Happy Saturday, FighterSweep Fans!! We trust you’re having a great weekend thus far, and in the event you weren’t, we have just what the doctor ordered: keeping time with the Lone Star Gunfighters and viewing the world from the cockpit of the mighty F-16C Fighting Falcon.

The Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing is stationed at Kelly Field Annex, which is a part of Joint Base San Antonio. For its federal mission, the unit falls under the umbrella of Air Education and Training Command (AETC). That means the primary responsibility of the Wing’s 182nd Fighter Squadron is to qualify brand-new F-16 pilots, or requalify those returning to the jet after having been out of the cockpit for a while.

The 149th has a wealth of experience; the commander alone has more than 4,000 hours in fighter aircraft, so that bodes well for brand-new students looking to become bona fide Viper Drivers. The full F-16 B-course is approximately nine months in length.

A helmet sits on the cockpit rail of a Lonestar Gunfighters F-16C, awaiting the morning step. (Photo by Scott Wolff)
A helmet sits on the cockpit rail of a Lone Star Gunfighters F-16C, awaiting the morning step. (Photo by Scott Wolff)

Looking back in the annals of Lone Star Gunfighters history, the unit was formed officially on 1 July 1960; however, its lineage dates back to June of 1943 as the 396th Fighter Squadron–flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The command served with distinction during World War II in the European Theater, earning several national level awards by both foreign governments and our own Department of Defense. A year following the end of the war, the unit was inactivated on 20 August 1946, but re-designated the 182nd Fighter Squadron the next day. In October of 1947, the unit was officially recognized as an Air National Guard command.