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146th ARS History

The 146th Air Refueling Squadron traces its military history through more than 50 years of distinguished service at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The unit received its Federal Recognition on April 22, 1949, and began as the 112th Tactical Fighter Group, with 19 officers, 12 Airmen, and little more than tents and shacks for facilities. That same year the unit received a fleet of its first aircraft, the F-47 Thunderbolts. The unit transitioned to the F-51 Mustang, which was then the swiftest of the WWII fighters. In 1953 conversion to jet fighters began with the arrival of the T-33A aircraft. The following spring brought four F-86A’s and during the summer of 1954 aircrews were flying both F-51A and F-86 Sabre Jets. The unit immediately moved to F-84 Thunderstreaks. In 1957 it was the F-86L aircraft until 1960 when the 112th stepped up to the F-102A Delta Dagger, the hottest jet in the inventory.


The next 14 years brought many honors and achievements, including the United States Airforce Flying Safety Award in 1971 for a record of eight years without an aircraft accident. The 112th reached two additional milestones that year- 50,000 accident free hours and 100,000 single engine hours without a fatality.


In 1975 the 112th transitioned to the A-7D Corsairs II and the A-7K two seat variant. For 16 years the unit participated in numerous exercises such as Red Flag in Nevada, Maple Flag in Canada, and deployed throughout the world to include Germany, Great Britain, and Panama. In October 1991 the 112th Tactical Fighter Group reorganized and transformed its mission by converting to the KC-135E Stratotanker and assumed its new worldwide commitment as the 112th Air Refueling Group. In 1993 the 112th ARG was deactivated and its flying unit, the 146th ARS, joined its sister squadron, the 147th ARS, under the colors of the 171st Air Refueling Wing. The resulting “Super Wing” flying a total of 20 KC-135E tankers remains only one of three such wings in the Air National Guard.


The 146th ARS participated in Operation Allied Forces in 1999 along with aircraft and crews of the 147th ARS, and flew a total of 414 sorties while delivering 18 million pounds of fuel to over 2,300 NATO aircraft. On September 11th, 2001 the aircrews of the 146th ARS and other personnel of the 171st ARW made history. The unit became the first National Guard unit to fulfill both its state and federal missions simultaneously, performing air refueling for combat patrols over the nation’s cities in support of Operation Noble Eagle while supporting ground recovery operations at the crash site of Flight 93. Upholding its proud tradition of service, the 146th continues to support real world missions to include Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Northern watch. The 146th ARS continues to accomplish its unit mission with pride, vigilance and honor while upholding the finest traditions of the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force.