The 137th Air Refueling Wing, commanded by Colonel Gregory L. Ferguson as Wing - Commander, oversees an organizational architecture consisting of the Wing Headquarters, Operations Group, Maintenance Group, Mission Support Group, Medical Group. The 137th Air Refueling Wing is an associate unit to the 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker AFB, OK where the Operations and Maintenance personnel reside. The 137th Air Refueling Wing has three tenant units, the 205th Engineering Installation (EI) Squadron, Detachment 1, Company A, 249th AVN (C-23-Sherpa Unit) and the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron.
Will Rogers maintains one of the highest Air Guard manning strengths across the nation, with current manning consisting of 1249 members authorized and 1268 personnel assigned.
Known as the 137th Fighter Group the unit originally met at Max Westheimer Field until 1949 when many of its facilities were destroyed by a tornado. Because of the extensive damage to the airport and the need for more space and longer runways, on 1 Sep 1949 the unit was relocated to Will Rogers Airport - Will Rogers Air National Guard Base - in Oklahoma City. The new installation had better facilities for jet aircraft, and because of its proximity to a large population center, it offered a more ready supply of personnel.
On 1 May 1958, the Oklahoma city based 185th Fighter Squadron was issued F-86s. After becoming combat ready in the aircraft, the unit was placed on 24 hours a day, seven days a week alert.
In April of 1961 the Oklahoma City Air National Guard was reorganized as the 185th Transport Squadron, an element of the Air Transport Command, which later evolved into the Military Airlift Command. From April of 1961 to February of 1963, the 185th was equipped with the KC-97F model of the Boeing built cargo plane.
The aircraft had first flown in January of 1945, but by the time the Oklahoma guardsmen received the plane it had undergone several modifications, and the addition of the prefix "K" indicated that the aircraft had been altered from cargo configuration to a tanker for air-refueling missions.
During the switchover to C-97s, the 185th was given a specially equipped C-97E, officially christened "Miss Oklahoma City" better known as "Talking Bird" for utilization as an airborne command post. From 1961 to 1972, Talking Bird was deployed throughout the world on various communication missions.
On 1 January 1966, the Air Transport Command was reorganized as the Military Airlift Command, and the 137th Wing and Group became the 137th Military Airlift Wing and Group, respectively. The 185th was redesignated as the 185th Military Airlift Squadron. Two years later, on 1 April 1968, Aerial Port Flight was formed as part of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, and added to the group. So that the cargo aircraft of the 137th groups could be used to their maximum capabilities in wartime, the Aeromedical Evacuation Flight was assigned to the unit. The Aeromedical Evacuation Flight operated as a part of the Oklahoma City's 137th until 17 August 1973. The Aeromedical Evacuation Flight received its federal recognition again in December 1986.
The guardsmen continued to fly the C-97s until February of 1968 when they were re-equipped with the C-124C Globemaster.
By the early 1970s the C-124s were being phased out by the Air Force in favor of more modern transport aircraft. Part of the reorganization of the 137th Military Airlift Wing and its units was their redesignation from a strategic to a tactical airlift mission on 10 December 1974. Subsequently the 185th traded its C-124s for the Lockheed C-130A. Together with the 185th Tactical Airlift Squadron, the 137th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 137th USAF Clinic, the 137th Combat Support Squadron, the 137th Civil Engineering Flight, the 137th Weapons Systems Security Flight, the 137th Mobile Aerial Port Flight, and the 137th Communications Flight were grouped under the 137th Tactical Airlift Wing, which also exercised supervision over the training of three other tactical airlift groups two in West Virginia and one in Missouri. Later the 137th Resources Management Squadron was added to the wing.
The C-13OAs were replaced on 23 June 1979 by C-13OHs, which were flown by Oklahoma guardsmen directly from the factory to Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. In so doing, the 137th became the first Air National Guard unit ever to be issued factory fresh transport planes.
On March 16, 199, 2 the unit was redesignated from the 137th Tactical Airlift Wing to the 137th Airlift Wing.
On July 1, 1993, the 137th Airlift Wing was assigned from 22nd Air Force to 15th Air Force. On October 1, 1993 the 137th Airlift Wing was assigned from Air Mobility Command (AMC) to Air Combat Command (ACC), then back to Air Mobility Command (AMC) in April 1997.
On May 15, 2005, BRAC announced the decision to take the C-130s from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base.
On July 1, 2005, the 205th Engineering Installation Squadron, a tenant unit, changed major commands from AFMC to ACC.
In August/September 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita the 137th provided disaster relief to the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
· We flew 48 missions and 159 sorties adding another 344.4 hours to their already impressive flying safety record which has surpassed over 600,000 mishap-free flying hours.
· We executed 100% of tasked sorties with an on time rate of 98.7% hauling 690.9 STONS (short tons) of water, food and supplies. We carried 2,172 passengers including Army and Air National Guard Troops, Oklahoma County Sheriffs Department (K-9 unit), and numerous dignitaries and other civilians including newspaper, radio and television reporters
January - May 2007
Pilots and Boom Operators go to school (WHERE? VANCE?)
Practice fights on KC-135
HOW LONG FOR PRACTICE FLIGHTS? FLYING BOTH AT SAME TIME?
Get with Ops to find out when we started sending pilots and booms to school and then began flying the KC-135s to show the concurrent missions being flown.
20 September 2007
The last three of eight of the original C-130Hs departed Will Rogers ANG Base.
October 14, 2007
Change of Command from Col James M. McCormack to Col Gregory L. Ferguson
1 April 2008
137th Aerial Port deactivated - Created Small Air Terminal
137 AW becomes 137 ARW
185 AS becomes 185 ARS
8 June 2008
Change of Command of OKANG from Brig Gen Robert D. Ireton to Brig Gen James M. McCormack
The importance of these units to the defense of the United States is approximately one third of the tactical airlift capabilities of the Air Force are relegated to the Air National Guard which has 100% responsibility for Air Defense of the United States. The units maintain such a high state of readiness that the 137th Airlift Wing would be ready to deploy anywhere in the world in minimum time. To maintain this rapid deployment capability, approximately 15 of the air national guardsmen are full-time personnel and the remaining members train at least once a month. Readiness has been reflected in the mobilizations and deployments of 4,894 members since October 2001 with 187 members currently deployed. The Oklahoma Air National Guard units, citizen soldiers all, are a part of America's front line defense; they are ready, relevant and reliable in peace or war, to provide for the common defense.