189th Airlift Wing

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189th Airlift Wing
154th Training Squadron C-130H Hercules.jpg
A 189th Airlift Wing C-130 cargo plane flies over the state capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas
Active 1962 – present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Arkansas
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Training/Worldwide Airlift
Part of Arkansas Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas
Motto(s) Ducimus "We Lead"
Tail Code Red tail stripe "The Rock" in white
189th Airlift Wing emblem 189th Airlift Wing.png

The 189th Airlift Wing (189 AW) is a unit of the Arkansas Air National Guard, stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. If activated to federal service, it is gained by the United States Air Force Air Education and Training Command.

The 154th Training Squadron, assigned to the Wings 189th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the World War I 154th Aero Squadron, established on 8 December 1917. It was reformed on 24 October 1925, as the 154th Observation Squadron, and is one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.


The 189th provides aircrew training for the C-130 for all branches of the military. The unit operates the C-130 Tactical Airlift Instructor School, where aircrew instructors are trained to they can return to their units and keep members combat ready.[1] The wing also operates the Air National Guard Enlisted Aircrew Academic School, which provides entry-level training for C-130 loadmasters before they are sent to the 314th Airlift Wing for mission qualification training.[1] The school also provides entry-level flight engineer training.[1]


Established in 1962 when the Arkansas ANG 154th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was expanded to a Group when elements of the 123d 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.[2]

Air Refueling[edit]

On 1 January 1976, the unit was designated as the 189th Air Refueling Group, Arkansas Air National Guard, and converted to a KC-135 air-to-air refueling mission, and became one of the first Air National Guard units to be assigned to the Strategic Air Command as a gaining command.[2]

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 worldwide temporary tanker task forces performing in-flight refueling of all types of aircraft as assigned by the Strategic Air Command.[2]

Tactical Airlift[edit]

On 1 October 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 began on 25 September 1986.[2]

During Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 135 members were activated and served in both CONUS and OCONUS locations. Aircrews from the 189th flew 123 mission sorties in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm without affecting the unit's day-to-day aircrew training mission.[2]

On 16 April 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, Arkansas Air National Guard. On 1 October 1995, the 189th Airlift Group was designated as the 189th Airlift Wing. The 189th AW 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.[2]


  • Designated 189th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, and allotted to Arkansas ANG, 1962
Extended federal recognition and activated, 1 October 1962
Placed in Non-Operational status, 20 December 1968
Inactivated on: 26 January 1968
  • Re-designated as: 189th Air Refueling Group, extended federal recognition and activated, 1 January 1976
Re-designated as: 189th Tactical Airlift Group, 1 October 1986
Status changed from Group to Wing, 1 October 1995
Re-designated as: 189th Airlift Wing, 1 October 1995


Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: Strategic Air Command
Gained by: Military Airlift Command, 1 October 1986
Gained by: Air Mobility Command, 1 June 1992




  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
    • 31 July 1998 - 30 June 2000[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Library > Fact Sheets > 189th Airlift Wing". Little Rock Air Force Base. 20 October 2008. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "About Us". Air National Guard, US Air Force. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ Air Force Personnel Center Awards Search (Post-1991) Archived 2 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine


  • Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0