group. The unit provides an annual economic impact of about $52 million and is manned by approximately 900 trained and skilled Airmen.

In addition, the wing provides support to four geographically separated units: the 123rd Intelligence Squadron and the 154th Weather Flight on Little Rock AFB, and the Arkansas Air National Guard headquarters and the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark.


The mission of the 189 AW is to train C-130 aircrew instructor candidates to become instructors in their respective crew positions, so that they may return to their units and help keep their unit members combat ready. In addition, the wing operates the Air National Guard Enlisted Aircrew Academic School, which trains all the Air Force's C-130 entry-level loadmasters before they are sent across base to the 314th Airlift Wing for initial and mission qualification training. Additionally, the academic school is one of two flight engineer schools to provide entry-level flight engineer training for Air Force flight engineers. The 189th AW averages 10 training sorties a day throughout the work week. The 154th Training Squadron graduates an average of 700 students per year.

Unit History

The 189 AW is a direct descendant of the Arkansas National Guard's 154th Observation Squadron, which was formed Oct. 24, 1925, at Little Rock Municipal Airport in Little Rock, Ark.

The 154th Observation Squadron was ordered to active duty in 1940 and saw action during World War II in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and England. It was redesignated the 154th Fighter Squadron on its return to inactive status after the war.

The squadron again was ordered to active duty in October 1950 for the Korean conflict,
flying combat missions out of Itazuke Air Base, Japan, and Taegu, Korea, as part of the 136th Fighter Group. The squadron returned to inactive status in the spring of 1952 and was redesignated the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron moved from Adams Field to Little Rock Air Force Base, Jacksonville, Ark., in September 1962 and reorganized as the 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group one month later when elements of the 123rd Air Base Group were added.

In June 1965, the group became the first Air National Guard organization to be equipped with RF-101 aircraft. As a result of the Pueblo Crises, the 189th was recalled to active duty in January 1968. In July of that year, the 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (augmented) deployed from Little Rock AFB to Itazuke, Japan. In December, the squadron was released from active duty and returned to inactive status at Little Rock AFB and assumed the RF-101 Replacement Training Unit mission from the active Air Force.

On Jan. 1, 1976, the unit was designated as the 189th Air Refueling Group and converted to a KC-135 air-to-air refueling mission, becoming one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned to the Strategic Air Command as a gaining command.

As an integral part of SAC under "Total Force," the 189th ARG maintained an around-the-clock ALPHA Alert, participated in European, Alaskan and Pacific Tanker Task Forces, and supported world-wide temporary tanker task forces performing in-flight refueling of all types of aircraft as assigned by the Strategic Air Command.

On Oct. 1, 1986, the unit was redesignated as the 189th Tactical Airlift Group and converted to the C-130 aircraft. The mission squadron was redesignated as the 154th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron and assumed a proportionate share of initial aircrew qualification training, from the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB. Student training actually began Sept. 25, 1986.

During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 135 members were activated and served in both state side and overseas locations. Aircrews from the 189th flew 123 mission sorties in support of the two operations without affecting the unit's day-to-day aircrew training mission.

The 154th Training Squadron is one of the most highly decorated Air National Guard units in the nation, boasting 16 battle streamers on the wing organizational flag.

On April 16, 1992, the 189th Tactical Airlift Group was officially redesignated as the
189th Airlift Group, and the 154th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron was redesignated as the 154th Training Squadron. On Oct. 1, 1995, the 189th Airlift Group was designated as the 189th Airlift Wing.

The 189th Airlift Wing was the first Air National Guard unit in the country to be located on an active duty Air Force base flying the same type aircraft as its active duty counterpart, and performing the same day-to-day mission.

The 189th Airlift Wing has also played a role in current operations since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The wing sent 30 volunteers to perform state active duty at Little Rock National Airport for the airport security mission, beginning Oct. 4, 2001, and ending May 31, 2002; then, on Oct. 16, 2001, the wing's entire security forces squadron was mobilized for two years. Security forces members spent time at multiple overseas locations and two state side locations, providing air base ground defense.

Since 9/11, the wing has deployed more than 850 members to support Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle and other operations around the world.

The wing also played a vital role in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that struck the Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast region in Fall 2005. Nearly 200 members deployed to the New Orleans area on 30-day tours over a four-month period to assist with clean-up efforts, to keep the peace and help restore order. Wing aircrews flew 29 missions, hauling 1,600 people and 102 tons of cargo to and from the region. According to National Guard Bureau statistics, the wing ranked third in the nation among Air Guard wings that hauled passengers and cargo to support hurricane relief efforts.

In February 2008, 189th Airlift Wing members were called to provide security assistance to areas in and around Clinton, Arkansas, after tornadoes ravaged the area. The January 2009 50 wing members were placed on a week of State Active Duty to help clear roads in Fulton County, Arkansas, after ice storms struck northern Arkansas.

In May 2010, the 189th Airlift Wing Rapid Augmentation Team deployed 50 personnel to East End in Saline county to help residents recover from tornado damage.


(Updated January 2016)