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.

A South Carolina F-16CJ silhouetted against a spectacular sunset in northern California. (Photo by Scott Wolff)

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.