Sixty-nine years ago today, the National Guard Bureau handed down the charter formally recognizing the 157th Fighter Squadron as a unit of the South Carolina Air National Guard. The Swamp Fox was born.
From the beginning, the 157FS was based at Congaree Air Station east of Columbia, a Joint National Guard base now named McEntire after the SCANG’s first commander and general officer who perished in his F-104 in Pennsylvania. Initially the 157th flew the F-51D Mustang in support of air defense for their home state, a tasking which the Swamp Fox still support today in the form of the Aerospace Control Alert mission, now employing the much more modern Block 52 F-16CJ.
As with all National Guard units, they maintain both a state mission as well as federal, when activated. Specializing in the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), the 157FS carries on the Wild Weasel legacy, and is also fully capable and maintains mission ready status for all other F-16 taskings.
This earns the Swamp Fox airmen regular deployments around the world in support of Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) operations. The SCANG has been making history all along – being the first ANG unit to deploy with active duty for an AEF, the largest Active Associate program, and deploying to southwest Asia for Day 1 of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
In late 2014, the squadron deployed to Fallon to enhance US Navy Air Wing training, and earlier this year, the 157FS went overseas for combined training exercises with the Polish Air Force as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Going forward, the 157th Fighter Squadron and its parent unit, the 169th Fighter Wing, will undoubtedly continue to impress no matter when they are called upon.
Happy Birthday to the 157th Fighter Squadron! Semper Primus!
(Featured Photo by Jonathan Derden)