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.

In its history–now spanning five decades plus, the 149th has always flown fighters. The 182nd transitioned from the Jug to the Mustang in 1947, but transitioned to the F-84E Thunderjet prior to deploying for active duty service during the Korean War. The squadron achieved three very significant milestones for the Air National Guard: the first unit to see combat in Korea; the first to shoot down a MiG-15; and the first to successfully demonstrate the applicability of aerial refueling during combat operations.

So as we segue to the present day and go along for the ride, we promise you’ll enjoy the view: Dissimilar Air Combat Training with U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets, a visit to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona for SAT–Surface Attack Training with live munitions over the Goldwater Ranges, and more.

So get your guns up, FighterSweep Fans! It’s going to be a good ride!