149th Fighter Squadron celebrates its 71st year
By Public Affairs staff, 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 21, 2018
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
The 149th Fighter Squadron, the oldest unit assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing, Virginia Air National Guard, celebrates its 71st year as a fighter squadron June 21, 2018, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The squadron was federally recognized June 21, 1947. The 149th FS is an F-22A Raptor air dominance and T-38 Talon adversary air squadron.
“What makes the 149th great is the fact that since there is not a lot of us, we tend to stick together like a family,” said Airman 1st Class Dagejah Hampton, 149th FS aviation resource manager. The 149th FS has approximately 50 members, many of whom are pilots. Having served two years in the unit, Hampton is currently the youngest member of the 149th FS.
“The 149th is the national repository of fifth-generation air dominance experience and expertise mixed with a diverse background of civilian occupational lineage and national/international geopolitical influence,” said Lt. Col.“Scrappy”, 149th FS chief of safety and F-22A instructor/evaluator pilot. He is referring to the fact that Guard and Reserve service keeps military institutional knowledge within the military, offering options for people transitioning out of full-time service, especially pilots. VaANG fighter pilots have all served at least 10 years active duty and most are instructor pilots.
“Scrappy” has served in the United States Air Force more than 26 years and joined the VaANG in October 2002, making him the longest serving member of the 149th FS.
The 149th FS is a few months older than the VaANG which was established September 18, 1947. On this date, the first Secretary of the Air Force was sworn in to office per provisions of the National Security Act of 1947. Soon afterwards, National Guard Army Air Forces units began to be transferred to the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force. The 149th traces their history and lineage back even further to the 328th Fighter Squadron.
The 328th FS was one of three fighter squadrons in the 352nd Fighter Group. They were established on September 29,1942. The 328th FS trained with P-47 Thunderbolts under the First Air Force and later deployed to the European Theater of Operations in 1943 during World War II. After completing missions in various areas within Europe, to include France, Belgium and England, the squadron deactivated at the end of the war. In 1946, the 328th FS was redesignated as the 149th FS and assigned to the Virginia National Guard Army Air Forces. The 149th FS was entitled to the history, honors and colors of the 328th FS.
Since then, the 149th FS has deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch in Southwest Asia and Operation Nighthawk in the Netherlands Antilles which marked the 149th’s first Aerospace Expeditionary Force mission.
When the 192nd FW integrated with the 1st Fighter Wing in 2007, the 149th FS began working directly with the 1st FW to share support of mission requirements for the F-22A Raptor while still maintaining its own unit identity and command structure within the 192nd FW.
In 2017, the 149th FS and 192nd Operations Support Squadron mobilized for six months along with their active duty counterparts in the 27th Fighter Squadron to support Operation Inherent Resolve. During this deployment, they flew 534 F-22 Raptor flights, 4600 combat hours and dropped 263 bombs executing a critical role in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
With 71 years under the 149th’s wing, the squadron has accomplished many missions and sorties and earned prestige. It will be incredible to see what the future has in store for the unit.