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178th Wing History

On October 31, 2017, the 178th Operations group stopped flying the MQ-1B Predator. After a brief transition period, they began flying the MQ-9 Reaper on December 6, 2017.


The 178th Wing was re-designated during an official ceremony August 3, 2014. While the name change was official July 1, 2014. the ceremony reflected a four-year conversion from the 178th Fighter Wing, which supported a flying mission, to the 178th Wing, which now has intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and support missions.

The ceremony also recognized the activation of the 178th Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group . Additionally, the 178th Maintenance Group was officially inactivated, and the Air Combat Command gained the remaining 178th units from Air Education and Training Command.

The 178th Wing, originally organized as the 362nd Fighter Squadron, was formed and activated in Hamilton Field, Calif., in December 1942. In November 1943, as one of three fighter squadrons assigned to the 357th Fighter Group, the unit prepared and trained until receiving orders for England. It was in December of 1943, when the fighter squadron arrived in Raydon Wood Airdrome, Army Air Field Station 157, in Suffolk, England where the squadron's mission was to fly the P-51 while facilitating long range bomber support. Shortly thereafter, the Fighter Squadron was moved to Leiston Airfield near the village of Yoxford. This placed the fighter's only three miles from the shore of the North Sea and only 80 miles from the German occupied Netherlands. On August 20, 1946 the 357th was deactivated.

The 162nd Fighter Squadron received federal recognition and was initially stationed at Cox-Dayton Municipal Airport, Vandalia, Ohio. In 1955, the need to expand became apparent as the 162nd Fighter Squadron entered into the "Jet Age," and a longer runway was needed for this modernization. The unit moved to its new and current facility, the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. The 162nd Fighter Squadron played an important role in the cold war era. From participation in the Berlin crisis, to its augmentation role in historical combat exercises, the 162nd continued to increase in value. Thus, in 1963, the 162nd Fighter Squadron and support units were formed into the 178th Tactical Fighter Group.

In 1993, the 178th was assigned the F-16C/D Falcon. The F-16 is a single engine jet with modern computerization capabilities. The mission of the 178th as a training unit is to train Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve pilots to fly the F-16. As the 178th flies into the 21st century with great pride, distinction and commitment to keeping the “American dream” safe from harm’s way, we will never forget our proud heritage and "The Yoxford Boys" of World War II who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Today, the 178th Wing remains on the cutting edge of modern warfare through its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and support missions consisting of the following groups:

• The 178th Operations Group: Remotely operates the MQ-9 Reaper in overseas locations 24/7/365 to provide essential support to our service members and ground force commanders.

• 178th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group: Consists of four intelligence squadrons supporting national and combatant command requirements and partners with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC)

• 124th Intelligence Squadron: Performs Computer Network Exploitation and develops related products for the 659th ISRG at Fort Meade, Md.

• 125th Intelligence Squadron: Produces Geospatial Intelligence products and performs forensic all-source analysis.
• 126th Intelligence Squadron: Supports NASIC in creating integrated predictive intelligence on foreign space threats and capabilities.
• 127th Intelligence Squadron: Consists of two flights conducting technical exploitation: Electronic Intelligence & Foreign Material Exploitation
• Mission Support Group: Consists of Security Forces, Civil Engineering, Services, Communications, Personnel and Logistics. The group also provides home station and Expeditionary Combat Support.
• Medical Group: Ensures personnel are medically capable of accomplishing missions

The mission of the 178th Wing is to provide ready units to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance and Operations Support to execute federal and state missions while maintaining an active involvement with the local community.

The 178th strives to be the innovative and multi-faceted force that our national and state turn to for engaged citizen Airmen who will dominate the missions of today and the future.

The 178th Wing consists of approximately 90 officers and 800 enlisted members. Nearly forty percent of the personnel are full-time employees serving in either Air Technician or Active Guard/Reserve positions. The 178th Wing supports two tenant units, Headquarters 251st Combat Communications Group and the 269th Combat Communications Squadron. The 178th also supports one geographically separated unit, the 123rd Air Control Squadron. Combined, these three units employ approximately 320 full-time personnel.