172d Airlift Squadron

172d Airlift Squadron

172d Airlift Squadron C-21A Learjet
Active 10 February 1943 – present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Michigan
Branch Air National Guard
Type Squadron
Role Airlift
Part of Michigan Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan
Nickname "Mad Ducks"
Tail Code Blue tail stripe, "Michigan" in yellow letters
Engagements World War II
172d Airlift Squadron emblem

The 172d Airlift Squadron (172 AS) is a unit of the Michigan Air National Guard 110th Airlift Wing located at Kellogg Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan. The 172d is equipped with the C-21A Learjet.


World War II

Established in early-1943 as the 375th Fighter Squadron and equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, the squadron trained under I Fighter Command in the mid-Atlantic states. Also flew air-defense missions as part of the Philadelphia Fighter Wing. Deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Fighter Command in England, November 1943.

The unit served primarily as an escort organization, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of B-17/B-24 bomber formations that the USAAF sent against targets on the Continent. The squadron also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. Attacked such targets as airdromes, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways. During its operations, the unit participated in the assault against the Luftwaffe and aircraft industry during the Big Week, February 20–25, 1944, and the attack on transportation facilities prior to the Normandy invasion and support of the invasion forces thereafter, including the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July.

The squadron supported the airborne attack on the Netherlands in September, 1944, and deployed to Chievres Airdrome, (ALG A-84), Belgium between February and April, 1945, flying tactical ground support missions during the airborne assault across the Rhine. The unit returned to Little Walden and flew its last combat mission on April 20, 1945. Demobilized during the summer of 1945 in England, inactivated in the United States as a paper unit in October.

Michigan Air National Guard

After the war, the squadron was allocated to the Michigan Air National Guard in September, 1946. It was equipped with the P-51D Mustangs at Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, Michigan in 1947. This was the same year the United States Air Force became an independent branch of the armed forces and the 172nd Fighter Squadron received federal recognition as an Air National Guard Squadron.

The 172nd Fighter Squadron was federally activated in 1951 for the Korean War and redesignated as the 172nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. The 172nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron flew the P/F-51 Mustang until 1954. The 172nd, redesignated as a Fighter-Bomber Squadron, transitioned into the North American F-86 Sabre Jet. The Unit flew this aircraft only until 1955 when they transitioned into the more sophisticated Northrop F-89 Scorpion. In 1956, the National Guard Bureau announced that the 172nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron would become part of the newly created 110th Fighter Group. The Unit flew the F-89 Scorpion until 1958. In 1958, the 172nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron traded its F-89’s for a new mission and a new aircraft, the Martin RB-57A Canberra and the reconnaissance mission.

The 172nd, now designated as the 172nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew RB-57A’s until 1971. In 1971, the Unit’s mission changed again to the Forward Air Control (FAC) mission, with the transition to the O-2 Skymaster, which it flew until 1980 when it transition to the OA-37 Dragonfly. The 172d was the last USAF/ANG unit to fly the Dragonfly. The dedicated FAC mission lasted until the 172nd transitioned to the Fairchild/Republic A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, AKA “Warthog” in 1991 and was re-designated the 172nd Fighter Squadron.

The squadron served in several United Nations Operations and contingencies throughout the world. From Bosnia, to Kosovo, to Alaska and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In 2009, the squadron was realigned from a fighter squadron to an Airlift Squadron flying the C-21A.


  • Constituted 375th Fighter Squadron on 28 Jan 1943
Activated on 10 Feb 1943
Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945
  • Re-designated as 172d Fighter Squadron, and allotted to Michigan Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946
Received federal recognition and was activated on on 16 September 1947
Federalized and placed on active duty, 10 February 1951
Designated as 172d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 10 February 1951
Released from active duty and returned to Michigan state control, 1 November 1952
Re-designated as 172d Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 1 November 1952
Re-designated as 172d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1 November 1953
Re-designated as 172d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 1 October 1962
Re-designated as 172d Tactical Air Support Squadron, 1 July 1971
Re-designated as 172d Fighter Squadron, 16 October 1991
Re-designated as 172d Airlift Squadron, 1 March 2009


  • 361st Fighter Group, 10 Feb 1943 – 10 November 1945
  • Michigan Air National Guard, 24 May 1946
  • 127th Fighter Group, 29 September 1946
  • Federalized and placed on active duty under Air Defense Command
  • 128th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, 10 February 1951
  • 56th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, 1 May 1951
  • 4708th Defense Wing 6 February 1952
  • Released from active duty and returned to Michigan state control, 1 November 1952
  • 127th Fighter-Bomber Group, 1 November 1952
  • 127th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 1 November 1953
  • 110th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 1 September 1956
  • 127th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 30 June 1957
  • 127th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 1 July 1958
  • 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 1 October 1962
  • 110th Tactical Air Support Group, 1 July 1971
  • 110th Fighter Group, 16 October 1991
  • 110th Operations Group, 1 October 1995 – present



See also

  • List of United States Air Force squadrons operating the A-37 Dragonfly


  • Maurer, Maurer. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1982.
  • 110th Airlift Wing history webpage
  • 110th Airlift Wing@globalsecurity.org
  • Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0

External links

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