The 162nd Tactical Fighter Squadron was constituted as the 362nd Fighter Squadron on December 1, 1942 at Hamilton Field, California. The squadron was assigned to the 357th Fighter Group and went to war flying over the skies of Europe as part of the 8th Air Force, achieving a highly successful war record.
Following World War II, the 362nd was deactivated on August 20, 1946 and redesignated as the 162nd Fighter Squadron, single engine (SE) on August 21, 1946. The 162nd was federally recognized on November 2, 1947 at Dayton Municipal Airport, Vandalia, Ohio. The unit flew a variety of propeller-driven aircraft with the North American F-51D and F-51H being its primary fighters.
In 1955, the 162nd moved to a permanent base at Springfield Municipal Airport and converted to jet aircraft, flying the Republic F-84E. With the jet conversion, the squadron was redesignated the 162nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron and assigned to Air Defense Command (ADC). The squadron remained in ADC until late 1957. After converting to F-84F aircraft, the squadron designation was changed to the 162nd Tactical Fighter Squadron (Special Delivery). With the new designation it received a nuclear weapons commitment and became part of the Tactical Air Command (TAC).
The 1950s saw the 162nd performing many important operations throughout the United States, among others winning the Wing gunnery meet three times (1952, 1953, and 1956), entitling them to permanent possession of the Distal Trophy.
In September 1961, in the face of world and political tensions, the 162nd was placed on alert on October 1 and called to extended active duty and assigned to Tactical Air Command. The situation eased, and the 162nd spent the majority of its extended active duty participating in vigorous training for flight and ground crew, as well as a series of temporary duty (TDY) exercises. The unit was released from active duty on August 20, 1962 and returned to the control of the state.
1962 saw the formation of support groups for the Air National Guard fighter squadrons. The 178th Tactical Fighter Group (Conventional) was constituted on October 15 and the 162nd became part of the new group.
In March 1963, eight 162nd F-84Fs established an Air National Guard record by flying a simulated deployment profile of 4,500 miles in eight hours and 20 minutes. In February 1967, the 162nd received its biggest challenge by being assigned to support Operation Tropic Lightning III at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
1968 was the first time the 162nd participated in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise. Fourteen F-84Fs took off from Springfield early in the morning of August 14 and did not land again until reaching Tarragon AB near Madrid, Spain, departing the next day for their exercise location at Lairs AB, Greece.
Concentration on the qualifications of aircrews, munitions load crews and the attainment of a C-3 combat readiness rating were the primary objectives for 1971. The squadron achieved C-3 on August 30th, a "first" for F-100D-equipped Air Guard units. January 1972 saw the squadron in extensive practice for their pending 9th Air Force ORI. The ORI was conducted in March and the 9th Air Force did not agree with the unit's C-3 rating. A retake was scheduled in June, with the 162nd coming away with the TAC-confirmed rating of C-1, the first F-100D squadron to achieve this feat.
During April 1973, the squadron participated in "Gallant Hand '73," a large-scale U.S. Readiness Command Joint Forces Training exercise at Fort Hood, Texas. Flying a 98 percent sortie rate. In August, the 162nd took part in another joint training exercise called Operation Ember Dawn/Punch Card XIX at Eielson AFB, Alaska. In October, the TAC Unit Achievement Award was received for the fourth consecutive time, and the General Frank P. Lahm Air Safety Trophy was awarded for the second consecutive year.
May 31, 1974 saw the 162nd's accident-free flying streak end at 69 months when a pilot was forced to eject from his out-of-control F-100D. The unit participated in "Sentry Guard Strike V" at Volk Field, Wisconsin during July 13-27 the same year.
In September 1975, the 162nd was selected as a replacement for another unit to participate in NATO's "Reforger '75" exercise as part of a series of NATO exercises called "Autumn Forge." 162nd pilots provided close air support as the aggressor in exercise "Captain Trek," flying 121 sorties with 198 hours of flying time.
January 1976 saw the unit preparing for Operation Snowbird and the pending April ORI. "Snowbird" was conducted at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. and was designed to give pilots favorable weather locations for clear weather flying opportunities. To provide its pilots with proficiency for real combat conditions, the 162nd took part in "Red Flag 77-9." Captain Edward J. Mechenbier, a former POW, was selected as the outstanding fighter pilot for 1977.
January 1978 initiated the conversion to the Vought Corporation's A-7D Corsair II attack aircraft. The conversion from the F-100 to the A-7 was accomplished in less than three months, the fastest ever for an Air Force or Air National Guard unit. The first major deployment with the A-7 was to Patrick AFB, Florida, on August 12th in support of Forward Air Controller training. Also in 1978, the 162nd participated in "Red Flag 78-9" on September 23rd, and "Tequilla Shooter" at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station from November 14th to 20th.
The first deployment in 1979 was "Operation Snowbird" again as 118 enlisted and 30 officers deployed to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. in support of the exercise. "Sabre Sluff 79-2," a locally-generated version of "Red Flag" was conducted at Springfield during April 26-28, providing realistic training for the 162nd's flying, communications, and radar control units. September 13-15 saw a second "Sabre Sluff" exercise, now known as "Buckeye Flag," carried out.
The 1980 exercise year started with "Empire Glacier" in New York. The 162nd was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its meritorious service from March 1, 1978 to February 28, 1979. In April, the 162nd was teamed with the 166th TFS in support of exercise "Cope Elite." The exercise which was carried out at U.S. Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, Hawaii, involved combat training for U.S. Army and Air Force units based in Hawaii.
In February 1981, Major John Smith commanded a six-aircraft deployment to the 49th TFW at Holloman AFB, N.M. for Dissimilar Air Combat Tactics Training (DACT). In March, the squadron flew close air support (CAS) missions for opposing forces during "Eagle Strike I," an exercise involving two brigades for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During the May exercise "Maple Flag 7," support was given to the 112th TFS for a 30 day rotation to Panama. This deployment provided the only operational fighters in the Southern Command. In July, the 162nd participated in the Michigan-based combat readiness exercise "Sentry Buckeye XI," the first "Sentry Buckeye" to be flown from Alpena.
Maj. Smith, then 162nd Commander, was awarded the Earl T. Ricks Memorial Trophy in 1981 for his superior airmanship in successfully recovering from an in-flight emergency (bird strike) that included personal injury and aircraft damage while flying an A-7D over water, near Lani Island, Hawaii.
1982 was a busy year with the unit taking part in eight individual exercises, including "Red Flag 82- 4" at Nellis AFB, Nev. The 162nd won the annual Ohio ANG "Turkey Shoot" competition in October at the Jefferson Proving Ground air-to-ground range. The squadron also celebrated its 35th anniversary with an open house and a military ball.
More deployments were in store for 1983, starting with "Coronet Castle" in April. In June, the 162nd completed five and one-half years of accident-free flying and earned the Tactical Air Command Flight Safety Award.
1984's first deployment was the Panama rotation. In April, it was up to Canada for exercise "Maple Flag." The June "Sentry Buckeye" in Alpena Mich. pitted "friendly" forces against "aggressor" forces from the 131st TFW, St. Louis, Mo. A deployment in December for another Operation Snowbird at Davis- Monthan AFB Arix. rounded out the year. A "Red Flag" exercise at Nellis AFB Nev. was the first deployment for 1985. "Solid Shield," a joint exercise with the 166th TFS was conducted in May at the Naval Air Station, Key West, Flo. In June, it was off to the Panama Canal Zone for a deployment involving 50 personnel and four aircraft. Tragedy struck the squadron in September when Captain Michael E. Moynahan, an Air Force officer attached to the 162nd, was killed flying an air-to-ground training mission at Indiantown Gap, Pa.
In1986, DACT missions were conducted from January to April at various locations. Also in April, CAS sorties were flown for the Canadian Forces Operation School. "Coronet Miami," a six-week NATO exercise, was begun at Royal Air Force (RAF) Sculthorpe, U.K. There the 162nd trained with military elements of NATO and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe. In November, 14 aircraft and 149 personnel supported "Operation Snowbird." The final 162nd deployment for 1986 was at Chatam, New Brunswick. There, CAS missions were provided for the school that trains forward controller for the Canadian Armed Forces. With all of the flying, the 162nd ended the year with the prestigious Tappan Memorial Trophy, awarded to Ohio's outstanding Air National Guard Unit.
On February 28, 1987, the 162nd deployed five A-7 A/C and 41 personnel to MacDill AFB, Flo. in support of the 9th Air Force FAC (Forward Air Controller Training). In March 1987, the 162nd rotated to support CORNET COVE XII, a 30-day mission to Panama in which the 162nd maintained the only operational fighter in the Southern Air Command. Nine officers and 43 members took four A - 7 A/C to provide the 24th Composite Wing the support they needed.
In 1988, the 162nd took twelve A-7 A/C to participate in SNOWBIRD for the December deployment that allowed the jets to schedule heavy air operations in Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. 1989 saw the 162nd participate in Panama for the 11th time in 19 years to support CORONET COVE. Nine officers and 46 enlisted provided five A-7 A/C to support the 24th Composite Wing operations. In May 1989, the 162nd deployed in support of CORONET PINE I and II in the U.K. After a series of groundings, the 162nd deployed five A-7 A/C and 295 personnel to participate in a major NATO exercise called CENTRAL ENTERPRISE.
In 1990, DESERT STORM saw 93 unit members deploy to the Middle East, but the A/C remained in Ohio. In September 1990, the 162nd took their A-7 A/C to Alpena, Mich. for field training. The 162nd ended 1990 at Davis-Monthan in support of the December exercise SNOWBIRD. In March of 1991, the 162nd took their A-7 A/C to Gulfport, Miss. and flew a total of 219 sorties during the deployment exercise. In September 1991, the 162nd deployed seven A-7 A/C to Nellis AFB to participate in AIR WARRIOR exercise. The 162nd deployed again to support SNOWBIRD at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. in November of 1991.
In 1992 the 162nd deployed to Savannah, Ga. to support practicing units for the William Tell Competition and then traveled to Otis, Mass. for DACT training soon after. In May 1993 the 162nd hosted a farewell to the A-7D, Corsair II. The SLUF Salute was an Air Force sanctioned event to say farewell to this great aircraft that the 162nd flew from 1978 to 1993. The 162nd flew the last public demonstration of the A- 7, Corsair II in the United States. While assigned to the unit, the A/C flew a total of 55,357.4 hours.
In 1993, the conversion was in place and the 162nd was now equipped with the F-16C Falcon. The 162nd took twelve F-16's, 20 pilots and over 600 personnel to WINTERBASE in Gulfport, Miss. to perform flight training for the first big deployment with the new jets. During the month long deployment, 30 aircrew certifications were attained and the sortie generation was the largest ever by the 178 Fighter Group. For LONGSHOT 94, the 162nd launched four F-16's in support of the competition. The mission was for the aircraft to rendezvous with the various units fly to Nellis, AFB, Nev. to drop ordinance on target and on time. Opposing Red Air Enemy attempted to thwart the attack. The 162nd was part of the outstanding 3rd place team.
In 1995, SNOWBIRD occurred in February, with the 162nd flying 223 sorties for live weapons and desert combat simulations. Later in April 1995, the 162nd provided RED AIR for Tyndall AFB, Flo. air training in DACT called LONGSHOT 95. In June 1995, the 162nd deployed to Denmark to participate in BALTOP 95 and CENTRAL ENTERPRISE. The 162nd provided RED AIR for the BALTOP exercise and flew 225 sorties in CENTRAL ENTERPRISE with eight of the F-16 A/C from the 162nd. In December 1995, DACT training occurred again for the 162nd at Gulfport, Miss.
In August 1996, the 162nd took their F-16's to Al Jabbar, Kuwait to support SOUTHERN WATCH and Desert Strike with the mission to enforce the southern no-fly zone imposed by the U.N. over Iraq. The 162nd deployed to COMBAT ARCHER exercise soon after, in 1997 to perform supersonic air to air combat with drones. In May 1997, the 162nd went back to the Middle East to support NORTHERN WATCH at Incerlik, AFB, Turkey. Later in 1997, the 162nd invited members to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration at the 178 FW.
In 1998 the 162nd deployed to COPE THUNDER in Alaska. The big news in 1998 was that the 162nd would become a flying training unit under AETC to skillfully train and support Active Duty, Guard and Reserve F-16 pilots as an Advanced Flight Training Unit. During the period of 1995 to 1998, the 162nd takes first place in the 'Turkey Shoot" Competition in Indiana, taking on units from Ohio and other participating states showing the 162nd skill and accuracy in air to ground employment.
Officially on March 17, 1999, the 162nd undergoes the flag change to AETC and is in the conversion process to become a premiere schoolhouse. The F16D model was added to the 162nd inventory during the conversion to provide the 2-seat version needed for training. In 2000 the 162nd took their F-16's to Savanna, Ga. for Annual Training. In 2001, the 162nd went back to Hawaii for the first time in 20 years to participate in SENTRY ALOHA 01.
In September 2001, while on Annual Training in Alpena, Mich., the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred. The 162nd flew numerous missions in support of homeland defense and for Operation Noble Eagle.
In 2002, the 162nd deployed to Gulfport, Miss. for annual training. Also, during 2002, a F-16 from the 162nd is used in support of the F-22 Fighter Test Program. In 2003, the 162nd deployed to Savannah, Ga. for training and preparation for the ORI in September 2003. Currently, the pilots and support personnel of the 162nd and the 178 FW stand ready to support training of student pilots, homeland defense, and any possible future contingencies.